Design Ideas / Home decor

How to Get Your Model Home Design on a Budget

model home design

model home design

If you’ve ever wondered how model home design works so well to sell homes, these ideas will help you get into the head of the interior designer.

A model home is created specifically to help buyers envision how this home can work for them. Often they have no idea of what kind of home decor they want until they see it.

Model home designers create the kind of covetable lifestyle buyers fall for. In effect, the designer creates an avatar of the buyer and family and designs the model home decor around that. Right down to the cookies on the kitchen counter. What buyers see when they walk through the door of the model home is intentionally an “ideal home”.

This is why model homes are so effective. The designer inspires buyers to not only imagine themselves living there but creates within them a strong desire to have that lifestyle. Of course the house just happens to be part of the package.

What happens if you’re not a huge national builder but you still want to give buyers that model home experience? Is there a secret to getting that emotional connection from your home buyers within your budget?

Use these elements to get that high end model home design on a budget.


Pick a theme or a lifestyle you want buyers to fall in love with. If your model is near the ocean, coastal inspired decor tastefully done is very appropriate. Wherever your property is located, the decor should dovetail with the exterior and the surroundings, otherwise buyers will feel a disconnect when they walk through the door.
Having a theme or a design purpose gives you a template to follow. Find a key accessory and use that as your theme’s avatar. I used a distressed painted pelican for my lakeside model condo theme.


Color is one of the most impactful elements of your model home decor. Don’t be afraid of stepping outside the neutral box. However keep your accent colors to two or three at most with a neutral backdrop. By using these accent colors throughout the home you’ll create a feeling of cohesion and flow. Be purposeful about them, in other words use enough color to make an impact.


Paint is your budget’s best friend. Your paint colors will establish your entire model home palette. Don’t make the mistake of trying bright primary colors near tile or for that matter anywhere. Do consider painting a Childs room or powder room one of your accent colors.

Focal point

Each room should ideally have a focal point. Whether a natural one; like a window or a fireplace or a created one, such as a large piece of art. If you’re creating the focal point, consider how your furniture will be arranged to make the most of the room layout and the focal wall. Pay special attention to living areas and master bedrooms.

model home designGroup

Accessories and furniture for that matter look better when they’re grouped intentionally. Seating areas should create a natural setting for conversation. Accessories grouped together create more impact than scattered. Use rugs to anchor your seating arrangement. Float furniture away from walls.


When you find a great lamp, buy two. Same goes for end tables. Matching sets of furniture are passe but create some balance in your model home with pairs. If you have different lamp bases use matching lamp shades. Another trick is to pair two pieces of similar size artwork together if you don’t have the budget for one large piece.


Scale is so important to creating that high end look on a budget. Go big. A few big accessories have more impact than a multiple of small ones. Large scale artwork creates a focal point. Two large square pillows on a queen or three on a king bed with two small pillows in front look best.


Allow your furniture arrangements to breathe. One flaw model home decor sometimes suffers from is an overstuffed quality. You want to allow easy traffic patterns around seating areas. Try editing your furniture until it almost feels like there is too much floor space. Space is the one commodity most buyers can’t get enough of. Be sure to leave just enough room so their imaginations can take note of all the square footage.

I hope you’ve noticed all of these ideas and tips can be implemented at any price point. Most of the inspiration buyers get when they walk through the door is from that feeling of new. New possibilities, new home smell, new furniture and a new life. The home is a blank slate for them to project their wants and needs on.

All you have to do is help them.

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