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The latest episode of BravoTV‘s Million Dollar Decorator featured Mary McDonald creating a black and white home office out of a client’s empty room. The client did not specify a budget, and McDonald was pretty quiet about what she was spending, so I can only imagine what the entire project cost. The only figure we have for sure was the cost of the painted floor, which was $8000. I suspect we will re-create the entire room for less than half that. The custom-painted floor is the foundation for the room design, and as long as you have some time, three gallons of paint, and some painter’s tape it can be created for under $100. You can repeat the zigzag pattern, or design the unique pattern of your choice.
The most important part of a home office is the desk. The one I found doesn’t have the black leather top, but it does have interesting legs, more drawer space, and is a bargain for only $359. To give the weight of the black leather top, use a black desk pad, which is only $30. The second most important part of the office is a comfortable chair. I found a great reproduction, pictured below, for only $207! At home, carefully paint the exposed wood gold.
A big switch was made for the two guest chairs, but before you complain about not holding true to true to the original design, please remember that if you make your guest chairs too comfortable they’ll never leave and you’ll never get any work done. We are instead substituting simple black chairs with elegant nailhead trim. Do paint the exposed wood white before placing them in the room. Both chairs cost only $178, a fraction of what just one of the original guest chairs would cost.
On top of the desk is a pair of gold buffet lamps for $100, but replace the small red shades with larger black shades for an additional $60. The bookends are gold Fleur De Lis and a bargain at $15. The black vase for $50 is a different shape, but it has gold accents, which refers back to the desk chair, lamps, and bookends. To finish off the desk area is an elegant black planter, also with gold accents, for $97. Instead of filling it with cut flowers, use a living plant, $5, to save money and serve as your own personal air purifier.
The wall of french doors features gorgeous black and white striped drapes that I’m sure cost a King’s Ransom. I found draperies with a tan background (pulls in one of the floor colors) and a black damask pattern. It is not a stripe, but it does add drama and elegance to the room and cost only $184 for two pairs. The black rods and rings are available at Lowe’s for $80 for two sets.
Next we’ll address the wall of pictures. This is where you can really save big! Search garage sales, flea markets, or charity shops such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity ReStore for an assortment of frames. This room had 11 frames, but you should select the quantity based on your own room’s dimensions. Unify them by spray painting them all black and fill with your own photos which can be sized or converted to black and white by your local printer. Alternatively, you can frame pages from an art or photography book, a piece of fabric, or sheet of wallpaper.
Lastly, a pop of color is created from brightly colored pillows, which can be found for under $40 for the pair at your local Marhsalls, TJMaxx, or Homegoods store. Do not use a neckroll as pictured because it will fall through the back of the chair. Look for a large square pillow instead.
Now we get to my favorite part of the blog, adding up the items and comparing it to the original cost. The mathematicians out there probably have the total in their head, but for the rest of you, the grand total came to only $1505. That is less than one quarter of what was paid just for the painted floor. It does not include the cost of the wall of art, because you can spend as little as $50 or as much as $200, it just depends on your scavenger skills. It’s exciting to see how low we can go, and this one even surprised me!
If you have a high-end room you would like re-created for less, please submit it in the comments section, or email a picture to email@example.com.
Fans of BravoTV‘s Real Housewives of New York will remember Countess LuAnn’s memorable song “Money Can’t Buy You Class,” but in this week’s Million Dollar Decorator her song could easily be re-recorded as “Money Can’t Buy You Style.” Shannon Factor, an heir to the Max Factor cosmetics empire, spent millions on furnishing for her home, but needed the assistance of Kathryn Ireland to make sense of it all, teaching Shannon that more is not always more.
The room turned out beautifully, with a clean blue and white palette. Let’s see how you might be able to recreate the look, but on a much smaller budget. Keep in mind, we will not be shopping Europe, like Factor did, but instead shopping the internet, saving on airfare and pricey antiques. Let’s start out with a large area rug in navy and white to anchor the space. Ours is from Home Decorator’s Collection and retails for $869.
Next we will add the seating, which includes two tufted, Chesterfield-style arm chairs and two white sofas. I found luxurious leather Chesterfield chairs for $999 each, and two white sofas for for $1039 each. The great part about this sofa is that it comes with an assortment of colorful pillows, which is one thing Kathryn Ireland’s designs are known for, without adding an extra expense to the room design.
Completing the seating area is a round, tufted ottoman and two round end tables. I found a blue velvet ottoman by Armen for only $207. It doesn’t have as many tufts, but I prefer the simplicity of it better anyway. Paxton makes an affordable end table with similar curving legs for only $250 each.
The last piece of furniture is the antique china cabinet. I found an elegant reproduction by Broyhill which costs $1619.
