10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Want to make your house look like a custom home without spending a lot of money? Check out these 10 easy ways to make your house look more expensive.

Whether you want your bedroom to feel like a luxury hotel or just want to add some rich-looking details, there are lots of little ways you can make your house look more expensive than it is. Since I live in a builder grade home which was a boring square box when I moved in, I can tell you from experience it is possible!

10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

As many of you know, I live in a builder grade house that I have been updating so that it doesn’t look so builder grade. Along the way, I have found some easy and relatively inexpensive ways to do this.

Two of the big differences between a custom home and a cookie-cutter builder grade home are the quality of the materials and workmanship, and the number of custom details. Or in my case, the fact that there were NO custom details in my house!

Trying to upgrade all of the standard-grade materials in the house isn’t a very affordable (or efficient) way of improving the look of your home. But fortunately, there are lots of things you can do which are easy, budget-friendly, and make your house look like it was custom-made even if it wasn’t.

Click Next to see my list of 10 easy ways to make your house look more expensive.

Consider All Surfaces (Ceilings, Walls and Floors)

Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Traditional Living Room by East Anglia Interior Designers & Decorators Oliver Burns via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

One of the questions I like to ask myself when I’m coming up with ideas for upgrades is what would an interior designer do? Then I go and find some inspiration pictures…Pinterest and Instagram are my friends in this area!

When an interior designer decorates a high-end home, they make a plan for all of the surfaces in the house…ceilings and floors as well as walls. That doesn’t mean that every surface has to be decorated, but if it’s not, it’s because the designer decided that the space would look best that way.

I love the black and gold color scheme in the room above. The wallpaper adds interest to what would otherwise be large (boring) walls. And they painted the ceiling gold!!

Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

When I decided to makeover my den, I also went with the black and gold color scheme.

My original plan was to paint the ceiling gold, too. But I decided in the end that it would be a little too much in this tiny room. So I went with the same color black as the walls. I know! That’s a decision that a lot of people think is more risky than the gold! But I love the way it turned out (and learned a few things about how to decorate a room in black in the process).

Update the ceiling | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Installing faux tin ceiling tiles added interest to the ceiling (and covered up the popcorn!)

And it’s an inexpensive way to make the room look more custom.

Update ceiling, walls and floors | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

The finished room does not look anything like the boring beige builder-grade room that I started with! Sorry for the really bad before picture…it’s the only one I have 🙂

If you need some ceiling and wall inspiration, try these Interesting Ways To Paint Your Walls and Ideas for Decorating the Ceiling.

Add Moldings

Panel mouldings add interest to what could otherwise be a plain entryway - Victorian Entry by Jacksonville Interior Designers & Decorators Andrew Howard Interior Design | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Victorian Entry by Jacksonville Interior Designers & Decorators Andrew Howard Interior Design via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

Crown moldings, chair railings, wainscoting, baseboards, and other kinds of architectural details make any room look more expensive. Most of them really aren’t that hard to install or that costly to buy, but make a huge impact on the look of the room.

As you may have noticed in my den picture, I love to add panel moldings to walls. They are inexpensive and easy to put up…and they really add that custom look to your room.

Add moldings | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

In my stairway makeover, I took the panel molding concept a step further by adding faux columns and more substantial moldings for the panels.

Add moldings | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Stairways tend to have very tall walls that are hard to decorate because you see them from different angles depending on where you are on the stairs.

The moldings help to break up the large expanse of wall, and definitely add that custom look!


Use High End Finishes As The Focal Point

Tiling around the fireplace makes a definite statement - Mediterranean Dining Room by Mill Valley Design-Build Firms SINGLEPOINT DESIGN BUILD INC. | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Mediterranean Dining Room by Mill Valley Design-Build Firms SINGLEPOINT DESIGN BUILD INC. via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

Using quality materials in the construction of your house definitely shows through in the end product. But even if your house wasn’t built with high-end finishes originally, you can add some of your own.

In the picture above, the floor-to-ceiling fireplace surround is definitely the focal point in the room…your attention is drawn to it immediately.

Using a more expensive material in a small area that is the focal point of the room makes the whole room seem more upscale.  But since it is a small area, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as trying to upgrade the whole space.

Use high end finishes in small spaces | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

This is another tip that I used when I was re-doing my den…that gold wallpaper was pretty expensive! But since I only needed one roll of it to fill the panels, I could afford to pay a little extra.

And hanging wallpaper inside of panels makes it a much easier DIY project.

Split faced tile and a Venetian mirror help this bathroom feel more expensive than it was. | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

I also decided to use this concept to my advantage when I did my guest bathroom makeover…by installing split-faced mosaic tile* behind the vanity.

The tile was a bit of a splurge. I would never have paid that much if I was tiling around the tub or somewhere else that requires a lot of it!

Use high end materials as a focal point | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

But installing it in this small area didn’t cost that much…and it makes such an impact on the room that I think it was worth it!


