An Interior Designer Abloom in Bargains

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Fresh orchids give great bang for your decorating buck. Especially, says interior designer Matthew Swingly, when you buy them at Ikea or Whole Foods.

Swingly, who is with McMaster Wallace Interiors in DC, doesn’t think every item in a room has to be expensive—just look it. A fan of Ikea’s orchids, he calls to ask when a shipment is coming in; the plants are about $13—“much cheaper than at a florist,” he says. He sometimes has to pick off wilted foliage and stick the flowers in a nicer pot—which he gets for less than $10 at Ikea.

While orchids at Whole Foods can be $25, they’re a great value: They come in nice pots and rebloom beautifully.

Swingly’s other favorite Ikea buys: tea lights, Roman shades, rugs, outdoor planters, and cotton fabrics (“great for a kid’s room or porch, anywhere you want bold color or pattern.”) He buys Ikea dimmers for about $8 each and attaches them to every light he can: “You transform the look of a room by dimming or raising the light.

“If you stuff a house full of Ikea stuff, it will look like Ikea,” he says. “I stay away from stuff on the front of the catalog. One or two well-placed items can fool the eye.”

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