Find luxury on a budget with these home improvement hacks.
Monday, September 21, 2020
This list should give you some ideas for how you can turn your home into the lap of luxury without tapping out your bank account or energy reserves.
Is there anything more luxurious than the freedom gained by finishing a job quickly and inexpensively? You can finally focus on what matters most to you. Forget the fancy handbags and expensive cars. To us, true luxury is having a home we love while still being able to live the life we want.
This list should give you some ideas for how you can turn your home into the lap of luxury without tapping out your bank account or energy reserves.
- Mirrors on closet doors – These aren’t the old mirrored doors of the 70s and 80s. It can be as classy as it is functional. And if your bedroom is on the smaller side, mirrors can help it feel larger.
- Headboard – Tufted fabric is super trendy right now thanks to the return of vintage styles like Art Deco. Your new DIY headboard will have your bedroom feeling like a lush resort.
- Storage bedframe – Clutter makes your home feel anything but luxurious. Shelving around your headboard or under the frame will have your bedroom feeling sleek and refined.
- Footboard bench – Glamorous folks don’t stumble around while trying to put on socks. A simple bench at the end of your bed will help.
- Reusable bottles – Disposable plastic bottles aren’t sexy. Purchase stylish vessels for your soap, shampoo or mouthwash. You can also try this DIY vase-turned-soap dispenser project.
- Shower curtain – Maybe you haven’t noticed how dingy it’s gotten, or maybe you’re just tired of the same look. There’s no easier way to introduce new colors, patterns and brightness in a bathroom.
- Mirror frame – When you install a frame around a bathroom mirror, you take your sophistication levels up without knocking your bank balance down.
- Showerhead – There are so many showerhead options these days, it’s almost ridiculous. Choose from rain showerheads to jets to fixtures with aromatherapy and Bluetooth.
- Bathtub surround – If you’re looking to save time and money, replacing the tub is not the best option. Try covering it with beadboard or stone for a less expensive new look.
- Matching towels – Hotel towels always match (and it’s not just because they buy in bulk). A coordinated look definitely says you have your act together.
- Lighting upgrade – Because there’s nothing luxurious about doing your makeup or shaving in the dark. Make sure you have the right light to get yourself pulled together in the morning.
- Painted cabinets – It’s a common suggestion but a good one. If you can’t or don’t want to replace cabinets entirely, just paint them. Simplify it even more by painting only the interiors for an unexpected pop of color each time you open the door.
- Glass-front cabinets – It’s like testing out open shelving without giving up your cabinets entirely. Replace all your cabinet fronts with glass or just swap things out on a few select units.
- New drawer pulls – When replacing cabinets isn’t in the cards, simply swap out the hardware on drawers and cabinets. It’s much friendlier on your budget and time. Like matching bathroom towels and carpet, coordinate the finish of your new pulls with faucets and other fixtures for a lux look.
- Food storage – Ditch the plastic takeout containers that are neither pretty nor environmentally friendly. Invest in glass storage containers. They’ll look nicer in your kitchen and keep edibles fresher longer so you can reduce food waste.
- Pantry baskets – Whether you opt for see-through plastic bins or chic woven baskets, this tip keeps your pantry organized and looking sharp. And if you tend to lose food in the back of the cabinet only to find it after it’s gone bad, this hack can help you practice more sustainable kitchen habits.
- Backsplash – With peel-and-stick options getting better every day, replacing your backsplash is even easier and more affordable. You might be interested in one of the latest trends of extending a backsplash all the way to the ceiling.
- Faux countertops – It’s the countertop version of painting your cabinets. When your favorite material is too expensive, try a DIY faux finish of marble, concrete or granite.
- New faucet – Especially if you love the mixed-metals look, this is an easy way to upgrade your style. There are also many shapes and no-touch options that will have you feeling fancy.
- Pull-out shelves – If you hate squatting down to find that random baking dish, swapping your bottom cabinets to drawers or outfitting them with pull-out shelving is the way to go.
- Refinished kitchen island – You love that you have an island but there’s just something off about it? Refinish the area below the countertop with a fresh coat of paint, beadboard, tile or another material to add a splash of style.
- Outlets under kitchen cabinets – They’re out of sight, but they’re so convenient, they certainly won’t be out of mind. Perfect for powering up those small appliances you don’t need every day.
- Slim roller shelf – Whether storing cans or spices, slim shelving lets you take advantage of underutilized space, keeps things from looking cluttered and makes it easier to find what you’re looking for. This hack also works if you want to slide a bit of shelving between your washer and dryer.