Hang Large Mirrors

Large mirrors add drama to the room | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Traditional Dining Room via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

Splurging a little on one large mirror* makes a room look bigger and brighter, which also helps it to look more expensive.

This long narrow dining room definitely looks wider because of the mirror. It also uses the large artwork idea from the last tip to create a focal point that will get reflected in the mirror…an good thing to keep in mind when you are hanging large mirrors!

Large mirror as a focal point

My mother used the large mirror idea in her home office makeover.

It immediately opened up the space and added some sparkle to a very small room.


Use Large Art Work

Large artwork

Photo by Michael Wickham Photography — via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

If you look at designer rooms, you very rarely see small pieces of art hung on the wall (unless there is a whole group of them). That’s because large pieces of art command your attention and make it look like a gallery. Which adds a high end feeling to your room.

If you don’t want to spend money on artwork and you happen to have some pictures that bring back memories (eg. a trip you have taken, a favorite park, a family portrait or even your own garden), you can have them blown up to poster size and frame them. With today’s technology, even pictures you take on your phone are a high enough quality to be printed at a large size.

Online sites like snapfish.com and shutterfly.com will let you upload your pictures and print them at whatever size you choose.

I had one of my favorite pictures from Tahiti (an awesome vacation spot!) blown up on canvas. Then I used it to cover the TV on my living room bookshelf. It definitely makes more of a statement than the blank TV screen.

DIY Geometric Art from thesoutherncouture.com | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive
DIY Geometric Art from thesoutherncouture.com

Please visit thesoutherncouture.com to pin this image

If you are looking for more of a DIY project, you can also create your own artwork pretty easily. And this has the added benefit that you can tailor the colors to match your room decor.

Like easy geometric art (in the colors of your choice) using this tutorial from thesoutherncouture.com.


Replace Light Fixtures

Replace light fixtures...a chandelier will always look more expensive than a builder-grade fan - Traditional Living Room by Houston Interior Designers & Decorators Debra Villeneuve Interiors| 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Traditional Living Room by Houston Interior Designers & Decorators Debra Villeneuve Interiors via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

Replacing light fixtures might cost you a little more money than some of the other options in this list, but it will make a huge impact!

The fixtures that come with builder grade homes are really cheap (and I mean cheap…they usually cost the builder around $10 each and they look like it!) Replacing these fixtures with better quality ones not only improves the look of the fixture itself but usually improves the quality of the light as well.

Replace light fixtures | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

 

I think I have replaced every light fixture in my house now. And you may have noticed that I have a thing for chandeliers. Even when the ceiling is too low for a proper chandelier, I find a way to add some crystal 🙂

I love the way that light is reflected through the cut glass causing it to be more widely distributed throughout the room…and it just makes the whole room look better.

Replacement light fixtures do not have to be expensive | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

And, as this picture from my bedroom shows, the chandelier does not have to be expensive to make a difference…this one* didn’t cost much but still looks much better than the original builder light.


Dare To Be Different

Adding some shine (even if it's subtle) makes the room look more glamorous - Transitional Kitchen by East Anglia Interior Designers & Decorators Oliver Burns | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Transitional Kitchen by East Anglia Interior Designers & Decorators Oliver Burns via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

One of the big differences between custom homes and a builder grade home is pretty obvious…the custom homes are “custom”. In other words, they have a design that is made specially for them.  And you’ll notice the same thing with designer rooms.

So an easy way to make your house look more expensive is to add some unique finishes. Something that you love but you will only see in your house!

Using a chandelier and painting the walls and ceiling silver in a kitchen (like this picture) is certainly not something you see in everyone’s home!

Create a unique space | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

When I decided to stencil zebras on my wall as part of my master bathroom makeover, I’m sure a few people thought I was crazy! The zebra pattern is actually inspired by a very expensive Scalamandre wallpaper, and I love it! Painting it on is way cheaper than the original!

Add Contrasting Textures

Velvet dining room chairs add to the rich look of the room | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Transitional Dining Room by Los Angeles Architects & Building Designers Studio William Hefner via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

Using contrasting textured fabrics (like velvet, mohair, or sisal) with smooth surfaces like glass, metal or mirror is a designer secret for easily adding interest and richness to a room.

Add contrasting textures | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

In my living room, all of my tables have smoother textures (glass, mirror, metal, and leather), while the furniture, area rug and cushions provide differing degrees of texture.

Cushions and throw blankets are a great way to introduce variety since they aren’t very expensive and are available in all kinds of fabrics. If you have a sewing machine, you can save some money and have even more choice in fabrics by making your own cushion covers.


Build Built-Ins

Photo by Enviable Designs Inc.via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

Built ins are a great way to add storage and make the best use of a small space. In this room, they provide display space for beautiful dishes, closed storage for other dinner ware and a spot to put serving dishes during dinner.

