Shopping & Style

Ask A Charlotte Expert: Shopping For Home Decor On A Budget

July 22, 2014 8:00 AM

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(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Finding your preferred home decor will often put a dent in your wallet. But it doesn’t have to be so and Cheryl L. Luckett from Dwell by Cheryl has some tips to save money while making your home something to be proud of.
Cheryl L. Luckett
Dwell by Cheryl Interiors
Huntersville, NC

Dwell by Cheryl provides services in interior decorating, staging and redesign. Since 2012, Cheryl Luckett has shown clients how surprisingly inexpensive home decorating can be. Cheryl helps clients realize that design service is not out of reach for their household budget. The Houzz website, a go-to site for designers, architects and anyone who works with homes, honored her with “Best of Houzz 2013 and 2014.” Dwell by Cheryl received this recognition for her popular home design approaches and customer satisfaction, based in part on the number of people who visited the website and saved her designs. Her dream nursery design even garnered the attention of Babies R Us.

How did you develop your expertise as an interior designer?  

While my collegiate education is in Food and Nutrition and I’m a Registered Dietitian by trade, my degree is actually in Family and Consumer Sciences (a.k.a. Home Economics). Traditionally, Interior Design was a discipline within this field, so I had early exposure and coursework in the design during my undergraduate studies. Many believe that interior design in one of those professions you either have the knack for or you don’t. While I don’t disagree, I think education is important (at least for me) and I’m currently seeking a second degree in design.

What tips do you have for people who want to decorate their homes on a budget?

First and foremost, do your homework and take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’d recommend studying a little to determine your style. There are a host of digital tools that are great for gathering ideas (i.e. Pinterest, Houzz, etc.) Create ideasbooks/boards for each space you want to decorate. This will help you organize your thoughts so when it’s time to shop, you’re not completely overwhelmed with the many options available.

Related: Best Places To Shop For Your Bathroom In Charlotte

Speaking of people who decorate on a budget, what are some of the small, affordable but important changes a homeowner can make to maximum effect?

Color is key. It can easily transform a space, but it doesn’t always need to be on the walls. While paint is an easy, budget-friendly way to change a space, it’s not the only way. Rugs, drapery, pillows and other textiles can add life to a space and unlike paint, are easily changeable.

Lucky for us, simple panels are currently in style, so a few yards of affordable fabric can be hemmed on each end and hung with drapery clips to add a simple and modern high-impact element to a space. I find that drapery is often overlooked, but it’s a huge missed opportunity for creating a finished look. I think of drapes as the earrings in the room and personally I feel naked without them.

Rugs are another great way to add color, pattern and texture to a space. I often design my client’s spaces from the bottom up. Large rugs can be pricey but there are several awesome online retailers that offer great deals and amazing promotional sales.

Pillows can change everything. I love changing mine out for each season. They’re inexpensive so they provide an easy way to update without breaking the bank. If you can sew, even better. However, I do recommend down inserts as they never deflate and look flat after extended use. Plus, they allow you to purchase only the pillow cover and not a completely new pillow when you’re ready for a change.

What steps do you and your clients take in the process of deciding on a home decoration direction?

My initial meeting with a client involves a thorough assessment of their style. It’s often difficult for people to verbalize their style, so an onsite evaluation of the existing space and a pictorial assessment allows me to hone in on what they really like and desire for their home. We also discuss how the space(s) will be used. I believe you should live in every inch of your home. Just because a room is designated as the “Formal Living Room” doesn’t mean it has to be utilized as one. Your home should function the way you need and want it to. Once we’ve determined the style and desired functionality, I get to work on developing a design plan that gives them a good sense of the direction I’d like to take the space. We make adjustments if needed, agree on the plan and get started on the project.

Tell me about your new project with Babies R Us.

Babies R Us saw my nursery design and reached out to me for a regional demonstration of their national initiative. The appeal for Babes R Us is that they also support education for expectant parents and link that to their products. I [recently] provided expert advice on creating a dream nursery. If you think about it, a nursery is the one design project that almost everyone (at least parents) tackles. I’m teaming up with Babies R Us to show expectant parents that their dream nursery can be within reach. I shared my tips for how to get started, selecting colors, creating a space that grows with the child and more.

Related: Best Places For Stylish Used Furniture In Charlotte

Jacquelin Celeste Peters has produced award winning radio programs at WPFW Pacifica-Washington. She is a Culture and Events Examiner in Charlotte, North Carolina, which she calls home. Her work can be found at

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