Home Decor

How to Make Your Home Look Expensive – 8 Tips to Achieve the Look for Less

Do you have champagne taste on a beer budget? Do you crave elegance, but cannot afford the high-end furniture and accessories that come along with it? Do you want people to say “wow” when they enter your home? Believe it or not making your home appear expensive without breaking the bank is very achievable! I am here to help put your dream into action! With these simple tips you’ll be the crown jewel of the neighborhood, without spending a fortune in the process.

1. Clean! Declutter! Organize! – This trick is very simple and is absolutely free! Your significant other will thank me! When you look at home décor magazines, what do you notice? The homes and spaces featured are tidy and do not contain clutter. You do not see dirty dishes from last night’s dinner, kids’ toys in every corner, a stack of mail on the counter, unmade beds, laundry baskets filled with laundry, or it strewn across the sofa, knickknacks all bout, etc. I think you catch my drift. Simply cleaning, tidying up, organizing and decluttering your home will truly make an impact and contribute to a more expensive look.

Making the bed can make a world of difference!

To accomplish this look in my own home, I have an assigned drawer in my kitchen for sunglasses, keys and wallets, so things stay off the counter and items do not go missing. I also store all my kids’ toys in the front closet and basement storage room, keeping them out of sight when not in use. To avoid a cluttered kitchen, I keep my small appliances (can opener, food processer, griddle, toaster, etc.) off the counter and stored in a designated cabinet. And this leads me to my next tip below.

2. Hide Garbage Cans and Trash Bins – Like I mentioned above about keeping things tidy and put away, garbage cans and trash bins are not very appealing to look at, especially if the trash is piled high. In addition, kitchen garbage cans can also give off a foul smell. The tip here is to keep these vessels hidden. Do what the Polish and Italians do, keep the kitchen trash under the sink, out of view and out of smelling distance. I keep my kitchen trash bin under the sink, and my recycling bins are also stored inside the kitchen island out of sight. If you have a larger trash bin, that cannot fit under your sink, try putting it in your pantry or another place, out of view.

In the bathroom, same concept, keep the bathroom trash bin out of sight, by hiding it under the sink within the vanity, along with the toilet brush and plunger! All of this should not be within sight to create a more aesthetically pleasing look. If you have a pedestal sink or the inability to hide your bathroom trash bin, I recommend adding a nice looking one with a lid. For example, one made out of whicker, metal or even plastic. If it has a lid, coordinates with the décor, and is nice looking that will go a long way! The topic of trash bins leads me into the next technique, which is fairly simple and easy on the budget.

3. Use Nice Smells – When you walk into a luxurious hotel, high end department store or an expensive parade/model home what do you notice? They all smell good and clean! My recommendation to make your home appear expensive is to have it smell fresh and clean. This can be pulled off by keeping your home clean and sanitary. Pretty self-explanatory here, ensure sinks and toilets are clean, pets are properly cared for, fabrics laundered, etc. To provide an enticing aroma you can use nice smelling candles, air fresheners, fresh flowers, fabric refreshers, room sprays, diffusers, stovetop potpourri recipes, etc. Be careful to avoid anything overpowering though. Less is more in this case. Keeping nice smelling soaps in your bathrooms will also make things fancy and seem more luxurious.

Quick Tip – invest in a nice-looking soap dispenser. Or you could even buy a more expensive soap once, and when the soap runs out you can refill it with another kind that is more affordable but smells amazing. No one will ever know!

I recommend Michel Design Works Foaming Hand Soap, Honey Almond. It smells AMAZING! And the soap dispenser looks super boujee! Once used, you can refill with something more affordable. https://amzn.to/4aE2nQE

Fresh flowers not only smell good, but also provide a luxurious look in your home! In my home, we periodically clip flowers from our backyard hydrangea bushes and instantly things appear more glamourous by simply adding them to a nice vase!

Beautiful flowers in a vase smell great and instantly creates an upscale look!

The above tricks are very important in adding to the expensive look and feel of your home, but the next set of techniques are critical as they help you create the professionally decorated look, which screams expensive!  

4. Decorate with Large Objects – As mentioned earlier, avoid decorating with knickknacks and other small objects because they give a cluttered appearance. Large objects, especially large pieces of artwork or mirrors give the impression of wealth. When you visit an art gallery what do you see? Large paintings, mirrors and sculptures! The larger items also become focal points and conversation starters. No need to spend big bucks here to do this. Affordable pieces can be found in numerous places! Scout out large frames, mirrors or pieces of art at thrift shops, garage sales, estate sales, consignment shops, Craig’s List, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc.

Large candlestick and mirror!

