Gift Edit 2023

40 Gifts That Look More Expensive Than They Are

updated Nov 14, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Cat checking out a pile of wrapped gifts. overhead photo
Credit: Mal de Ojo Studio/Stocksy

Happy holidays! This feature is part of Apartment Therapy's Gift Edit, our editor-curated collection of gift ideas. Need more inspiration? Check out all our guides here.

There’s a thrill in finding amazing home gifts that don’t break the bank but look like they could have. That’s been especially true this year, which has been financially tough on just about everyone. But fear not — you might be a smart shopper, though no one will ever suspect it because your gifts are going to look so luxe. In short, you can consider this your cheat sheet for your 2023 holiday shopping endeavors. We’ve rounded up 40 presents that look more expensive than they are, so your gifts are bound to be a hit with anyone on your list, whether you’re shopping for a birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, or the holidays. And for many of them, we’re speaking from first-hand experience. As a result, you can trust us when we say that some of these items are so good — and so reasonably priced — you just might want to treat yourself, too.

1 / 40
Birthdate Candles

Gift the astrology lover in your life this dazzling 14-karat gold-plated pendant featuring their birthdate. You can choose between gold and silver, and each date has its own specific set of stones based on the person's birth month and what will bring them good fortune. On the back, the pendant is engraved with your bestie's initials and birthday. Suffice it to say, they'll never want to remove this stunning and thoughtful piece of jewelry.

2 / 40

Papier’s high-quality, personalized notebooks will make anyone feel like a million bucks — without actually spending as much, of course. Designed by Matilda Goad & Co., this luxe hardcover includes 96 pages (either lined, plain, or dotted) and five different scallop styles. Add their monogram to the bottom corner for the finishing touch.

3 / 40

Proof that houseplant accessories don’t have to be an eyesore, this black H&M watering can deserves a starring decorative spot on a bookshelf, countertop, or side table. It’s designed with functionality in mind, too, thanks to a spacious, easy-to-fill top opening and slender spout. The plant parents in your life will think of you fondly every time they water their collection.

4 / 40

This brass wick trimmer looks way more expensive than its $20 price tag lets on — in fact, you could pair this gift with a candle and still stay under $30. The fun-to-use accessory helps prolong the life of candles for an even, soot-free burn, not to mention it’s an instant decor focal point.

5 / 40
MoMA Design Store

Pretty up their morning brew routine with this colorful $25 French press by Bodum. Exclusive to MoMA Design Store, the cheery gift adds a fun pop of color to the countertop, in either green-and-yellow or blue-and-red pairings.

6 / 40
Urban Outfitters
was $59.00

The right decorative pillow can instantly transform a tired, old couch into something that feels brand new. If your roomie or friend has been complaining that they're sick of their decor, gift them this stylish ruffled pillow from Urban Outfitters for a little refresh. It touts an eye-catching color, as well as corduroy upholstery that will add just a touch of texture to any room.

7 / 40

Trays are both stylish and functional. Your pal can use this on-trend piece from stationery brand Appointed to corral pencils and trinkets on a desktop, hold candles on the coffee table, or keep perfume bottles organized on a dresser. Made from linen coated in polyester resin, it's also food-safe.

8 / 40
Silk & Snow
was $250.00

Treat your favorite cuddle buddy to an extra layer of warmth this winter with this timeless plaid throw from Silk & Snow. Made from 100-percent alpaca wool sourced from the Peruvian Andes, the ultra-soft toss will make your next streaming session that much cozier. Available in seven neutral colorways, the throw provides warmth without feeling too heavy, so it's perfect for long afternoon naps, chilly nights spent on the couch, and everything in between.

9 / 40

Get in the seasonal spirit with this set of six ornaments — perfect for the interior-savvy friend who always carefully curates their Christmas tree. Or, they’re a chic jumping off point for anyone starting their ornament collection. Either way, whoever you gift these glittery accessories to will never guess they’re just $12.99 from H&M, and anyone can keep using them year after year.

10 / 40
West Elm
was $38.00

White marble feels synonymous with luxury, but black puts a fresh, moody spin on the natural finish. Branch out from the signature cloudy coloring with these high-end-looking marble coasters — a.k.a. your new go-to host gift.

