If you enjoy watching home makeover shows on HGTV or reading magazines like Architectural Digest, you just might dream of having a luxurious home. So many people scroll through Pinterest and daydream about making enough money so that you can have a home that looks just as luxurious some day. Thankfully, there are some tips and tricks that will help you make your home look classy for free or cheap.
30. Buy A Few Antique and Vintage Pieces
When some people hear “antiques”, they imagine walking into a museum where every piece is worth thousands of dollars. But there are actually tons of amazing antique and vintage pieces out there at thrift stores, auctions, and estate sales. We’re not saying you should make your home look like it’s the set of Downton Abbey. Incorporating even just a few older pieces into your home decor looks a lot more posh than using all brand new stuff you bought from Target.
For example, buying any large mirror is expensive, no matter where you go. So you might as well try to find an antique mirror that is within a similar price range. These styles of older mirrors are usually far more ornate, and automatically make a room feel more more luxurious than a plain modern mirror from a department store.
29. Hang Your TV on the Wall
We are lucky to live in a modern age where HDTV sets are getting thinner, lighter, and cheaper every year. You may have already splurged on a new television during a Black Friday sale, but if it is still sitting on its cheap plastic stand, you’re missing out on an opportunity to make it look fancy. There is just something about walking into a room with a wall-mounted TV that makes people say “wow”. It draws people’s eyes upwards, which makes both your room and television feel bigger.
Ikea sells TV wall mounts for $25, and Harbor Freight charges just $15. If you try to buy them anywhere else, expect to pay $40 and up. It also takes a lot of time and effort, and it can be intimidating to some people. If you’re renting, you also have to be careful that you don’t damage the walls. Offer to pay one of your handy friends, or hire a TaskRabbit to help you.
28. Create a Mini-Bar
Since the 1960’s, luxury homes have been built with mini-bars to entertain guests. In modern times, it’s rare to see many people who actually care about displaying their alcohol.
If you do a quick search for “mini-bar” on Pinterest, you will see thousands of amazing ideas that people have come up with to dress up their drinking areas, and 90% of them don’t take up very much space at all.
You can use a bar or tea cart, a bookshelf, or credenza. You may already have the perfect spot in your home to display your collection, and all it takes is doing some rearranging to get this project done for free. Combine these new bar areas with a few nice glasses, a decanter, and some creative artwork, and you’re good to go.
27. Hang Curtains
Even if you love letting the sunlight into your house or apartment, you should always have curtains on all of your windows. Some people buy the cheap plastic pull-down coverings, and call it a day. Curtains automatically make a room feel more cozy and inviting, and there is just something about it that lets people know you actually care about your space. If you are afraid that curtains will make a room feel too dark and heavy, try going for white flowing curtains that allow sunlight to filter through.
If you can afford it, you may also want to splurge on curtain rods that are made of wood, instead of the cheap metal ones. This may be a difference of spending $2 per window versus $10 per window, but it makes a huge difference in how nice the room looks.
26. Invest in a Nice Sofa
College kids usually go for cheap metal frame futons, because they are easy to move in and out of an apartment. If you’re guilty of holding on to that old futon or couch for 5 years or more, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Coming home from work or school and plopping down on a cheap, uncomfortable sofa is terrible. When you’re home, you should be relaxing, not worrying about that spring that’d digging into your back. Your guests will immediately take notice to the quality of your couch, too.
Comfortable sofas can be very expensive. We’re not suggesting that you should go into debt. But if you have your credit under control, some stores like Ashley Furniture offer payment plans that make it easy to afford a nice piece of furniture without blowing your entire budget on a single purchase. If you can’t afford something brand new, check out your local Craigslist and Facebook Yard Sale group. There are some people who buy new sofas every year or two. They are still in great condition, but they just want to update their style.
25. Go For Gold
For thousands of years, human beings have been attracted to gold, and we decided to value this shiny yellow metal that comes from the Earth. Today, it’s an obvious sign of wealth, even if we consciously know that the gold is plated or fake. No, we don’t want you to have a solid gold toilet like Donald Trump. But incorporating gold accents in ways that are actually tasteful make a room feel like you’ve spent a lot of money, even if the gold is clearly fake.
Picture frames, mirrors, and metal furniture will instantly look more expensive if they are painted gold. Walmart sells cans of gold spray paint for $3. Just make sure you do this project outdoors, and cover up any parts of the object that you don’t want covered in paint. For spray paint newbies that need extra help, check out one of the many DIY tutorials on YouTube or Pinterest.
24. Start a Book Collection
Nowadays, everyone is reading on their smartphones and computers every single day. In fact- you’re reading right now! But not everyone actually enjoys buying physical books. If you don’t already own a few, you may want to start a small collection.
