14 unique ways to add style & value, for less
I recently opened a Houzz account for BestHeating and I have to say I really love the site, it is inspiring and awesome.
So inspiring in fact that I have decided to borrow some of the photos and ideas from there to give you BestHeating blog watchers a rundown of design tips that could save you some cash.
Cos let’s face it, some of the houses on Houzz are pretty impressive and probably unattainable (for me at least), so here are some top tips for blinging up your abode on the cheap.
Is money really everything?
You don’t need to be a multi-millionaire to give your house the kind of luxury feel you normally associate with an upmarket penthouse apartment.
Just take a cheeky leaf out of the professional decorators little book of tricks and you can lavish upon your home the sort of opulence that is normally reserved for them royal-ish snooty tax-avoiding types.
From rock star rugs and some clever ‘wow’ lighting to a bit of velveteen or a simple arrangement of flowers, these 14 ideas will help you to usher in the bling without breaking the bank.
Get your notebook out!
I know what you’re saying: “Rugs aren’t cheap, John!”, but you can get your hands on some stuff that needn’t be too expensive – you just have to look in the right place is all.
And a well-placed and well-styled rug can give any room that designer feel that it may otherwise have been missing.
Laying a rug square on to your sofa and cleverly arranging your coffee table and ornaments in the middle of it will almost instantly pull your living room together; much like this stylish lounge/library in London – but be careful not to constantly obsess over it!
And a big Giraffe helps too!
Make magic with mirrors
Purchasing many mirrors could be pretty expensive – particularly bigger ones – but pulling together a few plain-edged designs can be much more affordable than splashing the cash on a big, overly elaborate show-stopping mirror.
Big or small, in an ideal world, a mirror should make an appearance in every room because they are almost guaranteed to make a space look more light, upmarket and magically glamourous.
In this photo the symmetry of the mirrors, lamps and nightstands suggests a designer feel that is sure to add value to the space.
Put some brave paint pants on
In the grand scheme of things, when it comes to making a statement, paint is pretty inexpensive in comparison to most other things around the home.
While most design magazines that I’ve trawled through each have a tendency to go for various versions of white (and how many are there really?), being a little braver with colour can make a room look more upmarket than it really is.
The pink on these cupboard doors may not be to everybody’s taste (particularly you blokes out there), but the accessories really pull it all together and give it a feeling of expensive style that plain old white or wood may not have achieved.
The colour doesn’t really matter when you’re making a statement, but whatever shade you go for, to keep it looking sleek and stylish, make sure that you take the time to regularly touch up chips, cracks and blemishes in the paintwork.
Here’s a really good article on getting that all-important paint finish that you’ll need to stay bling!
Dark wood does deliver
There are plenty of modern bathrooms out there that are perfectly pretty with their pure white and grey palette, but a touch of dark wood can help to add a surprisingly luxurious look to your space.
In this bathroom in Chiswick, the dark wood set against the grey tiles creates a real boutique feel, which is sure to impress any visitor.
There are hundreds of different places to look for the perfect bathroom vanity unit, but one particular favourite of mine (and one that I hope they will send me for writing this here) is this one I found at Big Bathroom Shop.
Viva le very velvet
If you have velvet anywhere in your home it is sure to add an expensive feel to the space it’s in. Even if you have a second-hand sofa or you found it in a sale somewhere – velvet is the epitome of decadent material.
Colour wise, browns are pretty much best avoided. You are better to look for the bright jewel colours like green, blue or if you’re really brave – pink.
If an opulent vintage sofa is a little out of your price range you could always invest in a single armchair, velveteen cushion covers or throws, or perhaps some sexy little footstools like the ones in the picture.
It’s the ultimate upscaling trick that many hotels are famous for – the instant furniture barometer of the height of luxury – but a padded headboard doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money. You could even make your own; if you aren’t all fingers and thumbs!
At its most simple, all you’ll need to achieve that posh hotel chic is some cut-to-size foam, some plywood or MDF, screws, a staple gun (with staples obvs) and the luxurious fabric of your choice – a dark chocolate coloured suede or a dark tan/taupe colour – like the one in the picture – are total fail safe options and will leave your room feeling uber glam.