- Pillows and throws – A key element of hygge is plush fabrics. Pillows and throws are a great way to achieve that. And when you choose your favorite colors, patterns and styles, it’s an instant facelift for tired-looking couches and chairs.
- Fireplace redo – Some people paint the brick, others use stone to give their fireplace an updated look. The most budget-friendly choice might be to add a new mantel or surround.
- Sofa cover – While you’re saving up for a new couch, try a slip cover to hide stains and snags. Pet owners know the struggle. Domino also shows how simple and chic it can be to just throw some blankets on for the same effect.
- Ottoman – They come in every style, so you’re guaranteed to find something for your unique taste. We mostly love how multipurpose they are – footstool, extra seating, storage bin or coffee table.
Doors & windows
- Painted interior doors – Sometimes all it takes is a fresh color to brighten up your day. A vibrant door color can also add beauty in a small space where there’s no room for other décor.
- Refreshed front door – Some fresh paint, a new handleset, maybe a wreath or other holiday décor and you might be surprised how much nicer it is to come home every day. It’s also a welcoming statement to guests coming over for game night or dinner party.
- Painted trim – There’s no rule that your trim, either around the door or the windows, has to be white.
- Garage door makeover – The garage door is a big piece of real estate right out front for a lot of homes. Take advantage of the possibilities with paint, a carriage house-style makeover or install a smart garage door opener for added convenience.
- Updated hardware – Updating your knobs and levers can have a surprisingly big impact on the overall look of a room. Styles like the Schlage Custom™ Alexandria or Schlage Custom™ Hobson knob look big-ticket since they’re made of glass. Other styles can also add an air of sophistication, especially in dark finishes like Matte Black. Your guests will never know how quick, simple and affordable this upgrade really was.
- Faux door panels – Hollow core doors are the opposite of luxurious. Give them a makeover with faux panels using our favorite tips.
- Dutch door – Dutch doors are great for keeping everything and everyone where they belong. Kids and pets stay in the house, racoons stay out. Refreshing breezes flow freely, rain puddles don’t. Plus, a DIY Dutch door is easier than you think.
- French doors – Indoors or out, French doors are always très chic. Find ideas and tips here.
- Barn doors – There’s a reason these have been popular for a while. You can find them in a range of styles, and they fill so many needs. We especially love them in narrow spaces, like for extra privacy in a master suite, to hide a washer and dryer or even on a slim closet where you store your bike.
- Murphy door – Who didn’t want a hidden room as a kid? Live out your childhood dreams by installing a Murphy door and create an instant secret hideaway. It’s not the cheapest task on this list, but the cool factor just might be worth it.
- Open “door” casings – For those openings without a door – think passthroughs from mudroom to kitchen – add a casing for some architectural detail that will give it a more finished look.
- Smart locks – Not carrying keys while you’re out and about, not losing keys, being able to check on your door from anywhere. These are just some of the conveniences that come with a Schlage smart lock. When you feel more secure, it’s easier to enjoy those moments of luxury elsewhere.
- Parcel box – Ward off porch pirates with a secure drop box on your front porch. No more fretting about whether your packages will still be there when you get home from work.
- Window trim – Do your windows not have any trim at all? Maybe there’s trim but it doesn’t create that wow factor. Add some visual interest by installing or bulking up your interior trim.
- Window treatments – Curtains, shades and blinds all offer a refined finishing touch. They’re perfect for a punch of color, making ceilings feel higher and, with blackout curtains, helping you get a better night’s rest.
entryways & mudrooms
- Updated coat closet – Add extra shelving, organizational bins or lower hooks for the short people in your life. Remove the door and turn the closet into an entry nook if you’re looking for a more extreme transformation.
- Bench – Like the footboard bench in your bedroom, a mudroom bench makes getting out the door easier and less clumsy. Choosing one with storage will help reduce the un-glamorous clutter build-up in your entry, too.
- Storage – You don’t need built-in cabinets in your entryway to make it feel high-class. Doctor up a plain cabinet with paint or faux paneling, much like you would a hollow core door, or upcycle crates for a space with extra personality.
- Hamper – What’s so luxurious about a laundry hamper? A stylish basket for muddy clothes, sweaty gym equipment and other items you don’t want tracked through the house will help corral the chaos.
- Large mirror – Entryways tend to be small and narrow. Avoid that claustrophobic feeling without knocking out a wall and hang a large mirror instead. The reflected light will make it feel more open. This tip works in any room, by the way.
