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Water Cooler: Budget-friendly design tips to make your home look expensive

 (Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

If you want to create a luxurious, upscale feel in your home, attention to detail is key. By sprucing up a few elements of the space, you can make your home look expensive and custom designed on a modest budget.

Start from the top. A plain, white ceiling is simple and clean but it has much more potential than that. Simply tinting the white ceiling with a color that is a little lighter than the walls can help draw the eyes up and feel like the space is cohesive and well planned. If you want to do something more elaborate you can opt for a coffered ceiling design to add interesting pattern, structure and texture, transforming the ceiling from a forgotten detail to a design staple. Coffered ceilings have the added bonus of absorbing sound to improve the acoustics of a room. However, coffered ceilings should be at least 9 feet or taller so the room doesn’t feel claustrophobic.

Wallpaper was universally detested for a while, but it’s making a comeback thanks to fresh design ideas and renewed appreciation. It is one of the best ways to add texture and interest to the walls and instantly create a luxurious, cozy and elegant feel. Wallpaper can be expensive, so if you want to make a big impact on a budget, try using it in a smaller room like a powder room or using it on one wall as an accent. Wallpaper these days can be found in beautiful neutral tones, offering just a bit of texture, or you can still go all out with loud patterns for a powerful design statement.

Harness the power of lighting. Lighting creates magic in photos and movies, but it can also do the same thing for interior design. Overhead light is there to be pragmatic while accent lighting creates atmosphere. Pendants, chandeliers and lamps can be small purchases that transform a room by highlighting certain areas of a room and encouraging the eye to travel around the space, picking up more design details than it would with just overhead lighting.

Create seating groups with furniture to create zones in your home for conversation and other activities. A seating group can be just one chair near a table to create a small reading area, two chairs facing each other near a fireplace or window for intimate conversation, or a group of four chairs near the entertainment stand or game table for group hangouts. The point is that the seating group feels like it’s arranged for a certain purpose which welcomes people to sit there and participate in the intended activity.

Incorporate a few architectural details in your home to give it a finished and plush feel. This can be anything from base and crown modeling, to wall paneling such as wainscoting or built-ins. Adding these surface treatments to plain walls adds more texture, architectural composition and visual interest, making for a much more high-end feel.

Get a large, statement artwork piece. With the popularity of large-scale prints these days, incorporating a big piece of art can be a very budget friendly yet impactful way to make your space feel more upscale. It can be a great way to add a splash of color and highlight the accent color of a room and it can be a way to communicate your personal style as well. Because of its size, it can also help break the room up into zones in a similar way as seating groups do.

Design ideas like these are used everywhere, such as restaurants and hotels. It goes to show an expensive look is more about strategy than lavish items and those strategies can easily be incorporated into a personal living space.

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