Crank up the cushion effect
Okay, okay, I know that this is probably the oldest trick in the book, but a well arranged bounty of fat plumped up cushions and pillows will really add attitude and style with very minimal effort.
Even if you have cushions that don’t match, as long as you can offset that with having the confidence to do it, your mismatched batch of clashing cushions really will bring a different dimension to your space.
Be big on curtains
Though I wouldn’t want you to start covering up those shiny new designer radiators, long and sexy drapes and curtains are big players in the world of luxury land.
And it doesn’t have to be expensive either. The cost of your material won’t matter if you use lining with the main material, make sure you use plenty of fabric and invest in some floor-length voile to add some privacy and a little extra va-va-vroom.
Alongside the bath, sash windows and traditionally styled fixtures and towel rail, the curtains in the picture add an opulence that you just couldn’t achieve with shorter curtains or roman blinds.
Get your shine on
Take some time to choose some shiny elements, like glass, silver fabric and metal and you’ll find a clever way to add an expensive looking edge to your room.
Adding this subtle bling to your home needn’t be expensive to achieve either, just accessorizing correctly can help you get the desired finish.
In the picture above, the mirrored coffee table, silver sockets and picture frames, cushions and curtains all add an expensive, shiny and textured feel to the classic monochrome furniture and paintwork.
Buy an OMG light
Go into any branch of a major DIY store and you’ll find plenty of striking light fixtures that can add a totally different dimension to your room.
Having fun with your light fittings in most sitting rooms will help to break up clean lines and add much needed designer character.
In the above picture, of a converted Victorian apartment, the main light fittings have a dramatic effect on the style of the room, so don’t be scared of going large with your light fixtures; choose one that is decorative, glittery and sparkling, to be sure of achieving that designer feel.
Embrace the Tryptych effect
Hanging the correct artwork can make a room feel far more expensive than it really is instantly.
Hanging a tryptych canvas like this horsey one, is an eye-catchingly sure-fire way to do it.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to commission the next Salvador Dali or Jackson Pollock to do it for you – save some cash by having a go yourself, or maybe even get the kids to unleash their creative minds and see what they can come up with.
Failing that, everyone has that artsy-fartsy mate that thinks he/she has an eye for ‘what really works’, so let them pour out their pretentiousness onto a canvas and make use of their ‘talents’.
Feel the power of the flower
Far from just being something that you should buy for your mother or your lover, flowers are a big player in making a house feel like a home.
A simple bunch of fresh flowers or a few well-placed sprigs of fern or foliage will instantly lift any space towards everyday luxury.
An easy way to make the change quick and relatively inexpensive is to start buying flowers with your regular shopping. Chances are they won’t break the bank and if you look for the ones with a sachet of plant food attached they will probably last longer too.
Alternatively, use cut flowers from the garden whenever you can or pick some wild ones, just check what’s safe to take home first by having a look at the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, cos nobody likes getting into trouble with the law!
Although it has perhaps been done to death, rich red is still one of the best ‘go-to’ colours in the formal colour palette and – much like good coffee – when it is teamed up with cream it can instantly add a more designed feel to a room.
In this large formal living room, the beige walls and use of deep wine red in the lampshades, paintings and armchairs, really help to harmonise the space and create a sense of designer tranquillity.
Be your own style guru
Without it sounding too obvious (though it will), the most inexpensive way of making your home look more bling is to basically take the time to spruce up what you already have.
Putting similar stuff together is a low-cost design trick, used the world over, that nearly always works to create that expensive look.
If you have a glass jar collection or a bunch of old vases gathering dust in the cupboard under the stairs, get them out and create a feature of them on some shelves or maybe a mantelpiece.
It really is quite amazing what you can achieve if you just invest a bit of time, and as we all know, time costs nothing, so bring in the bling when you find a free half an hour.
Tell us your ideas!
If you’ve got any other money-saving design tips that could change the way your house looks on the cheap, let us know on Facebook or Twitter.
John trained in journalism before finding his way to the BestHeating Advice Centre team. He uses his journalism skills to meticulously research heating topics and bring you the latest news and views on all things home heating related. He’ll also beat you at any sport that involves a cue!