Million Dollar Discount Decorating

I love Million Dollar Decorators on Bravo TV.  There is so much satisfaction in seeing some of the biggest names in design go thru the same trials and tribulations that a little decorator does in Philly. The scale may be different but the drama is the same.  I always say, if you have an eye, you can shop anywhere and apparently the LA Times put our  friends, Kathryn Ireland, Mary McDonald, Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Jeffrey Alan Marks to the test.

Armed with nothing but a credit card and good taste,  it's interesting to see what this creative group came away with and how it was going to be used.

This $17.00 pillow is in keeping with Kathryn's country manor aesthetic.  The crewel work gives added texture.  Mixed in with her own textiles, it will look like a million bucks.

She marveled at the French Provincial bench. She said it could go in her showroom just the way it is and she can sell it for 3 times the price.  " Shopping at Marshalls, she says, tongue firmly in cheek, "makes me realize that I am overpriced and overrated."  Say What??

Who ever made those towels that Martin spotted must have had him in mind.  That pattern is one he uses often in his richly layered, ethnic style.  "Some of the most expensive design houses are using this print."  They are versatile, instant updaters and reversible.  What more can you ask  for from towels ranging in price from 5.99 to 7.99?

Martin spies classically shaped drum stools in wicker.  They can be used as side tables or seating. An added layer of texture is design deliciousness!  For 39.99, take two Marty.

These glasses look like the Ralph Lauren lead crystal ones for more than 4 times the price. What a great way to get a little color on the table, especially around the holidays.  At 7.99 each  ~ load up.

Jeffery is feeling festive at K Mart.  He is thinking 2 of these 39.99 pre lit trees on either side of an entrance or in multiples on a lawn.  The trees clean lines would look terrific in a contemporary setting.

The frames look good on a gallery wall either on their own or mixed with other frames.  What ever you do, group them for more bang for the buck!  They also make a great personalized gift, especially with a picture of the receiver in it.

Monogrammed anything instantly makes it look more expensive.  A quick update for a powder room in a pinch.  As a gift, it looks like you gave it a little more thought.  How thoughtful, at 7.99 you can throw in a candle.

The outdoor rug mimicking sisal already bound with tape was a no brainer for Mary.  The rug for 79.99 used alone, side by side or coordinated with another rug works because of its simplicity.

Sandra Dee's plastic hobnob tumblers for 3.99 each would make a great addition to an outdoor table, or party.  Coincidentially, Mary has the real thing and uses them all the time.  I would buy these in a heartbeat.

I find the secret to discount shopping is taking a good look at the weight of something.  How is it made, are the seams straight and do they meet?   Is the color deep and saturated, does it remind you of something you've seen at a higher price point?  Mixing your bargains in with more expensive pieces you may already own elevates them and makes everything seem that much more interesting.

ph: Al Seib for LA Times

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