Elaine Griffin
Photo: Rachel Been
1. Search the Web for auctions and yard sales in your area. I've found that the best deals happen on rainy days, when everyone would rather be indoors and you'll face less competition.

2. Create a perfectly sized area rug without breaking the bank. Any carpet dealer can cut and bind regular broadloom carpet to a custom size.

3. Reglaze a worn-out bathtub instead of replacing it. Replacing a tub can cost more than $1,000, but a pro can reglaze your old one for a third the cost.

4. Go with simple lines when purchasing cheap furniture. Inexpensive pieces look tacky when they're overembellished.

5. Invest in a leather club chair. It's classic, durable and cheaper than you might think. I've bought several on Overstock.com.

6. Choose curtain rods no bigger than one inch in diameter. The goal is to showcase the curtains, not the rod. The Allen + Roth Sienna rod ($45; Lowes.com) has the right dimensions, an antiqued finish and cute brackets.

7. Splurge on a lampshade, skimp on the lamp. A $10 base is fine, but buy a $50 shade to dress it up—that's the part people notice.

8. Bargain-shop for glassware. You'll find glasses almost identical to the Ikea stemware collection that other retailers sell for up to ten times more.

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