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Got Some High-End Taste With A Less Than High-End Budget? You Need This Post

When I set out to create my own course for Skillshare, I had two goals in mind – busting some interior design myths, and giving students the confidence they needed to get started on designing their dream space. Because oftentimes, interior design can feel so daunting! I mean,  sofas can get expensive, and when was the last time you tried to move one? No thank you! I’d only like to do that once.  

Okay, back to myths. The biggest myth that I hear over and over again may be one that you believe yourself – that luxe-looking interior design has to cost a fortune. A big part of what I do as an interior/set designer, and what I always recommend people who feel stuck do, is spending a little time studying magazines. Now listen, I wasn’t exactly an A+ student, but when it comes to the home, I’m Elle Woods studying for the LSAT. I will sit down with my big stack of magazines, scissors, and a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine if it’s after 5 PM) and get to work! By taking this time to just look and play without any pressure, clients can really start to get a  better sense of what they’re drawn to. 

photo by john bessler

I’ll then tell them to find a room in one of the magazines that’s similarly laid out to the room they’re looking to design (but ignore the furniture at first). Now look closely. Where is the furniture placed? What about the lighting? What about it made you stop at this page in the first place? Are you drawn to a color, a texture, or maybe just a specific shape? I will literally rip a  page out of a magazine and take it into HomeGoods, Target, and even The Dollar Store to see what I can find that will give me a similar look and feel, for a tenth of the price. 

So, if you’ve been waiting for a sign to turn your home into a space that you really love, you’re in luck. I am here honey, and I am writing permission slips. In my brand-new course on Skillshare (click through to watch it for free for 2 weeks!), I will give you the tools that you need to turn your house into a home that really reflects your style, all without breaking the bank. We’re going to make it chic, we’re going to make it affordable, and we’re going to make it “wow” – because if there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s a basic you-know-what! 

design by mikel welch | photo by john bessler

In my course “Interior Design: Hollywood Chic on a Human Budget”, I will guide you through 7  lessons that will leave you feeling both inspired and confident to tackle your home without fear. After all, this is design, not brain surgery – almost any mistake can be cured with a can of paint or a trip to HomeGoods.  

Who is this class for? Anyone who’s looking to get luxury on a budget, learn how to DIY and shop their own home, or even someone who doesn’t consider themselves especially creative!  That’s what magazines and online inspiration boards are for. If you’re struggling to find ideas,  replicate something you’ve seen online and then move things around to make it your own. Oh,  and this course is also for someone who wants to feel like Marie Antoinette walking through The Louvre on the way to eat cake in bed. 

Interested? We thought so. Before you dive in, here’s a little bit of what you can expect, and  some behind the scenes gossip: 

class is in session

Lesson 1 — Introduction

A little bit about me! Fun fact: I kind of do everything. From working in retail to designing celebrity homes, I have pretty much been-there, done-that. I actually started my design journey in 2012 on HGTV Design Star – and am still rocking the same vest that I wore on the opening credits of the show! Today, you can find me co-hosting Quibi’s new show Murder House Flip and running my interior design business, Mikel Welch Designs. Oh, and breaking news! I’ll be participating in the Kips Bay Designer Showhouse this year, which has been a life-long career goal of mine (Like, seriously – it was even on my vision board from last year!). You need a vision board. Maybe that will be my next Skillshare course…. 

Lesson 2 — Planning Your “Wow Moment”

What is the secret to making your space feel grand and fabulous? In this lesson you’ll learn my philosophy around the “wow moment” — what it is,  why you need one, and how to find your own. When I created the “wow moment” (shown in the course), I really just went into deep Brooklyn, found some scrap lumber, and called a  contractor to bring it to life.  

design by mikel welch | photo by john bessler

Lesson 3 — The Secret to Affordable Design

Let’s keep it real, everyone does not have a  celebrity budget to be spending on interior design – but that doesn’t mean everyone can’t achieve that look for less (and we love a bargain in this house). In this lesson, I share my insider secrets for finding hidden gems online, which big-box store makes customization easy, and how to not let labels hold you back. I am currently sitting next to a wet lamp covered in dirt as I  write this, because I’m waiting for it to dry. Then I’m going to brush off the dirt and be left with a gorgeous, rustic texture in the paint underneath. DIRT! Affordable! 

Lesson 4 — Making Your Space Luxurious: Luxury is for everyone!