- Paint – Whether it’s the same boring color as when you moved in or you realized too late what gamboge actually is, painting a room is a surefire way to switch up the look. Luxury Lifestyle Magazine shares it picks for the most luxurious paint colors.
- Accent wall – Why limit yourself to just painting that one wall a different color? Try adding shiplap or other material instead to create a modern and eye-catching accent wall.
- Temporary wallpaper – Easier to adhere and remove, temporary wallpaper can give any space a style boost with bold patterns. And when you’re ready for a new look, there’s little to no wall damage to repair. Think outside the box and apply removable wallpaper to furniture or appliances, too.
- Half walls – If you need to break up an open floorplan or maybe hide an unsightly appliance or litter box, a half wall could be your solution. It’s going to take some skills, but DIY Network walks you through the process.
- Paneling – Wainscoting, beadboard, faux panels and the like add a traditional touch of sophistication to nearly any room. Try a white finish to keep the space feeling bright and airy, or go darker for a bold moody feel.
- Chair rails – Similar to wall paneling, chair rails are an architectural feature that adds just a hint of elegance without a lot of sweat. You can easily get this done, from stocking up at the home improvement store to having a finished product, in an afternoon.
- Popcorn removal – If we made a list of features sure to make a home feel dated, popcorn ceilings would be on it. Use HTGV’s tips to remove the texture and prep for a new, classier ceiling.
- Faux beams – Especially if you’re into the Farmhouse Modern or rustic looks, faux beams are the home improvement project for you.
- Beadboard – Most common on walls, cabinets and kitchen islands, beadboard might just be the answer to a unique ceiling. House Updated offers a step-by-step guide for installing beadboard overhead.
- Ceiling fan – If you don’t have one, installing a ceiling fan is easier than you think. If you already have a fan but don’t love it, painting the components, reshaping the blades or replacing the shades can be a gamechanger. See how Sawdust 2 Stitches did theirs.
- Peel-and-stick tile – All you need is a measuring tape, knife and straightedge to install peel-and-stick tile flooring. There’s no grout involved, so it’s much less time consuming and messing, not to mention cheaper.
- Stairs – The steps often get overlooked in floor makeovers. Removing carpet will create a very different look and eliminate the need to wrestle with the vacuum on the stairs every week. You might also paint or stencil the risers. And don’t forget about railings and banisters.
- New grout – Gray grout when it’s supposed to be white will always be a downer. If a hardy cleaning doesn’t do the trick, try re-grouting. And consider different colors while you’re at it.
- New finish – Rather than replacing your flooring, try staining or painting it. Of course, this depends on the kind of flooring you have. If you’re looking at carpet every day, the equivalent might be a thorough steam cleaning or area rugs.
- Garage flooring – When you spend a lot of time in the garage, you want even that space to feel luxurious. Choose a flooring surface that works with how you use your garage.
- Circadian lighting – Bulbs that automatically adjust according to the time of day can help you get to sleep more quickly and rise feeling more refreshed. Philips Hue is one option.
- Overhead light fixtures – Sometimes it’s an outdated chandelier. Sometimes it’s the dreaded “boob lights.” Replace them with something more to your taste. It might be worth it to hire an electrician if you need to do any electrical work, like getting wiring up to code, first.
- String lights – More common on the porch, string lights can set either a relaxing or festive mood for any outdoor gathering. But don’t discount using them indoors, too. This headboard is one of our favorite ideas.
- DIY lamp – Lamps can get expensive, so try refurbishing your own knock-off from the thrift store. And don’t be afraid to mix and match different lampshades and bases.
- Lampshades – If the lamp still works but you want a fresh look, try swapping out the shade or painting an existing one. Both options are easy on the wallet.
- Under-cabinet lighting – If overhead cabinets block the light when you’re trying to meal prep in the kitchen or tie flies in the garage, install lighting under those cabinets. It could be as intensive as running wiring or as simple as a few battery-powered stick-on lights.
- Dog shower – There is nothing luxurious about muddy paw prints. A pet washing station where you can tidy Fido up before coming back in the house will help. Modern Dog has more ways to keep your pet and your house clean at the same time.
- Fancy pet bed – Your furry family members want the luxurious life as much as you do. We love these Mid-Century Modern beds. Try this DIY bed for a larger dog … or a whole pile of puppies.
- Self-cleaning litter box – Keep your hands clean and your time free for less odious tasks.