Build built-ins | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

I was able to add the same kind of storage that is very practical and looks great when I did my home office makeover. The shelves around the window are especially useful since they add storage to a space that is pretty awkward to use otherwise.

Mix and Match Furniture

Using furniture that looks good from the back lets you pull it away from the wall - Contemporary Living Room by Saskatoon Interior Designers & Decorators Atmosphere Interior Design Inc.| 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

Contemporary Living Room photo by Atmosphere Interior Design Inc. via houzz.com

Note: This image cannot be pinned due to houzz.com restrictions

You won’t see too many high-end designer rooms that are using matching sets of furniture. That’s because most people who are paying for a custom design want to have a unique space that you can’t get just by going to the furniture store.

If you do happen to own a sofa, love seat and a matching arm chair all in the same pattern, try breaking them up so that they aren’t placed all together in one room. You can create great flow between the rooms by repeating the pattern and colors, without having the matchy-matchy look.

Mix and match furniture | Great ideas for making your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money! | 10 Easy Ways To Make Your House Look More Expensive

When I updated my dining area, I did away with the matching dining room table and chairs…and I really like the eclectic look that came out of it.

Plus, it’s much less expensive to go with benches at a dining table than to buy individual chairs…assuming you’re okay with the more casual look.

To add some sparkle in this room, I added a mirrored buffet. And put it in front of a DIY upholstered fabric backdrop that is definitely the unique aspect of this area of my house!

Hopefully, these ideas will give you some inspiration for home improvements you can do that will make your house look more expensive without spending a lot of money doing it!


Have other ideas on how to make your house look more expensive? Tell us in the section below.

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25 Responses

  • Vases(❤️), velvet, mirrors(got my eyes on one from Neiman Marcus with beiveled edges), changing the switch covers and lights are my to do’s. Also will have to do something about my “matchy” living room set. Tips to break the eye focus on it is appreciated. Really don’t like too much going on in my living spaces, but your way of pulling various pieces together in your house tempts me a lot!

    • Thanks, Barbara! Your “to do’s” will definitely add some more personality to your room. I think that is the best thing for taking attention away from things like “matchy” living room furniture…give your eye something else to focus on 🙂 Another possible option is to put part of the set in another room…that will also help provide continuity throughout your house.

  • I have a small cottage house overlooking the lake.
    There are some areas that stun me on how to decorate and finish the spaces .
    Do you accept pics of spaces, then offer ideas on finishing them off with colors and designs?

    I’m trying to go for the craftsman cozy tranquil rustic look.
    There’s a project for everyone to weigh in on lol
    Please help?

    • Hi Zee…that’s not something I normally do. But if you want to email me the pictures, I’ll see what I can come up with 🙂

  • Replace the builder plastic light switch covers with nice metal ones, same with vent covers and air return covers. Makes a huge difference.

  • My Aunt Dorthy had the same skill in taking a plain house and turning it into a stunning home. Yes, it was “over the top” but oh my, what fun it was to go over there. When I saw your makeovers it reminded me of her. A home should reflect the personality of the owner. I am sure your personality is larger than life, thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Thanks, Barbara! I totally agree that your home should reflect your personality, and make you happy to be there. I hope everyone has a home that they love to live in as much as I do 🙂

  • The original room from Houzz is expensive, elegant, and well-edited. The color scheme you’ve chosen can work, but there are far too many things going on in this room. What you show in your den is every classic mistake an amateur makes. Mixing patterns is an art and careful editing is a must. The rug, the wall “art,” the fabric, the wall tile, the furniture. Way too much. This does not look expensive, it has the opposite effect.

    • Hi Gwynn…Everyone has their own taste in decorating. What is too much (or too little) for some is perfect for others. If you choose to take the “less is more” approach to decorating, that is fine for you. But, please don’t try to make everyone follow the same design rules that you do. How boring would the world be if we all decorated everything the same way?. One version is not “better” than the other, they are just different. I happen to love my room…and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters…

      • Wanda, you handle this negitive critizism very well. You are right, everyone should decorate the way they feel lead. At the end of the day, you have to live with it. Your home is your own Oasis.

        • Thanks, Michelle! I do believe that is the true measure of a good room design…if the person who lives in it loves it, then it’s a success 🙂

    • Hi Gina…A lot of the same principals will apply to small houses as they do to big ones. But you’re right that it’s hard to find pictures of smaller houses that show it. I’ll see what I can do about coming up with some 🙂

  • Thanks for all the tips… I loved scrolling through and looking at all the pictures! I loved your tip on repeating patterns and finishes to unify a room and make a look feel cohesive! Such a great tip! Thanks for linking up with us at Welcome Home Wednesdays last week… we can’t wait to see you tomorrow morning!

    • Thanks, Betsy! I read (and pinned) some great posts from your Welcome Home Wednesdays link party…so many great ideas! I will be stopping by again in the morning 🙂 Thanks for hosting!

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