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Cheap chic: Decorate your home on a budget

Now more than ever, consumers can get the look of high-priced home furnishings for less.  TODAY contributor Elizabeth Mayhew offers tips and shopping information.
/ Source: TODAY

Now more than ever, consumers can get the look of high-priced home goods for less.

Not only are major retailers, furniture manufacturers and catalog companies copying designer looks, but designers themselves are also producing knockoffs of their own work.

While the lower-priced replicas look similar to the real thing, they are far from it; solid woods are replaced with veneers, fabrics are lower grades and objects are scaled down. The overall effect can be quite convincing, but keep in mind that inexpensive imitations are about look, not longevity.

Here are some cost-conscious tips from TODAY lifestyle contributor Elizabeth Mayhew:

  • Study decorating magazines and books to find designers whose rooms you like, then search major retailers for goods from those designers. These days, chances are that you will find designers designing for the budget consumer as well as their custom-only clients.
  • Use accessories — pillows, throws, mirrors and lamps — to update rooms because they are often trendier, less expensive and easier to move than big pieces of furniture.
  • Paint is the least expensive way to give a room a facelift; choose rich tones like browns, charcoal grays or deep reds.

Below are the furniture options featured on a segment of the TODAY show, with high and lower-end options.

Splurge: The base of Paul Mathieu and Stephanie Odegard's white marble Jali table is hand-carved in an intricate lace pattern, $3,715 @

Steal: Concave Drum white-painted wood table has pierced cut-out designs, $129 @

Splurge: Porto Side Chair is a XVIII-century reproduction with hand-turned legs and traditional joinery, $2,960 @

Steal: Empire Parsons side chair has solid turned-ash legs with nail-head trim, $295 @

Splurge: Michael Berman's Drake Sofa has nail-head details and comes with three loose back cushions and three knife-edge pillows, $11,033 @

Steal: Jennifer Convertibles Bleeker Sofa comes with three back cushions, three seat cushions and two toss pillows. Choose from over 900 fabrics. $799 @

Splurge: Thomas Pheasant's Constellation mirror has shimmering antiqued mirrored discs in varying sizes that are woven onto extending gold threads to create a starburst pattern (54" diameter), $5,894 @

Steal: Iron-framed Reece wall mirror is 38 inches in diameter, $89 @

Splurge: McDowell Coffee Table is made from textured tree-bark-patterned forged iron and glass, $3,900 @

Steal: The Pia coffee table has a tubular metal frame with antiqued bronze-lacquer finish and two glass shelves, $449 @

RUGSplurge: Jonathan Adler's Pat Nixon rug is hand-loomed from llama wool and can be custom-ordered in any size, $600 for 3' x 5' @

Steal: Woven wool-and-cotton Overlapping Squares rug is reversible, $199 for 5' X 8' @

ROUND SIDE TABLESplurge: Randolph & Hein's Dominque end table is handmade out of walnut, $4,667 @

Steal: The Messina side table has harp-shaped leg supports and is made from cherry veneers with a mahogany finish, $100 @

Splurge: Christopher Spitzmiller's handmade double gourd lamp has a 23K-gold gilt base, $1,475 @

Steal: Alexis gourd-shaped ceramic lamp has a bronze-finished base, $145 with shade @

CLUB CHAIRSplurge: Gibson Studio Wallach Chair is fashioned after a 1930s French club chair, $5,000 @

Steal: Metropolitan Lounger Chair is covered in sage-green microfiber fabric, $199 @

OCCASIONAL TABLESplurge: Mahogany Cubist tray table has a removable tray top, $2,415 @

Steal: You will see the X motif of Victoria Hagan's Darby table in her higher-priced furniture line, too, $80 @