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How to Make Your Home Look Expensive and Fancy: Luxury on a Budget

We all want our home to be a showplace, but most of us have to worry about budgetary considerations.

Between family, chores, and working from home, I find it hard to keep my house looking presentable, let alone fancy. However, there are some hacks that you can use to make a home look sophisticated and elegant.

Moreover, living within a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t make your home look expensive. Let’s look at things that make your house look fancy and expensive.

To make your house look fancy and expensive, declutter by storing items neatly. Choose a cohesive design, repaint or wallpaper a room, upgrade lighting, and lay wooden flooring. Smaller projects are upcycling furniture, hanging drapes, laying rugs, and choosing luxury finishes. Display original art and flowers.

Luxury living room and text overlay that reads, "How to make your home look expensive and fancy".

Whether you want to sell, upgrade, or renovate your home, some common tricks of the trade transform any space. These ideas will help you have an expensive-looking home without a luxury budget.

14 Budget Friendly Ideas to Make Your Home Look Luxurious

#1. Start By Making Your Home Clutter Free

The first step in making your home look fancy is to clear up the clutter. Any magazine spread showcasing a beautiful home boasts carefully curated shelves, appliance-free counters, and a distinct lack of junk mail.

Of course, homes are full of people and their possessions, so a blank slate is unrealistic. Clearing out duplicates, throwing out garbage, and using tidy storage boxes and baskets containing the spill of shoes and toys makes your house look better immediately.

A hideous element of clutter is wiring, snaking off in all directions and tangling in an untidy heap. Try to build wiring into walls or keep it tidy with cable organizers.

Decluttering your space makes it look bigger, cleaner, and more inviting. Displaying only those items you love and want to showcase makes your home look unique and charming, creating a more sophisticated effect (and means less cleaning and dusting).

When countertops, stands, and other surfaces are clean and shining, it gives the whole home a sense of pride and care associated with the homes of people with more wealth.

#2. Cohesive Design

Neutral living room.

The starting point for a sophisticated-looking home is to stick to a single cohesive design. This doesn’t mean that each room must look the same, but that each space flows into the next.

For example, if you love a Scandi style, choose the same light wood flooring throughout the house, repeated textures, and similar minimalist furnishing to keep a golden thread through the home.

When you’re unsure of your style or have a very tight budget, it’s easiest to stick to neutral colors for curtains, rugs, and wall paint throughout, adding interest with pops of colorful accessories to ring the changes.

Remember that neutrals don’t have to be taupe or beige: dark blue and pale green are gorgeous as neutral or background colors.

#3. Go With a Fresh Coat of Paint in Neutral Colors

Living room with cream wall and white couch.


Repainting walls is one of the easiest and more affordable ways to refresh and upgrade any space. Decide whether you want to choose a single color and repaint throughout or if you want to create an accent or feature wall to add interest.

Paint can set the mood you want in your home, with lighter shades of white, cream, and blue creating a calm, tranquil atmosphere.

Gray remains popular but is waning as more earthy shades of red and pink are warmer and more welcoming.

Going bold with an eye-catching shade immediately changes the mood of a room, making it look artsy and sophisticated.

Painting your ceilings the same color as the walls draws the eye upward, giving the illusion of a higher ceiling and a more spacious room.

Also, consider painting your door and window frames in a contrasting color: this creates a dramatic and fresh effect and can add color without going overboard.

#4. Hang Wallpaper

Living room with Monstera wallpaper.

Although painting may be less expensive, a wallpapered wall is more luxurious. There are endless wallpaper designs to suit any decor design, and they come in both permanent and temporary applications.

Consider wallpapering a single accent wall or wrapping a room like a delightful gift. Adhesive wallpaper allows you to experiment and update a room without the commitment of traditional wallpaper.

Lighter colors and more subtle patterns are elegant and sophisticated, as larger prints can be distracting and overwhelming.

#5. Add Decorative Moldings

Living room with decorative molding and fireplace.


Making your home look fancier need not mean a complete renovation. Adding luxury finishes creates the look without breaking the bank.

