Home Improvement

23 Brilliant Ways to Make Your House Look Expensive on a Budget

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We’ve all dreamed of having a home that looks like it came straight out of the pages of Architectural Digest. But let’s be real—most of us are working with limited budgets that don’t exactly scream “luxury living.”

The good news?

With a few clever tricks up your sleeve, you can totally fake that high-end look without spending a fortune. Your guests will be convinced you hired an interior designer.

1. Hang Long Curtains High and Wide, Pooling Slightly on the Floor

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This simple swap creates the illusion of soaring ceilings and adds major drama. Trust me, it’s an instant game-changer.

Don’t be afraid to hang your curtain rods closer to the ceiling – around 4-8 inches from the top will do the trick. And make sure those curtain panels extend several inches past the window frame on either side for a grander look.

2. Incorporate Greenery With Potted Plants or Flowers

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There’s nothing like a little life to elevate a space. From lush fiddle leaf figs to simple eucalyptus stems, some well-placed greenery screams “I have my life together!”

Group clusters of varied potted plants on shelves, end tables, or the floor for an earthy, layered look. Or place a stunning flowering plant like an orchid on a console table as a focal point.

3. Dress Your Bed and Bathroom in Crisp White Linens

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Think of the fancy hotels you’ve stayed at – they always have those gloriously white sheets and towels, don’t they? Mimic that luxe look at home without breaking the bank. 

Look for 100% linen sheets with a high thread count, and fluffy, thirsty towels that feel weighty and plush. Add a white cotton matelasse coverlet at the foot of the bed for extra richness.

4. Invest in a Well-sized Rug to Anchor a Room and Define the Space

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A good rug really ties the room together, if you know what I mean. It adds coziness, texture, and intentionality.

Aim for a rug that extends about 12-18 inches from the walls on all sides. Layer a smaller vintage rug over a larger natural fiber rug for bonus points! The layering adds so much warmth and dimension.

A mix of vintage frames coupled with those personal pieces you’ve collected over time? So much better than some mass-produced art you’d find at a big box store.

Scour thrift stores and flea markets for an eclectic mix of frames – gilt, colorful, ornate, simple…the more varied the better! Then fill them with a combination of postcards, pages from old books, your own photos, and any inexpensive art prints you love.

6. Paint Your Doors a Contrasting Color for a Bold Statement

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Maybe that daring black door has always been a dream. Or perhaps a deep, moody green is more your vibe. Making this commitment adds some serious wow factor.

A black interior door creates major drama, while a deep olive or forest green offers an earthy, sophisticated feel. Go glossy for an extra luxe look!

7. Update Cabinet Pulls, Doorknobs, and Drawer Handles for a Fresh Look

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Looking to breathe new life into dated cabinetry? Shiny new hardware does the trick – it’s like a little facelift!

Swap out those basic knobs for chic glass, brushed brass, or matte black pulls. They’ll instantly modernize those cabinets, guaranteed.

8. Go Big With a Single Piece of Art as a Focal Point

A single statement art piece automatically makes a room feel collected and curated. You don’t have to spend a fortune, either – try a large-scale abstract print or even an oversize textile like a vintage mud cloth or Mexican serape hung on the wall.

Score big canvases or oversized frames at thrift stores, then DIY the art!

9. Use Luxury Candles to Add Fragrance and Ambiance

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There’s nothing like the flicker of a real candle to make a space feel warm and inviting. Plus, the right scent can transform the vibe.

Look for high-quality candles with notes like amber, sandalwood, or fig – they instantly make any room smell sophisticated. Opt for vessels in colors like black, white, or mercury glass for a posh look.

10. Get Rid of Clutter to Create a Sense of Spaciousness and Luxury

Hands down, this one is the easiest and most affordable way to achieve that “expensive” aesthetic! Less is definitely more.

Go through each space with a critical eye and remove anything you don’t absolutely love or find totally functional. Create attractive storage solutions for necessities, like woven bins or a stylish cabinet.

11. Invest in High-quality Throw Pillows in Luxurious Fabrics

Accent pillows are like the accessories that totally make an outfit. Look for sumptuous materials like silk velvet, wool, and faux fur in rich, saturated colors.

Mix in patterns like leopard print and ikat for an elegant, curated look. Down inserts give pillows that plush, squishy look.

12. Use Slipcovers to Update Old Furniture

Have a tired old sofa or armchair that’s seen better days? Work some magic with a fresh, tailored slipcover in a crisp linen or washable cotton.

Go for a neutral hue or daring print! Slipcovers create a custom upholstery look for a fraction of the cost. Add contrasting pillows and a throw for extra pizazz.

