10 Inexpensive Upgrades That Will Make Your Home Feel Fancier

10 Inexpensive Upgrades That Will Make Your Home Feel Fancier

Buying a house—any house—increasingly requires a small fortune and a tolerance for high interest rates, and renting isn’t any less bleak, with prices through the roof all over the country. So if you’ve currently got a roof over your head, congratulations! It’s something of an achievement, even if it isn’t fancy.

But what if you want fancy? Maybe you’re tired of builder-grade everything (though not all “builder-grade” stuff is worth changing). Maybe you just want to feel that rush of pride when people come over to your place. If you want a house that looks fancy without having to get a second job to pay for luxe materials, you have a lot of options. Here are 11 ways to make your house look expensive without spending a lot of money.

But first, clean and declutter

The first step toward a house that seems more expensive and luxurious is to declutter and organize everything in it. A tidy house has been proven to be a more valuable property overall (homes that are kept neat are worth about $US3,700 more on average), and rooms with clean lines and no mess can give even the most modest space a more minimalist, purposeful look that feels fancier.

Add garage hinge magnets

Do you have some pretty standard, low-rent garage doors? You can make them look a lot more expensive and luxe for about $US20-30 with some simple handle and hinge magnets. These just slap into place to instantly make your cheap garage door look like a much more expensive Carriage House look. You can see the effect in this video, and it’s pretty dramatic.

Install deck tiles

Outdoor spaces increase our enjoyment of a property—and the property’s value. But if your outdoor space is a broken concrete patio, a weather wooden deck, or a bare patch of dirt it’s not exactly inspiring (or comfortable) to use. The good news is that it’s easy to quickly and cheaply upgrade that area as long as it’s structurally sound (if your deck is threatening to collapse in the next stiff wind, no amount of cheap solutions will save you).

Luckily, all you need are some outdoor interlocking wood tiles to instantly turn that patio, deck, or patch of dirt into a luxurious outdoor space that looks a lot more expensive than it is. You can get enough tiles to cover a 12×12 space for less than $US100, and it’s a simple job that can usually be accomplished in just one day.

Cover your appliances in stainless steel contact paper

One dead giveaway that your house isn’t exactly a luxury model is the busted old appliances in your kitchen. Buying all new stainless steel appliances might be outside your budget, but you can get the same look for just a little money using stainless steel peel-and-stick contact paper. This stuff is waterproof, and if applied with some care it will fool just about anyone, instantly transforming your old appliances into shiny new (looking) ones. You can see the process of applying it here (using these kits, which are designed for specific appliances).

Use peel and stick tiles everywhere

Peel-and-stick technology is the cheapskate’s secret friend. They make a surprisingly large range of peel-and-stick items, from “tile” backsplashes to faux wood planks that can be used for accent walls or to even make a faux shiplap ceiling, or contact paper that can be applied to your kitchen counters to transform cheap counters into expensive-looking stone.

Install new flooring over your gross carpet

If you’re stuck with a ratty old carpet in your house that you can’t remove or replace, whether because you’re renting or because you can’t afford a full-on renovation, a relatively inexpensive solution is to install laminate flooring over your carpet. Yes, this is possible—you shouldn’t consider it a permanent solution, but it provides an instant upgrade from the pink shag your landlord insists is “fine.”

If your carpet is pretty low-pile, you might be able to put the new floor directly on top of it; if your carpet’s a bit heftier you’ll probably need to put down a thin plywood underlayment. Either way, this is an affordable project that can have a dramatic effect on any room.

Install molding

One reason your house looks kind of basic? Your bare walls. Sure, you can solve that with some well-chosen art, but you can also do amazing things using wood picture frame molding. With the right tools and some time, you can create striking patterns on your walls that combine subtlety with elegance, giving it a bespoke look for not much money. (For less than not much money, you can even use pell-and-stick molding, like this stuff. You can get about 10 feet for less than $US20.)

Upgrade your knobs and pulls

Whether your kitchen cabinetry (or any cabinetry in the house, actually) uses knobs or pulls (and yes, there is a difference), you can transform their look for less a few hundred bucks, depending on what you choose. Combined with a fresh paint job on your cabinets (or even a vinyl wrap), fancy new pulls or knobs will make it look like you renovated when all you did was work a few screws.

Add floor to ceiling window treatments

Hanging your curtains as close to the ceiling as possible and running those curtains to the floor will make your rooms look bigger and draw the eye up, making the space seem larger, brighter, and more expensive. People like higher ceilings and associate them with a sense of freedom, and are often willing to pay more for homes they perceive to have higher ceilings. And all you need to accomplish this is some curtain rods and some fabric.

Get new lampshades

If your home utilizes a lot of lamps that you bought in bulk at a big-box store because you needed to light up your rooms without hiring an electrician or spending too much, they might be contributing to the sense that your house isn’t very luxe. The lampshades provided with your typical mass-produced lamp aren’t exactly stylish—or durable.

Luckily, the solution isn’t expensive: You just need some cooler lampshades. This could involve a few art projects to spruce up the ones you already have, or a few new lampshades (like this, or this) to give your sad lamps a nice sense of luxury.

Install DIY built-ins

Built-in storage units like bookshelves add to a sense that the home is expensive, and are generally thought to add value to a house. But adding actual built-ins to your house can be pricey, since it might require a carpenter to custom design and install shelving or cabinetry. Or you can get a similar effect for much less money by buying Ikea storage, combining units, and painting.

For example, this homeowner used Ikea BILLY shelving units to create a pretty cool built-in effect. In fact, anywhere in your house where you can fit a pre-built cabinet or bookshelf can be made to look like a super expensive built-in even on a modest budget.

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