High-end for less: Decor ideas from a ‘Parade’ tour

High-end home looks for less

Want to see inside? Yeah, we did too!

One of my family’s favorite vacation activities is seeking decor inspiration from Parade of Homes-type tours. It is SO refreshing and energizing to see style influences from another area. In particular, we love to draw ideas from the beauty and originality of high-end homes, then translate that style into something more affordable and realistic we can use in our own rooms.

I recently attended an incredible tour of million dollar homes in Sarasota, Florida with my mother (trained in interior design), grandmother and great aunt. It’s crazy to think people spend that kind of money on their homes, but certainly interesting to see what they come up with.

Here are a few key design trends we noticed and ways YOU can copy the decor for LESS. 

kitchenHow pretty is this modern kitchen?! It’s always so nice spending time with my grandma.

Before we dive in, you might be thinking our vacation endeavor sounds a bit unusual. Some families do theme-parks, mine does house hunts. When I was ten, I wasn’t particularly enthused to spend my time attending open houses, driving neighborhoods to look at architecture, or visiting the latest “Historic Homes” tour for decor ideas. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those early observations jump started a life-long love of design.

Let’s get started!

Soothing blue and white decor

soothing blue and whites

Similar Rug | Similar Chandelier | Similar Chaise | Lower Cost Chaise | Similar Mercury Glass Lamp

From bedrooms to living rooms, watery blues ruled the day, adding just the right pop of color to white walls and trim. This lovely bedroom decor is especially successful because it plays with a mix of patterns and textures. Nothing is too matchy, matchy. Instead, it uses a range of complementary blues to create a cohesive look.


  • Notice how the designer created interest with the textural bedding?

That layered look is easy to recreate by finding a neutral comforter or coverlet for your base, then adding pops of color with decorative pillows or throws.  I used this one in my spare bedroom and LOVE it. It is reminiscent of waves and consequently mixes very well with blue accents in your decor. Don’t feel forced into buying a pre-packaged bedding set; you can create your own!

  • Do you have a high ceiling in your bedroom? You can’t go wrong with a stunning chandelier. (Here’s another beauty for under $200).

Maximize ceiling height with curtainsIn this room, the chandelier and curtains help make an already high ceiling look even taller.

Design tip: Hang decorative panels ABOVE your window (near the ceiling, just under the crown molding) to make your ceilings feel higher.

Most of these homes used panels solely for decoration and had room-darkening shades or blinds for functionality. It can be difficult to find pre-made panels that long.

However, if you have sewing skills, it’s a fairly simple weekend project. Just find a fabric you like! Better Homes and Gardens has some great resources to help you hang and install drapes.

Nearly every master bedroom on this tour had a sitting area. You can fashion your own oasis by pairing two beautiful chairs (these would be great if you have a small space) or chaises with a round table and lamp.

moody blues

Similar Ombre Striped RugSimilar Blue Velvet Chair | Lower Cost Velvet Chair | Similar End Tables 

Similar Gray Sectional| Similar Stone Coffee Table (couldn’t find an ombre one) | Lower Cost Stone Table 

Wallpaper/Grass cloth in Bathrooms

Does wallpaper make you nervous? I’m still trying to get my husband on board with the idea, so if you are, I get it! A bathroom is the perfect place to dip your toes into the wallpaper waters, because it is a smaller, more personal space. You can go bold like this first example, or opt for something more textural in a neutral shade. There are wall covering options for every taste and style. I’m partial to grass cloth and plan to add it to our entry way soon.

If you want to test out wallpaper with no commitment, there is an increasing array of peel and stick options. Here’s another fun gold pattern, or you can try a faux grass cloth.

Unique Wall Treatments

Several of these homes made use of unique wall treatments that would be easy to recreate. Take a look at how the designer used simple boards to add interest in this all-white space. Looks just like shiplap! If you’re building or remodeling a home, these features would really help customize and personalize your space. Ask a contractor to install these boards on a feature wall, or—-if you’re handy—you could take this on as a weekend DIY project.

