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10 Ways to Make Your House Look Expensive (without killing your budget)

10 EASY Ways to Make Your House Look Expensive (without killing your budget)

by Luciene Salomone, design and lifestyle expert

1. It’s all in the mix. The key to making your home look expensive, without breaking the bank, is mixing different styles you love and having them all come together with a common thread. I was once styling a family room that had a multi colored tiled floor (plum, blue and beige – 80s style) which didn’t flow with the rest of the home’s style. So to make things cost effective I kept the flooring, versus tearing it up, and played with darker tones pulled from the tile so it all blended. Then, I found mixed media accents such as leather rugs and textured leather chairs to compliment the room.

luxury Living Room

2. Be a smart shopper. Honing in on one store or one designer at once is not always the most cost effective route because it will cause you to over spend due to the fact that you just want to finish up your project – stat. Whenever I set out to design a new room or home I make sure to follow these easy tips and tricks:

  • Write down how much you’re willing to spend in your notebook or pad and stick to
  • Asses the room you are designing and write down the key pieces you want to fill it
  • Take some time and go to a design store or a public space that you love the décor in
  • Once you have your inspiration, start your journey and pick up a few pieces at a time that number.

This will prevent you from over buying.


3. Luxe for less. There are so many different websites to buy furniture and décor. But when you can’t see or touch the items in person, it’s tough to gauge the quality which is key when needing items that will last. My secret to finding luxe items for less is to hit the flea markets! My absolute favorite is in Paris, called the Marche Aux Puces where you can find unique, high end pieces for less. In NY I love to go to the Green Flea – the biggest and oldest in New York City and the Rose Bowl in LA where you can always find a great bargain! Overall, the key is to look at the bones, or the structure of an item because it can always be refinished or reupholstered to look brand new.

4. Cluster objects. A great way to make a space look high end is to cluster accessories you already have in the home either side by side, or one on top of the other. A great little trick in telling a story with accessorizing is to layer your favorite coffee table books on top of one another and then topping it off with a little dish filled with high end chocolates such as Maison Du Chocolate or Vosges. You can also use this approach when decorating book shelves which helps to create depth and dimension.

Kitchen Cabinet

5. Glam accents. People tend to go a little nuts with glam accents. Believe it or not, with too many gold tables and velvet chairs – it can make a room look disorganized and you will end up spending a ton. Accents should come after you purchase your big ticket items such as a sofa or dining room table and use them as a way to sprinkle in a little extra pizzazz. This makes a room look very luxe, and not overdone.

Living Room 2

6. Small space fix. A small room needs to appear larger than it is to feel comfortable. Using light colors such as white, cream or grey, will make walls appear to recede, creating a bright and airy feel. Not to mention, a neutral room allows you to bring out some pretty bold elements into your design that may otherwise look gaudy. If you aren’t convinced that neutral tones are the way to go, consider your budget and the fact that a light color will never go out of style, so you won’t have to repaint as often!

7. The big hang up. One of the most common questions I get asked is, “how do I hang pictures, without making my space look cluttered?” My answer is simply to asses what you want to hang, and go one wall at a time. When a client has an assortment of art, such prints, paintings, mirrors and instruments – I make sure to hang each item in similar frames, and cluster them so the “collection”acts as a full wall of art.

luxury library

8. Light up your room. Lighting is a major sign of design quality and one of the most affordable ways to update your home without going over budget. Where you put light fixtures, and how much light is being exposed are key elements to think about when creating ambiance. Working with a tight budget? Splurge on the dimmers and source light fixtures from mass stores like Home Depot or Home Goods for not only functional lighting, but also for fixtures that “look” beautiful.

Den lighting

9. Sweet dreams. Our homes are active just like our lives. So sinking into a cozy bed at night, makes all your hard work designing and renovating worth it. The secret to a happy bedroom, is a comfortable and relaxing bed.

  •  Opt for a cushy featherbed as the foundation for your bedding. As you’re sinking down, your contentment factor can’t go anywhere but up.
  • Sheets are important because they are the key materials that cover you up. Make a beeline to TJ Maxx or even go online to Amazon for sheets that are 100% cotton. It’s all about simple quality stuff.
  • While layers of pillows can look nice, they can also be pricy. Choose just a few to accent your bed and stay away from “bed in the bags.”

10. Dress your windows. Windows should be your final step in your home renovating project, but it’s important to keep them in mind when planning your budget as it can get costly. Shop discounted fabric stores and have sample panels made from luxe fabrics so you can bring them home to see how they fit (or don’t fit) with the room. Be sure to take into account the quality of the fabric, this will make all the difference and the quality will really shine through. If you don’t live near a fabric store, or just don’t have the resources, take a trip to your local home décor store and just make sure they are hung properly and wrinkle free to amp up the quality.

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