Goodwill thrift stores are all around the United States and Canada, and they usually sell their books for just 25 cents each. Before you leave the store, remove dust jackets from hardcover volumes to reveal fancy bindings. Stack a few color-coordinated books under a picture frame on a mantlepiece, or include a few big coffee table books in your living room.
23. Control Your Odors
Smell is the strongest sense connected to memory. If you close your eyes, maybe you can even still remember how your grandma’s house smelled. Now ask yourself- what does my house smell like?
If you don’t know the answer, you may want to ask a friend to be honest with you. We get used to smells after living somewhere for a long time, so you may honestly have no idea that your house actually reeks. You should never rely on scented candles and sprays to make your home smell nice, because it usually just masks bad odor, or blends together to create a worse unholy stink. Obviously, a smelly house feels “trashy” instead of “classy”.
The best way to make your house smell nice is by eliminating the sources of smells, and don’t allow it to get bad in the first place. Dust your furniture and regularly clean your fabrics Remove trash from the kitchen on a regular basis. Even your carpets and throw rugs should be shampooed and cleaned every few months. Most couches have removable seat covers that can be washed, as well.
If you are a smoker, and you want your house to smell better, it may be time to take your habit outside, or try to quit. Objects that reek of smoke can be put in airtight plastic bags together with dryer sheets. After about a week, the smoke smell will be absorbed into the dryer sheet. But, of course, if you bring the smoke back inside again, that defeats the purpose.
If you have a dog or cat, they may be the main stinky culprits. Make sure to clean up after them regularly, have them groomed, and make sure their smelly toys, beds, and other accessories are kept away from your main living spaces.
22. Remove Outdated Wallpaper
When it’s done tastefully, wallpaper can look beautiful in a home. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get wallpaper right without making it look like it belongs in your grandma’s house. If it’s peeling or filling with air bubbles, that makes it even worse. If you want your home to look new and fresh, it is best to take it down and paint the wall one solid color.
If you bought an older home, check your walls to see if they are a smooth surface. If it seems sort of bumpy, the previous owner may have actually painted over old wallpaper as a quick fix. If you are actually committed to removing your old wallpaper, watch a few tutorials on YouTube so that you don’t damage your walls.
21. Bring In The Light
No matter how expensive your home may be, it’s all for nothing if you can’t even see it. Pay attention to the lighting in your house, especially at night. It’s very expensive to hire an electrician to install new lighting in the ceiling, but there are a few things that can be done for free or cheap.
Remove any furniture and push back thick curtains that may be blocking natural light in the daytime. Add lamps in dark spaces, and swap out your existing light bulbs for new ones. You would be shocked to see just how bright new LED bulbs actually are.
20. Fix The Cracks
If you have lived in a home long enough, hairline cracks, water stains, and mold spots are easy to miss. But when a fresh set of eyes comes into your space, they will notice straight away. These problems might seem small to you, but it gives off the impression that you might be lazy, or that you don’t care enough about your home to fix those things.
Thankfully, most of these problems are easy to fix, but you should also check to see if they are indicating a more serious issue. A water stain may be a sign that you have a leaky roof. A huge staircase-shaped crack means you have a foundation issue. Mold can usually be cleaned with bleach, but there may be more hiding behind the walls, if you have an issue with moisture. Keeping a close eye and maintaining all of these small problems will make your home look nicer, but it will also save you more money in the long-run if you catch a problem early.
19. Focus on Entryways
You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and your guests will judge your home immediately upon opening your front door. Even if you have been in and out of your home a million times, you still have a subconscious reaction to your entryway.
When you first open your front door, what do you see? Where does your eye immediately go? If there is a line of dirty shoes and umbrellas cluttered around the door, that’s not exactly a luxurious way to say “hello”.
Luxury homes always have vast, open entryways that welcome you into the home. They are always clean and organized. If you have kids, and it’s a necessity to take your shoes off at the door, consider buying a shelf or a cupboard that will hide away the mess.
18. Clean Up the Clutter
In every designer luxury home, rooms are spotless, without any clutter to be seen. Some people believe that “real” people simply can’t live that way, especially if they have a large family. But did you know that too much clutter in your home can lead to depression? Feeling depressed about your living space just leads to more clutter, and it becomes a vicious cycle. You will automatically feel so much happier in your own home if everything is neat and tidy.
Sometimes, the culprit to a never-ending mess is having too much stuff without anywhere to put it. Invest in some book shelves, or containers to store all of your paperwork and belongings. Everything in your home should have a place for it to go. You may also want to consider donating or throwing away things you no longer need.
17. Add Molding To The Floor and Ceiling
Every house is made with the same drywall, but one of the big things that makes a room look more expensive is crown molding around the edges of the ceiling. Some people also get ceiling medallions under their light fixtures and ceiling fans. The cost of crown molding varies drastically, depending on the size and style. You could also add wainscot and a thicker floor molding to the floor, which may be more expensive overall.
