When it comes to interior architecture and design, there are many things that money can buy. Then again, there are many things that money can't buy – a real sense of home, for one – and, once more, there are elements of luxury and elegance that can be bought for far less than you'd imagine. Just remember, expensive material goods don't necessarily lend your house a sense of sophistication, let along the ephemeral sense of belonging that's the essence of home. This list offers up a few inexpensive ideas for home design and decoration that look and feel like a million bucks.
A house with a modern ceiling is a home that stands out. Look up – ceiling decoration is an aspect of interior design that many ignore, but can be extremely effective, and cost-effective, too. Your home will look more luxurious if you opt for a modern, sculptural ceiling. Relief work rendered in plaster or drywall are an economical and attractive option.
Stately homes never contain a dull wall. There are many ways to give personality to your walls, and here wall niches and creative stone facing, mirrored in the raw molded concrete of the stairs make this interior pop. Adding subtle directed lighting achieves a more striking effect.
The plainest of rooms is given a splash of color with a liberal scattering of pillows. It's best to choose an eclectic bunch in unusual shapes, sizes, embroidered with different designs in bold and attractive colors for maximum visual impact. Stack a bunch together, and you'll call attention to a space that speaks masses of comfort.
Bathrooms are conventionally painted or tiled or otherwise clad in white. This makes sense considering a bathroom is usually associated with cleanliness, spotlessness – it's a clean space, after all. However, bold, broad tiles making use of a darker palette imply confidence in the midst of elegance over traditional white or neutral tones.
Don't hide away your souvenirs and collector's items in a cupboard – your trophies, your guitar(s), the trinkets of an ardent hobbyist are all signs of you and your interests. Install niches and shelves for proud display, choose a contrasting background color and judicious lighting to lure in admiring looks or simply remind yourself that these are a few of your favorite things.
A truly elegant, luxurious modern house will always have a TV, but is graceful in its installation. This living room and media center treads a fine line between vintage and contemporary style, and the television remains discreet, recessed and unobtrusive so as to shy away from dominating the space.
Mirrors can be purely decorative or practical tools for some shameless vanity. They also expand the perceived space contained within a room. All three functional aspects of a mirror should be considered before you buy. If you're leaning to the ornamental and space-expanding end of the spectrum, as in this sun splashed and wood-paneled retro den, be careful – a misplaced mirror can reflect less photogenic aspects of a cramped room.
As important as any room in the house, a corridor is not an architectural element to be neglected. More than just conduits for foot traffic between spaces in your house, treat both walls, the floor and the ceiling, as canvases for your interior design ideas. A home with thoughtfully designed corridors is a home that immediately imparts a sense of luxury.
Clusters of plants, exotic or commonplace, can be used to compose a space with living splashes of color and texture. Think about the shape your younger plants might take as they mature, and combine types with particular characteristics as you might any other piece of furniture, any fixture, painted fitting, your walls and floors, and the play of natural light – this is, after al, what feeds your plants and brings the outside in.