Published on November 20, 2019

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Interior designer Breegan Jane may have a few million-dollar projects under her belt, but she also knows how to get crafty. As Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s newest designer recruit (the show is launching a 10-year reboot), she understands the importance of stretching a dollar. Throughout the new season, airing in early 2020, she’s had to get creative to give families the home of their dreams while sticking to a limited budget. When tackling decorating projects for her own home in Venice, California, she often turns to an unexpected resource: her local dry cleaner.

Most of us walk to the neighborhood go-to when we have pants that need  hemming or a dress that requires tailoring; we don’t think to bring a rug or a pillow. But we should! “They have artistry in textiles, not just clothes,” says Jane. Here are four projects she says you’ll save big on by taking them to the seamstress down the block:

A Custom Runner

Made-to-order rugs for angled hallways can cost an arm and a leg, but Jane figured out how to fake the high-end look. “By purchasing two longer rugs and connecting them at the right angles, you can create a customized hallway runner,” she explains. She recommends buying textiles that are 13 feet or longer and cutting them at home first to ensure they’ll fit the space correctly.

Drapery

“My curtain height is never determined by the panel size, it’s determined by the ceiling,” says the designer. She likes to install the rod as close to it as possible to maximize a room’s height. Instead of spending thousands on custom, perfect-fitting window treatments, she purchases ready-made alternatives (her favorite source is Amazon) and tweaks them as needed. “Curtains seem to either be very short or extremely long, which is never a problem if you have a relationship with your local dry cleaner, which can help you adjust them for your space.”

Embroidery

Monogrammed items are a signature of high-end hotels and spas, but they don’t need to cost a fortune. Jane asks her dry cleaner to stitch embroidery onto regular bath towels, pillowcases, and robes, saving her a ton (especially when she’s dealing with a big house with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms). “It’s a small but effective statement that lets people know they are important, considered, and welcome,” she notes.

Sink Skirts

Plumbing pipes under the bathroom sink aren’t the first thing you want to look at in the morning. Jane has a clever solution, no renovation required: “I’ve learned to stitch Velcro to the top of a piece of fabric to hide those fixtures,” she says. “This way, you have the ability to wash and launder the curtain.” She takes any drapes she likes to the dry cleaner and has the tailor sew them to the right height and length, then adds the fasteners. Luxurious bespoke details are within reach after all—in fact, they’re right around the corner.

Discover more designer tricks we love:
I’ve Renovated More Than 70 NYC Apartments—This Is the Mistake I Always Notice
4 Lessons We Learned From Leanne Ford’s Best Before-and-After Projects
I’ve Renovated More Than 30 Kitchens: This Is My Top Tip for Remodeling on a Budget

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