Keep it real (looking) for less dough

In fashion and design, alternative materials that emulate high-end looks are trendy for their lower prices and lower maintenance. And, thanks to advancements in design and technology, it’s often hard to differentiate from the real thing.

Throughout the home, you can find examples of home design options in which alternative versions of high-end materials can be incorporated.

Metallic bling

Bright, golden tones are popular, but few homeowners have the financial means to deck out the family home with mirrors, sconces and other decorative items made of genuine gold. Fortunately, these, and a wide range of other accessories, are available in finishes that mimic the look of real gold, with price tags that won’t leave you feeling foolish.

Trendy tile

Wood-look porcelain tiles, such as Daltile’s Season Wood ColorBody Porcelain, resemble distressed and aged wood; yet can be installed without concern for water damage, warping or wear and tear.

With advanced technologies, tile manufacturers are also able to create visuals that capture the look of natural stone. Veining, color variations and even textured surfaces make them often indiscernible from the real thing. Some examples include Daltile’s marble (Marble Falls) and slate-look (Porada) collections.

Earth-inspired walls

Creating a feature wall is an easy way to instantly transform a room. One hot look that has made a big comeback — grass cloth — lets you set an earthy mood with a fun and funky focal point. However, the wall treatment can be fragile, especially in a high-traffic area or in a room, such as a bathroom, where humidity is high and can weaken fibers.

But there are numerous vinyl options that simulate the natural material but are much hardier to stand up to the activity of an average household.

Another benefit: The “imitation” versions tend to be a bit more uniform, eliminating the color variation or texture inconsistency that are inherent to the natural varieties and can make it very difficult to match to other decor and accessories.

Stylish stucco

Another way to add interest to your walls is to incorporate dimension — literally. Forget faux paint finishes that give the illusion of depth.

Achieve a look that is more “now” with a stucco-like finish. Using some simple painting tools, multitone paint and a material such as joint compound, you can easily — and relatively inexpensively — create a stucco surface that adds genuine texture you can see and feel.

Touchable textiles

The use of diverse fabrics is an age-old method of introducing variety and polish to a well-decorated space. Contemporary designers are looking to opulent options such as rich leather, suede and fur to create a high-end ambiance.

You can enjoy the look without the expense by choosing synthetic versions of these coveted textiles. Even better, these simulated materials will prove more practical for everyday wear and tear.

Achieving a trendy, lavish style for your home needn’t cost a fortune, and often, imitation materials will deliver comparable results that stand up better to the test of time.

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