Do you dream of having that lavish apartment or home, one in which you can be proud to entertain guests? And do you dream of those guests looking around at your place in awe, envious of your style and class?
And if you dream of these things, is a shoestring budget holding you back? If so, don’t worry—you’re about to learn how to do it without spending your next few months’ grocery money. Yes—it is possible to make your place look like a million bucks for just a few twenties.
The secret, here, lies in creative problem solving—if you want a classy look without paying the price, you simply have to put a little work into figuring out how to catch the eye with inexpensive materials.
To help you jump-start your decorating, let’s take a look at 8 cheap ways to make your home look expensive.
Paint the Linoleum
Do you have those ugly old vinyl or linoleum floors that make your place look like it belongs to the past?
Fear not! A great and inexpensive home upgrade involves painting over those ugly patterns and yellowed colors. And all it will cost is the money for some primer, a bucket of porch and floor paint, some rollers, and some painter’s tape.
First, select the colors and patterns you wish to use—if you want a more modern look, go for stripes in contrasting colors.
Next, you’re going to clear the floor area that is to be painted, and scrub it as clean as you can make it. If it’s dirty, your paint won’t adhere to the slick texture very well.
Now, you’ll prime the floor, using something like KILZ General Purpose Interior Primer. Use as many coats as necessary to hide those unsightly colors beneath a uniform coat of white primer.
And now for the fun part! After allowing the primer to dry overnight, paint your floor with whatever color you consider to be the “base” color.
After the base layer of paint dries, measure how wide you’d like your stripes to be, and mark those stripes off with tape. Now, paint your stripes, let it all dry, and you’re done!
Voila—you now have beautifully updated floors! For a visual tutorial, check out this blog post on painting linoleum floors.
Change the Hardware
Hidden throughout your home are multiple opportunities for improvement—namely, your light switches, power outlets, cabinet hardware, and curtain tie-backs!
If you head over to any hardware store, you’ll find a plethora of beautiful alternatives to your bland outlet and light switch covers. These can come in various metals, woods, and even archaic toggle switches.
This is one of the easiest ways to give your home some extra pizazz—believe it or not, people will notice when you replace your yellowed old plastic covers with beautiful oiled bronze or mahogany replacements.
The knobs and handles on your kitchen cabinets can also be cheaply replaced with something that oozes opulence. Again, just head over to your local Home Depot and ask!
And don’t forget about the curtains! Adding a simple set of fancy tie-back hardware can add class to any room.
Details like this are what make a home look expensive, so don’t neglect them!
Give Your Ceiling Some Color
Giving a room a pop of color in the form of an accent ceiling is a great way to really make a home look fancy and classy. Guests will come away with the impression that you spend your evenings rubbing elbows with important people if you pull this one off.
It’s simple—just choose a bold color, and get painting. You may not have ever considered painting your ceiling, but this detail can make all the difference.
Take risks with this. Go with a crazy color or stripes or something glossy—as long as it suits the room, go for it. All you need is primer, paint, rollers, and a little time.
Check out these examples of creatively painted ceilings for a few ideas before you start.
Make it Minimal
Who would have thought that having less can make you look like you have more?
Embracing minimalism in your design choices can make your home look elegant and classy, and for exactly zero cost. All you have to do is get rid of the clutter, emphasizing the most important pieces of your décor.
So what does this mean? It means clearing off those tables. It means getting rid of a few of those chairs no one ever sits in. It means using one area rug in the room instead of the eight mismatched horrors you got from Wal-Mart in 1995.
Try to create the impression of clean lines throughout your home, and stick to simple colors—black, white, natural, and metal hues. When you do feature a pop of color, let it be through a piece of bold art.
The effect of minimalism is one of subtlety and sophistication—your guests will be impressed. Try it out!
Layer Those Textures
One of the secrets to creating a classy room lies in layering textures.
For this, you don’t have to buy anything expensive or fancy—you can get whatever you need at stores like Ross or TJ Maxx or even a thrift store. You can even just find things out in nature!
Combining a variety of textures throughout each room of your home keeps things looking chic and exciting. Your guests’ eyes will be invited to rove and play, and they’ll be impressed.
There’s nothing complicated or mysterious about this. Start with the floor, and grab an area rug—even if your floor is already carpeted. Next, mix up a variety of accessories with various finishes—natural items like sticks or shells, or manmade things such as glass, metals, pillows, and woven trays. Finally, go grab some interesting curtains that differ in texture from anything you currently have in the room.
Experiment all you like, and check out this blog post that gives some great visual examples of layering that you can steal for yourself.
Use Contact Paper
Contact paper is a godsend. With this miracle substance, you can cover even the ugliest cabinets, countertops, and windowsills with any pattern you can imagine.
The concept is simple. You buy some contact paper you like. You measure the surface on which you want to stick it. You cut the contact paper to size and shape, and slap it on. Instantly, you have a brand-new surface!
This is a great way to add pops of color to your walls, make large windowsills exciting, and even make the insides of bookcases beautiful. But one of the most effective uses lies in the kitchen, where contact paper can utterly transform your cabinets and counters, giving your kitchen the appearance of being constructed of expensive materials like granite and hardwood.
Try some contact paper today—it’s easy and cheap!
Move Those Rugs
This is a simple trick that few people know, but one that that is particularly transformative to a bedroom.
Area rugs should section off areas of your room, not bisect them. This simply means that you shouldn’t place your area rug at the foot of your bed—it should go under it, and extend outward all around the bed, defining the sleeping area.
Likewise, in your living room, your rug should be large enough to go beneath your main seating arrangements, defining the sitting area.
Think of your rugs as mini-rooms unto themselves. You wouldn’t place a bed half in and half out of a room. You wouldn’t put your couch halfway into your kitchen. So don’t do that with your rugs.
This simple trick can leave your guests with the sense that your home is sophisticated, and that you know what you’re doing with your décor.
Go Bold With a Centerpiece
Once you’ve begun to reorganize and spruce up your home, you might begin to feel like it’s missing something. And that’s probably because it is—you need a bold centerpiece to anchor all your work together!
Ideally, this will be a large, bold piece of art—something which you can probably find in a thrift store for little cost. Alternatively, you can use a large vinyl sticker and adhere it to a highly visible section of wall in your home.
Whatever you do, make it bold—this is something that needs to draw the eyes of everyone who walks into the room.
Making a grand statement is one of the things that makes a home look expensive and classy, so find something big, beautiful, and colorful to place into your living room.
Elegant and Inexpensive
As you can see, beauty doesn’t have to be expensive—in fact, if you follow these tips, you’re smarter than those who blow a savings account just for a little aesthetic improvement. There is very little you can’t achieve with a little ingenuity, an eye for detail, and a willingness to search the thrift stores.
With these, you can turn even the cheapest little studio apartment into an opulent den of beautiful décor.