Trends: Affordable Accents

Chocolate and Cream
What's hot, what's trendy? Can you afford it? Browse our picks for trendy, yet affordable, accents to update your decor.

Glass Lamp Bases

We're seeing glass lamp bases everywhere this season, in shapes that are short, tall, curvy, square, urn-like, or conical. Trendy designer lamps like these can cost a fortune, but affordable versions are being seen at discount stores. Or get creative and make your own by taking a sturdy glass vase to a lamp shop for conversion. (Note the cord falls from the bulb's base, rather than from the base of the lamp.)

Painted Furniture

Though painting furniture takes some time, it is a project that can be accomplished by just about anyone. Black, white, or cream are perfect neutrals, yet if that's not your style then go bolder with red, sage, or butter yellow.

Oversize Ottomans

Tired of that clunky wood coffee table? Give an instant update to a room by bringing in an oversized upholstered ottoman. Add a couple of trays and you'll have room for display with space left to put your feet up.

Simple Window Treatments

Avoid fussy or heavy-looking window treatments. Instead, go for sheer and simple looks with tailored elegance, like these white linen Roman shades.

Pendant Lights

Replace outdated ceiling lights over a kitchen island with hanging pendant lights. While imported art glass fixtures can easily break a budget, it's common to find stylish pendant lights at local home centers or in online lighting outlets.

Framed Bath Mirrors

Take a pass on standard builder medicine chests with utilitarian metal-framed mirrors. Replace them with large framed mirrors that have infinitely more personality and presence. What to do with your stuff? Stash it in an organized vanity or in nearby freestanding cabinets.

Ceilings with Interest

Take your decor to new heights by focusing some attention on the ceiling. Whether you stencil a ceiling with geometric patterns, wallpaper it, add a faux finish, or even paper it with squares of art paper as was done here, the look will be one-of-a-kind and keyed to your home's interior.

Decorative Glass

We're seeing more and more decorative glass in everything from French doors to transom windows. Get the look on a budget by replacing one or two existing kitchen cabinet fronts with insets of decorative glass. Select from seeded or bubbled glass, ribbed, clear, or even stained glass to add appealing sparkle to your kitchen.

X-Base Tables

X's are hot! Look for affordable versions of X-bases in coffee tables, tea tables, side tables, tray tables, benches, and even dining tables to add this up-to-the-minute look to your home. Accessorize them simply with a few worthy pieces of art or vases.

Closet Systems

Grab every inch of storage possible by making over your closets with affordable closet systems. These are available at home centers an online sources like

Once you come up with a plan and purchase the components, you'll spend the weekend installing the system and reorganzing your clothes to ultimate organized perfection.

P.S. For the neatest look possible, be sure to throw out that hodgepodge collection of hangers and start fresh with sets of identical hangers.

The Un-Chandelier

Contemporary dining spaces crave sculptural, clean-looking light fixtures. Simple shade-covered light bulbs hanging over a table are a just-right look for 2004. Most home centers stock budget versions in various sizes, shapes, and colors.

The Decorated Bookcase

Don't let your bookshelves just sit there. Do something daring! Paint the back walls red, gold, or chocolate. Or wallpaper the inside with a toile, stripe, or check.

Still not convinced? Do a temporary update by removing the shelves and fitting the back with fabric-covered foam core or wood panels. The shelving will hold the panels in place and you'll look like a designer.

The Updated Pillow

Ditch those lumpy little pillows. Revive your sofa with the newer look of larger pillows in square, rectangular, and cylindrical shapes. Dressmaker trims of silk tassels, double brush fringe, or simple contrasting fabric flanges add designer style to any pillow.

Lantern Looks

Shop for slightly oversize garden lanterns to use as chandeliers in a dining room or entry. It's an affordable trend that can create interest and add elegance to a room.

Replace a Faucet

Add curving style to a kitchen or bath by replacing the faucet with a newer model. Look for elegant tall arched faucets in finishes from bronze or black to chrome and brushed nickel. Designer models might cost hundreds of dollars, but mainstream brands offer budget-friendly look-alikes for the rest of us.

Think a Hint of Pink

Though neutral interiors may be soothing and long-lasting, they can also be a bit boring. Perk up neutral spaces with little shots of a trendy color like kiwi, persimmon, or marine blue. We love how the restrained touches of pink in this black-and-white room give it an updated mood for summer.

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