Cheap Ways to Make Your House Look More Expensive

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Save for the consummate and frequent redecorators out there, most of us are probably in a home decor rut—maybe you made an effort at sprucing up your space a few years ago, and the same tasteful knick-knacks have been gathering dust on your shelves ever since. Whether your home needs a few touches to freshen up the space and make it less cluttered and more peaceful, or it needs to be spruced before putting it on the market, here are some of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to make your home appear more luxurious.

Use neutral tones

Using a neutral base is a surefire way to elevate the look of any space. If you think about high end spots like Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel, their websites, stores, and social media accounts often feature a neutral base for large furniture pieces and rugs (colors such as white, off-white, cream, taupe, beige, grey, or greige) and employ pops of color through accessories like pillows and throw blankets. If you have dark furniture that’s still in good shape, consider re-upholstering or slipcovering it in neutral tones.

Hang mirrors

Mirrors are an excellent way to accomplish several design objectives at once. Not only do they make a room look bigger, they amplify light, giving the room a brighter, airy feel. And, when they’re large enough, they save you precious dollars that you would otherwise need to spend on wall art. (a HomeSense mirror at $60 is likely a lot more affordable than any art you’ll purchase to occupy that same 5′ x 2′ space.) Hang or stand mirrors across from windows to reflect the most light possible.

Update your light fixtures

Lighting plays an often underrated yet pivotal role in the look and mood of your home. In addition to making sure every room has either recessed lights or a ceiling fixture (not just lamps), look to update any old fixtures that make your space look dated. Quick tips to elevate your lighting according to PoshPennies: Install oversized pendant lights over kitchen islands or dining areas and sconces on either side of your bed (or on the top shelf of wall shelving unit), and use warm lightbulbs and dimmer switches wherever possible.

Install new cabinet hardware

Truly one of the easiest and cheapest ways to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom is to install new, modern-looking hardware (drawer pulls and cabinet handles—and by “install” we mean, secure with a screwdriver in already properly spaced and drilled holes). Remove old-fashioned or greenish-hued hardware and replace it with sleek, contemporary options. (Don’t forget to hang new towel bars and towel rings in the bathroom.)

Create fake built-ins

As we’ve noted before, built-in shelves are just plain classy. Installing them requires more forethought, expense, and possibly a contractor. In short: they look more expensive than free-standing bookcases. Fortunately, there are ways to can hack IKEA bookcases to look like they were custom-made to fit your wall; we’ve also written a detailed explanation of the process.

Repaint your front door

The overall look of your front entryway communicates a lot (especially to potential buyers). There are some accepted “best and worst” colors to paint your front door, according to Zillow, design experts, and color psychology; decide what vibe you want to convey (hint: black looks the richest and most sophisticated), and paint accordingly. After you’ve settled on a color, turn your attention to the handle and doorway light fixtures (are they weather-worn with black spots?) Replace them if necessary, and get your porch flower and planter game on point. (And while we’re on the subject of quick outdoor fixes, consider repainting your garage doors for increased curb appeal.)

Add molding

In addition to helping a room look more interesting and appealing, molding adds a subtle, refined sophistication to any space. Whether it’s wainscoting, picture framing, or crown molding (an oft-touted feature in real estate listings), it can transform a room from ho-hum to high-end at relatively minimal cost.


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