Create an accent wall with an inexpensive finish, like this white brick veneer in a Naples, Fla., home, for a comfortable, casual living space, says Leigh Spicher, Ashton Woods' national director of design studios. You also can paint existing brick or whitewash it. Also, white, gauzy curtains can be found on a budget from most home retailers and fit into a coastal-inspired design.
When choosing items that you own to fill a bookcase, think about creating a contrast, says Leigh Spicher, Ashton Woods' national director of design studios. In this Orlando model home, neutral book pages and accessories stand out against the dark wood of the built-in bookcase. "Sometimes our favorite decor is something we already own," she says. If you save money by using existing items, you can also add picture and display lighting to illuminate treasured pieces.
Instead of a fancy piece of art, enlarge a photo you've taken outside or in a favorite spot and frame it, says Leigh Spicher, Ashton Woods' national director of design studios. You can add color to the mantle, like in this Dallas home, without using accessories. Also, arrange shells or other natural elements that you saved because of their beauty (and free price tag) in a frame or shadowbox, as another layer of art for your mantel.