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It is Possible to Achieve Style On a Budget

Can you still have style without having to “swallow” champagne and caviar prices? Ummmm.. yes! And I’m not saying DIY everything and shop for the cheapest crap you can find. Unless you’re on one of those reality shows (which is actually the furthest thing away from reality). Those budgets aren’t even close to believable!

Yet again, I can’t help but compare this aspect to fashion. Any wallet in heels can walk into Bergdorf’s, swoop up whatever the saleswoman shows and think they’ve hit the fashion nail on the head. Expensive doesn’t always equal the best.

This is your home we’re talking about! Invest more in your home than just the price tag. Anyone with money can do that! But not everyone can make a home look expensive on a conservative budget. Find something you love and if it’s too pricey, take the time to hunt for a similar piece with a smaller price tag.

One of the things I took the time to shop around for was tile. It may be the smallest of pieces, but they sure do pack a visual punch and can really make the room.

In our master bath, I happened upon a wallpaper that I couldn’t get over. I loved the simple black and white and its geometric shapes that almost reminded me of those pristinely pruned French topiary gardens. I wanted to mirror the contours of the wallpaper with the same geometric aspect on the floor. Of course, I found the perfect tile (not in our budget) and fell in love.

The tile sample

The tile sample

I then looked at three other tile stores and compared prices. Even with the cheapest option, in order to cover the entire floor with this particular tile, would cost over $2,000! Again, when you have a budget, spending this type of money doesn’t make sense for the floor of just one bathroom.

So, instead of throwing the idea out with the bathwater, I compromised with the budget that I did have. We covered the entire floor with bigger slabs of Italian marble and then used the more expensive tile as accent “bath mats” as I call them. I still got my favorite tile in there, but I didn’t spend a fortune. And, I ended up with a design that was completely unique and always gets a little attention. 😉

Completed bathroom "bath mat" 
Completed bathroom “bath mat”

With all this being said, there are also things that cost what they cost because of their function. And they are well worth every single penny! I believe appliances should be a big splurge. You use them every single day and they should be high quality to peak performance, and not to mention are a huge resale component to your home!

The same goes with cabinets and countertops in your kitchen. You can certainly compare prices, but make sure you’re comparing good quality with good quality. There’s a reason why certain things cost what they cost in regards to name brands because they have a good reputation with performance and customer service.

Sticking to your budget is almost impossible. But compromising isn’t. Find ways to make your home beautiful without always aiming for what’s the most expensive. Think about where your money would be most useful. $1,400 for a gorgeous sheepskin rug or that stainless steel kitchen sink that can fit a horse?

Renovating is harder than building a house from scratch because you have to make do with the bones of the house that you have. You don’t have to own a Versailles to make it look expensive, just some creativity, imagination and a little patience to work within the budget you’ve got.

Master bath: Wallpaper done, sinks in! 
Geometric wallpaper with tile accent “bath mats”

Take another fun look inside Alisa’s home in this Houzz article.

For more design inspiration, find Alisa’s home and others inside the pages of, “Your Home, Your Style” By Donna Garlough.


Alisa Kapinos has been a fashion stylist and personal shopper for almost 15 years. She started her career in fashion working for a Boston based magazine as their Fashion and Beauty Editor and then went onto become their Editor in Chief. During this time she produced and styled countless photo shoots, working with top designers and top photographers. She has been lucky enough to attend many New York Fashion Weeks, also styling shoots for commercials and print ads, as well as assisting in styling Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel and the Jonas Brothers on their Boston stop during their musical tour. She then began her career as a personal stylist to some of Boston’s most notable people, as well as women and men from all walks of life. What her clients love about her is her attention to detail, her understanding of personal style (not just what’s trending), and her ability to mix high end with affordable pieces that fit everyone’s budget. Through her work in the fashion industry, she has also partnered with many charitable organizations to bring awareness and raising money for their causes. Recently, Alisa has taken her passion for interior design and has worked on a few interior projects for local clients. She has had her own home, which she renovated herself, featured in a home design book and a few home websites. Alisa’s greatest loves are her husband of 11 years, her two dogs and her three kids. She loves photography and taking photos, loves to travel, to write, to garden, to decorate, to cook and spend time with her family and friends.

If you love style and want to keep up with Alisa, check her out on Instagram @styleproductions. For more info on her personal styling and home styling business, check out her website, www.alisakapinos.com

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