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Make Over Your Living Room for $200

Who doesn’t want to have their home look like a million bucks? But can you do it on a dime? I caught up with HGTV star and design expert Sabrina Soto at the recent Target Dollhouse exhibit in Grand Central Terminal for her absolute best tips on how to refresh your living room for less.

Farnoosh Torabi: OK, Sabrina. You have $200 in your pocketbook and you have to make over an entire living room. What’s on your to-do list?

Sabrina Soto: Definitely new throw pillows. A few, maybe, coffee table books — even a really beautiful colored lacquered tray on the coffee table. And, if I have any money left over, new curtains.

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FT: Can we actually do that? That’s a very small budget.

SS: Yes. On my show every week I show people you can do it on a very small budget. You can go to Target and, trust me, you’ll get everything done. One-stop shop. You can even get your grocery shopping done.

Metallics Are a High-End Decorative Trend

FT: What’s one tip to make your living room look rich, even though it’s not?

SS: Using a lot of metallics. Brass is a very big trend. But instead of getting 100% brass pieces, you can get brass-plated pieces. Incorporating a few metallics into a space can give you that glam look.

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Use 60/30/10 Color Rule

FT: Color obviously adds a lot of vibrancy to a room. What are your tips for incorporating color, in a small space particularly?

SS: In a small space, I like to stick with the 60/30/10 rule. Sixty percent of your furnishings and wall colors should be neutral, 30 percent is your secondary color and that 10 percent is the pop. But I think in larger spaces, you can get away with mixing even more color into a space.

Online or Off, Sabrina Says Bargain Hunt

FT: Do you really think people should go offline to shop for furniture, as opposed to online?

SS: It’s all about bargain hunting. So whether you go offline [or] online, it’s about taking your time, being patient and finding the best deals and the best pieces. Because I feel like when you rush the decorating process, you make a lot of mistakes and waste a little bit of money.

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Avoid Matching Furniture Sets

FT: What are a couple common mistakes that people make when they’re trying to give a space a makeover?

SS: I think buying “sets” that are really matchy-matchy, like the night stands, the matching sofa and loveseat. It is convenient, but your home [design] should look like it’s collected throughout the years, like you’ve traveled and you’ve collected pieces, not like a catalog. And I think a lot of people worry too much about “design rules.” There are no design rules. You should just have a space that really shows your personality, and surround yourself with things that you love.

What are some of your tips on how to decorate for less? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh, and use the hashtag #FinFit.