Having a high-end looking home can be difficult, especially if you have a tight decorating budget. Fortunately, there are ways – even on a budget – that you can get the high-end look you dream of.
Interior designers have shared a few secrets over the years that have given homeowners some insight on how they can make their home look elegant without breaking the bank. From adding pillows and a fresh coat of paint to window treatments and hardwood floors, these are simple solutions you need to know about.
Here, you will discover 10 of the simplest and least expensive ways to make your home look elegant. Take the time to keep reading – you just might be surprised at these simple tricks to fooling your guests into thinking you live a high-end life.
1 ) Crown Molding – Details Matter
It’s all in the details. When it comes to decorating your home to look high-end and custom-made, details are key. In this instance, the detail is crown molding.
Crown molding has a way of making a room look complete or finished; it brings the ceiling and the walls together, giving them an elegant appearance. Without this finishing touch, rooms tend to look cheap or unfinished.
Fortunately, crown molding is relatively inexpensive (especially the plastic, paintable versions), making it affordable on almost any budget. There are many widths to choose from, but if you want a greater impact, chose the widest trim that your budget will allow. For the ultimate in glamour, try adding all types on molding to your home, i.e. crown, high baseboard, ceiling beams, columns, ceiling medallions, chair rails etc…
2) Paint – Color Matters
Paint color is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions to make when decorating a room, especially when the remaining décor will be based off the color palette. However, if elegance is what you are after, there are certain colors that add instant glamour to your home.
Choose one of these two color options—bold and dramatic OR soft, understated hues. These hues allow you to add instant elegance to your home. It simply depends on your color personality in terms of which option you choose.
Painting interior doors black is another great idea. It automatically creates an expensive feeling, without causing much damage to your wallet. If you choose this option, however, be sure to add some black accessories to the space to tie the overall design together.
3) Pillows – Comfort & Elegance
Pillows throughout your home serve two purposes. One, if they are chosen correctly, they can really punch-up the elegance factor. Two, they provide your guests with a little extra comfort on the couch, and offer a cozy, layered feeling to your rooms.
The comfort aspect speaks for itself, that is, if you choose pillows that are large enough to rest on, and soft. Speaking of size, you want to avoid the standard 12 to 18 inches for a throw pillow. Instead, choose something larger, such as a 22-inch pillow cover stuffed with 24-inch inserts.
Large, overstuffed pillows create a very plush, elegant appearance—and don’t skimp on the pillow inserts, down-filled is the only way to go.
4) Window Treatments
It’s simple—a home without window treatments will look unfinished and cheap. Fortunately, window treatments are one of the most budget-friendly ways to add some elegance to your home, as well as much-needed privacy.
When selecting window treatments you want to make smart choices. For instance, choosing unlined flimsy materials look terribly cheap, even if they are the least expensive option. It is recommended that you avoid see-through materials. This does not mean that you can’t buy off-the-rack curtains. A lot of chain stores offer lined draperies that appear elegant and expensive —even though the price is right.
When it comes to window treatments stick with elegant materials such as natural silk, linen and cotton (polyester or man-made fabrics usually look cheap). If draperies are not for you, then try woven bamboo shades or wood blinds. Just be sure to dress your windows—they ensure your home looks elegant and well-designed.
5) Hardware Finishes
It is true that you can walk into a home improvement store and be faced with an entire wall of drawer pulls and knobs. However, that is the exact moment that you should turn and walk out the door.
These bulk hardware pieces are inexpensive, but they are also poor quality and cheap-looking. For a few more dollars – although not enough to break the bank – you can get elegant, more expensive looking pieces elsewhere.
Smaller hardware stores, flea markets, and antique shops are the best places to look. You can find heavy-duty, expensive- looking drawer knobs and pulls at a much more affordable price, giving your home the elegant and unique look you desire.
6) Lighting Makes a Difference
Most contractors will choose standard lighting fixtures, which are probably the same they have used over and over again in all the homes they have built. However, designer light fixtures will add more elegance to your home than the standard chandelier.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to get the high-end look without the high-end price. Start by looking at flea markets and second-hand stores. You will get a unique piece at a budget-friendly price. Or try this bloggers trick of adding a drum shade around an old chandelier to get the custom look everyone is craving right now.
Some pieces may require a little buffing or a new paint job, but can look like a million dollars for just a few bucks. In addition, be sure to have several different light sources, including table lamps and floor lamps throughout the home to increase the elegant feeling.
7) Hardwood is Preferred Over Carpet
It is true that wall-to-wall carpeting in a home is warm and soft, but it does not equal the same elegance factor as solid, gleaming hardwood floors. Hardwood provides a classic, elegant appearance and can be found at an affordable price.
Purchasing hardwood for your home will be an investment, but it is definitely a wise one. Hardwood lasts a long time, and provides a nice return on investment, especially if you ever resell your home. Laminate is another option, but be sure to buy the best laminate on the market to ensure a lasting quality. In fact, if it is a choice between laminate or plush carpeting, we say choose the plush carpet.
To get the most for your money, you will want to look at different types of wood, as some are more expensive than others. For example, birch and oak are usually less expensive than cherry. Also, consider choosing a dark color for a more luxurious appearance, but be sure to add a few area rugs to tie the overall design of the room together from floor to ceiling.
8) Accessorize Your Home
Most average homes lack the necessary accessories to really bring that elegant touch to the space. While many may use the excuse that accessorizing would over-extend their budget, the exact opposite is true.
There are many affordable ways to accessorize your home while staying within your budget, especially if you think gold. Gold is associated with wealth and riches, and can instantly create an elegant feeling, as long as there is not too much gold in one space.
Accessorize with gold picture frames, gold mirrors, or one of the new, modern gold-legged tables that are appearing in designer showrooms.
9) Furniture Can Be Affordable
While many people feel that investing in expensive couches is not within their budget, buying cheaper furniture could cost you more in the end. They tend to look cheap and be put together poorly, which means they fall apart quicker.
If you want to have an elegant piece of furniture in your home, check out secondhand stores, estate sales, and consignment shops for quality pieces at a more affordable price. You may want to have the furniture reupholstered to match your décor.
The savings on the furniture still allows you room in the budget to get the items reupholstered, giving you a high-end designer look at a fraction of the cost.
10) Housekeeping— A Clean, Uncluttered Home is a Must
Surprisingly, one of the most affordable ways to make your home look elegant on a budget is actually free. All you need to do is clean and declutter your home. Weekly dusting and vacuuming can actually make your home feel high-end.
Secondly, cleaning allows you to take care of stains and spots on area rugs quickly, keeping them from being damaged and shabby-looking. The same is true for your furniture. Clean your windows, too—it allows natural light to readily fill the room, making it appear bright and welcoming.
Lastly, regular cleaning allows you to avoid clutter in your home. Not only do you feel better about your home, but it allows the other elements – pillows, accessories, paint, lighting, and flooring – to really stand out.