May 27, 2024

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Designers Secretly Use These 35 Cheap Products To Make Homes Look So Much More Expensive

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You don’t have to be an interior decorating master or an expert in home remodeling to create beautiful and functional spaces that will invite constant compliments when guests are over. I’ve gathered some of the best tips and advice from an eclectic group of industry professionals that will give you the know-how for elevating your home by utilizing a few simple, and inexpensive, elements.

One of the best things about these various home improvement recommendations is they do not require a ton of time or money from you — but look like they did. Even basic remodels have the potential to end up being costly, as you never know what may arise when you start doing demo. Eliminate those risks all together with these innovative, alternative ideas for revamping your home.

Things as simple to implement as chic-er shelving or bold, statement-making planters add a pop of fun and style to any room with minimal effort. Even incorporating elegant glassware to your kitchen arsenal can take things from feeling like a college dorm to feeling like the home of a put-together adult (even if just during dinner).

The solutions these savvy professionals provide will have people coming to you to get the scoop for their own home upgrades.


A Metal Storage Rack For A Modern Twist On Open Shelving

Switching out bulky cabinets for sleek, open shelving has become a huge home design trend within the past few years. This functional metal storage rack gives you the ability to add open shelving to a room without having to fully commit to (or install) it. According to Susan Serra, president Susan Serra Associates, who specializes in kitchen design, you can “put useful and decorative things on shelves and they will look like those fabulous displays at Eataly”.


These Elegant Countertop Shelves That Are Pretty & Functional

Countertop storage in the kitchen can be a struggle as it can straddle the line between convenience and taking up excess space. Implement this three-tier adjustable shelf to help free up counter space while still maintaining easy access to kitchen necessities. This is a budget-friendly storage solution, especially compared to cabinet remodeling. As Serra notes, there is “a huge difference in cost, [and] shelves in a variety of materials are readily available” to achieve the same end.


Decor Elements With Vintage Flair To Warm Up A Space

There is a simple and easy way to make it look and feel like a home is lived in. “Look for vintage pieces!” Serra explains. Something along the lines of this vintage mushroom poster achieves that goal. This decorative wall piece brings in a touch of subtle color that will draw the eye of all your visitors with its funky and unique print.


A Set Of LED Edison Bulbs For Timeless Style & Modern Efficiency

According to Serra, vintage chandeliers and lamp shades can serve as an excellent focal point or beautiful statement piece in common spaces. In order to keep that vintage look consistent, use these LED Edison bulbs — they’re energy efficient as LEDs, but maintain that old-school elegance. So not only do you get cool-looking bulbs in this four-pack, but you can save up to 90% on your electricity bill.


Eye-Catching Planters That Make A Statement

Plant obsessions have really gone to a whole new level the past few years. If you’re a plant lover, Serra suggests putting your “plants in bold containers that add texture and a unique point of view.” Sound like that’s up your alley for home decor? Check out these mini ceramic geometric print pots that are perfect for small plants like succulents.


A Set Of Hanging Brass Photo Frames To Display Your Favorite Pictures

Finding ways to spruce up your walls that are distinct from the style of every other home can be a challenge. David Ko, Los Angeles-based interior designed and founder of Maison Ko, says, “I’ve always been a fan of using ‘found’ looking pieces to elevate any of my clients’ spaces.” He specifically recommends these glass floating gallery wall frames, as they are incredibly versatile when it comes to displaying photos or other fun wall decor.


This Luxe-Looking Throw Blanket That Elevates Any Room

There are also a ton of incredibly simple and easy ways to add color or a splash of fashion to any space in your home. Beril Yilmaz, designer, architect, and writer for Garden Furniture Sales, is a fan of “using throw blankets on your armchair, sofa, or bed” for a chic upgrade that turns furniture from bland to exciting. This knitted decorative throw blanket is a favorite of hers.


A Pillow That’s A Unique Design Element Of Its Own

When you think of a throw or decorative pillow, traditional shapes such as square, rectangle, and round probably come to mind. A simple yet fun way to update your current couch situation is with this plush knotted ball pillow, which comes recommended by Yilmaz. The “knot cushion designed by House Stockholm is one of the most popular designs in the last couple of years,” she says — this version is “very affordable, and it will bring elegance to every space.”


Textured, Stick-On Wallpaper To Create An Easy New Backsplash

A kitchen remodel tends to be one of the priciest in the home when it comes to a full-fledged update. “If you’re on a very tight budget and you really need to change the face of your kitchen, backsplash stickers can be your best option,” notes Rick Berres, owner of remodeling firm Honey-Doers. A peel-and-stick option like this 3-D printed vinyl backsplash is a simple, and elegant-looking, solution.


Quality Peel-&-Stick Paper To Quickly Upgrade Countertops

Replacing or upgrading kitchen countertops is another remodeling project that tends to have a hefty price tag. Save yourself time and money by using this glossy marble adhesive paper as a way to instantly change the look and feel of counters. As Berres explains, “It’s cheap, easy to apply, comes in a variety of options” to help modernize and refresh your kitchen.


