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Bringing New Life To A Living Room

This week on The Early Show, the Chic on a Shoestring series turns to Vern Yip, an interior designer from Atlanta, and one of the featured designers on The Learning Channel's "Trading Spaces." He will decorate a room for around $700.

The Early Show provided walls, a couch, a chair, and a coffee table. Scouring his hometown of Atlanta, Yip was able to fill in the rest of our room. He encourages people to work with furniture they already own.

"When you bring in new colors, light, and other accessories, like pillows or other fabrics, they can totally transform what you already have. It's all about incorporating new with the old. Making a room over does not mean that you have to throw away everything you own at all."

The first item he bought was a rug, which is supposed to warm up the room. Yip uggests going to a warehouse or remnants store, where you can often find great rugs for a steal. He bought the 9x12' rug for $199.

Yip also suggests you look for a durable carpet, and one whose color is neutral, yet warm and not too stainable. "A rug really brings the whole room together," Yip says. "Without a rug, a room can just look like a bunch of furniture. With a rug, a room becomes this warm space that's pulled together and looks like a complete picture."

Yip also shopped for several accessory items. The green silk throw pillows from the Crate and Barrel Factory Outlet ($12 each) aren't what he was looking for initially, but he says it's important to keep your mind open to different shapes and colors when shopping on a budget.

"I really wanted to find items in deep reds and purples for our room, but the outlet only had green. But the colors are still gorgeous, and although they weren't what I wanted initially, it's important to not have blinders on and be open to different color schemes. And now, I'm loving this green."

To go with the green pillows, he also purchased several green candles ($3.95 - $6.95) and green floor vases ($14.95 each) to fit in the whole green scheme.

"Candles instantly warm up any room, and you can arrange them in loads of ways," Yip says. "The vases can help make the room more seasonal by adding flowers that are in bloom this time of year."

Lighting is also a vital part of a room, and Yip found all kinds of lights at the Pottery Barn outlet. The green silk chandelier for $69 fits in perfectly with the motif of the living room; the $49 floor lamp makes a welcome addition to the side of a couch or club chair and the $14.99 shade that hangs over the floor lamp pulls the look together.

Yip also found two tall silver candleholders ($21.99 each) that raise candlelight above a typical coffee table height, further enhancing the warm glow of the room. The minimalist table lamps were $4.99 from Pottery Barn.

The artwork on the walls is a Vern Yip original - and easy for almost anyone to copy! He bought a few 36" x 36" canvases - $29 apiece (these are "gallery wraps," meaning they have a thick stretcher which gives a more professional look) and painted them in a light green to match the green of the pillows.

For his instant artwork, he then 'Mod Podges' an image onto the center of each canvas. He recommends Xeroxing images on a color scanner on the black and white setting to give them a crisp, sharp look.

Not only is Yip an interior designer, he is also an architect. His award-winning work can be seen at trendy Atlanta hot spots such as the Fusebox Restaurant and DuexPlex Bistro. His unique vision for creating dynamic spaces won him the Southeast Designer of the Year award last year. When not knocking down walls on "Trading Spaces," he lives and works in Atlanta, where he runs his own design company.