Highbrow, Low Budget: Holiday Edition

Keeping up with the latest holiday design trends can be expensive, especially if you like a fresh look every few years.  Here we show you two very similar options for upgrading your holiday decor, with some staple items like a good tree and wreath as well as a few decorative accents.  The highbrow version can be yours for the yowza price of $3,525 while the low budget version can deck your halls for just $942!  And the looks are strikingly similar and both on trend for this holiday.


The highbrow version features a Frontgate faux tree with lights, and truth be told they DO make a really nice faux tree, but in reality you could buy a REAL tree of the same size for 30 years before you reach the cost of this tree.   This wreath is gorgeous with apples and varied greenery and rusty jingle bells and adds to the traditional yet natural vibe of this collection.  The most ridiculous item on this list is the large 29″ nutcracker from Crate and Barrel.  It’s price was originally $1200 but if you like a sale and still want to throw away money at the same time you can have it for $940- yikes!  Faux fur, plaid, and velvet keep you totally on trend for this holiday in the pillow, stocking and tree skirt.  Finally, I think this candleholder may be real antlers, ew,  but it is quite a statement piece, and at $575 it had better be!



Frontgate Fraser Artificial Pre-lit Christmas Tree 9ft  $1500

Charlestown Decorated Wreath    $200

Natural King Nutcracker   $960 (yikes…that’s the clearance price!)

Tartan Wool Pillow Cover with Fringe, Red  $100

Cuddle Up’ Faux Fur Christmas Stocking   $40

Quilted Velvet Tree Skirt, Chili Pepper $150

Antler Candle Centerpiece  $575

Low Budget

Certainly, there are a few high end tree brands, but in reality, once you get it decorated with all your ornaments, will it really look all that different from one that you spent a fraction of the price on?  This tree, from Home Depot, is also a very full, 9 ft Fraser Fir, still isn’t “cheap”, but looks realistic and is almost a third of the cost of the highbrow version.  This low budget wreath adorned with faux apples and pine cones  has a beautiful natural look.  The over 2 ft tall nutcracker is much more affordable than the highbrow version and looks just as great.  I think I may even pick up this plaid pillow with excellent frayed edge detail, it’ll be a great sofa accent all winter long.  The big shocker of this group is the antler candleholder, which is totally fake, (whew, I feel so much better about that), and is $553 cheaper than the dead deer version!  Truthfully, it IS smaller, but at that price you could buy three of them to create the same scale and still not even be close to the highbrow price.




9 ft. Feel-Real Jersey Fraser Fir Artificial Christmas Tree with 1500 Clear Lights    $600

Winter Berry Scented Wreath  $90

Father Christmas Santa Claus 3′ Nutcracker   $144

Hamilton Plaid Pillow Cover  $36

Grey and White Faux Fur Stocking  $20

Quilted Velvet Christmas Tree Skirt in Burgundy  $30

Gold Antler Taper Candle Holder Centerpiece  $22

What will you do with all of these holiday savings?  Maybe make a donation or buy a gift for a child in need this season.  Happy Holidays!


Highbrow, Low Budget

There was a show on HGTV a few years ago that I really liked called The High Low Project.  It’s unfortunately no longer airing, but the concept was fantastic.  A client had a dream room that they saw in a magazine that was finished with very high end furnishings that naturally the client couldn’t afford.  The designer would then recreate the expensive look for a mere fraction of the cost.  I was always amazed to see that with a little ingenuity and smart shopping that a great looking inexpensive room was achievable without having to resort to dumpster diving or hand crafting everything.  Sure, there was some refinishing, repurposing and yard sale shopping, but it certainly wasn’t the only trick up the designer’s sleeve.

I personally enjoy the challenge of creating a design on a budget. (This is probably because I am cheap….ahem, thrifty….ahem, resourceful).  I have never once had a client tell me that they had a limitless budget.  Don’t get me wrong, while that would be fun too, the reality of the situation is that there is always a budget and it’s great to know that good design is possible with just a little bit if money.

So in the spirit of The High Low Project I am creating what will hopefully be a recurring spot on the blog that I’m calling Highbrow, Low Budget.  This week, I kept the bright pink chairs as the focus in each room.  These affordable beauties go just as well in the highbrow room as they do in the low budget room.  The highbrow room comes in at almost $33K while my lower budget option was just over $4K.  Still a fantastic look for a fraction of the cost (and honestly I like some of the low budget items better anyway).



Hickory Chair Silhouettes M2M Sofa $ 9810
Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture Serendipity Coffee Table $ 2799
Spade Arm Chair by Mercer41 $490 x 2=  $ 980
Tommy Bahama Kilimanjaro 20 Round Harcourt Tangier Side Table $1214 x 2 = $2428
Qom Persian Rug 7x 10 $ 15244
George Kovacs Dorian Bronze Arc Floor Lamp $378
Arteriors Home Nathaniel Black Chiseled Glass Table Lamp $408
Crocodile Rectangular Tray by
L’Objet $170
Mitchell Gold Faux
Bois Throw Pillow $385
Faux Puma Fur Throw Blanket $300



Pottery Barn Carlisle Upholstered Sofa $1359
CB2 Slab Marble Coffee Table $549
Spade Arm Chair by Mercer41 $490 x2=   $ 980
Vincent Rug in Taupe & Black 7 x 9 $289
Impressionist Garden Stool Java Brown Glaze $278 x 2 = $556
Alana Luster Glass Table Lamp Base Indigo $120
Tapered Medium Linen Drum Shade $59
Lite Source Jensen 1-light Floor Lamp Dark Bronze $97
Threshold Raccoon Faux Fur Throw Blanket $34
Silkway Ikat Pillow Cover $20
American Atelier Croc Faux Leather Tray $55