Wednesday, August 17

Smoke and Mirrors:

How to add glamour without breaking the bank

You know I love my glam interiors, but it's not necessarily the cheapest look to achieve. There are some pretty good tips and tricks however, to elevate your space without spending an absolute fortune.

Thinking about how you can incorporate the materials that we associate with a high end look, is a great place to start.

While I'm not a fan of faux finishes generally, there is one exception, which is the porcelain tile that does a damn good job of looking like marble. Not only does it have a much lower price tag, but it also means you don't have to worry about staining, etching and maintenance like you do with the real thing. It gives a high end look, without the high end price tag. Totally fabulous for bathrooms and splashbacks. Mandarin Stone have a great range, and this Mimico Statuario is my favourite.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Images: Mandarin Stone / Mimica Statuario Tiles


There's something inherently sexy and cool about smoked glass. Did you know that you can get it cut to size really easily online? How about replacing some clear glass shelves with smoked glass, or even using it as a shower screen instead of clear glass. See? Sexy.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Alessandro Isola
Cut to size mirror is another great trick for elevating the look of a room. Again, you could consider it to replace clear glass shelves, but it also looks amazing backing shelves. Tinted mirror is also great for this - we have bronze tinted mirror back on a little kitchen shelf, it's like someone has dimmed the light on standard silver mirror! I love it. Foxed mirror is right up there too. No, it's not peanuts, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a tinted mirror cabinet would be, and the impact is big!

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Images: Terrat Elms Interior Design / Unknown


I've always wanted to mirror an entire wall in either tinted bronze, gold, or foxed mirror. Big panels from floor to ceiling look incredible, and it's something I'll consider for one wall when we finally do our bathroom. Another great trick is to mirror a section of wall framed by moulding, like this...

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Darcy Bonner And Associates
Or cladding a chimney breast or alcoves in mirror is another way of avoiding doing an entire wall - getting the glam look, but keeping the costs down.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Darcy Bonner And Associates
A marble top on a small side table is a trick I've used in our kitchen, and we also have a narrow marble ledge in our second bathroom. Bringing just a small bit in, of course won't have as big an impact as an entire kitchen island clad in marble does, but it will still lift the overall look. Don't just stick with 'safe' carrara marble either, why not try something more extreme like calacatta or salome? They're both stunning marbles that make a real impact. Or consider something like Onyx for a really unique look. Go along to your local stone yard (check to see if you need to make an appointment first) and have a look at what's on offer.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Bianca Hall / French For Pineapple
Grasscloth is another material worth considering for really elegant look, and something I think we'll start to see a lot more of in the UK. Whilst a whole room looks amazing, you can do smaller areas to bring it in without such a big outlay. Think alcoves, nooks and shelf backs. The real thing has a high price tag, but there's a big selection of faux grasscloth wallpaper that looks pretty good too. Yes, another exception to the rule! Make sure you get samples first, because some cheaper versions have too much of a sheen. These one's from Designers Guild look lovely, and they're not hideously expensive if you're just doing a small area.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Designers Guild (Gunmetal and Teal Grasscloth Wallpaper)
Brass trims or brass sheeting used as splashback or kickboards in the kitchen, or even a bath panel in the bathroom (make sure it's correctly sealed though!), is a great way to bring in the most beautiful of metallics. Again, brass backed shelves look fab, and would be much cheaper than a bespoke brass clad kitchen would be! Even changing your old handles for brass ones can make a big difference.

This kitchen that used to belong to Athena Calderone, is a perfect example of a how brass trim can transform a kitchen. There's SO much to love about this entire apartment - you actually NEED to check it out. It's one of my all time favourite homes to ogle.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Harper's Bazaar / Christopher Sturman
Adding panelling or moulding to walls can make a room feel instantly grand. It's a great trick that we don't see enough of here - our US friends have been at it for yonks!

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Kelly Wearster
And last but definitely not least, is paint. Yes, paint. I know I've been banging on recently about Colour Washing and Colour Drenching, but they are both SO effective, and it's the cheapest way of all to take a room from average to fabulous.

Okay, that turned into a much more epic post than planned, but I really am passionate about these things! You can make such a difference to your home on a small budget - where there's a will there's a way, right?

Have you, or would you consider any of these tips or tricks? Do tell!





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1 comment

  1. Oh YES to all of this!! Glam on a budget is my JAM baby. Your advice is spot on and can I just say now I'm thinking, 'should I line the back of my shelving units in the kitchen with mirrored glass?!!' and also, 'should I use brass trim around the cupboards?!' I did actually consider brass kickstands under the cupboards but no idea where to get them/how to go about it - any idea? Dammit woman, see what you do? ;) xx

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