13. Paint Walls and Trim the Same Color for a Sophisticated Look

This trick has a way of making simple spaces feel clean and intentional. The continuity of color has a pulling-together effect.

Embrace neutrals like warm white, greige, or light blue for a serene backdrop that works in both traditional and modern spaces. Use semi-gloss for the trim to add subtle depth and sheen.

14. Invest in a Large, Statement Mirror to Make Rooms Feel Bigger

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Besides being utterly practical, a fab floor mirror is one of my favorite styling pieces. Prop it against a wall and prepare to swoon over all those luxe reflections!

Look for a mirror with a decorative frame in gold, black, or an ornate finish. It’ll bounce light around and create the illusion of a much larger room.

15. Replace Old Ceiling Fan Blades for an Instant Refresh

I’m just going to say it – those dated ceiling fan blades are doing your space no favors. Swapping them out is a quick, affordable way to modernize a room.

Look for sleek, minimalist blades in black or a warm wood finish. Or go with a hugger-style flush mount light fixture instead for a cleaner look.

16. Use Similar Metals and Finishes Throughout Each Room

Tying these elements together creates a cohesive, curated look that doesn’t scream “I bought all my stuff at a big box store on a Sunday.”

If gold is your thing, incorporate brass accents like lamps, frames, and cabinet hardware. Prefer silver? Look for pieces with brushed nickel, chrome, or stainless steel finishes. Just 2-3 metals, max!

17. Repaint Old Furniture With Chalk Paint for an Updated Look

Take that hand-me-down dresser or side table and transform it into something truly special. Chalk paint makes this a total breeze – no sanding or priming required!

Distress the newly-painted piece and apply a clear or tinted wax for that coveted vintage patina. Or go bold with a high-gloss lacquer for major impact.

18. Use Affordable Peel-and-stick Tiles to Update Floors

Don’t sleep on this nifty little product! Installing chic tile can cost a small fortune – but with peel-and-stick tiles, you get that high-end look for a fraction of the price.

From Moroccan-inspired patterns to sleek geometrics, there are so many chic, low-commitment options out there. Perfect for a rental or budget reno!

19. Upgrade Your Towels to Plush, Spa-quality Ones

There’s just something about wrapping yourself up in a cloud of softness… Treat yourself. You deserve the fancy towels.

Look for Turkish cotton towels with densely-woven, looped terry fabric. They’ll get fluffier and more absorbent with every wash cycle.

20. Add Molding or Wainscoting for Architectural Interest

These little extras add such beautiful dimension and character. Even if you don’t have the fanciest house, moldings and wainscoting fake that architecturally-interesting look.

Install a plate rail or picture frame molding along a staircase or hallway. Or dress up a basic boxy room with wainscoting and a chair rail for instant elegance.

21. Use Peel-and-stick Wallpaper to Create an Accent Wall

Want to introduce a totally new vibe without committing to a ton of work or money? A peel-and-stick wallpaper accent wall is where it’s at!

Look for oversized prints, textured grasscloth, or even metallic papers to add depth and interest behind a bed or sofa. It’s a removable, renter-friendly way to get that “wow” moment.

22. Create Built-in Bookshelves With Strategically Placed Bookcases

Custom built-ins are oh-so-luxe, but not typically in the budget. Save your pennies with this clever hack using basic bookcases from any home store.

Line them up along an empty wall, remove the back panels so it looks built-in, then finish it off with crown molding along the top. Instantly elevated!

23. Clean Windows and Light Fixtures to Maximize Natural Light.

Sounds simple, but it really shows. All that sparkling glass and shiny metal take a room from drab to fab, just like that!

Make a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water, plus a squirt of dish soap. Use this solution to cut through grime on windows, leaving them streak-free. For light fixtures, remove glass shades and soak them in the tub while wiping down the bases.

Wrapping It All Up

Implement these clever tricks, get creative, and watch your space go from drab to downright drool-worthy! Start small by tackling that one nagging eyesore that’s been driving you crazy.

Once you witness the power of an affordable little change, you’ll be inspired to keep the transformations going! Before you know it, you’ll be the one fielding all the “How’d you do this on a budget?!” questions. It’s time to get fancy, friends!

If you take one thing from this, let it be the power of editing and refining your space. An elegant, curated home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With some creativity, intentionality, and these budget-savvy tips, you can create a sanctuary that looks much more expensive than it truly is.

So shop those thrift stores, get your hands dirty with simple DIYs, and don’t be afraid to go bold with colors and textures that excite you. After all, surrounding yourself with beauty has a way of enriching your whole life – and that’s priceless.

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is a home improvement expert, contractor, avid DIYer, and security manager. He is passionate about home repairs, remodeling, and teaching. Read More