The designers who decorated the Florida Orchestra Guild show house in Tampa offered these ideas for decorating on a budget:
Accessories make a room. But make sure they are not too shiny new. Designer David van Ling allows silver to develop a light patina of tarnish. His top tip: let candles burn down so they look used. New candles belong in a furniture showroom, van Ling says.
Don't pass up that junk pile. Old furniture can be restored. Old picture frames can be spray-painted.
Consider special moldings or chair rails to add interest to a room. This is especially important in Florida's cookie-cutter houses, which often do not have moldings around ceilings or doors.
Use fabric or sheets as window treatments. By draping the fabric around the frame, you can even avoid sewing. Buy special hardware at craft stores that is designed to "customize" fabric into window treatments.
Faux-painting, which is applying several layers of paint, will give texture to a wall and is cheaper than wallpaper.
Want to display some art? Don't be afraid to frame some classic prints in nice frames. Group several and then add a ribbon and bow. It will create the illusion of elegant art _ even though it didn't cost a lot. .
To give a room architectural interest, buy old wooden columns or a wooden fireplace mantle. The columns can help define a space, such as a dining area within a living room. The mantle will give the illusion of a romantic fireplace. Make sure both are refinished and given a shiny coat of paint.
Use touches of red and black to emphasize a room, such as red pillows or black accents in upholstery.
As always, a fresh coat of paint will work miracles. Decorators say that in this glum recession the hot color is a cheery yellow. Other popular colors this year are "classics," including white, pale peach, pink and blues. Forget the mauves and sea-foam greens. They're passe.
Don't forget the old decorating stand-bys: Flowers and plants will brighten a room for little money.
_ JENNIFER L. STEVENSON