11 / 40
Burke Decor

This wave-making soap dish from Burke Decor is so chic — and practical! The budget-friendly gift is an easy way for your giftee to spruce up their bathroom.

12 / 40

Almost everyone knows the top candle brands, like Diptyque and Byredo, so you can't exactly pass one off from Bath & Body Works as a luxury find. But reed diffusers always look classy, no matter the brand. This one by Voluspa comes in an embossed glass bottle inspired by Japanese art and can keep an entire room smelling great for up to six months.

13 / 40
West Elm

Brooklyn-based artist Virgina Sin specializes in super sculptural, modern home accents, including this beautiful curved candlestick holder. The unique silhouette fits two tapers for the ultimate table-worthy focal point (and MVP gift idea).

14 / 40
From our partner

Nothing screams "class" quite like a great collection of coffee table books, and this Louis Vuitton tome is perfect for the fashion-forward friend in your life. The funky exterior cover (designed by artist Reggieknow) opens to reveal a comprehensive look at the late designer Virgil Abloh's boundary-breaking creativity on and off the runway.

15 / 40

A bust sculpture that's a planter and less than the price of a museum ticket? Now that's a winner. An actual antique can break the bank, but you can replicate the look with this under-$30 find.

16 / 40
West Elm

Have a friend that's always on the go? Encourage them to take some time for self-care with this plush and stylish towel. Made from 100-percent Turkish cotton, it's lightweight yet perfectly cozy for drying off post-bath or shower. Pro tip: Team it with a jar of bath salts or soothing body oil for a true spa-like gift they're sure to appreciate.

17 / 40
From our partner

A 16-piece stoneware dinnerware set for under $70!? We can barely believe it either. This chic swirled set from QVC comes with four dinner plates, four salad plates, four bowls, and four mugs. If you're looking to gift a new set of dishes to your loved one, this is the perfect set. It looks and feels expensive, while remaining totally practical — this set is both dishwasher and microwave safe.

18 / 40
Jayson Home

Transport them to Paris or London, no passport needed, with one of these books from U.K.-based travel and style magazine, Cereal. At $24.99 a piece, the not-your-average-guidebooks feature a visually-packed rundown of dining info, historic sights, and much more. Best of all, they elevate any coffee table or bookshelf in an instant.

19 / 40

One of my very own favorite luxe-for-less home purchases, these brass Amazon frames add instant vintage charm to any tabletop. Available in a range of sizes, all under $20, they’re perfect for pairing with a black-and-white photo (hello, newlywed gift!) or a cool print or postcard. Either way, I'd suggest sizing up to get that pressed-glass "floating" image effect.

20 / 40
Rifle Paper Co.

Rifle Paper Co. brings their signature whimsical floral designs to this embroidered box, complete with a decorative top that could pass as handmade. It’s super versatile as far as gifting goes, too — fill it with sweet family mementos and letters to surprise a grandparent, or leave as-is for a chic desk organizer.

21 / 40

Help give one of their succulents a stylish home with this stunning vase inspired by the female form. It will add some life and personality to any shelf or windowsill and comes in seven finishes.

22 / 40
Ballard Designs
was $30.00

Step aside, matchbooks or rechargeable lighters — there’s a new elegant candle accessory in town. This handblown, 7-inch-tall cloche includes a built-in striking surface and 120 long matches, kept in place with a cork stopper. It’s easily refillable once you’ve run out, or the vessel can simply double as a decorative object on its own.

23 / 40
L.L. Bean

Celebrate the season with this knit throw pillow displaying a wintry scene. Although we can't guarantee that your recipient will believe you made it, yourself, we're sure they'll instantly love its cozy appeal.

24 / 40
was $34.00

Simple, sleek, and surprisingly just $12, this thin marble serving board has your favorite host written all over it, whether they're using it as a cocktail tray or hopping on the next food “board” bandwagon. Above all, it’s a stunning addition to any kitchen or bar cart that won’t go out of style.

25 / 40

No bibliophile’s reading collection would be complete without a durable bookmark, and I absolutely adore this T-shaped design from stationery brand Appointed. The brass finish and scalloped edges look ultra sophisticated and high-end — so much so that your giftee will never know this cost less than $20. Stylish stocking stuffer, solved.

