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36 Ways to Make Your House Look Expensive

It’s not a secret that we all want that pretty magazine-worthy home. Our homes are the essence of who we are, and we want them to be expressions of ourselves, but we also want to convey style, design, and taste. Anyone can achieve the richness and luxury that come with a magazine-worthy home.

You have to be smart with your decor and know a few tricks of the trade! In this article, we will share 36 ways to make your house look expensive even if you’re working with a budget.

Paint Doors a Contrasting Color

Instead of the standard, basic white, paint your doors differently. Add in a pop of dark contrast for a more luxe look.

Long hallway with a plank barrel ceiling elegantly displaying a cascading chandelier over a light gray vintage rug layered on oak floors. A black arch front door brings a unique look contrary to a dull standard door.
Photo Credit: Amy Storm & Co – Long hallway with a plank barrel ceiling elegantly displaying a cascading chandelier over a light gray vintage rug layered on oak floors. A black arch front door brings a unique look contrary to a dull standard door.

You could try a steely gray or a mushroomy taupe. Go bold with a punch of color if that’s your style. Choosing anything but plain white makes your home feel custom without spending a lot.

Add Molding, Wall Trim, or Architectural Details

There are many ways to DIY molding and wall trim. You can beef up your existing crown molding by adding additional molding around it. Adding millwork or some form of wall treatment to your spaces is a huge plus for adding a layer of luxury.

Blue and purple abstract art are hung in a contemporary living room over wainscoting and on either side of a doorway.
Photo Credit: K+Co Living

Declutter

If you really want to know how to make your house look expensive for free, decluttering doesn’t cost a thing. You don’t necessarily have to be a minimalist, but the goal should be to make a “home” for every item in a room.

Minimal white and rift sawn oak cabinet kitchen with extra thick concrete countertops.
Photo Credit: Kristen Bombeck Minimal white and rift sawn oak cabinet kitchen with extra thick concrete countertops.

Go Large with Wall Art

It doesn’t have to be expensive at all. There are so many DIY wall art options out there to inspire creativity. You can also visit the thrift store to find large canvases to paint over.

Contemporary living room features modern black and white lounge chairs on a black rug with white coffee table, abstract art over a marble look fireplace mantel and a living wall over a blue credenza.
Photo Credit: Widell and Boschetti – Contemporary living room features modern black and white lounge chairs on a black rug with white coffee table, abstract art over a marble look fireplace mantel and a living wall over a blue credenza.

Even though it isn’t that expensive to create, large-scale art gives the illusion that it costs a couple of thousand dollars.

Change Out Your Hardware

It’s amazing how taking basic cabinets and adding unique knobs can create a major wow factor. Add some interesting drawer pulls to a plain dresser, or swap out your doorknobs around the house for ones with a vintage or ultra-modern vibe. That one small detail makes such a difference.

Tall tan plank cabinets donning brass pulls are fixed beside sliding frosted glass cabinet doors stacked over tan plank drawers.
Photo Credit: Collective Studio – Tall tan plank cabinets donning brass pulls are fixed beside sliding frosted glass cabinet doors stacked over tan plank drawers.

Streamline Your Gallery Walls

Creating colorful, eclectic, quirky gallery walls is so much fun, but if your goal is to create the illusion of “high end,” scaling back on the variety of colors, shapes, and textures achieves that look.

Gold framed gallery wall on a white wall adds a sophisticated appeal above a white sofa with Greek key trim and blue pillows. A light gray oak coffee table on a tan and white geometric rug completes the living space with a cozy finish.
Photo Credit: Kristen Nix – Gold framed gallery wall on a white wall adds a sophisticated appeal above a white sofa with Greek key trim and blue pillows. A light gray oak coffee table on a tan and white geometric rug completes the living space with a cozy finish.

Choose art or photos that are within a similar color palette. Incorporate frames that are similar or identical in size and shape. Arrange them in a geometric layout like a grid or stair step.

Choose Natural Materials

Whenever possible, incorporate materials that are found in nature. Go with real marble instead of laminate, or pick solid wood furnishings rather than veneer.

A pull-out faucet is fixed to a gray marble kitchen island countertop over a gray marble sink in a beautifully appointed kitchen.
Photo Credit: Venegas and Company – A pull-out faucet is fixed to a gray marble kitchen island countertop over a gray marble sink in a beautifully appointed kitchen.

Leather, antique brass, and crystal are luxe compared to their cheaper alternatives, and you can often score them on Facebook Marketplace or at antique stores. Pulling these materials together creates the feeling that your house is luxurious and expensive too.

