20 Budget-Friendly Bedroom Ideas to Make Your Space Look Chic

updated Dec 27, 2023
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While it would be nice to loaf around the house in a silk robe and slip into 1,000-thread-count bed sheets, a super luxe bedroom is not in the cards for me right now. But luckily, it’s easier and cheaper than you think to “fake it ‘til you make it” when decorating a bedroom.

Sometimes all it takes is a really great candle or one of these other smart and relatively inexpensive design tricks. Below you’ll find a handful of tips to take your sleep space to the next level with as little effort — and cash investment — as possible. Whether you’re looking to design your personal sanctuary or a stylish men’s bedroom on a budget, we’ve got you covered.

Credit: Sylvie Li

1. Take advantage of architectural elements.

Finding decorative architectural elements in your home, like built-in shelves or decorative crown molding as displayed in this minimal Montreal apartment, is like hitting the jackpot. Without having to shell out extra cash, you can design around these features and allow their innate charm to do the heavy lifting.

2. Lean into DIY.

Experimenting with maximalism design while sticking to a budget is challenging, but Australian fashion blogger Hayley Hughes definitely figured it out when designing her colorful Melbourne rental. One of our favorite fun accents is her DIY fabric scrap banner, which hangs above her headboard and adds (even more) color and texture to the bedroom.

Credit: Viv Yapp

3. Display your books.

If you’ve got a collection of books taking up space, why not display them? You can DIY a cute shelf, buy an inexpensive bookshelf, or install a floating shelf, like the one in this Bristol home. You don’t need to splurge on fancy decorations to make your space look put together. Before pulling out your credit card, look at the items you already have.

Credit: Carina Romano

4. Add sconces.

The brass sconces in this Philadelphia house pull the entire room together. Add sconces to either side of your bed to make your bedroom look more inviting and polished. Plus, bedside lighting is perfect for those nightly reading sessions.

Credit: Jason Rampe

5. Install decorative shelves.

Displaying art is the perfect way to make your bedroom look chic. The downside? Art can be expensive. And hanging smaller (and less expensive) art prints often looks awkward, especially in larger rooms. There’s a solution for that! As seen in this NYC studio, you can install a shelf to lean your various art prints and knick-knacks on.

6. Paint a headboard.

If you’re on a tight budget, chic furniture may not be a top priority. While we would all love a stunning headboard to pull our bedrooms together, they’re not always affordable. Instead, lean into DIY and paint a faux headboard right onto the wall, like this renter did in their colorful Miami house.

7. Swap out light fixtures.

One of the easiest ways to liven up a bland bedroom is to swap out light fixtures. Try a modern sputnik light, a vintage chandelier, or a boho pendant light to give your bedroom character without any renovations.

Credit: Mel + Mario

8. Upgrade your hardware.

Think of hardware like jewelry for your bedroom. In the same way a big pair of earrings or a statement necklace can perk up a plain outfit, a new set of knobs or pulls on, say, your nightstands or dresser can refresh the whole room.

By switching out standard hardware for something a little more visually exciting — from copper handles to crystal knobs and beyond, you can add an extra touch of luxury to your space. Check places like Zara Home and Amazon for inexpensive, stylish options.

9. Zhush your pillows.

Plump, over-filled throw pillows are the gold standard at fancy hotels, so bring that same look home. Overstuff your decorative throw cushions, so they appear high-end. Stylists do this by buying inserts that are slightly larger than whatever their pillow covers are. So if you have an 18-inch square pillow, for example, buy 20-inch inserts.

When you’re ready to replace your sleeping pillows, look for ones that are as thick and lofty as you can find. And don’t skimp on the number of them, either. You don’t have to go crazy piling sleeping pillows on, but hotels usually dress their beds with two pillows per person.

Credit: Chinasa Cooper

10. Bring in a tray.

Trays instantly class up a room, especially when they’re filled with special trinkets. If you’re planning to put one on a vanity, you can stock it with pretty perfume bottles, favorite creams, and jewelry. If you want a small tray on your nightstand, all you need is a candle and maybe a carafe-and-water glass combo.

11. Make a blanket statement.

If you can’t afford new luxury bedding, don’t worry. Focus on your throw blanket instead. A big chunky knit throw placed across the foot of your bed will take the focus off a tired duvet or comforter.

Credit: Kim Lucian

12. Add some texture.

Textural elements can make a bedroom feel layered and visually rich. Try a faux fur throw on a side chair or a sheepskin rug on the floor by the bed to cozy things up a bit. Bring in rattan baskets and look for a fun woven light fixture if you’re into a boho luxe look. You can also sneak pom poms and tassels into the mix on embellished pillows and blankets. All of this will make your space more exciting and inviting.

13. Style your nightstand.

Don’t let your nightstand devolve into a junk drawer that’s basically on display. Regularly empty your drinking glasses and clear things like hand creams and dogeared paperbacks off its surface. To make your room feel more glamorous, put in a real effort to style out your nightstand. Choose a cute lamp, add in a fake plant, and think about hanging something small in the empty wall space behind the tabletop. 

14. Upgrade your mirror.

If you still have the plain mirror you got during college, it’s time for a change. Try an antique-inspired brass mirror or something curvy that will open up the room. You can also find a model that has a shelf, so you gain a little vertical storage space out of your purchase, too.

Mirrors can be expensive, so start your search at a thrift store, at a flea market, or at a garage sale. You can find something great secondhand. For best results, be as specific as possible with your search terms on online marketplaces. And know that if you find a shape you love but hate the finish, a can of paint is all you need to fix that.

Credit: Viv Yapp

15. Fake architectural features.

If you rent and can’t make permanent changes to your space or own and just don’t want to take on a massive project, fool-the-eye paint treatments and decorative finishes can make your room’s architecture look much fancier than it actually is. Make faux wall paneling with washi tape or paint a half wall that looks like wainscoting. These kinds of design tricks are quicker and cheaper to execute than you might expect.

16. Update lighting.

Forget the “boob” light fixture that often comes in a builder-grade bedroom. Replace yours with something a little more swanky, like a drum-shaped pendant, sputnik lamp, or small chandelier.

Credit: Lana Kenney

17. Raise the curtains.

Make your room feel bigger by raising your curtain rod two to three inches below the ceiling line. Your room will feel loftier, and your windows will seem larger, making the space, on the whole, feel much more elegant.

18. Showcase a special piece.

Leverage decorative collections and any special pieces, like an acoustic guitar, for example, as wall decor, and your space will look instantly bespoke. An unintended but nice side effect of this decorating move? You also get things off the floor, so your sleeping area will look less cluttered for it, too.

19. Work a wall hanging.

No budget for a fancy headboard? No problem. If you find a tapestry or vintage textile you love, that’s all you really need to make the space above your bed look pulled together. Just be sure your sleeping pillows are firm and full enough, so you can still prop yourself up in bed for reading.

Credit: Sandra Regalado

20. Put a (faux) sheepskin on it.

If you feel like your bed frame or headboard is a little lackluster, do the same thing you would to an older sofa or dining chair: Throw a fuzzy sheepskin on it! Not only will layering add visual interest to your bedroom furniture, but it’ll also add some plus coziness, too. When you want to really shake things up, look for a faux hide that’s bright and colorful — not cream or gray.