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Make Your Home Look Expensive: 9 Simple Upgrades That Add Value

How to choose sophisticated-looking accessories and highlight the features that give your home value.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Treat each room as a blank slate

Take note the preexisting features in your home you can highlight. Architectural details such as crown molding, wooden beams, hardwood floors, built-in bookshelves, and mosaic-tile backsplashes are all worth focusing on. These details don’t just look expensive; they are expensive. Make them as prominent as possible—keep them clean, clutter free, and the focal point of the room. For example, don’t splurge on an expensive painting just to have it compete with a showstopping fireplace. Interior designers won’t tell you these decorating secrets for free.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Get rid of something super old or ugly

If a dated light fixture or piece of furniture constantly makes you groan, get rid of it. The project doesn’t have to break the budget: Drab wall colors can easily be painted and outdated knobs and hardware can be inexpensively replaced. Even dated kitchen cabinets can be painted white and instantly brought out of the ’80s.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Stick to classic neutral walls

When in doubt on paint color, choose a classic neutral. Here’s how to create a stunning color scheme in your home. Colors like beige, gray, greige, and yellow will always look fresh and on trend. What’s more, they pair well with everything. Limit bold accent colors to accessories and you’ll never have to repaint an entire room because a bright color choice got to be too much.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Don’t match finishes perfectly, coordinate them

Certain stains and finishes play well with others (for example, cherry wood marries well with oak, and hickory blends tend to work well with almost everything), but the vast majority do not. If you’re looking to match your floor to your cabinets, or your faucets to your doorknobs, go for an exact match, or make a real contrast; aim for at least three shades darker or lighter. An almost match has the tendency to look cheap.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Create DIY “built-in” structures like this

The key to making any piece—from bookshelves to kitchen cabinets look custom is to have them fit into your home perfectly. The easiest way to achieve this look is to have them extend all the way from floor to ceiling. A bookshelf that spans an entire wall will almost always look more expensive than one that stands alone. Luckily, with a bit of forward planning this project can be tackled in one or two weekends. Here’s how to expertly decorate a bookshelf.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Splurge on statement pieces

Dining room tables, stand-out rugs, chandeliers, and sofas all have the ability to upgrade a home’s sense of luxury. Identify a few key pieces that you see and use often (especially if they’re ones that are visible from several other rooms) and decide if it makes sense to budget for a splurge. If you decide it’s a go, choose colors and fabrics that are easily cleaned and not easily stained or destroyed.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Add volumunous accessories

Expensive items tend to have weight and volume to them (that’s why heavier gold bangles appear more luxurious than lighter ones that feel like—and possibly are—made of plastic. Avoid flimsiness at all costs: add an extra panel of curtains to your curtain rod, and search for quality carpets and throw blankets that great to the touch. Additionally, accessorize with weighty accent pieces; vases, picture frames, and ornaments should all feel like they’ve got something to them.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Create your own statement artwork

If your room lacks a preexisting focal point, create one using artwork. One option is to create a multi-panel piece (one picture blown up and printed onto three panels hung next to each other) or a gallery-type display of frames. This is how to hang a picture frame perfectly.

istcok/gregory_lee; rd.com/Irina Kipnis

Keep your home clean

Follow the rule of threes (objects look best when organized in odd numbers, especially threes) and leave a generous amount of white space on your walls and surfaces. When it comes to looking luxe, less is always more. File paperwork out of sight, find a home for everything, and clear the clutter. Try these tiny storage hacks to banish clutter.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest