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Tips for Luxury Design on a Limited Budget

Modern minimalist kitchen with central table and bench

When people think of luxury design, they assume it comes with a high price tag. However, there are ways to create a high-end appearance without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for styling a home on a budget. 

1. Mix up Textures 

Having all the same fabric can make a space feel bland. Consider adding throw pillows of different patterns to liven up the room. When choosing the pillows, stick with three colors or patterns. For example, dark blue, deep red and pink work well together. 

In addition, change up the materials for sofas and chairs. Those who want to keep it simple can try slight variations of neutral colors. 

2. Incorporate Some Plants

Bringing nature indoors is a popular trend for homeowners. Plants are a cheap way to enhance a room and create a relaxing feeling. Hang them on the wall or place them on shelves. 

Another affordable solution is to buy grocery store flowers, nicely arrange them in a vase and put them on a dining room table. Those who don’t have a green thumb can choose easy-to-care-for plants, such as Montsera or aloe vera. 

3. Update the Hardware 

Updating hardware is an easy way to give a space a more modern look. Kitchen cabinets, sinks or dressers are all excellent places to start. Stainless steel is a popular option because of its durability and sleek appearance, plus they match well with other kitchen appliances. The hardware materials should also fit well with the overall design. 

4. Get Rid of Clutter

Instead of adding more stuff, remove unnecessary clutter. Minimalism is becoming a popular design trend. Having less decor helps open up the space and give it a chic style. Consider using more multipurpose furniture, such as an ottoman. 

An organized room can feel more relaxing and even larger. Hanging mirrors and decorating with neutral colors can also add depth to the space. 

5. Decorate the Walls

Sprucing up the walls is an affordable way to give a space more life. Repainting them is one simple trick. White is a popular choice to create a modern appearance and make a room feel larger, and it matches well with bolder-hued decor. Those who want to add more color should consider blues and greens to create a relaxing feeling. 

An accent wall is an excellent option if a homeowner just wants to add a single pop of color. It involves painting one wall a different color than the rest. Also, adding artwork, string lights or tapestries can help elevate the room. 

 modern minimal bedroom with bed with ash headboard and geometric pendant light

6. Add Some Rugs 

A rug can provide a sense of comfort and texture, and it also ties different decor together. Consider getting a carpet with colors that match the rest of the decorations. Lighter colors, like whites, can make a space feel larger, while cooler shades like blues and greens create a calming atmosphere. 

In addition to adding rugs, consider updating the flooring. Hardwood flooring is a good option for its durability and ascetic appeal. Engineered wood is often cheaper than solid wood. 

7. Shop at Thrift Stores 

Thrift shops are excellent places to find unique items at cheap prices. Look for things such as baskets, lamps or wooden decor. Repaint and clean furniture to give it a brand new feel. Also, designers can repurpose items to create unique pieces. For example, an old cutting board can become a decorative kitchen tray. 

8. Spruce up the Lighting 

A well-lit room can feel more welcoming, and it’s important to have multiple types. Ambient lights are the main source of lighting and are available in many styles, from wall sconces to pendants. Table lamps are great for task lighting. Accent lighting emphasizes certain architectural features, such as through recessed lights.

9. Install a Tile Backsplash

Adding tile to a kitchen or bathroom can elevate the space. Porcelain and ceramic are the most popular types of materials, while subway tiles are trendy and affordable. If there is a little more room in the budget, consider splurging on handmade tiles. 

10. Upgrade the Window Treatments

Adding some curtains to the windows can help elevate a space. Look for drapes with fun patterns, such as florals, to liven up the room. Sheer curtains can look chic while allowing more natural light inside, while those who want more privacy should opt for blackout curtains. Make sure to hang the drapes as high as possible to give the illusion of depth. 

How to Master Luxury Design on a Tight Budget

Creating a luxury look doesn’t have to break the bank. Simple updates can give a space a brand new feel. Designers should review these tips to create an elegant aesthetic on a budget.


Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated. Her work focuses on interior and architectural design and has been published by Build Magazine, the National Association of REALTORS and other online publications.