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How to Feel Like a Millionaire in Your Own Home: Luxe Looks on a Budget

By Elizabeth Dunkel March 01, 2023 Lifestyle

I was going to title this piece, “How to Decorate Like a Millionaire,” but of course, there’s no one way a millionaire decorates! Look through the upscale shelter mags and I bet you’ll comment on the questionable taste in some of the most expensive homes featured.

As you know, you don’t need a lot of money to live a millionaire lifestyle. That’s because – and it’s my mantra! – good taste has nothing to do with money.

Decorating for a Luxe Look

To start, decorating is not a language we all speak. That’s because decorating is not something we do all the time. We buy clothes and shoes, so we have the experience of trial and error. How painful is it to donate an expensive dress that we never wore once? Very.

Making a mistake on a couch? Ouch!

So here’s the story. I had put my larger than needed house on the market, and I had to downsize. I wanted a small but beautifully luxurious space to reflect my new, carefree lifestyle. Easy, “minimal but sensual” living. Having a home that honors my life.

Meet Style Maven, Jo Tutton

I called my stylish friend, Jo Tutton, for some tips on how to create luxe looks on a budget. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Jo is a renowned design expert. We’ve never met in person, but I’ve been following her style for years. Her homes are comfortable and luxurious. She’s down to earth, unfussy, lots of fun and lives with great panache.

Her advice was so spot on, that I asked her if I could share her words with you. We are lucky she said yes! So… take it away Jo!

Jo Tutton’s Luxe Looks on a Budget

“First of all, take a good look around your house. What do you love? What don’t you love? Next, what’s the look you want? If you don’t know exactly, try starting a Pinterest page to collect images of things and spaces you respond to. You need to develop your eye and define your style.”

She continued… “Use a neutral color palette. Not only will your home look elegant and sophisticated, you’re less likely to tire of your color scheme. When and if you feel you need a change, you can just update accessories.”

Neutrals, Accents and Accessories

“Dark accents are dramatic and soothing. For example, try painting your doors black for a super luxe look. Decorating is in the details. For instance, if you have narrow baseboards, see if you can trim them to wider. This will immediately give your room an upscale look. Additionally, floor to ceiling curtains will instantly give a luxe glam feel.”

I thought this was a great tip. It never occurred to me!

“Spend the most that you can afford on your sofa, dining table, chairs and bed. Again, buy neutrals or classic pieces that are not trendy. Leave the trendy for accessories to mix it up. Have fun with layering textured throws and cushions.”

“Pillows can be the accessory that adds trend or color/pattern accents. Don’t buy ready-made shop pillows. Instead, buy designer remnant fabrics… Fabric or design shops always [have] yardage left over from another client. Luxe fabrics such as velvets, linens, wools. You can have them made up into pillows… no smaller than 22 inches, and overstuff them with a large insert of 24 inches. Plump cushions are more luxurious than thin cushions.”

“Edit your home! Keep only pieces that you truly love. Less is definitely more. I personally love antique brass, glass and mirrors for an uber chic, expensive look. Display beautiful books, candles and a few well-chosen accessories on your coffee/side tables.”

“Fresh flowers are always a luxurious touch. Don’t buy multi blossomed bouquets, rather, single flower bouquets. You don’t need to go to a fancy florist, you can pick wisely from your local supermarket. The big trend today among London’s top florists is side of the road foraging, believe it or not.”

“You have to consider your lighting very carefully. Great lighting can elevate a room and change the mood at night. Use lots of lamps in key areas. Try different combinations and placements.”

“When it comes to floors, use neutral for carpets and/or wood floors. You’ll never tire of them and can just switch up the area rugs for a change.”

The most important tip she gave me? “Have fun! Loving your home is more important now than ever before. If you haven’t made your home a nest that you positively adore, now’s the time!”

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you happy with the look of your home? Is there a new style you want to evolve to? If you could change one thing, what would it be? Share your design tips, wishes and desires below. Let’s love our lives and our spaces! Please share your thoughts below.

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Great article…some good ideas.i will uses them when I downsize this year!


Since I moved out on my own, I get to decorate as I want to and not to anyone else’s wishes! Budget is strongly a factor in the decision making of how to decorate and my most expensive purchase was a daybed from Ikea. But it is pretty with the pillows that I have chosen. I love looking at it all the time and sitting and lounging in it is heavenly and cozy!! No more young children to wipe their hands on my walls, etc except for those I invite over!!! My little one bedroom is perfect for me and I know it’s not my “forever” home but for the present time, it’s just fine!!!

The Author

Elizabeth Dunkel is a writer and novelist who recently moved back to the U.S. after living in Merida, Mexico for 25 years. Elizabeth is the proud founder of the Merida English Library. As a Cambridge CELTA certified teacher of ESL, she considers herself not just a teacher but a dream maker. “Teaching English empowers people to reach their dreams.”

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