The mantle features a rectangular mirror, two brass candlesticks, two vases, two decorative items (too small for me to figure out what they are !) and a clock. I found a good mirror substitute for $152 at LampsPlus (simply hang it horizontally instead of vertically), a pair of brass candlesticks for $100 at Touch of Class, blue and white porcelain vases for $59 each and a mantle clock with brass accents for $107, both at Amazon.com. The finishing touch for any room are the window treatments, and I found great-looking blue striped curtains at Target for only $116 for four, along with two nickel-finish rods for $28. The inspiration room’s drapes are patterned, but combining the stripes with the patterned rug and solid furniture will look really sharp!
The grand total for all of these items is $7892. It’s not affordable for all budgets, but in a typical home you won’t have room for two large sofas AND two large armchairs, so to furnish an “average sized” living room, it would cost much less. If you do have this large of a living room, our cost is certainly an improvement over the millions of dollars spent by Shannon Factor.
Do you have a picture of a room you’d like to recreate on a budget? Leave a comment and we’ll try to help you out!
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Tags: #MDD, area rug, armchair, brass candlesticks, bravotv, candlesticks, chesterfield armchair, china cabinet, Countess Luanne, decorative pillows, end table, interior decorating, Kathryn Ireland, living room, living room designs, living room furniture, living room ideas, Million Dollar Decorator, mirror, Real Housewives, Real Housewives of New York, RHONYC, sofa, vase, white sofa
Million Dollar Decorator on BravoTV featured Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s speedy decorating of Sharon Osborne’s new Hollywood apartment. In record time he did an awesome job, but at a startlingly high cost.
If you want the look but don’t have the budget, High End Looks for Less has affordable options to create the look in your own home.
Sharon Osborne’s living room is a simple study in black and white design. The beauty comes from the play of interesting shapes, patterns, and silhouettes.
The most eye-catching detail is the zebra-print rug. The Mossa Zebra Rug pictured at left will give the same foundational drama to your room, but only costs $529.
The most important part of a functional living room is the sofa. It needs to be both comfortable and durable.
Celebrities have been known to spend as much as $25,000 on a sofa, but I found a wonderful substitute by Diamond,the black leather “Valentino” with chrome legs for only $1859. It has an angular shape like the Osborne’s, but looks even more cushy and comfortable.
Next to the sofa is a traditional footlocker serving as an end table. I like the trunk below for its modern look and textural interest. It does double duty as an end table and extra storage for a mere $132!
Opposite the sofa is a contemporary buffet with some sculptural lamps on top. Look for a deep espresso or black finish, with coordinating lamps.
This buffet is made of solid wood, but is still a bargain at $770.
The Osborne’s lamp is an “X” shape, but our subsitute is “U” shaped. While different, we retained the geometric nature and the sculptural visual effect it provides for an affordable $261.
The final pieces needed to furnish the living room are the antique chairs. They were a source of controversy after the episode, as Bullard quoted the chairs as “antique Eames chairs“, when in fact they were Barcelona chairs by Mies Van Der Rohe. Here is brand new reproduction that will fill in nicely for only $1138.
Accessories were kept sparse and simple. Artwork on the wall consists of photographs, all presented identically with white mats and black frames. This is an easy project for a do-it-yourselfer with black and white photos or pictures cut out of books.
If you have a room you want made over affordably, send a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org and perhaps we will feature it!
If you love the Hollywood bedroom that was designed for Sharon Osborne by Martyn Lawrence Bullard you are in luck! High End Looks for Less shows you affordable options so you can create this designer look for yourself. While the upholstered bed at left isn’t as heavily tufted as Sharon Osborne’s bed on Million Dollar Decorator, at only $299 it costs a fraction of what hers did. The bedding featured on top of the mattress was an elegant white duvet with black detailing. Celebrity designers will spend thousands of dollars on bedding, but you can replicate the look with this smart duvet set from Overstock.com. Again, I am not pretending the quality will be anywhere near Osborne’s, but the price is merely $69.99! Remember to add a soft black throw at the foot of the bed (available anywhere for about $20) for an extra luxury.
Bullard also boasted of the $25,000 he was spending on the area rug for underneath the bed. Frankly, I would never spend that on a rug, especially if most of it was going to be covered by the bed!
For a similar look, why not go with this beautiful rug by Kathy Ireland for $1600. It features the same black background with a gold pattern swirling about. It is not exactly the same, but the style is close enough to make it work.
The final touch is the pair of lamps on the nightstands. They serve as a bit of jewelry for the room. Bullard’s lamps have graduating brushed chrome orbs with a black shade. If you don’t mind all the orbs being the same diameter you can buy a pair of them for only $140 at LampsPlus.
To customize the look, simply swap out the white shades for black shades at a cost of $30 per shade. Now you can live like Sharon Osborne, but for a lot less!
If you have a room you want made affordable, send us a picture and we will do it!