10 budget friendly ways to make your home look luxe for less

10 ways to decorate on a budget

It’s that moment when the storm has calmed.  The movers have left, your furniture has been arranged, and you look around your new place….and see emptiness.  Absolute emptiness. Because while your stuff seemed to overflow at the apartment you shared with your college roommate, you now notice how sparse your new place looks. Oy vey.

Don’t worry – I’ve been there, too. When I bought my home, all I brought over from my previous apartment was my mismatched bedroom furniture, and I went into a tizzy trying to figure out how I was going to furnish everything and not completely deplete my bank account. (I mean, let’s be honest, my down payment had already done a pretty good job of that.)

But then I realized that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and my home wouldn’t be, either. If I wanted the feel I was going for (within the budget I had set), I knew it was going to take some time to pull it all together.  And that’s when I got creative.

Pinterest is a haven for all things DIY, and your girl used that to her advantage. I’ve DIY’d wall art prints, a wood panel headboard, hanging planters, bar signs…you name it. It’s saved me TONS, and I’ll admit, while it took some time, I love how it’s all come together over the past 4 years.

RELATED: [A Little DIY: Rustic Wooden Sign]

If you’re on a budget and in need of some ideas to make your place look luxe on a dime, I’ve got 10 great ideas to help you do just that. And yes, they are actually fairly easy to do and don’t require 10,000 different tools that you won’t ever use again.  Who’s ready for their place to look like West Elm threw up all over it?

USE MARBLE

Marble itself is expensive. Lookalike contact paper is not. Outfit side tables, a coffee table, or trays with it, and you’ll have people wondering how you could afford something so sleek.

 Love the look? Learn how to create this yourself courtesy of  Tag and Tibby .

Love the look? Learn how to create this yourself courtesy of Tag and Tibby.

UPGRADE YOUR LIGHTING

It’s amazing how something you never noticed as a child all of a sudden comes front & center as an adult. How many times have you watched HGTV and your eyes were automatically drawn to the chandelier over the dining room table and not the table itself? Yeah, me, too.

Large-patterned lampshades scream “13 year-old’s bedroom,” so make sure to stick with monochromatic colors (get cheap ones from Target) or those with a small/sleek pattern. In addition, if you can’t afford a $400 chandelier (and, yes, they all seem to cost that much), update or make your own for a little "wow" factor.

GOLD ACCENTS

If you’ve been hiding under a rock for 10 years, then let me fill you in: gold is back and better than ever. You can easily use gold spray to instantly add glam to anything, and it’s so cheap to do. Focus on finding shapes of items you want (i.e. an elephant or cube) and a simple coat of spray paint can transform it from “Grandma’s living room” to “chic table décor.” Or add it as an accent to corners of frames, legs of side tables, etc. 

I couldn’t narrow it down to just one project, so check out this Pinterest search for everything you can upgrade with this one trick.

CHOOSE SIMPLE WALL ART

The luxe look requires simple wall art, so take your Wine & Canvas pieces elsewhere. Like your niece’s bedroom.  She’ll love it.

Look for abstract pieces or short quotes to hang on your wall in order to make your place look more expensive.  You can find a lot of free prints here or scour Etsy for cheap ones. I found the one below for only $5 – all you have to do is print and frame it yourself.

 Find this for only $5  here .

Find this for only $5 here.

Or better yet, recreate it – I sometimes find high-end inspiration and DIY it myself using cardstock paper from Michael’s and frames I’ve created from wood & stain I got at Lowe’s.

RAISE YOUR CURTAINS

Um, proof is in the pudding. Raise those curtains, ladies.

how to hang curtains

SUBSTITUTE CABINETS FOR OPEN SHELVING

Open shelving is IN right now and can be a major upgrade to a bathroom or kitchen; however, I have one caveat to this: don’t install open shelving if you’re going to put ugly crap on it or not keep it organized. You will have defeated the purpose of putting them up in the first place AND wasted your money, and you know I don’t like lose-lose situations.

 Click  here  to see what you need to create the same look in your home.

Click here to see what you need to create the same look in your home.

USE MERCURY GLASS

Paint is every DIY-ers best friend, and this is no exception.

Go to Goodwill, find some cheap vases or jars, and follow the instructions below to create some bomba$$ décor. Fill it up with flowers you get for 40% off at Michael’s (use the coupons people – they have them every week!), and you’ll have a gorgeous dining room centerpiece in no time.

 Interested?  This  is how to transform your old vases.

Interested? This is how to transform your old vases.

CREATE A WOOD PANEL WALL

I created a wood panel headboard a couple of years ago, and no joke, it’s the first thing people comment on when they go through my house. Not my bathroom remodel, not my new kitchen (both of which were a pretty penny)…no, my less than $70 headboard.

[RELATED: DIY Project: My Rustic Headboard (for Under $70!)]

If you want to class up a blah area of your home, I highly suggest you install one of these babies. If you want a more luxe look, make sure to go with a lighter stain.  This will keep your place nice and bright, which is what luxe is all about.

 Tackle this in an afternoon using tutorials by  DIY Fun  and  Me & My DIY .

Tackle this in an afternoon using tutorials by DIY Fun and Me & My DIY.

…OR ONE LIKE THIS

Wishing I had a wall in my house that I could do this to. I mean, how gorgeous is that? This project is a little more expensive, but I’d have to say the return on investment is definitely there.

 Head over to  Our Pinteresting Family  to find out how add this to your home

Head over to Our Pinteresting Family to find out how add this to your home

AND FINALLY: DIY THE S#!% OUT OF EVERYTHING

The best way to get your place looking luxe for less is to get creative and DIY as much as you can. Most of the high-enditems you see plastered all over the web can be recreated for much less as long as you’re willing to put a little elbow grease into it.

Also be aware that there are some things you may not want to DIY, and that’s ok. Make sure you’re building those costs into your budget, and as long as you’re within those limits, I give you full permission to spend away. 

Or just add those items to your Christmas list.  That’s what I usually do.


Remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint, so don’t feel like your home has to be Joanna Gaines worthy in a matter of a month. Going slow, being selective, and spending time finding and crafting pieces that you love will eventually lead you to owning a home you’ll love to call yours.

Inquiring minds want to know: What’s the cheapest way you’ve upgraded your place?

cheap home decor