Champagne design on a cider budget

One expensive item can make the cheaper pieces look expensive according to interior designer Susan Llewellyn.

The award winning designer, who has her academy of interior design, caught up with us at the Ideal Home Show to talk about high-end decorating on a low-end budget.

“Your home should be about expressing who you are and acknowledging your identity,” she said.

“You can make a room look expensive on a budget.”

Ms Llewellyn suggests starting with a wish list or ideas board where you can use pictures and samples to help you create your space.

While magazines and home shows can help to fill this list she also advocates heading to the high street and gaining some inspiration from what the top designers are doing.

“You can get lots of inspiration from the high street but you need to do the leg work and go into two or three different shops to find what you are after,” student from The Susan Llewellyn Academy of Interior Design, Ann Marie Hess (pictured) said.

Next on the to-do-list is establishing a budget for the decorating project because money and imagination will be the only restraints.

Miss Llewellyn teaches her students to stand in the room to be decorated and observe what architectural features could be highlighted or used as a focal point of the design.

But this can be very difficult to do if the home is full of clutter.

For this reason it is important to clear out unnecessary items and possessions you have not used in a long time.

According to Ms Llewellyn sometimes all a room needs is a new paint colour to give it character and new life.

In a decorating project that Ann Marie Hess completed under the guidance of her teacher she was given the task of redecorating a very plain kitchen.

The ceiling of the kitchen was grid patterned and the end of the room has a lovely large window.

To emphasize these points Ms Hess had the grid panels and the wall surrounding the window painted in a chocolate brown and this instantly gave a facelift to the room.

“Colour is very important,” Ms Llewellyn said.

“And don’t forget the ceilings because they make a difference to the look and shape of a home.”

One of the designer’s best tips is to match the cheap with the expensive when it comes to furniture and furnishings.

An expensive cushion with a discount lounge or a beaded trim on a cheap curtain will instantly upgrade the look of the bargain item.

“Remember expensive with cheap makes the cheap look expensive,” she said.

This also works with a unique or unusual statement item mixed with plain furnishings where the item instantly gives the space some character and excitement.

Ms Llewellyn said her personal favourites include the designer ranges produced by IKEA and collections found in Vitruvius in South London.

Oriental carpets are also an easy way to add character and can be used on the floor or their traditional use as a table overlay.

“If you have done the decoration well it should look like a collection has been built over a period of time,” she said.

One of the most important aspects to making a room look expensive is glamour.

Whether it be billowing floor length curtains or rich paint colours Ms Llewellyn believes a bit of glamour will always make a room look more expensive than a minimalist look.

“Good design can be done on a budget,” she said.