Add Flowers or Plants

Every room needs at least a couple of plants or flowers to add some life to a space. Think spa. Greenery adds that little bit of zen to a room. These are some of our favorite faux flowers that look realistic to place in a vase.

Light gray oak block coffee table on a hexagon jute rug is centered between a white Greek key sofa and various accent chairs in a transitional living room design.
Photo Credit: Kristen Nix – Light gray oak block coffee table on a hexagon jute rug is centered between a white Greek key sofa and various accent chairs in a transitional living room design.

Use White Bed Linens

When you visit a luxury hotel, the sheets are always white. They feel clean and crisp, and bonus points: they can be bleached. By using white sheets and duvets in your bedrooms, you’re evoking that same luxury hotel feeling in your home.

Bedroom features a small gold sunburst mirror over a black 4 poster bed with white bedding.
Photo Credit: Lauren DeLoach – Bedroom features a small gold sunburst mirror over a black 4 poster bed with white bedding.

Use White Towels

Just like with white bedding, use white towels to create a high-end spa feeling in your bathrooms.

White and gray bathroom styled with a brown wooden vintage chair storing folded towels beside a white clawfoot tub atop large gray hexagon floor tiles.
Photo Credit: Hazel and Brown – White and gray bathroom styled with a brown wooden vintage chair storing folded towels beside a white clawfoot tub atop large gray hexagon floor tiles.

Use Two Duvets

There is a lot to be said about how to make a bedroom look and feel luxurious, and a lot of it revolves around the styling of the bed. It makes sense since it’s the focal point of the bedroom.

A white upholstered wingback bed is complemented with tan and brown layered pillows placed on white and tan bedding.
Photo Credit: Bria Hammel – A white upholstered wingback bed is complemented with tan and brown layered pillows placed on white and tan bedding.

So, if you want your bed to look extra luxurious, try layering two duvets. You can put them both in the same duvet cover, and it will look like you have an extra fluffy, puffy duvet, or you can use two separate coordinating duvet covers. Pair this with nice plump king-sized pillows and a few throw pillows, and your bed will look like it came straight out of a luxury hotel!

Hang Your Curtains High and Wide and Lightly Puddle the Floor

This gives the illusion of a more grand room by making ceilings appear taller, and windows appear larger. Make sure they’re long enough to hang floor to ceiling, so the hem of your curtains barely touches the floor or slightly puddle for a more relaxed, romantic look.

Bathroom features a bay window with oval bathtub, a round nickel and glass accent table and cream curtains.
Photo Credit: Bonesteel Trout Hall – Bathroom features a bay window with oval bathtub, a round nickel and glass accent table and cream curtains.

Customize Your Lighting

When in doubt, go oversize! If you don’t know how to make your house look expensive, start with the lighting. Swap out the dreaded “boob lights” and builder-grade lights for ones more definitive of your style. It’s better to choose a light fixture or chandelier that is slightly oversized than one that is too small for the room.

Elegant dining room features an ivory beaded chandelier that illuminates Serena & Lily balboa chairs at a Serena & Lily terrace dining table atop a tan rug and cream curtains.
Photo Credit: Feather Hill Interiors – Elegant dining room features an ivory beaded chandelier that illuminates Serena & Lily balboa chairs at a Serena & Lily terrace dining table atop a tan rug and cream curtains.

Add Built-Ins

Built-in shelving, window seats, or closets can be expensive, but if you know how to make them yourself using IKEA hacks, they’re a great beginner-level carpentry project that can customize a room for way less than the real thing.

White styled shelves fixed over white cabinets with brass hardware flank a built-in window seat.
Photo Credit: Kate Marker Interiors – White styled shelves fixed over white cabinets with brass hardware flank a built-in window seat.

Use Appropriately Sized Rugs

When walking into a space that has a too-small rug, it immediately feels off balance. If you live in an open-concept home, rugs can help define individual living spaces.

An oatmeal linen sectional sits beneath a ceiling finished with wood beams and on a gray jute rug facing a brown oak coffee table.
Photo Credit: Purity Designs – An oatmeal linen sectional sits beneath a ceiling finished with wood beams and on a gray jute rug facing a brown oak coffee table.

Check clearance sections on store websites for rugs, or set up notifications on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Many people buy rugs and change their minds but can’t return them, so you can swoop in to get the deal.

Layer Your Lighting

Designers often recommend for a room have three types of lighting: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Layering these types of lighting adds depth to a room and helps set the mood.