Similar Chandelier (Pottery Barn) | Similar Rustic Cabinet (Target) | Geometric-Inspired Coffee Table

Isn’t this a clever use for trim pieces below? I love how the designer kept the decorative boards white, but maintained an ivory shade on the walls—really makes this feature pop!

textural wallsSimilar Chevron Chairs | Rustic Wood Floating Shelves | Similar Curtains | Decorative Driftwood Horse | Similar Rustic Chandelier

Painted Built-Ins/Strategic Art Placement

Since most of these homes have all white walls, the designers used paint to add punch to built-ins. Don’t have built-in shelving? You can achieve a similar look by painting the inside of a bookshelf. If you opt for a dark color, look for neutral vases or decorative objects in various shapes and sizes. This will help play up your bold color.

painted built ins

In this next room, decorators strategically flanked the fireplace with paintings, dressers and urns. Have an empty spot above your fireplace? You can’t go wrong with a bold sunburst mirror.

sunburst mirrorAbstract Art Above Headboards

Almost every master bedroom on this tour utilized abstract artwork above the headboard to create extra drama. It extends the visual line of the headboard upward and gives the room a stately appearance. The room below was one of my personal favorites. Isn’t the detailing on the ceiling pretty? I love how textural this space is.

bold bedroombold bedroomSimilar BedSimilar Nightstands | Another Nightstand OptionGreek Key Rug | Similar Chandelierintricate mirrorIsn’t this mirror incredible? So gorgeous!

This bedroom below is another example of the use of artwork to visually extend your headboard. This space is both elegant and masculine at the same time. The use of a distressed leather bed and metal pendants really give this room a rustic flair.

bold bedrooms

Whew… That was a lot to cover, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of everything we saw. I will leave you with a few more of my favorite photos. Hopefully, these high-end rooms will give you a plethora of ideas to incorporate into your own decor.


Stay up to date, subscribe to my monthly newsletter! (See sidebar)

orange sitting roomgold curved cabinetSimilar White Heron Wall Art | Actual Demilune Table | Lower Cost Demilune TablechandelierI was excited when I spotted my living room chandelier in one of these homes! It’s the Layla Chandelier by Ballard Designs. This piece isn’t cheap, but it’s been worth every penny for me. Makes me smile every day!



  1. Kristy Bullard | 28th Mar 18

    These homes are gorgeous! What a great way to find inspiration for decorating your home.

  2. Emily Fata, www.EmulatingEmily.com | 29th Mar 18

    Absolutely ADORING the interior design of the house! That black canopy bed is gorgeous… something I’m looking to purchase myself. 🙂

    • laveremis | 29th Mar 18

      Yes, it is such a beautiful bed! I loved how light and airy the four poster is. Often those beds can feel a bit heavy, this one did not.

  3. Gladys Parker | 29th Mar 18

    Your choices do not look one bit less gorgeous than the others. I was reading and looking and thinking well, I smile everyday knowing my bills are paid. Those aren’t things I could purchase but then I seen the open light with just a strip up each side and the space that you have over the fireplace. I could eventually afford that hanging lamp, not sure if it is a chandelier, and one wall of the room to look like shiplap! I would love that! My question is who would pay a million dollars for a home?

    • laveremis | 29th Mar 18

      I’m with you there Gladys. We were asking ourselves that same question… It seems a bit outrageous, doesn’t it. Maybe lottery winners or celebrities? Their spaces are certainly fun to use as inspiration though.

  4. Cris | 29th Mar 18

    I love the interior design of this house. It feels like it”s a set for a famous movie!

  5. Megan - RenaissanceGirl.org | 29th Mar 18

    Your photography is beautiful! I love ceiling details, like those in the abstract painting photo, and its a shame when houses are finished without coving or plastering details – All the rooms just look like boxes! Luckily, I’ve found that painted polystyrene coving is identical to expensive plaster options 😉

    • laveremis | 29th Mar 18

      Ooh, great find! I bet that made a HUGE difference.

  6. Elizabeth O | 29th Mar 18

    I have home envy right now, the interior design is just perfect and I adore that you have given so many great tips on how people can achieve this look for less. A million dollar home though, wowzer!

  7. Rachel | 29th Mar 18

    I love the idea of peel and stick for walls! Think of all the options! It sounds amazing.

  8. Lisa Rios | 29th Mar 18

    Wow, this is beautiful! I love the interior decor, and the flooring, and the kitchen is stunning. It looks like a cut-out from a magazine!

  9. Kansas Bonanno | 29th Mar 18

    what a stunning place, everything fits together beautifully! Love the chandler.

  10. Sarah | 30th Mar 18

    What a great post. I love seeing parade homes. My husband and I do 3D renderings we’ve debated to pitch doing them for the parade homes in town.

  11. Alison Rost | 30th Mar 18

    It would be nice to keep your home updated with the latest trends in decor. I love the modern/contemporary decor the best, it’s sleek and clean and very elegant.

  12. Ashley LaMar | 1st Apr 18

    My family lives down in Sarasota and there is major money there! I quit doing too much looking around in the area because it’s so expensive. I really appreciate the tips on stealing the style for less though because I’m all about the return of blue and white decor.

    • laveremis | 2nd Apr 18

      Sarasota is quite an interesting market, isn’t it? The prices are quite astronomical, but it sure is fun to look!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *