Susanna Salk

Meet the Expert

Connecticut-based designer Susanna Salk, a regular Today Show contributor and author of Priviledged Life: Celebrating WASP Style, shares her tips for creating beautiful rooms on a budget.

It's very often the thought and confidence that goes into the selection and arrangement of a room's components that make it special.

dark gray walls
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1. Color Your Walls

Completely transform your room with just a few gallons of paint. Try a fresh shade, and watch how it transforms all your existing furniture. Paint costs so little compared to how much you get in return.

A grid of nine colorful paintings pops against a deep gray wall.

Poppy Nine Patch Canvas Set
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white vases on antique chest
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2. Rethink What You Have

It costs nothing to reassess what your room already looks like. Why not move a few pieces around? Sometimes a fresh approach encourages you to get rid of tired pieces that drag your space down. Do you really need everything you see? Does everything have a purpose and a special meaning to you? If not, then give it away. I promise, less is more.

Air Mail print
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Havanita print
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bed flanked by two lamps
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3. Choose Lighting Wisely

Adding dimmers to your space offers dimension and mood at very little cost. Or buy a fresh shade for your lamp. Consider replacing mismatched floor lamps with two, new matching lamps. Place one on either side of your sofa or bed, and see how the room suddenly has cohesive style.

Ballooning Over Paris stretched canvas print
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daybed with bright pillows
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4. Update Your Pillows

Can't afford a new sofa? There are dozens of affordable, fabulous pillows that are one of a kind and will zip up your space instantaneously.

Golden Horizon print
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neutral bedroom with black-and-white art
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5. Sleep In Style

Does your bedroom need a lift? Give it an instant update. Try buying just a new headboard with a unique fabric or pattern. Invest in a great set of sheets, complete with shams. Choose a bold pattern that will define your room, and don't be afraid to mix and match.

Calla Lilies framed print
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nine mirrors and mercury glass
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6. Try a Mirror

Can't afford art? You can find unique mirrors at discount stores or vintage shops that, when grouped together, will bring elegance and personality to even the smallest of spaces.

black and white fireplace
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7. Consider the Scale

No matter how small your space, consider one large piece of art and decorate around it. Larger scale brings a feeling of grandeur to any size. Try Web sites such as that offer oversize prints. You can find a wide (but relevant) selection of high-quality prints, posters, and framed art for homes.

Musee D'Orsay, Paris, France framed canvas print
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bright green chair
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8. Recover and Renew

Can't afford a new chair? Give your existing one a makeover by recovering it in a new pattern. Get a little daring and see how a simple chair can be completely transformed.

10 Marilyns framed set
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roman shade
Colin Peterson

9. Add Window Treatments

Check out every window in your house. Window treatments are instrumental in bringing dimension -- not to mention light -- into a room. You can revamp any space by simply investing in new curtains: Go for velvet or a bold pattern in a smaller room to give a luxe jewel-box effect. Elegant yet simple curtains for large spaces can often offer all the change you need.

colorful dog paintings over white bed
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10. Create Artwork

Consider investing in wall decor that has been pre-framed to save yourself the extra cost of visiting a local shop where prices can be sky-high! Online retailers, such as All Posters, feature products that are "ready-to-hang" as well as a wide variety of finishing services to meet every budget including basic, ready-made frames, custom-framing, wood-mounting, and canvas transfers.

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