Most everyone wants to make a good impression when it comes to their home, whether they’re having guests visit or want to ramp up their curb appeal for resale value. One of the ways to make your home look its very best is by prioritizing ways to make it look more expensive and more luxe to the eye.
And it’s not all about showing off. Making your home look more expensive can feel sumptuous and pampering to you, your partner, and your family.
“I think home design is a transformative force in one’s life,” says potter and designer Jonathan Adler. “Everything you buy and surround yourself with should make you feel a little bit more glamorous and interesting than you think you are.”
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And while making your home look more expensive may seem like you’re just “keeping up with Joneses,” as Bethany Adams, principal of Bethany Adams Interiors, points out, investing in your home is actually sending a clear signal that you value your neighborhood and community and intend to stay, at least for a while.
“Taking the time to plant a garden, hang curtains, or swap out light fixtures are all small improvements that make your home look cared for, which can also have a ripple effect through your neighborhood as others see how far a little effort can go,” Adams says.
Mimi Meacham, owner and principal designer of Marian Louise Design, believes that investing in your home is always a worthy endeavor.
“You and your family spend most of your time in your home and you want to feel good about the space you live and make memories in,” Meacham says.
Our three designers share their top ways to make a home look more expensive, something that’s helpful to keep in mind as you plan your budget for a home refresh.
How to Make Your Home Look More Expensive
Adams says that keeping your front lawn or garden tidy, trim paint fresh, and lightbulbs replaced is the first indicator that you care about preserving the investment you’ve made in your home, which can actually have an impact on its real or perceived value.
She says, “Inside, clear away clutter, banish kids’ toys to their bedrooms or a playroom, and put dishes in the dishwasher. Nothing ruins the illusion of luxury like a pile of Fisher Price toys and used glasses on every table.”
While linoleum or imitation wood floors are certainly easier on the wallet, if investing in your home is top of mind, consider turning to high-quality wood floors instead, which will stand the test of time. Meacham says that wood floors, whether they’re dark or light, skinny or wide, will elevate the look of your home instantly.
Adler believes that when it comes to making a space look more expensive, you can never go overboard, or wrong, with any reflective surfaces.
“[Mirrors] add twinkly glamour, light, and the illusion of space,” he says.
As a textured surface that’s crafted using lime putty and marble dust, Meacham thinks that Venetian plaster on the walls and ceilings can instantly bring up a space.
“I can’t even accurately describe what an impact this can make in your home,” she says. “The sunlight reflects off the plaster in such a gorgeous way that you can’t stop staring at it.”
“Whether you have a natural pollinator garden or a clipped English hedge, taking the time to plan out your landscaping—including hardscapes, like pathways and patios—goes a long way toward making your home look more expensive, before you even step in the front door,” Adams advises.
She also recommends placing a pair of seasonally appropriate planters on either side of your entry door as another subtle indicator that yours is a special, and likely expensive, home.
Varied Lighting Levels
Lighting is a surefire way to make your home look more expensive, and can help the dwellers feel more comfortable as well. Adams says that ideally, each room should have three different levels of light: ambient, task, and decorative.
She adds, “The easiest way to make your home look pricey is by selecting small aperture (2″ is perfect) LED recessed lighting versus large, outdated ‘can’ lights for your ambient lighting. These are the favored lights of designers and architects, so you’ll automatically be signaling that you’ve invested in your home by hiring professionals.”
Putting every light on a dimmer to create that ambient, task, and decorative lighting scheme is also encouraged. Adler says that dimmers make everyone, and everything, look even more glamorous than they already are.
Meacham says that custom drapery is a luxe touch in a home. She says, “Full drapes frame a window so elegantly and truly take your space to another level.”
A Bar Cart
If you want to give your home the feel that it’s been transported back in time to a 1950s-era cocktail party, a bar cart is a guaranteed way to set a cool, sophisticated vibe.
“Simply put, bar carts are the swankiest of all home decor,” Adler says. “They say you know how to entertain.”
Adams notes that expensive homes typically use the best materials, and if you’d like to mimic that look, only choose finishes that are natural.
She says, “Natural stone—whether marble, granite, or quartzite—will naturally look more luxurious than man-made quartz or porcelain countertops. Living metal finishes like brass or copper also have a quiet luxury.”
For a fairly quick way to make your home look more expensive, Meacham recommends switching out your doorknobs and cabinet hardware. She suggests shopping online or in a local showroom to find new, cohesive cabinet hardware and doorknobs.
“We call it ‘the jewelry of the home’ because they sparkle and shine in all the right places,” she shares. “I recommend sticking with unlacquered brass or polished nickel finishes for that expensive look.”
Looking a bit Grecian in spirit, pedestals look expensive and also allow your decorative objects to take center stage.
“Pedestals are every professional decorator’s secret weapon and the finishing touch you don’t realize you need,” Adler says. “Take care of your corner conundrums with just one, or plop down a pair to flank your fabulous furniture.”
Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who specializes in decor, home tours, wellness, travel, vintage, and feel-good stories for national publications. She’s from Madison, Wisconsin, and when she’s not writing, you’ll find her running local trails, shopping flea markets, or going for walks with her husband and corgi.