Decorative Mirrors To Add Depth & Luxury To A Space

Mirrors are often underutilized as a simple way to spruce up walls. Going with something like this three-pack of golden mirrors lets you maintain uniformity in style, with the eye-appeal of small, unique differences in design. Berres adds, “mirrors make your space look bigger because they reflect light, and they also give a luxurious touch to any room.”


These Floating House Numbers With A Sleek & Modern Look

It’s easy to overlook the details of a home’s exterior when you’re looking to give things a bit of a facelift. The mind usually goes to changing the paint, refurbishing a front porch, or swapping out the door to breathe fresh life into the house. One of the most neglected exterior features to upgrade is the hardware used to display your house number. Candice Prather, Maryland-based interior designer and founder of Candice Prather designs, recommends these floating house numbers as they offer a “sleek, stylish, and subtle flex” to the outside of your house.


An Arch Decal For A Unique Focal Point & Accent Wall

Accent walls have been on the rise throughout the past couple of years as a simple way to break up a feeling of monotony around the home. They are “perfect for creating visual interest in a room,” says Prather. She recommends this vinyl arch wall decal to enhance the look “behind a bed, in a corner. For those dreaded Zoom interviews,” or using to set off “a shelf/ledge [to display] things like art, books and plants.”


Vintage-Fabulous Glassware For Serving In Style

Showing off your personal style doesn’t have to end when it comes to furniture, paint, or art choices for your home. Extending thoughtful design choices to basic, everyday items like cups and silverware is a great way to add pops of flair around the house. This origami-style tall glass is a go-to recommendation for Prather, who says, “Let’s toast to it in style.”


Luxurious Lighting For Cabinets That’s Super Easy To Install

If you’ve been looking for a way to upgrade the lighting in your kitchen or bathroom, but don’t want to deal with costly demos or electrical wiring, this under cabinet lighting kit is the perfect, inexpensive solution you’ve been looking for. For added convenience, these strips have a variety of color options and come with a remote control to operate them. Owner, designer, and founder of Clipper City House, Kim Emery, notes as a bonus, “these are super easy for anyone to install”.


This Simpler, Subway Tile Wall Upgrade

Subway tile is a timeless and stylish look that can seamlessly blend with a variety of home decor styles. Using this peel-and-stick tile backsplash not only saves you money on renovation, but also cuts way down on the timeframe to get it done. It is incredibly versatile and “the tile can be used to add a backsplash in a bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen,” explains Emery.


A Paint Kit That Transforms Countertops With A Luxe, Granite Look

One of the easiest ways to bring a touch of luxury to the kitchen space is with granite. Unfortunately, this isn’t generally a budget-friendly option, and the installation can be time consuming. Sylvia James, interior design expert at HomeHow, recommends the Giani granite countertop paint kit as an economical route for achieving this look. She notes, “the paint can last up to ten years, so it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.”


A Chic, Velvety Foot Rest That Doubles As Storage

Finding items for the home that are multifunctional is like discovering a hidden gem, especially if they happen to come with extra or hidden storage. James raves about this velvet storage ottoman foot rest from Lue Bona, adding, “it is available in ten different colours, and it acts as the perfect storage space for cookbooks, magazines, or personal items.” The plush, velvet material and brass legs make beautiful finishing touches to this stool.


This Flower Vase With A Gorgeous, MoMA-Feel

James also has pointers for people aiming to capture that (often-expensive) minimalist feel, saying “You should consider using ceramic flower vases, such as the FAKEME sculpture-style vase,” a favorite of hers. This abstract, modern vase definitely hits the nail on the head and adds simple elegance to any table or shelf. Easily bring a small pop of color with faux seasonal grasses or flowers without distracting from the vase itself.


An Arrangement Of Decorative Grass That Lasts For Years

If you’re worried about the maintenance and upkeep of real flowers and plants, there’s nothing wrong with embracing dried or faux arrangements to display around your house. Choosing a beautiful arrangement of dried grasses brings in an earthy, low-key vibe that’s as pretty as it is easy to maintain.


This Set Of Unique, Wooden Wall Hooks For An Elegant, Functional Upgrade

You don’t have to settle for basic or unfashionable wall storage when you swap out your non-designed hooks with these polished wooden knobs. Using them “in all areas of the house is an unexpected, luxurious detail that goes a long way,” asserts Jean Lin, a design entrepreneur from New York City and founder/curator of Colony. This four-pack gives you the flexibility to mount them in the hallway, mudroom, or by the front door.


An Additional Pair Of Chic Wooden Pegs For Up-Leveled Wall Hangers

Lin also says of wooden hooks, “use them in your entryway for coats and bags or bathroom for towels for a glow up that will last through all your phases of decor.” This two-pack of wooden pegs are designed with a slim, brass stopper at the edge to help hold your belongings in place and impart an ultra-elegant look.


