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.
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!
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.
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!
In 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Similar White Heron Wall Art | Actual Demilune Table | Lower Cost Demilune TableI 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!