Budget-friendly home design tips

Think you need a roomful of Italian designers and one-of-a-kind artwork to get the look of a designer pad? Think again. It turns out the hip Atlanta designers who make ordinary rooms look extraordinary are shopping at the same affordable venues you are: West Elm, CB2, Ikea, eBay and yes ... even Target.

The difference is, they’re shopping smarter, choosing affordable pieces and mixing them up with antiques, designer pieces and existing items from their clients’ own collections to create the golden ticket of contemporary design: a high/low mix.

And many homeowners are finding that by consulting an interior designer or home redesigner, they can refresh a space they’ve grown tired of.

“Redesign is a great economical way to update your look in your home,” said Woodstock home stager and redesigner Amy Powers, who rearranges her clients’ existing furniture and adds accessories or new paint to refresh their homes. Powers, who charges an hourly rate of $125-$225, draws from stores such as HomeGoods, Target, Pier 1 Imports and Kirkland’s when redesigning clients’ homes or staging homes for sale.

Buckhead interior designer Catherine Cocke, whose hourly rates are $100-$150, recently installed a new Ikea kitchen featuring Akurum cabinets in Nexus brown-black, a granite counter top and inexpensive back splash in a Buckhead condo. And she anticipates the changes she made to her bachelor client’s pad will pay even greater long-term dividends when it comes time to move on.

“His will be the first to sell. It makes a really big difference if you walk in and it’s picture-perfect,” Cocke said.

“As far as I’m concerned when it comes to Ikea, as long as it’s white you can’t go wrong” said Niki Papadopoulos of Mark Williams Design Associates, whose rates run from $5,000 for space planning and furniture procurement to more than $40,000 for more elaborate redos. Papadopoulos uses a white Ikea dining table and bookshelves in her own Studioplex office.

“The trick is to not use the same Ikea pieces everyone seems to buy,” said designer Brian Patrick Flynn, who blogs for HGTV.com and appears on the cable channel’s Web series “Fast Fixes.” “Believe it or not, they have amazing traditional furniture, but everyone seems to overuse the modern pieces.” Some of his other favorite retailers include West Elm and Target. And he likes www.ArtThatFits.com for inexpensive art.

Flynn is also a fan of Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Memorial Drive, a source for used and surplus building materials and furnishings. And he recommends flea markets for one-of-a-kind finds.

“Stick with flea markets for your accent pieces like lamps and suddenly your Ikea stuff won’t seem like it was all bought in a day,” said Flynn, who mixes in custom banquettes, designer throw pillows, pendant lamps and high-end wallpaper for high/low balance.

Dominick Coyne, who has designed for a number of restaurants including Abattoir and Bacchanalia, incorporated items from West Elm and CB2 in the residential showrooms he designed at White Provision, a Westside mixed-use development.

The style she was aiming for? “High-design, high-style for a really low price,” said Coyne. And that’s something everyone can embrace.