Decor Secrets: 15+ Cheap Decor Ideas that Look Expensive

December 19, 2021 7 min read

expensive-looking home on a budget

We all wish money were no object when it comes to home decorating. Who doesn't want a gorgeous home with well-appointed rooms and beautiful decor that would impress guests? At the core of our interior decor efforts, we aspire for a home that's classy, tasteful, inviting, and comfortable.

But if you have to decorate within a budget (like us!), don't give up just yet. We have decorating tips and tricks that could make your home feel refined and expensive, using only affordable decor! Try these low-cost home tips today.


1. Use a color 'mood'.

What kind of ambiance feels expensive to you? That should dictate the colors and accents you put in the room. For example, if you want a bright and airy home like those in style magazines, use a color palette of whites and neutrals. But if you want some luxe, dramatic interiors a la Downton Abbey, fill your rooms with hues like midnight blue, deep red, or emerald green.

Painting your walls would be the most obvious way to achieve your mood, but you don't have to spend so much on repainting. Sometimes, just one accent wall can make that impact (more on this below). Or, if you're not painting at all, see if you can change the colors of your curtains, couch, throw pillows, rug, and other features.

For more on how to create your ideal home ambiance, see our guide here.


2. Make an accent wall.

An accent wall is an amazing decor trick. It's one wall that has a different color, material, or styling from the rest of the room, making it the main focal point. When you have an accent wall, you draw your guests' attention to it, so you could just style that one area and it would immediately make an impression.

To make an accent wall, choose a wall in the room that's highly visible and clutter-free. You can opt to repaint it with a carefully chosen color, or put up some affordable wall paper. Our favorite, most foolproof trick is by hanging a large-scale wall art on it -- a surefire way to catch everyone's attention!

Wall art pictured above: "Here's To Friends Turned Into Family" Premium Canvas


3. Keep it simple and clutter-free.

We can't stress this enough: the classiest homes are clean and tidy. Spend an afternoon editing the things you see in your space, putting away clutter as well as items that don't fit your ambiance. Make sure there's lots of 'breathing space' for the eyes -- that is, some blank space on the walls, floor, and tabletops.

You may also want to swap your prints and frilly objects for ones that are more refined. For example, maybe you can switch from ruffled curtains to streamlined drapes. Or maybe you can reorganize that gallery wall so it looks less cramped.


4. Hunt for affordable custom art.

A custom artwork is a treasure to have, but unfortunately, its expensive prices often reflect that. According to the experts at Skillshare, a 12x12 inch custom art piece can typically be priced at $430 and up! That's a lot of money for one decor item.

The good news is, there are lots of budget-friendly alternatives. At Gear Den, we make personalized canvas prints that are affordable yet still high-quality. You can choose from many designs and input your custom details into the print! They also come with a wood back frame, so you don't have to spend extra on framing or mounting. The best part? Our prices start at $39.95!

Wall art pictured above: Personalized Family Names On Tree Premium Canvas V2


5. Hide your electronics.

Ever noticed that in picture-perfect homes, you rarely see any electronics? There's no bulky stereo, no scattered cables, not even random cellphones on the coffee table. It's certainly not because these households are devoid of those things. It's because they put everything in its place -- and that place may be a cleverly concealed storage.

We've seen some homes 'disguise' their giant TV by surrounding it with artworks. Some keep their devices in closed shelving, in drawers, or behind furniture. As for wires? It's simply a matter of discipline in keeping them all neat and concealed.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Family Names Joined By Love" Premium Canvas


6. Beautify your storage.

Speaking of concealing things, are you having a tough time keeping random clutter out of sight? Keys and coins, kids' toys, errant throw pillows, books and magazines that you keep picking up and leaving behind -- such objects just demand to be kept within reach.

Instead of stressing out over and over about putting them away, put out some easy-access storage that's functional and display-worthy. You can find inexpensive yet pretty bins and baskets to house bulkier objects. As for tabletop clutter, corral them all with a nice tray. You can even repurpose an old serving tray to keep odds and ends in your entry!

Check out more storage tips in our blog post here.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "This Is Us" With Names On Background Premium Canvas


7. Swap your hardware.

For instant elegance, change your old drawer pulls, handles, and knobs into sleek, metallic ones. Or just spray-paint them with a nice metallic finish (be sure to cover everything around them to prevent the paint from spattering). It's a quick and easy way to update your kitchen shelves and bathroom cabinets!

P.S. If budget permits, try this elegant swap on your other hardware as well, such as towel racks, faucets, and doorknobs.


