If you believed everything that you read on social media you would think that everyone has unlimited budgets when decorating their home. But for most it’s a choice between their home, booking a holiday or buying a car. Over 15 years of experience has taught me valuable tricks in how to make a home look expensive on a budget. And, now I am going to share them with you. After all, I love to travel as much as I love design so there has to be a balance for me too.
Fabrics have the biggest impact on the end look and feel of a room. Second to the walls and floors they are usually the largest visible items in a room. Add warmth and depth to a room by experimenting with texture and pattern.
Add Trim to Blinds and Curtains
Adding trim to window treatments is a budget friendly way to make a low cost blind or curtain look more expensive and tied to your theme. You don’t need to buy much to transform the look as you can add it to one edge. For extra impact I would recommend adding it to all edges. Any curtain maker will be able to add it for you or you can do it yourself. My favourite place to buy reasonably priced trim is Etsy.
Don’t forget that when hanging curtains and blinds mount them as close to the ceiling as possible. This will make the room look bigger and ceilings higher.
You Can Never Have too Many Jars
No matter what you’ve spent on your home if it’s cluttered it cheapens the look. Using storage you can keep everything tucked away and hidden out of sight. If like me you don’t have the luxury of a pantry you could organise a cupboard using kilner jars and embossed labels or hand labelled tags. It will make any kitchen feel high-end. You can buy beautiful jars everywhere at all price points – Ikea, John Lewis or Neptune.
Sideboards, window ledges look best with a few grouped items. Use different heights, texture and finish to add interest. Groups accessories in odd numbers – 3’s or 5’s are the best. Picture ledges are a great addition to a room if you want to display more. Use them for accessories and plants as well as pictures.
Less is More
A minimalist approach will make a space feel bigger and draw attention to the things you want to see. This applies to colour too. Our home is a mix of neutral tones such as grey, white and ecru with accents of navy blue and dusky pink depending on the room. Touches of metallic throughout add extra texture and light.
Create a focal point in a room and use symmetry to add balance and emphasis. The human eye finds symmetry appealing (some of the most attractive people have symmetrical faces). When designing a room double up on everything from side tables, cushions, chairs and lamps to create two matching halves of a room. To ensure the room doesn’t look too rigid use a throw, picture frame or sculpture.
Add texture using accessories to create a luxury feel. Wallpaper, carpets, throws, cushions all add texture and depth. Using different textures opens up possibilities to use different colours that you wouldn’t usually choose.
Coffee Table Books
These are a great accessory to have and can be completely personal to you and your scheme. Whether you opt for books on design, travel or large hard backed photo albums they will add a luxury feel. Charity shops are a great place to buy second hand hardback books. Take the jackets off and if they’re in good condition and match your room buy them. You can also paint hardback books to personalise them to your room.
My favourite coffee table books are linked here.
Create a Flow
If you look inside any house that has been professionally designed you will find the colour of the rooms flow for a cohesive feel throughout. Accent colours are then added in different quantities to personalise the room and make each feel different. By adding the colour using accessories like curtains, cushions etc. it’s quicker and cheaper to update the rooms when you want a change. Be careful and only limit the accent colours to two or three in a room.
Use Existing Details
Use architectural details such as beams, hardwood floors and built in bookshelves. These details are expensive so make them as prominent as possible. Keep them clutter free and the focal point of a room.
Is there anyone that doesn’t like stepping into a spa? One simple thing that you can do to recreate this feeling is to refresh your towels for white, fluffy towels like the kind that you find in a spa or fancy hotel. They will always give a luxurious feel to a bathroom and won’t fade like coloured towels. You can buy excellent white towels from John Lewis but the best I’ve found are from Tesco! I’ve added a link on the shopping list here.
If you fancy a splurge try some monogrammed towels. Coze do some lovely ones but I haven’t personally tried them yet.
Add Weighty Accessories
Bear with me on this one… Expensive items tend to have weight and volume – think of velvet curtains or heavy glassware. By using this theory when purchasing accessories you avoid a flimsy and low budget look. You can apply this to vases, picture frames and lamp bases. They all need to feel like they’re robust enough to pick up and won’t break at the slightest knock.
You can buy great second hand accessories on eBay or charity stores. If buying new there are lots of retailers to choose from but one of my favourites for home accessories is Zara or Amazon. There’s a shopping list here with links to a few of my current favourites.
If you’re feeling inspired to make your home look expensive I’ve selected some of my favourite items to give you a helping hand. Take a look here.