26 / 40

If luxury is what they want, luxury is what they'll get with this plush hooded terry robe from Kassatex. The light grey piping around the edge keeps it looking sophisticated (aka totally fine if you wear it out to the mailbox!) and it can even be monogrammed for an extra-special touch.

27 / 40
was $19.99

Not sure what to give the friend who has everything? This statement-making candle happens to be super Insta-worthy. If they display it on a metal dish or under a glass cloche, it'll look like a million bucks... but no one has to know you only paid $12 for it.

28 / 40
Sonic Editions

Classic movie buffs will be seeing stars over an art print from Sonic Editions, which start at $149. Dedicated to the golden era of Hollywood, the retailer boasts hundreds of iconic shots to choose from, including those that depict greats like Audrey Hepburn, Al Pacino, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, and more.

29 / 40
was $42.00

You might've thought something like a salt cellar was unneccessary — until seeing this one. Although the whimsical stoneware dish was specifically made to hold salt, it can be used to store a variety of other things, including jewelry, matches, keys, and change. Who knew a catchall could look so fashion-forward?

30 / 40
West Elm

Help your favorite adventure buddy gear up for their next escape with this versatile travel bag from West Elm. Billed as a "weekender" tote, it's the perfect size if they're just heading out of town for a few days but will also come in handy while stashing extras (or souvenirs!) on longer trips. The nylon exterior and large padded pockets keep things durable, while adjustable shoulder straps and a pock that slips over the handle of their luggage will ensure they're wheels up in no time.

31 / 40
Uncommon Goods

Encourage them to store candy or loose change in style. Reminiscent of the plastic baggies from school lunch days, this sculptural piece is perfect for the apartment dweller who loves weekend trips to the MoMA or adding a bit of whimsy to their decor.

32 / 40
Uncommon Goods

No outrageously expensive outdoor pizza oven needed to get the tasty wood-fired treatment. This eight-inch, cast iron pizza maker whips up mini pies on the grill in just 10 minutes. Count on an at-home backyard pizzeria for just $40.

33 / 40
was $35.00

Whose doesn't have a cutting board that's seen better days? This practical and colorful gift will brighten up their countertop and come in handy time and time again. Bonus: It's made from recycled plastic kitchen scraps and renewable sugarcane for a purchase that you can feel good about.

34 / 40

Keep the jewelry-lover's favorite baubles organized on the road with this stylish, compact jewelry case. It boasts anti-tarnish microsuede lining, four necklace hooks with a pocket, six holes for earrings, and a gorgeous grain calfskin leather.

35 / 40
was $7.95

Your pal who's always counting down the hours until cocktail o'clock will fall hard for this vintage-inspired coupe glass that looks stunning displayed on open shelving. Ribbed glassware never goes out of style, and you can gift a pair for less than $15. That's a win-win in our book!

36 / 40
was $38.65

At first glance, these little tassels just look like cute, luxurious keychains, but look closer, and you'll see that each one conceals a USB power bank. As a result, your BFF can charge their phone and other digital devices wherever they go. The keychains come in a set of two, and they're so classy and lightweight compared to the classic brick-shaped portable chargers.

37 / 40

Never underestimate the power of pretty taper candles. This neutral-toned set of two from New York-based company The Floral Society instantly upgrades any mantel or tabletop, plus mixes and matches well with different kinds of candlestick holders.

38 / 40

At under $15 for a set of six, this pack of coasters is a no-brainer. In fact, you could split up the set and give these out as stocking stuffers, and no one has to know that they were actually less than $3 a pop.

39 / 40

This mushroom-shaped Anthropologie accent could pass as a vintage glass lamp — but it’s actually a candle! The tortoise vessel emits a soft, moody light when it’s lit, with scent notes of warm cardamom and lavender.

40 / 40
was $11.99

A handy rule of thumb: items made from glass often look more expensive than those that aren't. This pretty mug is the perfect example. It sports an intriguing vertical ribbed pattern and comes with its own wooden lid that doubles as a coaster. Grab it in the standard clear color, or opt for a festive amber or delicate pink shade. The mug is perfect for eggnog and hot chocolate season.