In this lesson, you’ll learn the golden rule for knowing if an item is worth the splurge, as well as some rental-friendly hacks to elevate your space, how your current drapes may not be doing you any favors, and why you need to become best friends with your local dry cleaner. Trust me, I have purchased the Ikea mattress before, and it truly did not work out well. Oh! And bonus tip just for you lovely readers  – when looking for expensive décor, try to find the weightier objects. That big, heavy urn is from HomeGoods?! I thought you dragged it back onto the plane from your vacation to the  Amalfi Coast! Good for you! 

Lesson 5 — The Art of Mix and Match

Pack your lunch because it’s field trip time! In this lesson,  I will walk you step-by-step through how to actually create a gallery wall that looks great (and your landlord will thank you). When I was creating this lesson for Skillshare, I fully took over the hallway of my apartment to show you how to make a gallery wall. So, if you were to walk into my apartment right now, you would walk directly into the ladder from the course!  

Lesson 6 — Final Thoughts

Time for your exam! But don’t freak out, it’s open book. By this point, you’ll be ready to take all the tips and tricks you’ve learned and start working on your space. Once you’re done, there are even more classes to explore on Skillshare – from how to create a mood board to how to photograph your new space and really show it off. And don’t forget to share your photos in the project tab! (Pro Tip: If your space isn’t finished but you’ve  got your vision nailed down, you can always draw or mock-up your plan on paper or in  PowerPoint to share with other students!) 

that’s me making em laugh, of course:)

Lesson 7 — Q&A with Emily Henderson

Emily and I go way, way back. In this fun bonus lesson, you’ll hear about how I translated my set design experience into designing for the home and which tips and tricks Emily taught me. Stay until the end for when Emily shares her two main tips for beginners starting to design for clients or for even their own house, and even an unexpected idea for how to know if something is really right for you in the store.  

design by mikel welch | photo by marcel page

To be totally honest with you, I actually learned a lot about design from putting this course together. It forced me to sit down and really think about how I could explain my process for making decisions. Design is a process, but if you map it out and think it through, you can accomplish your vision. 

I’m so happy I got the opportunity to teach this course on Skillshare. My hope is that these lessons get rid of any fear you may have around interior design, because it can be so much fun!  Whether you’re playing with pillow shams or arranging some of those amazing vessels we picked out together, it’s all about trying something, stepping back, and seeing how you feel.

So if you want to dive into my class head here and get two weeks free!

Opening Photo Credits: Design by Mikel Welch | Photo by John Bessler

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3 years ago

you’ve sold me!!

3 years ago

this post made my day! exactly what i was looking for, the approach, the style, everything. Thank you, Mikel!

3 years ago

Beautiful fireplace!

Amy E Jones
3 years ago

I LOVED this Skillshare class. Mikel is funny, clever and very stylish. Will you come have a side car with me in Victoria, BC? That’s Canada, eh. 🙂

3 years ago
Reply to  Amy E Jones

Hello, neighbour:). I’m here too!

3 years ago

I’m feeling inspired to make my home more luxurious!

3 years ago

Congratulations on Kip’s Bay!!!

3 years ago

This author has a truly delightful voice. (And gorgeous style!).

3 years ago

MIKEL! Where have you been all my life?!?!?! I love EVERYTHING about this post and voice and perspective. YAS.

3 years ago

Wow. This is seriously effective marketing, you’ve gotten me from “meh, not for me” all the way to “yes please where do I sign??”

3 years ago

So this post it as an ad.
Got it.

3 years ago

Please come decorate my rental apartment. 🥰 Love this post!

3 years ago

Mikel, at first I was kinda “Luxe? Well that’s not really my jam”, but looking at the pics, realllllly looking into them, I saw so many great te tural oieces and objects d’art that ARE me! So, hhhmmm, interesting.

The only, single, thing that grated, was all those books with their spines ripped off!😳
Metaphorically, ouch.

I love your approach in getting the vibe without the ridiculous price tag. One of my favourite plates comes from Big W (kinda like Kmart), many years ago … $7! 😁 So, it’s not where you see it, it simpky whether you love ut or not.
I sawTHE same plate at an antique fair for a ridiculous price and when I asked the seller about it, he told me a flat-out lie.

A fun, interesting approach for real people with real budgets. Yaaay!🤗

3 years ago

Ok I was sold but I can’t find out anything about skillshare without signing up? Can you buy just one training (these lessons) or do you have to get a membership?

3 years ago

Logging into my skillshare right now! Love this post – thank you for demystifying so much for me and putting me in the right frame of mind to do wonderful things to my home.

Nicola O.
3 years ago

It was actually pretty hard for me to tell who this post was about. In my feed reader, the byline was Jess’s. On a blog like this with lots of different featured guests, and intro would be good…

3 years ago

Watched your skillshare class and absolutely loved it!!!

3 years ago

Thats nice