Placed in a headboard nook custom lit by recessed lighting, an ivory tufted wingback headboard supporting a bed dressed in white and gray bedding topped with layered gray and yellow pillows flanked by styled bluish gray built-in shelves positioned above gray drawers fitted with brass pulls. The bed sits on an ivory rug lit by a flush mount light as walls are framed by gray crown molding and baseboards.
Photo Credit: Artelier Noel – Placed in a headboard nook custom lit by recessed lighting, an ivory tufted wingback headboard supporting a bed dressed in white and gray bedding topped with layered gray and yellow pillows flanked by styled bluish gray built-in shelves positioned above gray drawers fitted with brass pulls. The bed sits on an ivory rug lit by a flush mount light as walls are framed by gray crown molding and baseboards.
  • Ambient or “general” lighting – canned lights, chandeliers, ceiling-mounted fixtures, buffet lamps, etc.
  • Task lighting – lights to help you see tasks better, such as under-cabinet lights, desk lamps, reading lamps, etc.
  • Accent lighting – lights that create a feeling of “atmosphere,” such as picture lights, candlelight, wall-mounted sconces, etc.

Go for Down or Down Alternative Throw Pillows One Size Larger

Ditch the floppy poly-fill throw pillow inserts for down or down alternative ones to make your beds and sofas feel a little more upscale. If possible, choose inserts one size larger than your throw pillow covers.

Welcoming master bedroom sitting area features a white curtain hung from an oil rubbed bronze rod in front of a nook boasting a round ottoman placed in front of dove gray wingback chairs lit by a brass lantern hung in front of windows.
PHoto Credit: CH Designs – Welcoming master bedroom sitting area features a white curtain hung from an oil rubbed bronze rod in front of a nook boasting a round ottoman placed in front of dove gray wingback chairs lit by a brass lantern hung in front of windows.

Paint Walls and Trim the Same Color

If you’re feeling extra brave, paint the ceiling too! The result is the illusion of a room with more square footage.

Gray curtains are layered in front of a bamboo roman shade hung above an oatmeal linen sofa lit by a brass pharmacy lamp. A black stripe cube ottoman sits beside the sofa, in front of a board and batten wall, and beneath a ceiling finished with stained wood beams.
Photo Credit: Studio McGee – Gray curtains are layered in front of a bamboo roman shade hung above an oatmeal linen sofa lit by a brass pharmacy lamp. A black stripe cube ottoman sits beside the sofa, in front of a board and batten wall, and beneath a ceiling finished with stained wood beams.

Incorporate Heirloom Quality Pieces

You can find high-quality furniture pieces at estate sales for a total bargain! And now that grand millennial style is “in,” that creates even more opportunity to grant vintage furniture a new lease on life.

Vintage botanical prints in gold frames hang from a wall covered in Sanderson Summer Harvest wallpaper over a raffia wrapped dresser.
Photo Credit: Bria Hammel Interiors – Vintage botanical prints in gold frames hang from a wall covered in Sanderson Summer Harvest wallpaper over a raffia wrapped dresser.

Update Your Lamp Shades

Lamps can date a room instantly, but simply swapping out an old lamp shade for one that’s more modern on the existing base, creates a whole new look without purchasing an entirely new lamp.

Brown and blue cottage foyer design features navy blue double gourd lamps with blue stripe lamp shades on a brown oak spindle console table with Chinese ginger jars and a blue stripe rug.
Photo Credit: Maine House Interiors – Brown and blue cottage foyer design features navy blue double gourd lamps with blue stripe lamp shades on a brown oak spindle console table with Chinese ginger jars and a blue stripe rug.

Use Neutrals Wisely

When the budget is tight, stick to neutrals as your “base” for sophistication- like curtains, furniture, area rug, and paint colors. Then, allow pops of color and trends to shine through your home decor accents. It’s much easier to change those smaller accents later versus changing an entire room of large bold, patterned pieces.

Beneath windows covered in bamboo roman shades, a rattan lamp sits on a blond x-table placed between white roll arm chairs topped with blue stripe pillows. The chairs sit on a jute rug facing a rattan stool coffee table.
Photo Credit: Sarah Bartholomew – Beneath windows covered in bamboo roman shades, a rattan lamp sits on a blond x-table placed between white roll arm chairs topped with blue stripe pillows. The chairs sit on a jute rug facing a rattan stool coffee table.

Don’t Hold Back on Bold, Rich Hues

On the flip side, don’t be afraid to punch a room with a hit of bold, rich color if your heart says to go for it! Navy blue paint is a good example because it’s dramatic and sophisticated but can still act as neutral when you want it to. If you’re going to go all in, go all in.

