If you're wondering what makes a room feel sophisticated and you've been poring over Pinterest in pursuit of an answer, feel free to pause your pinning because we've got some expert advice for you. Let us just say that a home doesn't have to be huge or filled with expensive furniture to look sophisticated. In fact, some of the most stylish spaces we've seen happen to be tiny, budget-friendly studio apartments. So if you're looking to add some poise to your pad, but don't really know where to start, consider this your interior designer-approved cheat sheet. We chatted with Liz Caan, who spilled all of her trade secrets on how to up the elegance factor in any space and on any budget.
Meet the Expert
Liz Caan is an interior designer based in Newton, Massachusetts. She's been decorating homes all over the country since 2005.
Ready to refresh your space? Take a page from these expertly polished and pristine interiors to level up your own styling game. Explore nine sophisticated and chic rooms that promise to inspire.
Make the Bed
You'll instantly improve your room's vibe and feel by taking a few extra minutes in the morning to make the bed. But if all of the accessories make styling too time-consuming or cumbersome, try simplifying the look. Remember, you don't need tons of products to make your bedroom look expensive.
Replace Fluorescent Lightbulbs
Unflattering light not only casts a harsh sheen on you and your guests, but it also makes your décor look less than stellar. "When homes have fluorescent bulbs or LED light at 4,000k (kelvins), you feel like you are in a bug zapper or on an operating table," Liz offers.
When interiors have bright white light, they can feel a bit like a hospital. If you want your space to have a warm and inviting glow that's still bright enough to read a book, aim for LED bulbs between 2,700k and 3,000k.
Elevate Your Television
Don't let technology detract from your living room's aesthetic. Liz advises, "Place your TV on a piece of furniture, like a console, or try mounting it on the wall and conceal the cords." Edited and sophisticated, these easy installations are way more attractive than traditional TV stands.
Swap Flimsy Frames
We're big proponents of curating a personal art collection, but make sure you get the right frames before hanging your prized pieces. Liz suggests, "When a wall features a bunch of different frames, it looks junky and unsophisticated as opposed to unified, interesting, and collected."
Go for a glare-proof glass and custom mattes like the frames above. Everything is in the execution, especially when it comes to adorning the primary focal points of a space.
Try to buy frames that are simple, clean, and complement the art. Then arrange the art by the frames' color and finish.
Too much stuff can make your space feel cluttered and effectively cheapen the overall look of your home. Take some time—say, 10 minutes per week—to straighten up the areas that get the most crowded. We suggest taking a look at your coffee tables, kitchen counters, entry consoles, and workspaces, if you're looking for a place to start.
Liz says, "Let's face it: There are plants that pretty much anyone can take care of. Plastic plants may seem like a good idea, but they end up just collecting dust and dirt. Pick a non-fussy plant species like a philodendron, which you really cannot kill."
Get Rid of Vertical Blinds
Particularly in rentals, it can be difficult to avoid vertical blinds. While they are functional, they aren't very pretty. "Go for a shutter, a roman shade, or even drapes," Liz instructs. They all make for a more beautiful solution to the bright sun and nosy neighbors.
Clean Your Windows
Spotty windows and dirt streaks can make your entire home fall flat, even if the interiors within are gorgeous. Regularly clean your windows and screens to keep things sparkling, fresh, and full of light. If you want to take an environmentally friendly approach to cleaning, try using natural products.
In so many cases, rugs are the easy element that ties the whole space together. If your rug is too large or too small for the room, it can throw off the whole look. Liz says, "Layer a small rug over a larger one to properly ground the furniture."