The bigger the better! You could even buy a digital print you like and have it blown up to fit into a large frame. Same thing with accessories, use larger items. Think back to the luxury hotel and the parade/model home I mentioned earlier. You will notice they are decorated with larger accessories, such as vases, lamps, candlesticks, floral arrangements, etc. No small items or knickknacks are typically used.

In my home, we have a very large gold framed mirror hung in the foyer and it makes a huge statement. When people enter my home, they frequently ask about it. We purchased it from an estate sale for $200!!! The frame originally contained a very contemporary oil painting of Napoleon Bonaparte. It wasn’t quite our style, so we had a mirror put in it instead for about $100. Of course, it ended up costing us $300 in the end, but we couldn’t buy a brand-new mirror of this size for that amount of money! Napolean was donated to my aunt, who taught French at the time! This estate sale find was a total win!!

5. Shop at Estate Sales, Garage Sales and Consignment Shops –  Spoiler alert! Big houses equal big luxurious finds! If you truly want to get the look for less, but at the same time get the upscale quality, the key is to shop at estate sales, garage sales, and consignment shops in wealthy neighborhoods. This is what I did to furnish and accessorize my own home! Furniture, accessories, artwork, etc. can all be found, and at a major discount, at estate sales, garage sales, and consignment shops. Big luxury homes usually yield big statement pieces, high-quality furniture and boujee accessories. This is why it is important to shop in the right neighborhoods. I’ve seen items such as unused luxury linens, light fixtures, draperies, books, fine China, sterling silver and silver-plated items, crystal, sculptures, pottery, etc. at very affordable prices.

For furniture, if you are not familiar with high-end furniture brands, some things to look out for are as follows:

  • The construction of the piece – is it well made? Does it look like a lot of time and effort were put into constructing it versus it having a mass-produced look? Does it wobble? If it is well made and is sturdy, then it signifies higher quality.
  • The type of material – is it high quality? Does it seem to have lasting ability? Does the fabric feel thick and tight? If so, this means expensive. Leather, for example, is typically a more luxurious material and screams luxury! Velvet, damask, tapestry and silk are also in this category.
  • The type of wood used – is the piece heavy and solid? Does it contain carvings and details? If the piece is super heavy, carved, ornate, and feels solid then it also is sign of high-end furniture. I always lift chairs when I visit estate sales and if I can barely lift them, I know I am looking at something that is of a good quality. Beware of furniture that is made to look old or luxurious, but not made of real solid wood. Laminate-covered particleboard is considered lower quality and should be avoided if you want to achieve the expensive look and have the item last.
  • Tip – If you want to familiarize yourself with luxury furniture brands visit a high-quality furniture store in your area and jot down the brand names you see. You may also visit high quality furniture websites or look at home decor magazines to do this. That way when you are at estate sales, consignment shops, etc. you are more knowledgeable on the furniture brands. 

 Drexel armoire found at an estate sale for a major steal!

6. Use Rich Color Palettes – Use rich paint colors. Think back to designer showrooms, parade/model homes and luxury hotels. In these sorts of places, you usually see rich, bold and sophisticated colors. Avoid using loud or obnoxious colors in your home, such as neon or bright colors. or too many color palletes.

Colors to show contrast against white woodwork will also make a huge impact! When you think sophisticated you may think navy blue, deep reds, brown tones, warm whites, neutrals, and even black! Black sounds crazy but it makes a statement, is classic and very sophisticated, especially when it contrasts with white paneling and woodwork. Have fun with it! My post about painting your walls black can be found here: Why You Should Paint Your Walls Black

More drama with the dark walls and gold frame!

Painting your ceiling the same color as the walls or a shade lighter can make the room appear larger. Painting a ceiling can be very striking and is very affordable.

Also, ensure you choose high quality paint, such as Benjamin Moore, Repcolite or even Sherwin Williams. In addition, quality brushes are key, especially when cutting in around ceilings and trim. My husband, who was trained to paint professionally, swears by Wooster or Purdy brushes. Before painting the walls make sure you properly prepare the walls by patching holes in the drywall, sanding and priming. Also, light sanding between coats is imperative as it will create a smooth finish. Visible imperfections on the walls and a subpar paint job will not look upscale. A beautiful paint job goes a long way and can make your home appear expensive. If you are not qualified to take on the task, hiring a professional painter is your best option to achieve a luxurious look.



7. Think Custom – Another thing that will make your home look more expensive is to have it not look like everyone else’s home. Having your home stand out by adding uniqueness will do the trick! Decorate in an eclectic manner, meaning decorate with items and materials from diverse sources. This will make your home remarkable, create interest and appear more luxurious.

Examples include – use of antiques, wallpapering a room, decorating with heirloom type pieces, and customizing a room with unique lighting.