Adding decorative molding is one option that is relatively easy to install and with a big payoff in elegance. Do it yourself or pay an expert to install the decorative molding. It looks most sophisticated when painted the same color as the walls.

Adding crown moldings to your home also makes your home look a bit more expensive even when you are on a budget. The more finished each room in your house looks the more expensive your home will look overall.

#6. Upgrade that Dated Lighting

Kitchen with modern lighting.

Updating your lighting fixtures to more modern fixtures can also add value to your home. Unfortunately, outdated lighting fixtures are one of the things that make your home look dated.

Whether you have an old fashioned chandelier over your dining table, or lamps in your living room that have seen better days, updating them to more modern style lights will give the room a whole different look.

Even in a rented apartment, you can upgrade the lighting by installing new light fixtures. Not only will they improve the ambiance of a room, but light fittings can also stand out as a decorative feature, the jewelry of a room.

There are three types of lighting, and each can add value:

  • Ambient or general lighting is usually ceiling-mounted. Replacing a dull “boob” light with an eye-catching pendant light or outsize chandelier immediately adds interest and draws the eye upwards, creating the illusion of a high ceiling. Adding a dimmer switch is a luxurious yet inexpensive touch, especially if you entertain in the evening.
  • Task lighting refers to lamps for reading, at a desk, or lighting for prep spaces in the kitchen. Adding a sculptural lamp is both aesthetic and practical, so the overhead light need not be harsh. New, trendy lamp shades are a simple way to update your decor: lamp shades can look old-fashioned.
  • Accent lighting adds to the atmosphere, making a room look elegant. Consider putting up picture lights to highlight artworks, recessed lighting, or wall-mounted sconces, which are artworks in themselves. Remember that candles are an inexpensive way to introduce mood lighting into a room.

#7. Choose Luxe Accessories and Add Texture to Your Home

Vases, couch, throw pillows and blanket.

We can’t all install a new wooden floor or replace our furniture. Still, you can make small changes to enjoy a more lavish lifestyle.

Choose accessories made with luxury materials, even if they are faux and not antique. A small marble-topped table, a pile of heirloom books, brass shoes, or a gorgeous vase combine to create Insta-worthy vignettes.

Add textures to a room by layering cashmere throws, heaping opulent cushions, and hanging lush curtains. Luxurious textures are supremely tactile and look upscale.

By carefully choosing the accents you place in each room you can add a look of expensiveness to even the simplest room in your home without breaking the bank.

#8. Fresh Flowers and Plants

Green couch potted plant and flower in a vase.

Freshly cut flowers and glossily green pot plants add a beautiful finishing touch to any room, making it look homely but well-maintained.

If you can’t get fresh flowers, branches and beautifully shaped leaves are an excellent option. Plants and flowers bring a natural element to any space, add rich color and fragrance, and can highlight other colors, patterns, and textures.

The vase or pot you choose is an added decorative element: outsize vases always look splendid, even if they’re filled with dried flowers.

#9. Change Your Bathroom and Kitchen Hardware (Add Luxury Finishes)

kitchen hardware

While it may seem like a little thing, investing some good money into buying high quality bathroom and kitchen hardware can make your home look far more luxurious.

Elegant high quality hardware installed on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets will go a long way to making your home look and feel more expensive.

You don’t need to refit your bathroom with marble. Instead, upgrade the hardware by fitting new faucets, towel bars, and door handles.

Likewise, repaint the kitchen cabinets but put in that porcelain sink you’re longing for. Replace your light switches, door handles, and drawer pulls with the same finish to create cohesion.

Adding metallic accessories creates a luxe feel; however, be careful not to fall into a blingy trap and overdo it on the chrome or gold. A vintage mirror with a silver frame, a brass tray, or a picture with gold leaf is enough.

#10. Update Your Window Treatments

Fancy living room with tan curtains.

Updating your window treatments can make a big difference in how lush your home looks. Choosing quality window treatments for all of the windows in your home will flatter the look of your home.

