So you have champagne taste and a wine box budget? Who doesn’t? The good news is that you can create the style and opulence of the high-end houses you see on the North Shore in a simple (and we do mean cheap) and creative way.
This article will give you all of the tips, tricks and insider hints to create the illusion of luxury throughout your whole house. Giving you the golden rules of creating splendor in your home without the hefty price tag. We will also take you room by room and highlight what you need to do to ensure that you get the affluent style you desire for each room.
The Golden Rules
Declutter - less is more
If you have ever wished that your home looked more elegant or had that staged look that you drool over; the first step to achieving it is to declutter.
Source: home storage solutions 101
Living in a high-end luxurious home means all of your worldly possessions aren't on show. Pick a few of your favorite knick knacks to go into a room. It’s a matter of taking the time and care to arrange things in an eye-pleasing way.
Eliminate dirt and grunge
Having a clean home can go a long way to making it look more expensive. Now we are not suggesting that you scrub your floors with a toothbrush every day or even once a week. However, freshening up your carpets and rugs with a deep clean twice a year is essential for that luxe feeling. Steam cleaning wood and tile floors also add sparkle to your home.
Ensure your home is dust free so as not to take the shine off your perfectly placed furniture. Go through your house once a month with the eyes of someone who does not live there and just see what you notice. Clean and organize anything that stands out for the wrong reasons.
Painting is a simple cost effective way Ensure your home is dust free so as not to take the shine off your perfectly placed furniture. Go through your house once a month with the eyes of someone who does not live there and just see what you notice. Clean and organize anything that stands out for the wrong reasons.
To make a dramatic change in your home, start with a neutral color pallet and then an accent wall, or simply decide to add color with your decor.
Clean White Walls accented by Tastefully Colored Decor
Clean, crisp white walls, ceilings, skirtings and crown molding provide clean lines and push your home into show-home status.
Extra Tip: Keep small pots of paint on hand to allow for touch ups throughout the year. There is nothing worse than scuff marks on your walls and skirting boards.
Start Neutral and add layers
Your walls are painted in a neutral color and you have all the furniture you can afford but your home still looks unfinished. One of the things you will notice if you have ever been to an open house in Marblehead or Rockport is the layers.
A luxurious home always has layers: books and candles to decorate, a rug to delineate spaces or draw attention to or away from something, floor to ceiling curtains framing the windows, throw pillows or a cozy blanket laying on the sofa and bed. The reason you should paint your walls in a neutral color is so that you can use these layers to add color and style that can be easily changed as trends change.
Source: Layer on the Home Décor for Beautiful Fall Style
Keeping up with the latest trends is the best way to make your house look expensive. Marrying the new with the old in a timeless and fashionable way will make your home the envy of everyone. Keeping your home on trend with accessories is the most cost effective way to do this.
Living Room Decorating Ideas
The living room is the heart of the home and therefore, when you are on a budget it is a good idea to start with this room first.
Paint: Paint your walls in neutral colors. Whites and creams will make everything brighter and cleaner giving your room a more high-end vibe. In the living room, keep everything uniform when it comes to wall color. That means no feature wall here for us.
Source: 25 Beautiful Modern Living Room Interior Design examples
However, it has always been my personal belief that if you have a beautiful feature in your room you should highlight it in some way. If you want the focal point of your room to be the beautiful fireplace then painting this in a contrasting color is a great way to do it and will add instead of detracting from the expensive feel.
Art: Supersize the art in the room. There is no need to spend a fortune on art, you can find inexpensive pieces at Target. Or if you want a more individual piece go to auctions and see what you can grab for a bargain. Better yet DIY your own art to reflect your personal style; a printed photograph on canvas or a one-off masterpiece of your own creation is perfect.
When it comes to art it is also a good idea to include your TV in your art wall as much as possible. There is nothing that brings a room down more than a great big black screen stuck in the middle of a wall. Try to lose the TV in a jungle of smaller canvases or simply frame your TV so it looks like its own piece of artwork.
Lighting: The lighting in a lounge room needs to be warm and inviting. Try low hanging chandeliers or a pendant light. Warm table or floor lamps also work when trying to create warmth.
Source: 25 Beautiful Modern Living Room Interior Design examples
Most people will make the mistake of just having this one source of light in their room. However, by adding some cheap table lamps and swapping out the shades or better yet DIYing them yourself. You can add layers of light to your lounge room and highlight areas of importance or significance.
Making a sculpture from a lamp is also a fabulous idea when you are trying to get the high-end vibe into your aesthetic. Try hanging a hinged lamp from the ceiling to create an interesting focal point.
Storage: Every house needs storage. But going back to one of our golden rules at the beginning of the article and keeping this in mind will ensure you don't overfill your storage with clutter.
Find a nice bookcase or open shelf storage unit and begin by adding books. Books give a room an elegant feel and reflect your taste.
