We’ve all been there, excitedly shopping for a new sofa, coffee table, or you-name-it—until the price tag causes a case of heartbreak. Decorating any room can be a challenge when your wants and budget don’t align. Still, there are ways to make any room look and feel lavish without spending your entire paycheck.
We asked interior designers how they make a room look expensive, even if it’s not—no one has to know. Read on for their six best tips.
Add Window Treatments
A bare window can look underdressed, but one outfitted with drapery boasts endless upsides. Window treatments not only give you privacy and an easy way to filter sunlight, but your ceilings will look taller and your space overall more upscale.
Adding window treatments is a go-to trick for Julie Mitchiner of JAM Interior Design to make a room look expensive. “Window treatments, and particularly drapery, really add a finishing layer that makes a room feel more complete,” she says.
If you see dollar signs flashing in front of you just thinking about drapes, don’t worry; Mitchiner says they don’t have to be custom to make a room feel luxe. Opt for velvet panels for a warm, lavish look, and start with communal living spaces, like your living room and dining room.
Texture, Texture, and More Texture
Take it from Kathy Kuo: the more opulent fabrics you add to your space (even if they’re faux), the more expensive it’ll look. “I love adding a variety of luxurious textures to a room to get a look that feels very upscale and expensive,” she says.
Think velvet pillows, cashmere throw blankets, and hair-on-hide rugs—anything you instinctively want to touch. “Smaller accent items instantly elevate a room and give it a very sophisticated, moneyed vibe," Kuo says.
Cut Out Clutter
Imagine a pile of junk mail on your dining room table or a nightstand overflowing with a week’s worth of water glasses. Do any of those spaces say “expensive” to you?
“When decorating, less is more,” Cassie Fruggiero, a real estate agent with Cutter Luxe Living says. “Clutter makes a space appear smaller—as well as plain uninviting.”
To up the luxe factor of any room, take time for a serious decluttering session. Consider everything you’re displaying, from coffee table books to appliances on your kitchen countertops to the pile of shoes overtaking your entryway. Showing off fewer and more meaningful items is not only budget-friendly, but less stressful to look at, too.
Showcase an Oversized Vase
To make a room look luxe, display a “look at me” vase with an eye-catching floral arrangement—the bigger, the better.
“Add a large vase, the kind and scale you see at hotels and restaurants,” entertaining expert and cookbook author Odette Williams says. "Even in a small space, this can have great splendor.”
A Little Light Makes a Big Difference
Think of lighting as a "two birds, one stone" situation. Not only is lighting a functional necessity, but a cool fixture can double as a striking art piece.
“A decorative sconce can make a huge impact on an empty wall and create a luxurious feeling in any room, or a sculptural lamp can double as a piece of art,” Leslie Dapper, lead designer at Rumor Designs says. Best of all, there are plenty of budget-friendly options to shop.
Sam Lund of Simply Sam agrees. “Lighting is often the focal point of a room and can add elegance, funk, and style,” she says. “It’s a quick way to change the look and can be done with any budget.”
Add a Rug—and Then Another
Color, pattern, warmth, and a soft landing for your feet. Need we go on? The benefits of adding a rug to any space, whether a living room, hallway, or bedroom, are numerous—including making a room look more expensive, even if the rug was a steal.
“Rugs can make any room look put together, which creates a more thoughtful and intentional space,” Lund says. Your cold feet will thank you, too.