These Modern Cabinet Pulls That Bypass A Full Cabinet Reno

According to Alexandra Davin and Catherine Davin, interior designers and co-founders of Clairrow, updating cabinet hardware makes an instant visual impact in your kitchen or bathroom. Going with an option like these matte black, stainless steel square pull handles is a chic solution. The bonus of a simple home upgrade like this is that “the whole project can be done in an hour,” add the Davins.


Sumptuous, Texturally-Interesting Pillows

Comfort items like pillows and blankets are a great way to add different textures, patterns, and colors for a simple and affordable upgrade to home decor. “They’re always a great functional accent and help the space look finished and professional,” agree Alexandra and Catherine. Something like these faux fur pillow covers make it so you don’t even have to buy new pillows to update your space.


A Pair Of Pretty Pillow Covers That Are Subtly Tactile

If plush, faux fur doesn’t really hit the mark for your taste, these simple patterned throw pillow covers are a great alternative option. With simple diagonal stripes across the front, you get just the right amount of style without it feeling too bold or in your face. The Davins state that you should “look for a mixture of textures and patterns that match your room’s color palette.”


An Area Rug To Add Color & Definition To Any Room

If you prefer hardwood, concrete, and tile flooring, but want to add softness to the room without long-term or permanent commitment, think about an area accent rug for the floor. Not only does it bring in color and texture, but it can help “define a living space, like a seating or dining area,” note Alexandra and Catherine. A rug is also an easy way to pull all the design elements of a room together.


This Super Plush, Affordable Shag Rug You’ll Fall In Love With

Relying on color palettes and patterns doesn’t have to be the only way you go about choosing an area rug. If the room you’re redoing seems to lack depth and dimension, opting for something like this fluffy shag carpet is a perfect solution to add in texture without going over the top.


A Set Of Bold Pots To Make Plants Elegantly Artful

Another thing people tend to overlook when redecorating or updating spaces around the house are things like plants and flowers. There are a ton of easy, low-maintenance plants that make excellent indoor and outdoor options to put around your home. “Style it in a pretty flowerpot or on a plant stand,” advise the Davins. Ones that are durable like these dimple textured planter pots are great for indoor and outdoor use.


This Tripod Stand For Stylishly Displaying Plant Friends

If you already have a ton of pots and planters, think about adding a plant stand to the mix. Break up the monotony of having your plants all at the same level by setting some higher than others. It adds in an interesting visual element while highlighting the natural beauty of the plants and flowers around your home.


A Set Of Eye-Catching, Geometric Wall Shelves

Never underestimate the power of understated-yet-unique wall decor to make a subtle statement. Becki Owens, an interior decorated based in Southern California and founder of Becki Owens Living, reminds us, “It’s all the little decor that makes a space.” Choosing option like these hexagon-shaped wire shelves are functional while bringing in a funky pop of style.


Affordable & Visually-Interesting Wall Decor

As a rule of thumb, Owens says, “If you’re in the process of revamping your space, spend your money on grounding furniture pieces and save your money on decor.” Finding beautiful and intriguing art to display around your home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Simple items like these Macrame wall hangings will look great in a variety of settings.


This Set Of Sconces That Adds A Industrial Feel To Lighting

Switching up light sconces is another small change that provides major refreshment. “Try adding a cool light fixture… this can totally change your space,” Owens explains. Not only do these black wire wall sconces have a vintage, industrial feel, but they can also be adjusted or hung different ways — a unique little feature that ups the refresh-ability even more.


A Touch-Control Lamp For Subtle Design Flair On Tables & Desks

If wall sconces aren’t your style or don’t fit your aesthetic, swamping out old lamps for something newer and more modern-feeling is another option available to you. Take things to a whole new level with this touch-control table lamp that retains the classic look of a small, ordinary lamp with contemporary upgrades, including built-in USB ports.


This Elegant Spice-Label Kit That Makes Organization A Cinch

If you consider yourself a master home chef and love to cook, you probably have acquired a pretty sizeable and diverse spice collection. Upgrade the spice cabinet, pantry, or drawer with ease thanks to these minimalist spice jar labels so you’ll always be able to identify and grab what you need. Interior designer and founder of Stone House Collective, Anna Franklin, says “the labels will add a uniformity to this space and make it feel extra special and luxe.”


Thoughtful Display Items Like This Pretty & Useful Recipe Book

Other styling opportunities that are often overlooked are utilizing items that make great display pieces around the house. Selecting an array of books for your coffee table, side table, or shelves make for a practical and fun decor element. “Add a small stack of books with beautiful covers and interesting topics (such as a travel destination) to your coffee table, or add a beautifully covered cookbook to a kitchen shelf or counter,” notes Franklin. She specifically loves this Sunday Suppers: Recipes + Gatherings book as a pretty page-turner for guests.