  • You may be thinking this sounds expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! You may find a piece at a flea market, which looks like something you picked up in Paris! For example, I have a French style bench in my office I snagged for $30 at a consignment shop! Check out my tips to shopping a flea market here: Five Tips For Shopping a Flea Market
  • Wallpaper can be pricy, but to save on the cost, be sure to watch out for wallpaper sales so you can purchase rolls at a discount. You could even use peel and stick for a fraction of the cost. Wallpapering a smaller room or even an accent wall can make a huge impact and be quite affordable.
  • Use wallpaper to create a custom look!
  • You can find heirloom type pieces at estate sales, garage sales, or consignment shops at bargain! For example, I have a beautiful silver platter displayed in my kitchen I bought at a garage sale in an upscale area for $25. It looks super elegant and classy! It also has a dual purpose! Serving food when we entertain!
  • Updating old and out of date light fixtures can really change the look of a room. Even a bargain brand at Home Depot can achieve an upscale look. In our first apartment, we removed the cheap looking and dated light fixture in the dining room and replaced it with a nicer looking option found at Home Depot. Immediately the look of the room changed and suddenly our apartment appeared more expensive! Also, adding recessed lights can allow for uniformed lighting in your home while also adding 1%-3% to your home’s value. Thus, creating a more luxurious look.

8. Details! – I gave you some top-level techniques, but it’s also all about the details! Ultimately, think penthouse apartment, luxury hotel, mansion in the hills, etc. Some tips to intensify the luxurious look in your home are as follows:

  • Put white towels in the bathroom and roll them instead of folding them. Think luxury hotel! 
  • Use white or cream bedding – same luxury hotel concept as above. 
  • Decorate with metals – silver, gold and bronze pieces. Metals are heavy, shiny and give the impression of wealth.
  • Use floor-length draperies to make your rooms appear bigger and give an expensive look to your home.  Ensure the drapes puddle/kiss the floor. If your drapes do not touch the floor this gives off a more casual look. If you are going for the expensive look, ensure drapes puddle at least 2 to 4 inches. 6+ inches is even more elegant. 
  • Add tassels to doorknobs, cabinet knobs, bookcase pulls, apothecary jars, etc. This little detail can really make things look upscale.

There you have it, 8 tips to create that expensive look in your home on a dime! Have fun with it! Before you get started, first work on building up some inspiration by thumbing through home décor magazines, visiting high-end furniture stores, luxury hotel lobbies, art galleries, and parade/model homes in higher income areas. Watching TV shows and movies will do the trick as well, think Bridgerton, Million Dollar Listing, the Crown, Sex and the City, Home Alone, The Devil Wears Prada, etc.

Be patient with yourself and the process. Decorating your home with estate sale finds and vintage items takes time. This is because these pieces are considered one-of-a-kind items. I’ve been a frequent estate sale shopper for many years, so my home looks very full and unique. It took some time, and we still continue to add to it.

To get the high-end look for less, take it step by step. Start with the tips I recommended above that are both simple and free. A little can go a long way here. Gradually start thinking about how you can customize with paint, wallpaper, lighting, etc. Start shopping at estate sales, consignment shops, and garage sales in high income areas. Have fun treasure hunting and watch your home evolve over time! With all the unique pieces you find, your home will start standing out and making a grand statement!

Happy Shopping! Happy Decorating!

(16) Comments

  1. I love the ideas! I will try to look for large frames and fresh flowers to decorate my place. It will surely look artistic and homey!

    1. Great to hear! Have fun treasure hunting!

  2. Excellent tips and recommendations! I love the Michel Design Works Foaming Hand Soap; that soap smells incredible, and the timeless design is so sophisticated. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome. I love their soaps too. They smell nice and look nice too!

  3. These look amazing, thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome!

  4. Riyah Speaks says:

    These are some great tips. I definitely struggle with keeping My Home cluttered, which makes My Home look cheaper than it is.

    1. Yes, that is hard to do. I have 2 kids so there is always stuff being left out.

  5. I love your tips and have a large mirror that looks just like yours that I also purchased second hand. Some of my most expensive looking pieces were either acquired either second hand or were restoration projects.

    1. Wow!!! How cool! I love mirrors! I love secondhand shopping! Every piece has a story behind it.

  6. Wow, these ideas really caught my eye. Amazing designs all over that are worth trying out!

    1. Great to hear! Happy New Year 🙂

  7. So many great ideas. I love how they are all simple to do yet can make such a huge difference in making the home look more expensive.

    1. Thank you!!! Happy New Year to you.

  8. Laurel says:

    I love the wallpaper idea. They have renter friendly wallpaper as well!

    1. Great idea!!!!

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