Swap out that builder grade lighting.
Most of us have a long list of home upgrades we’d make if money was no issue. But home improvements don’t have to be all or nothing. There are plenty of small changes, simple refreshes, and decor swaps that can be done in a weekend or even just an afternoon—and they won’t drain your bank account. Here are seven home upgrades you can do that will look way more expensive than they are.
Replace Your Builder Grade Lighting
It’s time to replace your boob lights. The flush mount lights are standard in many homes, and they’re subject to a lot of hate from the design community. To be fair, boob lights and other builder-grade lighting can often be pretty discreet and unnoticeable (unless you’re someone who has a strong aversion to them). However, replacing this lighting can turn something functional and overlooked into a transformative design moment—and you don’t have to spend much to make an impact. You can go with a popular lantern style light or browse a variety of pendant lighting from IKEA for under $100. Swapping out the overhead lighting for something with more diffused light can also create a cozier, more inviting home.
While you’re at it, look around to other overlooked features in the home that could be updated on a budget, like the light switches. Investing in the details of your home over time will give your home a more custom and expensive look.
Add Some Trim or Molding
If you’re trying to achieve a more high-end look in your home but feel like you’re falling flat, it might be because your walls are, in fact, too flat. Adding dimension to your walls—through box trim, crown molding, or some form of wall paneling—can instantly enhance your home’s character. And you don’t even need to hire a contractor to evoke the look of Parisian chateau in your own home. You can easily DIY the project with a nail gun, or, to save even more money and effort, you can buy peel-and-stick wall molding and paint it to whatever color you need.
Display Fresh Flowers or Greenery
There’s a common theme in almost every celebrity home tour video or photoshoot: Fresh flowers. In reality, most of those celebs (and most of the rest of us) don’t take the time to keep fresh flowers in our home 24/7, and that’s understandable. But there’s a reason why we always see fresh flowers or greenery in every home photoshoot: They just make a home look nice. So, if you’re looking to quickly elevate your home before company comes over—or just for your own enjoyment—fresh flowers are a thoughtful detail that will always do the trick.
Add More Art
One of the quickest ways to make your home look more high-end is to swap out your smaller prints and artwork for large-scale, gallery-style art. However, large-scale art usually comes at a pretty steep price. But you can save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars by finding artwork secondhand. While it may take a few trips to different local thrift stores and antique shops, the time spent will quickly pay off when you have a large, one-of-a-kind piece to hang in your home.
If large-scale art isn’t your style, though, a gallery wall is another great way to make your home look more thoughtfully considered and intentionally styled. Arrange artwork of different sizes and shapes to create an intriguing yet balanced look. And remember, artwork isn’t the only thing you can add to a gallery wall: Consider incorporating unexpected objects, like an antique hand mirror, or a small plant to create a truly unique display. Attention to detail is a surefire way to elevate your home design.
Paint the Walls
While painting may feel like a bigger project, it’s one of the least expensive ways to make a major impact on your home interiors without doing any remodeling. But, we’ll admit it, painting projects aren’t exactly cheap. According to Forbes, it costs an average of $200 to $300 to DIY paint a standard-sized room, not including the cost of the additional painting equipment needed. The costs go up pretty significantly if you’re hiring a professional to do the painting.
However, painting is a much less expensive home investment project when compared to remodeling costs—and it can make your home interiors look brand new.
Put Up Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
If you’re looking for a more affordable way to refresh your walls, peel-and-stick wallpaper is the answer. You can find solid-colored options to take the place of a fresh coat of paint. Or, you can go for a more bold pattern to make a design statement in your space. Patterned wallpaper can be especially effective in small spaces, like a bathroom or entryway. So, if you’ve been wanting to renovate your bathroom but don’t have the budget for a full remodel, peel-and-stick wallpaper in a luxurious or whimsical print is a great way to get the feeling of an upgrade without all the expense.
Hide the Cords
Unsightly cords can distract from your best home design efforts. While getting rid of them entirely isn’t an option, there are several budget-friendly ways to hide them and keep them from getting in the way of your carefully curated home aesthetic. (Read up on 10 different ways to hide pesky cords, from your TV, appliances, chargers, and more, here.) Disguising your cords is a small change that can streamline the look of any room and remove visual clutter that takes away from the design of your home.
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