Contemporary foyer features a brown oak credenza lit by black marble lamps with brass shades on a glossy green lacquered wall with a white sunburst mirror, green French doors, green octagon ceiling molding and black and white harlequin floor tiles.
Photo Credit: Kate Davis Design – Contemporary foyer features a brown oak credenza lit by black marble lamps with brass shades on a glossy green lacquered wall with a white sunburst mirror, green French doors, green octagon ceiling molding and black and white harlequin floor tiles.

The best guideline for creating a luxe-looking home in case choosing paint colors scares you: pick the paint colors at the very top or very bottom of the paint color sample strip. There’s a feeling of sophistication when it comes to high-contrast spaces.

Mat Your Photos

There’s something about adding that thick, white paper mount around a photo that makes it feel special and important. You can find all kinds of picture frames already matted at Target or Walmart, or pick up a mat at the craft store for around $5-10 to fit any frames you already own.

A brass picture light is mounted to a white wall over gold gallery frames.
Photo Credit: Britt Design Studio – A brass picture light is mounted to a white wall over gold gallery frames.

Make an Impact with Wallpaper

Nothing says custom in a house quite like wallpaper. If you’re afraid of commitment, go with peel-and-stick instead of the pasted type.

Anna French Savoy Cleo Vine Wallpaper covers a staircase wall positioned behind an ivory linen bench.
Photo Credit: Lee Owen Designs -Anna French Savoy Cleo Vine Wallpaper covers a staircase wall positioned behind an ivory linen bench.

Add a Backsplash

If you want to make your kitchen look more expensive for not a lot of money, add a backsplash to the drywall under your cabinets. If tile is too pricey or you don’t feel quite skilled enough, something like a DIY pressed tin backsplash is a fast, tool-free, inexpensive alternative.

Kitchen features blond floating shelves on a rustic stone backsplash and white cabinetry accented with bronze pulls.
Photo Credit: Pure Salt Interiors -Kitchen features blond floating shelves on a rustic stone backsplash and white cabinetry accented with bronze pulls.

Be Mindful of Your Home’s Scent

Run a diffuser with some of your favorite essential oils; warm wax melts, light a candle, and get a plug-in fragrance diffuser. Charcoal bags are great for absorbing old house smells and cooking smells.

Modern nickel faucets compliment gray marble countertop and Ava vanity mirror. Countertop styling is completed with eucalyptus leaves in a glass vase, decorative candles, and a yellow sponge.
Photo Credit: Scout and Nimble – Modern nickel faucets compliment gray marble countertop and Ava vanity mirror. Countertop styling is completed with eucalyptus leaves in a glass vase, decorative candles, and a yellow sponge.

Whatever you choose, the smell in our homes creates a sensory experience unlike any other. That one change can do so much.

Mismatch Your Furniture

Resist the urge to buy all your living room furniture or bedroom furniture as one set from the furniture store. Instead, swap out one of the matching dressers with a dresser in another bedroom to allow variation.

A large landscape art piece hangs over a white nailhead sofa placed facing a kilim bench and paired with a yellow leather French accent chair. The sofa is flanked by light gray built-in shelves mounted over light gray cabinets.
Photo Credit: Marie Flanigan – A large landscape art piece hangs over a white nailhead sofa placed facing a kilim bench and paired with a yellow leather French accent chair. The sofa is flanked by light gray built-in shelves mounted over light gray cabinets.

Reflect Light in Dark Spaces with Mirrors

One of the best interior design tricks to make a house look expensive is by reflecting light on dark walls opposite windows with a mirror to help rooms feel bigger and brighter.

Styled built-in olive green living room shelves are mounted over cabinets accented with leather tab pulls. While a map art piece is mounted above a black skirted sofa positioned on layered rugs.
Photo Credit: Kate Marker Interiors – Styled built-in olive green living room shelves are mounted over cabinets accented with leather tab pulls. While a map art piece is mounted above a black skirted sofa positioned on layered rugs.

Put Toys In Cabinets and Bins When Not In Use

Utilize bins, closets, and cabinets to keep toys out of sight after playtime. Bonus: It teaches kids the responsibility of cleanup time too.

Floor to ceiling green built-in toy shelf decorated and styled with knick-knacks and woven storage bins for an organized appeal.
Photo Credit: Studio McGee – Floor to ceiling green built-in toy shelf decorated and styled with knick-knacks and woven storage bins for an organized appeal.

Thrift for Vintage Items

By mixing old and new decor, your home feels a bit more steeped in history and adds a layer of sophistication.

Workspace features vintage wooden desk with drawers.
Photo Credit: Mandy Cheng Design – Workspace features vintage wooden desk with drawers.

Be Intentional with Household Items

Decant hand soap into glass soap dispensers, keep cooking utensils in a displayable container, store Q-tips in an apothecary jar, pick a “pretty” toilet brush… it’s the little things you use all the time that add up to a better daily experience.

