9 Cheap Design Tricks That Will Make Your Home Look Expensive

published May 5, 2019
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In a perfect world, you’d have a home worthy of a shelter magazine spread. Each room would have floor-to-ceiling windows (hello, natural sunlight!); there’d be a waterfall shower in the master bath (yes, you’d have more than one bathroom); and your kitchen would be decked out in top-grade, stainless steel appliances.

The only thing standing in your way from your dream digs? Your bank account.

Sure, you may not have the budget to splurge on all the fanciest features, but that doesn’t mean your home has to look, well, cheap.  Truth is, there are plenty of styling tricks you can use that are totally affordable but can actually make your home look expensive. Um, where can we sign up?

Below, nine expert-approved tips for faking your way to the lap of luxury.

1. Maximize Your Molding

“If I’m working with a bland space, I like to add trim details to existing moldings—like bamboo, or grosgrain ribbon—or  completely cover the walls in trellis. Home Depot has lattice [you can] put right on the walls! You can paint right over it and it gives a space instant interest and texture.” —Danielle Rollins, founder and creative director of Danielle Rollins Interiors

2. Lovely Layers

“Incorporate texture and pattern and your home will feel layered, considered, and chic. Begin with a textured base, like a velvet or linen sofa or armchair, add in patterned throw pillows in a variety of prints (i.e. stripes, animal prints, florals), and a textured throw blanket, and you’ll end up with a finished product that looks expensive.” —Danielle Walish, creative director of The Inside

3. Chic Candles

“Think about scents. You can find many great scented candles that add to the total milieu of a design for not too much.” —Alina Pimkina and Julien Albertini, co-founders of Asthetique Group

4. A Personal Touch

“Add plants, vases, books, and other smaller items to a space that can make it feel lived-in, and which in turn feels more luxurious” —Julien Albertini and Alina Pimkina

5. Chic Kitchen

“A super affordable upgrade is to paint your kitchen cabinets a daring color and change out the hardware for a vintage find. Adding a great handle or knob that’s a bit unusual will make your space feel instantly fancier.” —Jade Joyner, co-founder and principal designer at Metal+Petal

“Spray-paint faucets and other fixtures a metallic hue for a glamorous edge. You’ll be impressed by the difference the small details like this make.”  —Jean Brownhill, founder and CEO of Sweeten

6. Mirror, Mirror…

“I also love to add an oversized mirror to create lots of reflection. A large scale mirror dresses up a room & makes it feel much larger.” —Jade Joyner

“Swap out your standard bath mirror, which is usually just glued to the wall, with an interesting, free-standing mirror. You can do this in your powder room or master bath!” —Kate Taylor, interior designer

7. Windows That Wow

“I’m always preaching about the importance of window treatments. I think people often neglect their windows because they think it’s not a priority given their budget, but having drapery, sheers, or just simple Romans is such a fast, foolproof way to soften your windows and introduce texture to the space. Fully outfitted windows will make your whole pad feel more polished and pulled together—trust me!” —Caitlin Murray, interior designer and founder of Black Lacquer Design

8. Tidy Up

“Examine your space and decide what is absolutely necessary to completing the look and feel of the room. If it doesn’t benefit the room, move it elsewhere! Too much in one space adds a chaotic element whereas decluttering your space can add a very sophisticated and elevated element.” —Caroline Grant and Dolores Suarez, co-founders of Dekar Design

9. Get Lit

For lighting, incorporating a painted, papered, or fabric shade is a great design hack to achieve that “expensive” look. Patterned shades are a key element in the highly desirable maximalist movement.” —Michael Amato, creative director of the Urban Electric Co.