16. Buy Some Nice Artwork
When you were a teenager, hanging a poster on the wall was totally acceptable. As an adult, it just feels very cheap and immature. If you want your home to be more luxurious, it may be time to invest in some art. The good news is, art doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars per piece. Stores like Big Lots, Home Goods, Marshall’s, Ross, and Target all have beautiful art ranging anywhere from $10 up to $100. A lot of thrift stores like Goodwill also have a big selection.
Even family photos can look more expensive when they are printed on canvas. The Walmart photo department offers this service, and it costs anywhere from $20 up to $150, depending on the size of the canvas you’re looking for.
15. A Fresh Coat of Paint
If you want your home to look more classy, it may be wise to pick a very neutral color like cream, pastel blue, or light grey. Light colors make a room feel larger. Furniture and artwork also stand out more. Dark or non-traditional colors make a room feel more cozy, but it can also be distracting. If you want to be more bold with colors, consider doing one accent wall with the alternative color, and keep the rest of the room white or cream. That way, it is far less overwhelming to our senses.
In general, pay attention to the rooms and furniture in your house that could benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Updating older items can make them feel brand new.
14. Switch Out Your Throw Pillows
Buying a new couch is expensive, but switching out your throw pillows can freshen up the furniture you already own. On average, throw pillows will cost anywhere from $10 up to $50 per pillow, depending on where you buy them.
If you happen to know how to sew, you can make your own throw pillows very easily. Nearly every craft store like Michaels, A.C. Moore, JoAnn Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby all carry pillow inserts and fabric. Paying for custom-made throw pillows is usually very expensive, so you can save a lot of money and get the exact look you were hoping for.
13. Update Knobs
After years of owning the same dresser of drawers for years, it begins to feel very tired, and we wish we had the budget to buy an entire new set. Instead of buying brand new furniture, sometimes all it takes is switching out the knobs to get a totally different vibe. Aside from giving your old furniture a fresh coat of paint, you can remove the knobs and add colorful fixtures.
Same goes with door handles. Most people just pick up the standard door handles, but adding something a little more fancy-looking can make a door look more luxurious. Usually, these small projects can be completed for around $20.
12. Upgrade Your Bed
One of the piece of furniture that a lot of people choose to skimp on is their bed. After all, you get just as good of a night sleep with a mattress on the floor as you do on an expensive bed frame However, this obviously doesn’t look very luxurious. Rich people usually either have huge king-sized beds with canopies, or they go for glamorous padded headboards. When people see these beds, they assume that they must be expensive, but they are actually very affordable. For around $200, you can get beds with padded headboards on Amazon.com.
11. New Light Fixtures
Have you ever walked into a friend’s house and noticed that you both have the same light fixtures, because you both bought whatever the cheapest option was at Ikea or Home Depot? It’s not always necessary to buy new fixtures for every single room in the house. Existing fixtures can sometimes be painted to look new.
If you have some money set aside, consider splurging on one fancy light fixture for your kitchen, dining room, or living room. These are the three rooms in the house where you and your guests will be most often, so it only makes sense to focus your efforts on those rooms, first.
10. Find Furniture Made Of Natural Materials
A piece of furniture made out of real wood, leather, or stone always looks far more expensive than one that is made out of particle board or plastic from Ikea or Walmart. If you are looking for a more bohemian vibe, you may also consider buying ratan or wicker furniture.
The good news is that high quality furniture for cheap prices can be found everywhere, if you know where to look. Start searching on Craigslist, local thrift shops, and auctions for the deals in your local area. If you live in a very rural place, it may be worth a day trip to visit a big town or city to see what you can find.
9. Hide Your Daily Items In Fancy Containers
There are items that we all use every single day. In the bathroom, we’ve got soap, q-tips, and boxes of tissues. In the kitchen, we’ve got rice, coffee, and so much more. When we see brand names, we automatically associate these brands with a dollar amount. Are you buying the Walmart brand of cereal, because it tastes exactly like a name brand? So are a lot of people. It only makes sense, especially when you’re trying not to spend your whole paycheck at the grocery store. Even though we consciously know this, we can’t help but judge one another when we walk through our friend’s kitchens and see that they buy the real name-brand items, while we may have everything from the dollar store.
One way to totally eliminate that is to just put everything in containers. Not only does this make your daily items look more luxurious, but it completely takes away the idea of brands. On top of that, airtight containers in the kitchen keep your products fresh for much longer.
8. Find A Matching Dish Set
If you have ever seen fancy Instagram posts of gourmet food, you may notice that all of those pictures are usually shot on plain white plates. High quality ceramic plates are usually made in solid colors, or they have a very small detail, like a single line of gold running through it. Mismatching colors and patterns on bowls, cups, and plates are a dead give-away that you bought the cheapest plates possible, or collected hand-me-downs from family and friends.