Source: Storage For Kids Toys In Living Room
As well as books you should always add fresh flowers to any surface you can find. It will brighten up the area and add a splash of color to your clean white walls. Flowers provide an organic feel to the room and placing them in an interesting vase will definitely class up your space and make more elegant.
NB: If you don't have fresh flowers in your garden yet buying quality silk flowers will save you money in the long run. Fresh flowers every week can become expensive if you don't have a source to get them for free.
Any storage containers that you use should match, the uniformity will create the high-end feel you are looking for. Either baskets, storage containers or mason jars will work, as long as they are uniform you are on the right track.
Source: House Tweaking
Within your storage bookshelf, we also recommend using your decorative nick nacks that you have carefully chosen. Creating a cute, simple and elegant vignette in your storage area will help to dress up your space and create the staged look you desire.
Throw Pillows and Area Rugs: Obviously, we are on a budget here so we can’t very well go out and buy the latest Italian sofa, however, the best way to conceal your worn sofa is to add inexpensive throw pillows. Using a range of colors and textiles that complement each other will draw the eye away from your seemingly boring sofa and add a touch of class and elegance to any style of room.
An area rug has a similar effect. You don't have to spend a fortune on an area rug, you just need to choose one that is eye catching, and that uses complementary colors and textiles to what you have already chosen for your lounge room. The rug will delineate the space and provide the high-end, staged feel you are looking for.
Curtains and Drapes: Our last tip to make your living room look as though it belongs in a North Shore Real Estate magazine is a simple one. Most expensive homes have high ceilings. If yours doesn't, never fear, with this simple trick you can create the illusion of space.
When hanging curtains and drapes it is a natural tendency to want to place them just above the window frame. However, if you hang your curtains just below where the ceiling meets the wall and leave a little pool of fabric on the floor, you trick the eye into believing you have those 10ft ceilings we all crave.
Source: Classy Glam Living
Anyone who has ever been given a quote for custom made drapes understands how ridiculously expensive they are. Our trick to get that custom made feel from your store bought drapes is to double up the thickness of them.
Paint: Again, keep the paint neutral in the bedrooms for cleanliness and brightness. However, you can choose from a wider range of neutrals depending on the coziness you want to achieve. Darker neutrals will close the room in more while lighter neutrals will open it up. In the bedroom, it is perfectly acceptable to add a feature wall if you have been dying to add some color to your walls.
Source: Good Housekeeping
Furniture: Again we aren't millionaires here, or you wouldn't be reading this you would be looking for an interior designer, but the furniture in a bedroom is important. The bed is obviously the biggest accessory and piece in the room and so it should reflect the opulence you want to create.
A heaboard is the best way to do this. You can easily reflect the affluent style you love with a little bit of DIY magic. Use the DIYers tool of choice, Pinterest, to find the headboard you desire and get to work on upgrading or making your own. Go for a heavy wood look or soft fabric feel.
Lighting: Again soft warm lighting in a bedroom is ideal but we recommend using a dimmer switch to create different moods for the room.
One source of lighting in the bedroom is never enough so add some lamps to the bedside table and so strip lighting around the vanity and dressing tables to highlight specific features.
Hardware: In the bedroom you want small elegant pieces placed around the room to give it that high-end feel. Using jewelry or small crystal knobs for drawers is an excellent way to achieve this.
Bedding: In an elegant, high-end bedroom you should always have white linen. This doesn't need to be expensive, but soft cotton, bright white and ironed is a must. Covers and sheets should both be white.
Bright white linens are your friend in the bedroom.
Throw pillows and rugs: This is where you can add color and style to your room. Over stuffing your pillow covers is a great inexpensive way to create affluence in your bedroom. And using cheap, small faux fur rugs sewn together to create a throw will finish off the luxury hotel feel.
Arguably the most important area of your house and one of the most expensive to renovate. These quick tips are suitable for any budget. Labor is generally the most expensive cost in a renovation, so if you are handy or a handyman in your area owes you a favor you can create a relatively cheap luxury makeover in your kitchen.
When it comes to countertops, obviously keep them clutter free. A tidy kitchen is the best way to create the illusion of luxury. The best part about this is that it is perfectly free. Having one or two uniform containers on the bench and fruit bowl or flowers is all that should be visible to a guest.
Source: So Creative Things
Countertops and Backsplashes: However, if you want to take it a step further you can redo your countertops to give them a marble or quartz look finish. Just visit Home Depot and for less than $100 for 6.5ft you can purchase a laminate countertops. Adding a glass backsplash will also add luxury to your kitchen.
Cabinets: One of the best thing about kitchen cabinets are that they are all made the same size. So you can swap out the old boring doors in your kitchen for new luxury ones from the hardware store. However, if your budget doesn't quite stretch that far the next best step is to remove them and spray paint them white to give them a fresh new look. Adding beautiful chrome knobs to your cabinets will add to the luxury feel also.
