8 Designer-Approved Tricks That Look Expensive But Aren't

Updated 12/07/17
cheap decorating ideas
Alyssa Rosenheck ; DESIGN: Jennifer Robins Interiors

At MyDomaine, we believe in making aspirational décor achievable, and we know that our elevated taste doesn't always match up with our limited budgets. For instance, while we are dying to own a Philip Arctander Clam Chair (originals routinely sell for upward of $17,000—or what others would consider a healthy down payment), we know where to find a perfectly suitable budget alternative. We know all too well that some of our favorite interior designers' designs are like works of art we could only hope to see in museums, but we're not afraid of picking up paintbrushes and creating our own masterpiece—literally.

So how do you achieve a champagne look on a box-wine budget? It all starts with being observational and identifying which aspects of a design make it look so luxe. From strategically placed rugs to clever accessorizing, we illustrated eight ways to fake a high-end look. Time to get crafty—your very own high-end interior awaits.

cheap home decor
Courtesy of Studio McGee

Fill a Grand Entrance

A grand entrance is nice to have, but making it look "decorated" can quickly escalate into spending thousands of dollars. Instead, try combining a bright area rug, a simple tulip table, and a vase filled with tall branches to bridge the gap with your lighting fixture.

home decor online
Alyssa Rosenheck ; DESIGN: Jennifer Robins Interiors

Fake the Custom Look

Custom design is often associated with high costs, but faking the look is not as hard as you might think. Painted IKEA units can double as storage and seating, while a plug-in sconce can be much easier to install than a hard-wired one. And if you must shell out on a custom seat cushion, save money by using inexpensive pillows for the back cushions.

cheap decor
Courtesy of Studio Ashby

Make Your Own Art

Want the gallery wall look without the price tag? Get creative and create your own art. In a London apartment, designer Sophie Ashby framed used artist palettes for a sophisticated and whimsical look.

cheap furniture
Nicole Franzen for Les Bains

Learn From Hotels

Five-star hotel rooms are comfortable for a reason: They're well appointed, practical, and beautifully edited. Take note from Les Bains' bedside, and mix a practical reading sconce with a whimsical vintage phone; finish off the look with crisp light blue linens. Keeping within a restricted color palette can also help elevate the look of your room.

discount home decor
Alyssa Rosenheck ; DESIGN: Jennifer Robins Interiors

Furnish a Large Bedroom

Large bedrooms, especially those with high or sloped ceilings, can be expensive to furnish. One of the easiest tricks to do so is to visually fill the space both horizontally and vertically. Start with a punchy colored rug for the floor, and add height with a canopy or four-poster bed. Repeat the colors from the rug in smaller accents for visual continuity. 

cheap room decor
Courtesy of Studio McGee

Accent Your Bathroom

All interior stylists know that any bathroom will look exponentially better if well appointed with chic accessories. It's almost as if one strategically placed Aésop bottle can hide dirty grout and ugly tiles. Want to add an extra-special touch to your bathroom? Sconces flanking your vanity mirror will not only look great, they will make you look even better.

house decoration
Courtesy of Studio Ashby

Use Luxe Colors and Textures

Deep, rich colors and luxe textures aren't reserved for the one percent. With deep jewel tones and textiles like velvet and silk, you can make your home look a lot more expensive than its price tag.

cheap house decor
Alyssa Rosenheck for Domino ; DESIGN: Elsie Larson

Use Textures, Not Colors

Elevate your space by keeping a strict color palette of neutrals, playing with textures instead of bright tones. Tan leather, Mongolian lamb fur, and brushed brass are all textures that can bring a hint of luxe to your space without costing a ton.

This post was originally published on September 22, 2016, and has since been updated.

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One Kings Lane Bari Rug $199
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Eero Saarinen Style Tulip Side Table $250
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Pottery Barn Washed Velvet Pillow Cover $20
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Eastmoreland 2-1/4
Rejuvenation Eastmoreland Swing Arm Sconce $385
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Benjamin Moore Old Glory $38
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Daveliou Paint Brushes and Palette Set $30
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Lambert & Fils Cliff Wall $500
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Serena & Lily Chambers Quilt $178
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Hudson Valley Tupelo Aged Brass LED Wall Sconce $180
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Wild and Wolf 1960s French Blue Phone $41
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Parachute Sateen Pillowcases $50
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Tilton Fenwick Peacock Pillow $30
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Room & Board Architecture Bed $1099
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One Kings Lane Tortuga Jute Rug $235
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Aésop Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash $39
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Peacock Alley Overture Hand Towel $21
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Rejuvenation Yeon Double Sconce $499 $399
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Benjamin Moore Aurora Borealis $38
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Ferm Living Wire Basket $194
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Urban Outfitters TOV Furniture Modern Baila Navy Velvet Sofa $929 $1500
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Urban Outfitters Leather Butterfly Chair Cover $229
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West Elm Mongolian Lamb Pillow $79
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Park Studio Sebastopol Chandelier $565
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