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These 10 Budget-Friendly Decorating Tricks Will Make Your House Look Way More Expensive

Use these thrifty home decorating hacks to make big style statements on a small budget.

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Add a pop of color

“Paint is extremely inexpensive and makes a big difference,” says Keysha Jillian, lead interior designer and owner of K. Jillian Designs, based in Tampa, Florida “Whether you need to tone down a color or add a bold color to liven up your space, color is great for changing the overall feel of a room.” A nice wash of color might only cost around $31.99 for a gallon. If you’re selling your home, you might want to paint it this color to net an additional $5,000.

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Swap out your throw pillows

Throw pillows are an easy way to accessorize and brighten a room, whether you buy them or make your own. Jillian says homeowners should throw out their older throw pillows and replace them with bright, fuller pillows—or just buy crisp new pillow covers. “Mix and match colors and textures, and blend different groupings,” she says. But more is not better. “There can be too many pillows, so make sure you don’t go overboard.” As a cheat sheet, follow this interior design follow this interior design “pillow equation” to create the perfect set-up on your sofa.

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Hang art on the walls

From family photos to DIY art, framed works can make a house feel like a home. Before mounting any work, homeowners should figure out where everything should be placed and the proper way to hang it. “Make sure the art you select is the right size and scale for the wall you’re decorating, and remember you don’t need artwork on every empty wall,” says Jillian. “If you feel creative, a great way to get inexpensive artwork is to create your own. Head to your local craft store and you can find everything you need to create a beautiful canvas or framed custom artwork.” You won’t believe the amazing art you can make with upcycled paint chips.

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Add an area rug

Area rugs can really transform a space. “Area rugs help ground furniture groupings, define rooms, and add more interest to an area,” Jillian says. “It is recommended that all of your furniture grouping sit on the area rug, but at the very least, make sure the feet of your furniture are touching a portion of the rug.”

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Light up the room

Natural lighting and source lighting is very important to a room. “Make sure you don’t block windows, and also be sure to add table and floor lamps throughout your space for a huge statement,” Jillian says. Big box stores sell light fixtures for about $50, but the look of a bigger room is priceless. Any pricey light fixtures might be better suited for your wedding registry. Here are 10 bright ideas for saving on lighting.

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Accent with accessories

Magazines are a great source of home decorating ideas and inspiration for how to accessorize a room. However, homeowners should expect to shop around for a budget-friendly version of anything they see in a design magazine. “Accessories vary significantly in cost, but if you’re looking for a great deal there are plenty of discount home stores that offer stupendous finds, says Jillian. “My ‘go-to’ store for a lot of home design items (especially for clients on a budget) is HomeGoods.” It’s a great way to save on decorating splurges for all home improvement ideas.

Update old fixtures

A quick and easy way to decorate on a dime is to update old fixtures, especially in the kitchen. Knobs, handles, drawer pulls, and light switch plates are small, inexpensive details that give your home a high-end sheen.

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Throw a backsplash on it

A DIY backsplash is great for jazzing up a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room without breaking the bank. This Majestic Ocean Mini Brick backsplash costs less than $10 for a square foot of crystallized glass, which come with mesh backing for an easy installation. If tiling a backsplash is too intimidating, consider creating an accent wall with a bright color paint. Here are expert tips for picking perfect paint colors.

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Give the illusion of higher ceilings

If you can’t raise your roof, literally, you might consider raising your window treatments. Jillian suggests raising window panels to create an illusion of height and give it a grander feel. “Window treatment is often underrated and clients commonly overlook the impact it has on a space,” she says. “An inexpensive way to achieve this tip is to simply add fabric to your existing panels. Once you find the perfect complimentary fabric, simply take it to your local seamstress to have him/her add the fabric at the top, middle or end of the fabric.”

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Add visual space with a mirror or two

Your eyes—and potential buyers’ eyes—will be tricked into thinking a space is larger than it actually is with some sneaky mirror placement. Large mirrors will reflect the room back, making it appear more spacious—even twice its actual size. It’s also one of 19 clever decorating tips to make a small bathroom appear bigger.

Amanda Eisenberg
Amanda Eisenberg is a New York City-based journalist. She's covered everything from unlawful nursing home discharges in Maryland to excess helicopter noise in Hoboken. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Elle Decor, McClatchy-Tribune Wire Service and dozens of other publications. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland (go Terps!). In her free time, Eisenberg enjoys traveling, volunteering and cliff diving. She can be reached at [email protected]