The good news is, these sets are almost always going on sale as department stores make room for new styles. You can usually find one in the $30 to $50 range for 4 to 6 place settings. If you have a really tight budget, check out Dollar Tree, which has individual bowls, plates, and mugs for $1 each. Some thrift stores also carry full sets of china. No one will be able to tell where you bought your dishes from. All that really matters in looking more high-class is that you have a matching set.
7. Pick a Cohesive Color Scheme
If a friend asked you what the color scheme of your home is, would you have an answer? Sometimes, people just get whatever the can afford, and mix their belongings together in a living space. They don’t care about color schemes. Whenever someone walks in a room, they subconsciously pick up on that. Rich people can afford to hire interior designers, and they always pick a color story to tie everything together.
You probably don’t have a designer’s budget, but it’s all about taking small steps to improve the cohesion. One of the easiest rooms for people to start is their bathroom, since it’s the smallest room in the house that requires a lot of accessories. Even just buying a matching rug, shower curtain, and towels will do wonders for the room.
6. New Sheets and Towels
Whenever someone goes to a fancy hotel, the number one thing that people love no matter where they stay is having comfortable sheets and fluffy towels. Most people on a budget will try to look for the cheapest towels and sheet set possible. While new sheets and towels can be pricey, you should seriously consider keeping an eye out for sales at department stores.
After a few years, bathroom towels become tattered and fall apart. Sheets will also become threadbare, or wrinkle easily. Look for sheets with high thread count, and try to snag some towels when they go on sale. Remember to color coordinate with the rest of your bedding or bathroom.
5. Give The Illusion of High Ceilings
Most apartments and houses have 7 to 8-foot ceilings. In order for a home to be considered “luxury”, they will have 9 or 10-foot-ceilings. This obviously takes more building materials, so it’s more expensive to build these kinds of houses. Some mansion designs even go as far as having 18-foot ceilings in their entryways, which makes a space feel vast and open.
Even if you live in a home with 8-foot ceilings, you can give the illusion that the ceilings are taller by having long curtains on your windows that drape down to the floor. Large standing mirrors also add to the illusion that the room is taller. Basically, vertical lines trick our eyes into feeling like something is stretched out.
4. Buy Fresh Flowers
One small detail of luxury that not many people realize is incorporating fresh flowers into their living spaces. In nearly every magazine and TV show, a staged house has freshly cut flowers sitting on a coffee table or kitchen island.
Buying fresh flowers is a big tradition in France, and shops line the streets of Paris, because people really appreciate the floral aroma in their homes, and they just make people smile. However, this tradition isn’t around as much over in the United States. People get flowers for Valentines Day, birthdays, and special occasions. They make us happy, but we see them as an unnecessary expense, and opt for fake flowers, instead.
Getting fresh flowers every week may not be in your budget, but you may be looking in the wrong places. Local farmers markets have bouquets for very cheap. Consider buying a seasonal bouquet before you have your next dinner party. If you have a garden, you should consider growing perennial flowers. This means that once you grow them, they grow back every season, and you have free flowers for life.
3. Display Your Belongings Tastefully
It’s great to showcase your personality in your own home, but some people get a little carried away. Even if it’s all organized in one area of your home, having too many knicknacks can be overwhelming and tacky. People usually fall into this trap when they inherit belongings from their parents, grandparents, family and friends.
In luxurious homes, they don’t have huge collections in their living spaces. Not everyone looks like they live in a magazine. They just know how to display their belongings in a tasteful way. Try creating vignettes, or clusters of items that have a common theme. Donate any items you can really live without, and try to focus on displaying your favorite things.
2. Reveal Your Hardwood Floors
Everyone knows that hardwood floors are a sought-after feature in homes, but some people believe that it is too far out of their price range. If you live in an older home, you may already have hardwood floors hiding underneath your carpet. You should be able to peel back the carpet just to sneak a peek, before you pay for someone to remove it.
If you can afford to pay for sanding and polishing, vintage hardwood floors can make a room feel bigger. It also looks more luxurious. Faux wood floors can also give the room the same effect. It costs roughly $1 to $2 per square foot, plus padding and labor.
1. DIY Built-In-Furniture
Having custom-made built-in bookshelves and entertainment centers are very expensive, so as soon as you see one in someone’s home, you know that they have money. Thankfully, there are loads of hacks out there on Pinterest and YouTube to make your own at home. Most people use “Billy” bookshelves from Ikea, and add some crown and base moldings to the tops and bottoms of the bookshelves to make them appear as if those details were original to the piece.
This project will cost roughly $350, which isn’t exactly cheap. But normally, these built-ins cost well over $1,000. If it’s a look you’re going for, this method will be hundreds of dollars less than the alternative.