10 Interior Design Tricks That Will Make Your Home Look More Expensive

Here’s a tip from the pros: You don’t have to spend tons of cash to make the inside of your home look more expensive. With a few simple tweaks, like swapping out old light fixtures or adding a fresh coat of paint to upcycling thrifted items and DIYing custom curtains, you can nail affordable luxury. Just follow these easy tricks.

Fake Custom Curtains

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Custom drapery is a splurge, but it makes a home look finished and luxe. Instead of dropping a large sum on custom drapes, hang your curtain rods midway between top of the window frame and the crown molding (if you have one) or ceiling—and make sure the drapery touches the floor. “By hanging your drapery the way a custom workroom would, your room will telegraph the same quiet luxury of a professional job,” says interior designer Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors. “You can fake the look by buying silk or velvet panels from a variety of retailers and installing the rods yourself.”

In older homes with higher ceilings, finding the right height can be tricky, but some home stores carry  panels in 120-inch lengths that you can hem to length, Adams says. If you’re not handy with a sewing machine, pick up some stitch-witchery and use an iron to glue up your hem.

Repaint the Room in a High-Gloss Finish

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While labor intensive, painting is easily one of the most cost effective ways to completely transform a room. “I love repainting certain rooms in a high-gloss finish to create a lacquer-like quality,” says Jason Saft, founder and CEO of Staged to Sell Home . “I love Farrow & Ball’s highly durable Full Gloss finish. This is an instant way to turn any room into a glowing jewel box.”

Layer Your Rugs

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Not a fan of your flooring? Whether you’re a renter or don’t have the budget to refloor just yet, you can rely on rugs to make the inside of your home look more expensive. Rugs cover up the existing flooring while also adding some depth and cohesion. “Adding an area rug will make the room feel collected and finished rather than having furniture everywhere with no clear anchor,” Adams says. “Choose rugs that add interest through pattern or texture or bring an interesting color to the space.” Whatever you do, make sure you choose the right rug size for the room. 

Choose Furniture That Fits the Space

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No matter your furniture budget, it’s crucial to pick high-quality pieces that are the right size for your space. “Avoid pieces that are either too big or too small and that may fall apart in a year,” says Daniella Villamil, an interior designer. “Also, pay attention to the accessories in your room and the art pieces on your walls. Make sure they fit properly and are hung at the right height.”

Rescue and Upgrade Furniture

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Speaking of furniture: It can eat up a pretty big chunk of your budget. Instead of opting for cheap matching sets at a big box store—which can feel the opposite of luxurious—keep an eye out for second-hand furniture that’s beautiful and sturdy. 

A little bit of elbow grease via sanding and staining or painting can completely upgrade a piece. Having outdated or dingy used furniture professionally reupholstered is another way to breathe new life into furnishings. Also consider shopping secondhand via used marketplaces, consignment shops, or thrift stores to find great pieces at a discounted price that need little to no work.

Swap Outdated Lighting

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If your home has outdated light fixtures, swap in updated lights to instantly make the inside of your home look more expensive. “Lighting is the jewelry of the home and can add much needed drama and height to a room,” Saft says. “An oversized fixture truly showcases high ceiling height and draws eyes all around the room. It can also add much needed light into darker spaces.”

To help your dollar go further, focus your budget on focal spots, like the dining room light, kitchen island lighting, entryway light, or bathroom lighting.

Rethink Your Throw Pillow Collection

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The urge to pile on throw pillows is real, but Adams says to press pause on your growing collection and to get more thoughtful about what you keep and toss. “Throw pillows are like candles—easy and inexpensive gifts or impulse purchases that can easily pile up,” Adams says. “Just like you’d never light all of those gifted candles at one time, you should not pile every pillow you’ve ever bought on your sofa at once.”

Get rid of anything that’s not your style, tuck away seasonal throw pillows for later in the year, and trial different combinations to see what works best.

Nix Unnecessary Excess

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On that note, take a second to re-evaluate your home and get rid of any unnecessary excess. You don’t have to go completely minimalist, but editing your existing collections allows the pieces you love to shine even more. Donate items that don’t resonate with your aesthetic, or which no longer bring you joy. 

Incorporate Stone Accessories

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High-end earthy stone accents are the epitome of luxury, but not everyone can afford to incorporate the latest stone accents into their kitchens and baths. “By incorporating furniture and accessories with stone, or made of stone, you can bring in that luxe feel throughout the house without breaking the bank,” Saft says. He recommends sourcing everyday pieces, such as consoles, side tables, and trinket dishes, you can incorporate into high-traffic areas for maximum visual impact.

Upgrade Your Hardware

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From the kitchen cupboards to dresser pulls to bathroom cabinets and beyond, swapping out old hardware for something more modern can quickly upgrade your space. You can find beautiful pulls, knobs, and handles at an affordable price at many home good stores or online marketplaces.

Wendy Rose Gould