6 Unexpected Ways To Make Your Home Feel Fancier, According to Home Stagers

published Sep 18, 2022
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Buying a house is incredibly exciting, but it’s also expensive — there’s a reason someone coined the term “house poor” to describe the specific state of a new homeowner’s personal finances. 

Still, upgrading your home’s decor doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’re drawn toward all things grandmillennial or you’re more of a modern fan, it’s easier than you might realize to make your home feel fancier than it actually is. I asked two trusty home stagers to share their tips for exactly how to make it happen.

Make Your Decor Pull Double-Duty

Rachel Moore, a home stager and lead designer for ​​Madison Modern Home in California, offers this handy mantra for deciding how to decorate your home: Keep only what is either useful or beautiful.

By this, she means make sure that every single item, whether it’s purely aesthetic or actually functional, fits one of these two descriptions. Even better, if you can swing it, keep or acquire items that are both beautiful and useful.

“I make coffee in a Chemex, a sculptural piece that I display proudly on my open kitchen shelving,” she says. “My laundry hamper is a hand-made basket from Ghana. Cereal bowls are thrown by a local potter. When everyday tools are inherently pleasing to the eye, you’re always surrounded by beauty.”

“Little things like this can enhance the whole look and feel of your space,” she says.

Pare Down to Basics

Hotel rooms always look luxurious and inviting — and a big part of that comes down to a lack of clutter. Moore recommends taking a similar approach in your own bedroom.

“Keep as few items in the bedroom as possible,” says Moore. “Bedside lamps, candles, a book or two, and a stylish carafe at most. Everything else must go.”

A fluffy, down duvet with a white linen cover can also help make your bed look sumptuous and expensive, she says. 

Add Culture and Art

A curated selection of art and tasteful decor pieces from around the world can help add an air of sophistication and worldliness to your home (and visitors don’t need to know that you actually found these seemingly expensive items at garage sales or secondhand shops!). 

Some inspiration: a thick stack of coffee table books about photography, architecture, and design; a flea-market sourced sculpture; a handmade wooden box from an international trip; or a gallery-esque mix of paintings, pop art, and fine art photography. 

“The more you can show an interest in art and culture, the better,” says Moore. 

Swap Light Fixtures

Those big, round builder-grade boob lights above the bathroom mirror and the outdated ceiling fan in your home office? Those can go. Light fixtures are one of the easiest, most affordable ways to bring your home up to date and add a splash of personality to any room, according to Candance Toscano, a Florida-based home stager and interior designer. 

If you don’t quite have the budget to invest in a whole new light fixture, then consider updating the lampshades on any table or floor lamps throughout the house, she says.

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

Use Tricks of the Trade

Home stagers are basically miracle workers who help sell homes quickly and for top dollar — even those that are tiny, outdated, or otherwise unappealing. And to wow prospective buyers, they employ lots of little tricks and tactics to make a house feel more like home. 

You, too, can steal some of these methods to fancify your home before friends or family members come over. To make your home smell subtly wonderful — without relying on the often-overwhelming scents of air fresheners and fabric sprays — turn your oven on low heat about an hour or so before guests are scheduled to arrive. Then, dash a few drops of vanilla extract on some tin foil and place it in the oven, recommends Toscano. Another aromatic option? Dab a lightly scented essential oil on light bulbs sporadically around the house.

In the bathroom, swap the half-used toilet paper roll with a brand new one and set a vase of fresh flowers on the vanity, Toscano says.

Hang Curtains the Designer Way

Tiny house with a low ceiling? No problem. Make your home feel elegant and chic by installing curtain rods as close to the ceiling as possible, then hanging curtains that help create the mood you want. Make sure the bottom of the curtains — which you can often find in great condition at thrift shops — just barely kiss the floor.

“This is a designer look that can easily be attained by anyone,” says Moore.

Toscano seconds this advice and adds that carefully selecting your curtain fabric can also make a world of difference.

“Fabrics like velvet, silk, and linen give a more sophisticated look than basic cotton curtains,” she says.