Penny-Pinchers Agree: This Is How You Make Your Home Look Luxe for Less

Updated 10/11/19
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If your love for Pinterest is bordering on obsession (like ours is), then it's safe to say your currently coveting board is in the tens of thousands (yep, ours too) and those pins are getting a little out of control (just like our virtual shopping carts). Unfortunately, our desire for newness doesn't match our bank accounts, but in the words of the iconic Edna Woolman, editor in chief of Vogue from 1914 to 1952, "Fashion cannot be bought. Style one must possess." 

We are firm believers that style shouldn't cost you either, but with the holiday season in full swing, we're all looking for simple and affordable décor formulas that look expensive. So, it's time to get thrifty. This penny-pinchers guide is guaranteed to elevate your home without breaking the bank. And if you can't do them all, then pick a room and just choose do one or two that work within your budget. It will make all the difference.

Upgrade Your Hardware

Alyssa Rosenheck for Amanda Barnes Interiors

Swapping out your old hardware is the single most transformative thing you can do to any room, besides painting it of course. Those handles, knobs, and drawer pulls are small in size but mighty in style—it just may be the most genius IKEA item ever. Not only do they keep your home from looking dated, but these shiny little numbers add instant newness for a fraction of the price. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes. 

CB2 Brass Handle $8
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Layer Your Rugs

Tessa Neustadt for Amber Interiors

If we had to name one piece that always steals the show in any space, it would have to be the humble rug—it really makes the room, not to mention it instantly makes your home winter-ready too. The key to making them look expensive is in the layering. Amber Lewis of Los Angeles–based Amber Interiors is a huge fan of this. "Layer, layer, layer! I recently installed a project that I found a bunch of cool rugs for, but all were small," she told MyDomaine. "I just layered a few together, and I achieved a really cool look." For inspiration, take a look at how Lewis layered rugs in this eclectic family home.

West Elm Multi Pixel Woven Rug $249 $199
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Change Your Lighting

Amy Bartlam for Made Co

If you really want to take any space from no to whoa at the flick of a switch, install a ceiling pendant or unique light. It doesn't need to be expensive either, you can choose to hang a midcentury chandelier or keep it minimal with an affordable IKEA pendant. If that's still not an option, then try swapping out your light bulb for an Edison Filament bulb. It adds visual interest for as little as $10. 

West Elm Mobile Chandelier $319 $255
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Install Open Shelving

Monica Wang Photography

You only have to look inside Lauren Conrad's Cali-cool house to see why open shelving is the key to elevating any kitchen. This was an important design feature for Conrad. After tearing out the old closed cabinet in the kitchen, she replaced it with natural timber shelves against the subway tiles. "It’s just easy for me," she told MyDomaine. "I can grab things as I need." It's also an incredibly cost-effective change. Our favorite IKEA Lack shelf will only set you back $15. So if you install three like Conrad, then it will cost you $45. Bargain. 

IKEA Lack Wall Shelf $15
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Add Vignettes

Nicole Franzen

If you really want to make a room more compelling and alluring, then vignettes are a simple low-cost upgrade—it's the one thing your home is missing. Group a cool mix of textures, materials, and interesting objets d'art together on a stylish tray for an instant visual update. For unique decorative objects, be sure to hit up your local flea, Chairish, or One Kings Lane for some chic low-cost options—you don't have to pay full price

Zara Home Decorative Tray $30 $23
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Adopt the Minimal Look

Monica Wang Photography

If you want to dial the style factor right up, then strip it back. Yep, that's right. Clean the clutter and see your home enter the sophisticated and sleek territory. There's nothing more inviting than a well-edited, expertly curated space. So put on your art director's cap and visualize your home through a minimalist's lens. The beauty of this look is how little you need for it to appear high end. This simple approach to interior design is one of our favorites. Try it and you'll soon see why. 

IKEA Besta Storage Combination With Drawers $190
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Bring the Outside In

Nicole Franzen

When you really need to spruce up a space, bring the outside in. A few clippings from outside arranged in a simple, decorative vase can really make all the difference—Nate Berkus swears by it. Create your own evergreen sanctuary with a few well-placed plants and flowersthese blooms are the trendiest. If you don't own a vase, recycle some of your wine bottles or cool glass jars. Nature makes everything look better.

 

West Elm Luster Mercury Bottle $29
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Upholster Vintage Furniture

Monica Wang Photography

Rather than investing in brand-new furniture, which can be costly and wasteful, why not give your old pieces a new lease on life by having them upholstered. A vintage piece that's worn out from daily wear and tear will look like new or, better yet, look unique and more in line with your interior style. If upholstering is still too costly, then turn it into a fun weekend DIY project. Sand it back, and oil it or paint it a new hue. Have fun. 

Chairish 1950s Balloon Back Chair $400 $75
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Add Texture

Alyssa Rosenheck for Jennifer Robin Interiors

If your room is feeling flat and lifeless, then some textured décor and homewares will add that cozy, lived-in factor. It could be as simple as throwing a handmade Moroccan wedding blanket across the end of your bed, adding some embellished pillows to your sofa, or tying your curtains back with some pretty tassels—this gold feather tie-back from Urban Outfitters is only $16. Luxe for less is easier than you think. 

Anthropologie Aldolora Throw $128
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