Bathroom features styled gray veneer linen shelves and cabinets with brown woven baskets.
Photo Credit: Studio McGee – Bathroom features styled gray veneer linen shelves and cabinets with brown woven baskets.

But it also reduces visual clutter by eliminating plastic packaging. Reducing clutter makes your space feel more inviting to you and others.

Add Fresh Landscaping

You don’t have to spend a fortune on landscaping for an expensive look. Invest in perennials for a flower bed that will come back year after year, along with some new mulch to give your home’s landscape a fresh update.

White cottage home with white shingles and a gray roof contrasted with a black front door and black outdoor carriage lantern sconces. A covered porch displays doric columns for a classic finish contributing to a stunning curb appeal.
Photo Credit: Nest Design – White cottage home with white shingles and a gray roof contrasted with a black front door and black outdoor carriage lantern sconces. A covered porch displays doric columns for a classic finish contributing to a stunning curb appeal.

Update Your Entryway

Make the entry of your home a welcoming spot. Whether you paint the front door a bold color or add colorful flowers in planters or a wreath, simple touches go a long way.

Styled front porch features layered welcome mats in front of gray and glass front door finished with potted plants.
Photo Credit: Studio McGee – Styled front porch features layered welcome mats in front of gray and glass front door finished with potted plants.

Mix Textures

By adding different textures to a room, you create a custom look. Try adding a Turkish rug with a wooden armchair and metal accessories. Add throw pillows in various textures, such as silk and velvet, to round out the look.

Elegant bedroom features a white beaded glass chandelier hung from a vaulted shiplap ceiling over a blue velvet tufted sofa topped with purple velvet accent pillows positioned in front of a white tufted bed dressed in a white ruffled bedding. A painting hangs above the bed flanked by windows covered in bamboo roman shades positioned above long wood and marble dressers while a pink and blue Turkish rug sits under the bed covering wide plank blond wood floors and also below a hammered metal coffee table located between black leather stools. Beside a reading nook, the room is completed with distressed French floor mirrors are located on either side of glass paneled French patio door.
Photo Credit: DL Rhein – Elegant bedroom features a white beaded glass chandelier hung from a vaulted shiplap ceiling over a blue velvet tufted sofa topped with purple velvet accent pillows positioned in front of a white tufted bed dressed in a white ruffled bedding.

Go For Gold

For a big look that’s easy on the wallet, buy a can of gold spray paint to update the look of picture and mirror frames, trays, and vases. This inexpensive idea will add a bit of glamour to any room.

White nursery designed with a white herringbone Foraker Cow Hide Hand-Woven Cream Area Rug furnished with a gold etagere with glass shelves. Creative Co-Op Wash Metal and White Wood Beads Chandelier finish the room with an elegant gold flare.
Photo Credit: Little Crown Interiors -White nursery designed with a white herringbone Foraker Cow Hide Hand-Woven Cream Area Rug furnished with a gold etagere with glass shelves. Creative Co-Op Wash Metal and White Wood Beads Chandelier finish the room with an elegant gold flare.

Maintenance

Generally, anything that is well-maintained will automatically feel more premium, which is why new stuff always feels so nice. It’s also why you feel better about yourself when you get your hair or nails done. It’s the same thing with your home. It needs care, and when it gets it, it makes everyone feel better!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Filling a room with matching furniture, piles of clutter, and disproportionate furniture are all factors that can make houses look cheap. Thankfully, they are easy to avoid, and there are lots of other affordable alternatives that will help your scheme to shine.

How can I make my house feel like a luxury hotel?

Add luxury style to your home just like a hotel by investing in high-quality linens — bed sheets, duvets, and towels. Hotels put comfort at the top of the list, and when you go for a high-end comfort, you can’t go wrong.

What’s the difference between expensive and cheap furniture?

MDF, laminates, softwood, and melamine are also hallmarks of cheap furniture. Of course, these materials are great for less used spaces and children’s bedrooms, but if you spot these materials in cheap bedroom furniture, be sure to know that it won’t be high quality.

What makes a sofa look expensive?

Cushions in natural linens, soft leather or luxurious velvet can lift a sofa or an occasional chair making your setting appear more expensive than it is. Likewise, the right curtains can make an interior look well-considered and more opulent.

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Holly Antoine
Holly Antoine is a Home, Lifestyle and DIY content creator. After leaving behind an 11-year career in the dental field to pursue her passion for design and decor, she developed her own branded site, HollyGrace.ca, where she shares her love of home design, decor, DIYs and inspires others to get creative and build[...]

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