Bespoke drapes transform a room, making it look luxurious and expensive. Unfortunately, this is because custom-made curtains are costly. However, investing in well-made, lined curtains is a practical way to upgrade your home from mediocre to magnificent.

Don’t leave your windows bare if you can’t afford custom-made drapes. Curtains provide privacy, block out light, and, most importantly, finish a room.

Hanging your drapes as high as possible (about 4-6 inches above the window pane) creates a dramatic swathe of gorgeous fabric and gives the room the illusion of height and space.

Another trick is to use the most opulent material you can find and let it puddle on the floor: velvet, satin, and linen give a lavish impression, while billowy muslin is romantic.

Drapes aren’t your only option. Putting up Roman blinds or a roll-up shade is a more pared-down look –don’t opt for vertical blinds, or you’ll feel like you live in an office.

#11. Upcycle Existing Furniture

Elegant armchair and pillow.

Mass-produced flatpack furniture is sure to make your home look cheap and bland. I know that buying new furniture to make your home more elegant is pricey, but there are ways to upgrade furnishings.

For a start, consider upcycling your existing furniture by reupholstering chairs and sofas and refreshing the decorative pillows.

Replacing the foam in cushions makes them far more comfortable, while fabrics like satin and velvet immediately add an opulent feel.

Another option is to buy second-hand or antique furniture from estate sales or thrift shops. You can pick up bargain items, which come with history and character. Avoid MDF, laminates, softwood, and melamine, which immediately look cheap.

Go for a vintage and classic, visually exciting shape. Here’s a designer secret: furnishings and accessories with curves always look more expensive, so check an armchair’s legs, the form of a mirror, or even the top of a side table.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match wooden furniture, especially if it’s vintage and has a similar color. Combine different textures and styles to create a unique, sophisticated space.

#12. Invest In Wooden Flooring

Bedroom with wood floor.

Gorgeous natural wooden flooring is timeless and classic, immediately setting a sophisticated tone. It’s durable, warm, and never goes out of style – but it is a hefty investment.

More budget-friendly options include a reclaimed wood floor, with natural character or a high-quality laminate, especially for the kitchen and bathroom. Choose lighter wood for fresh, Scandi-style, or darker wood for elegance and drama.

#13. Layer Rugs

Luxury living room.

While you can choose rugs for their texture and warmth underfoot, they can be much more. I’m not advising wall-to-wall carpets – get rid of those dust-catchers if possible.

Instead, buy beautifully colored or patterned rugs that add a luxurious touch to any room. A well-chosen carpet makes a room’s design look planned rather than a haphazard collection of items.

Choose durable rugs that are easy to clean and stain-resistant, especially if you have a procession of kids and pets coming through. Anchor them with rug pads to avoid slippage and dangerous curled edges.

Measure the space so your rug doesn’t end up too big or too small. A disproportionate rug ruins a room, so layer up a couple of carpets rather than get one ill-fitting one.

#14. Display Original Art

Modern room with floral wall arts.

A curated collection of art, whether pottery, bronzes, or paintings, gives your home individuality and history. Mass-produced artworks fill a gap, but nothing says luxurious more than original art and antiques.

Pick up unusual items at flea markets or antique stores. Lamps, mirrors, and picture frames are reasonably priced and add interest to a room.

One of my favorite possessions is a wooden Chinese lunch box that I carried across the world and now takes pride of place in my entrance hall. The patina and history of the piece infuse the room with charm.

Create a gallery wall with framed photographs of your family, sketches done by your kids, and that cross-stitch from grandma. A series of mass-produced images doesn’t have nearly the same charm and can even make your home look cheap.

Final Thoughts on Tips to Make Your Home Look Expensive and Sophisticated

You don’t need to spend a fortune on home decor to make your home look elegant and classy. All you is a little creativity to make it all come together.

You can make your home look fancy by repainting, putting in wooden floors, replacing the light fixtures, and adding luxury fittings. However, decluttering, hanging curtains, adding rugs and cushions, and displaying your favorite items go a long way to creating a more sophisticated impression.

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