Lighting: Chandeliers and pendant lights are perfect for your new light and bright kitchen. However, ensure you don't overdo it. You should use the showpiece lights to delineate the areas in your kitchen and then add downlights to create more light in the space without cluttering up the eye line of your kitchen.
Source: The Lighting Company
Strip lighting under your cabinets is another great inexpensive way to create a more expensive feel to your kitchen. LED lights are cheap to buy and even cheaper to run, however, they highlight the new countertops and backsplashes you have just created and shine a light on the perfectly placed accessories and can accentuate the show home quality you have been striving for.
Decorative: Add some color and life into your kitchen with a few well placed decorative elements. Think a bright piece of art on the wall, a cool clock, throw pillows in the breakfast nook or a funky vase with fresh flowers. These little touches finish off the look you have been trying to create.
Source: The Creativity Exchange
When it comes to the bathroom many people are too scared to even go near it let alone get stuck into making it more luxurious.
It is a daunting and often expensive task, however, if you keep in mind a few simple tricks you will be able to turn even the most dated bathroom into simple spa luxury.
Tiles and flooring: When trying to keep costs down achieve brilliants results with simple solutions you can’t go past spraying your entire bathroom white. Most tiles, even in older homes, look fabulous with a new coat of white spray paint on them.
The same technique can be employed if, god forbid, you have a bathroom with a pink or green bathtub and sink. You can purchase special paint from Home Depot to complete this yourself or alternatively hire someone to come in and spray the whole room.
Paint: If you don't have floor to ceiling tiles in your bathroom, try keeping the paint neutral and white again. You can add some stencil work or a feature wall for color and style. Better yet if you have the funds buy yourself two rolls of patterned wallpaper and make a feature above your vanity or around a mirror.
Seating: Nearly every high-end bathroom that you have ever entered has somewhere other than the toilet to sit. A beautiful armchair will give your bathroom a beautiful luxury feel. If you are constricted by space a simple stool painted in the right way to compliment your aesthetic will do the trick.
Source: Apartment Therapy
Containers: Unlike in the kitchen where it is essential that you pack everything away, in the bathroom having a few well-appointed containers will add opulence to your space. Having a dish for the soap to sit on, a tumbler for your toothbrush and a beautiful jar for cotton buds and Q-tips will create the staged feel we all admire.
Bathmat: Just like in the other rooms of our house we can add style and color with area rugs in the bathroom too. Instead of the old tired bath mat try the new trend of a Turkish rug. It is beautiful and soft underfoot and will look fantastic even as it fades.
Towels: We can all empathize with Monica from friends and her 11 different categories of towels, can't we? She may have taken it to the extreme, however, having a nice set of towels for display in your bathroom will add to the luxury feel of it.
Source: My Best Friend Craig
For the rest of your towels if you don’t have an enclosed space to put them get yourself a nice basket and roll all of your white towels and place them in there to create a spa feel.
Mirrors: No one said that we have to settle for the old medicine cabinet mirror. You can either splurge on a one off mirror for your bathroom or find a cheap mirror and frame and upscale it yourself. Again, Pinterest is our friend here. A lot can be done with rope and a hot glue gun!
Source: Built Smart House
Lighting: People generally overlook the lighting in the bathroom and go for something practical like a heat lamp and fan extractor. However if you want to add style and opulence to your bathroom you can’t go past a beautiful low hanging chandelier. Something spherical in nature to compliment the bathroom aesthetic.
The last room that we have to talk about is the most overlooked room in the house, it is the hallway. You will never walk into a high-end Lynnfield home and see a sparse hallway. They will all have cleverly thought out design features to draw your eye to all of the right places.
Paint: Nothing different with the walls here, keep them white to open up and brighten up the space. However in a truly elegant and expensive home, the doors will all be painted in gloss black. The crisp pops of black will add sophistication and detail to your space. This is an easy way to improve your cheap doors without spending large amounts of money on replacing them. Pair this will chrome handles and you are definitely on to a winning look.
Source: Where We Are Blog
Mirrors: Using different sized with neutral frames throughout your hallway is essential to making it look bigger and brighter. You want this aspect of your home to be inviting as it is the place in your house that takes you on the journey to whichever room you want to get to.
Source: Interior Color Ideas
Rugs: Having a large runner in your hallway is another way to create a sense of opulence. Using a large runner adds style, color and warmth to an area that is usually forgotten about.
Source: Playing With Time
So there you have it. If you follow The Golden Rules of - decluttering, cleaning, neutral walls and adding layers throughout your whole house you will be well on your way to living the luxury of a professionally staged home. For those of you who want to take on a bigger project use the room by room guide to add style and elegance to every room of your house.
Anyone can create opulence and affluence in their home on a shoestring budget you just have to be ready to do your research and get creative with a few DIY projects. Be patient and the right idea for your home will come to you. And remember you can never go wrong with some fresh flowers or greenery picked from your own garden to add a touch of organic class to a room.