8. Add flowers -- accessible ones.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Family Is Everything" Names On Background Premium Canvas

What stylish home would be complete without a vase of beautiful florals? But with the prices of flower bouquets at specialty shops, some might say it's not worth the splurge. Well, good thing we have pretty and budget-friendly alternatives!

If you have a blooming garden, by all means, display those blossoms on your dining table. Or if you're not a green thumb, you can go minimalist: Look outdoors for nice twigs, showy leaves, or wildflowers. Arrange them in a sleek container, and voila, an elegant botanical centerpiece! See our examples below:

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Family Rules" Phrases On Background Premium Canvas


 Wall art pictured above: "These Are The Good Old Days" Premium Canvas


9. Fake some hardwood pieces.

Nothing says 'premium' like rich, gleaming hardwood furnishings. If you feel like your home could use more of those beautiful wood tones, but your budget is fairly limited, why not go for a good copycat look?

Canvas prints like the one above provide the same richness and rustic beauty of real wood -- but they're way cheaper! Just make sure to choose a high-quality canvas print. Here at Gear Den, our customers have commented that the piece looks like real wood!

Wall art pictured above: Personalized Rustic "Family Name" Premium Canvas


10. Go for statement lighting.

A statement light is like a sparkly necklace: when you have this eye-catching fixture, you don't need much else! And if you think statement lights are always at extravagant 'designer' prices, think again. Scour your local flea markets, thrift stores, or secondhand forums for some really interesting pieces. Or, if you're feeling crafty, DIY it! Google "diy pendant lamp" and you'll get tons of tutorials for every taste and budget.


11. Arrange a candle moment.

Graceful candles are a constant feature at spas and luxurious villas. Thankfully, with a minimal budget and some thoughtfulness, you can arrange your own candle vignettes at home. Play around with candle heights and shapes. Display them with complementing ornaments such as plants and mini bookstacks. You can use a few candles on candleholders (above) or go for big impact with large candles (below).

Wall art pictured above: Personalized Heart Design "Family - Crazy, Loud, Love" Premium Canvas


Wall art pictured above: Personalized Family "Home Sweet Home" Rustic Premium Canvas


12. Go for matte + contrast.

Got time to refinish just one piece of furniture? Pick paint in matte finish and in a shade that contrasts the dominant color of the space. This results in a clean but high-impact look, especially when you use deep jewel tones like the teal sideboard above.

You can also apply this color-contrast trick with other objects around the house, such as cabinet doors, doorknobs, lampshades, tableware... the list goes on.


13. Swap plastics for repurposed glass.

Take a look around the room and see if there are plastic objects that don't quite look classy. Maybe it's some plastic containers in your kitchen, or a variety of plastic bottles on your vanity. You can easily glam them up by replacing them with glass containers! Even better, you can probably already find these glass containers at home, like old mason jars, mayonnaise jars, candy dishes, cosmetics tubs, and milk bottles.

PS. Some beauty brands now provide refillable options, where you just take your glass container to a refilling station instead of buying another bottle. Classy and eco-friendly!


14. Add more throws.

Opulent homes are so well-appointed with the fluffiest cushions and textiles. Emulate this cushy feeling with your own version of throw pillows and blankets! Layer your pillows thoughtfully, then top them off with a nice throw blanket that's 'casually' strewn just right. See our examples above and below, or read our blog post on how to style your pillows as decor.

Pillow pictured above: Personalized Photo Pillow "Family... Love"


Blanket pictured above: Personalized "We Should Probably Cuddle" Premium Fleece Blanket


15. Use one bold element.

Sometimes, one high-impact shape is all it takes to make an elegant impression. Pick a wall in your house and visualize what single shape you would like best on it. A sleek round mirror? A large-scale artwork? How about trying the painted wall arch trend, which you can achieve even with leftover paint? The gorgeous example above is from DIY-er Brittany Malia.


Bonus: Finish with a lovely scent.

A scent may not always be considered decor per se, but it makes a huge difference in the ambiance of the room. If you have just a little decorating budget left, get an essential oil diffuser or an aromatherapy set.

Take the time in picking your scent, because there are endless combinations of fragrance notes out there. When you find one you really like, it can make your home feel so luxurious and refined, and your guests will notice!


What do you think of these luxe-for-less decor ideas? Did you find some you can try at home? Tell us in the comments!

You can also find more decor tricks to make your home look expensive, in our blog post here!

And for more of the home decor featured above, browse for items you'll love.


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