Splurge vs Steal: Design Pro “Wow Factor” Edition

So waaaaaay back in October of 2012 (feels like forever ago to me) I excitedly rushed downstairs one morning to retrieve my new copy of Real Simple from the mailbox. Now, I love this magazine – if I could create my own magazine it would probably look a lot like Real Simple. With articles on everything from home decor, to fashion, to finances, and organization, what’s not to love? Anyway, back to that fateful day in 2012… The cover october-cover-2012-ictcrop_300featured an article that promised “27 Instant Room Upgrades. Fabulous, affordable ways to transform any space”.  Awesome!! I’m definitely interested in fabulous and affordable.  The article header promised to reveal secret pieces that 21 design pros use to create “Wow Factor” in any room. Yes please!

Instant room upgrade #1 – a sculptural bronze vase for… SIX. HUNDRED. DOLLARS. What the ef????

Okay – maybe that’s just on the high end of affordable, I thought. Moving on… The next item, the chandelier you see on the front cover above, for $1,920.  Holy #@$& Real Simple. I’m so mad at you right now!!!

And so it continued – the article featured 27 “instant” room upgrades, only TWO of which I would consider as affordable. Thus this post was born – I chose 12 of the items listed in the article and found comparable “Wow Factor” budget pieces.  Because we all deserve some fabulous things in our lives (I’m talking to you, Real Simple).

1. {$650} Bronze Gruyere Vase  vs. {$65} Ceramic Vase by C+M Designs found on Etsy


Etsy is a GREAT place to find original, inexpensive artwork and home decor. If you have never been on Etsy.com (and have some time to kill) I highly recommend checking it out.

2. {$1,920} Zanadoo Chandalier by Arteriors vs. {$476} Sergei Suspension by Nuevo Living found on Lightology.com


3. {$389} Orbit 7 Chandelier vs. {$89} Vaster Pendant Lamp found at Ikea


4. {$849} Wishbone Chair vs. {$299} John Vogel Chair found at West Elm

wishbone chair

5. {$,1495} Brass-knot Sculpture vs. {$40 – $80} Swirl Sculptures found at CB2


6. {$2,259} Hillard Chest vs. {$229} Kiran Faux Inlay Cabinet found at World Market

indian chests

For a DIY option (and to save even more dough), re-create the look by using an existing (or bargain find) cabinet/dresser/side table and Martha Stewart’s Indian inlay stencil.

7. {$2,400} Ives Mirror vs. {$30 – $130} Isla Carved Mirror Collection found at World Market

fancy mirror

8. {$650} Iron and Rope Mirror vs. {$149} Nautical Rope Mirror found at Pottery Barn Kids

rope mirrors

9. {$1,725} Camille Tufted Linen Settee vs. {$298} Hampton Pillow Top Bench found at Target


10. {$1,250} Francis Elkins-style Loop Chair vs. {$199} Napoleon Side Chair found at Pottery Barn


11. {$2,600 + material} Elephant Chair vs. {$1,699} Carter Leather Chair found at Thrive Furniture

elephant chairs

The Carter chair is also available in a fabric option for $899

12. {$118} Natural Sheepskin Rug vs. {$30} Rens Sheepskin found at Ikea


I hope you’ve been inspired to some add some fabulous budget “Wow Factor” pieces to your own home decor. If you have any statement pieces of your own you’d like to share I would love to see them!


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3 thoughts on “Splurge vs Steal: Design Pro “Wow Factor” Edition

  1. Pingback: Get The Look: Blue Moroccan Bedroom | Chicago ReDesign

    1. Chicago ReDesign Post author

      That’s crazy! I think I could do a whole house for $5000 if I tried 🙂 Not that I don’t appreciate high-end design, but you can definitely still have style and taste on a budget. Shame on those designers. Thanks for commenting!


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