12 April 2011

How to copy a look for less

First, when you’re admiring a look that you love, focus on the details. Think about what it is that makes the room so special. Is it a color repeated over and over? A mix of patterns? Uniquely arranged items? Pay close attention to the accessories because as beautiful as the large pieces in the room may be, it’s the accessories that really make a room, and these are usually the easiest to replicate.

Second, think outside the box. Once you’ve decided what it is you want to imitate in your own room, think of ways to do it cheaply. That usually means not getting something that looks exactly like the inspiration item, but you can still create something with a similar look, and therefore will translate into giving your room a similar feel as in the one you admired.

Third, shop right. Hit up thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, Craigslist or Goodwill and keep your eyes open for a “diamond in the rough”. Remember that almost anything can be painted, papered or covered in fabric for a brand-new look, so ignore the superficial and just make sure that the piece you’re eyeing has the size and shape that you’re looking for. The details are easy to change. And don’t forget to shop your own house- a lot of times you can make easy changes to things you already own to make them better fit the look you’re going for.

I’m going to use this picture as an example:
If I was wanting to replicate this look in my own living room, I would start with that pillow with the 3 on it, because it’s the first thing that caught my eye when I looked at the picture. I wouldn’t try to find one to buy however, because it is just as easy to use an iron-on to transfer a 3 to a plain pillow that I already have. I would paint my coffee table black and use stencils to create a similar circular pattern with white paint. (I’d leave out the stars from my pattern because I’m not too into those- just me.)
I’d get three inexpensive jugs to line up on the coffee table and spray paint them silver. I’d use a vase I’ve already got and fill it with branches clipped from trees from my yard.
Floor lamps are expensive, so instead I’d replicate the two in the picture by finding some desk lamps in a similar style (they look eerily like something you could find at an office supply store) and spray paint the whole thing silver and set them on side tables on either side of the couch.
To get the tree stump side tables I’d follow a tree trimming crew and ask for some of their cast offs {I’m half-kidding with this one- but I’ve been considering doing this!!}
The colorful Lucite display at the stairs is beautiful and eye-catching, but I’m sure not cheap. So I would give my room a similar display of color by framing brightly colored scrapbook paper in either “frameless” picture frames, or cheap frames that I’d painted white to blend into the wall so that the paper would really “pop”.
Finally, I’d slipcover the couch I’ve got so that I could have red without paying for a whole new sofa.

Being a copy-cat can be fun! BUT you don't have to stress about trying to make your room (or item) a mirror image of it's inspiration. Creating something with a similar look and feel but with your unique touch can be even better!


  1. Good post! All very useful and helpful tips. Your tip on how to get the tree stumps cracked me up! I have never thought about that! Or maybe an easier way to get a tree stump is to buy one(silver tree stump) from Z Gallerie instead?

    I write funny and rhyming poems too, mostly to my husband. Hahaha..By the way, my son is 4 1/2 years old now. :) Hopefully, your babies are doing well, no more "booger party". :)

    Have a wonderful day, Brooke!


  2. Fabulous tips ... several of which I have done before, too. Thanks for sharing! Becca


  3. This reminds me of that show on HGTV where they take a picture of an expensive inspiration room and duplicate it on a budget. I love your ideas! When I first got my place I was really thinking I'd have to wait to buy any decorations until I had the money to find something brand-new and exactly how I wanted as-is. It's so much more fun (and affordable)this way! And I don't have to sit around in a completely bare house because I can't afford anything at Pottery Barn. :) Thank you!