- Pet cams – Just because you’re on the move doesn’t mean you have to abandon your furry friends. Cameras with audio are the perfect way to keep an eye on your pet, tell them what a good boy they are and maybe throw a treat or two remotely.
- Food station – Let your pets dine in style without ruining your own. Build a DIY food station that coordinate with the rest of the room. Pull-out bowls are a good way to hide them when not in use.
- DIY bowls – Upcycle some old bowls for a chic way to feed Fluffy. They’ll be happy – they’re being fed, after all – and you’ll be doing a good deed for the planet.
- Porch rugs – Luxury doesn’t have to be serious and classy all the time. When you want to have a little fun, doormats and porch rugs are a fantastic way to go. You’ll find tons online, or you can make your own, with humorous sayings, exciting colors and patterns, and fun holiday themes.
- Window boxes – Anyone can stick flowers in the ground, but a window box of beautiful blooms is next-level curb appeal. Here’s a DIY flower box you can try.
- Porch bed – Feel like lazing about on the porch like a southern belle? You’ll need something to laze on. A DIY porch bed is large enough for all your friends or just you to spread out in comfort.
- Mailbox – Does your mailbox match the style of your house? A mailbox makeover could be as simple as a coat of paint or a brick or concrete surround. Mail slots are becoming popular in traditional houses again, too.
- House numbers – You can find nearly any font and finish to coordinate with the rest of your porch décor. And when they can be seen clearly from the street, you’ll be doing guests and even emergency personnel a favor by making it easier to find the house.
- Lighting – A well-lit walkway, porch and garage look inviting to wanted guests and uninviting to would-be thieves. Tall lamp posts, subtle solar-powered path lighting or motion-activated spotlights are all good options depending on your needs.
- Fire pit – If you like to have friends over for summer fun, this one will pay off. If you like to relax in solitude with a glass of wine, this one will pay off. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a DIY fire pit.
- Decorative fence posts – It’s hard to relax or throw a fantastic backyard party when your fence is a mess. For those of us whose fences are in good shape but not very exciting to look at, consider adding decorative touches such as these post caps.
- Water feature – Spas and luxury often go hand-in-hand. What do many spas have in common? A bubbling water feature for Zen-like vibes and soothing sounds. A few flower pots and a pump, and you’re well on your way to making your own fountain.
- Fancy foundation – Your home’s exterior sends a clear message about who lives there and what we’ll find inside the house. Send the right message, especially if you’re planning to sell your home, with some upgrades to your home’s foundation.
- Clutter – It’s impossible to enjoy a life of luxury when you’re surrounded by debris and unnecessary items. Clutter covers up the things you do love about your house, keeps you tied to the house, making it more difficult to travel and take advantage of other opportunities, or causes general anxiety. Who wants that?
- Rearranged furniture – Forget luxury on a dime. When you use the pieces you already own, that’s luxury for free. Move a pillow from your bed to the couch, maybe adding a new case. Rearrange your lamps to finally illuminate that dark corner. Shift your favorite reading chair closer to the window for refreshing natural light.
- Updated furniture – End tables and some chairs are primed for this hack. Give new life to your furniture with a new color or hardware on drawers. The right kind of paint can help you create a new finish or textured effect. We like milk paint, which can help you create an antique or distressed feel.
- Artwork – Paintings can be expensive, but the richest pieces are the ones with personal significance. It could be art you picked up on a vacation, a custom piece designed by a friend or something from a local artisan that speaks to you. Once you find something you love, put it on display.
- Gallery walls and shelves – If you have several pieces you love, what better way to show them off than with a gallery wall? For the ultimate eclectic look, don’t match your frames. When you’re afraid of putting a bunch of holes in the wall or if you have physical art rather than pictures, try gallery shelves.
- Picture frames – Whether you have a gallery wall or a few photos on the coffee table, freshen up the look with new picture frames. If you’re feeling creative, buy some cheap frames at a garage sale or thrift store and customize them yourself.
- Mood board – When you’re working toward a big goal – a dream vacation, your beautiful wedding, that Corvette – it can be nice to have a reminder of why you’re making sacrifices. Create a mood board or collection of photos to keep the motivation high. Peter Jones, author of How to Do Everything and Be Happy, calls it a “Live Life Now List.” If you’ve already achieved your goal, make it a display of your accomplishments.
- Area rug – Area rugs aren’t just for the eyes. Yes, they can make a space feel larger when you scale them to the room. But if you have high ceilings or lots of hard surfaces, the right area rug can also change the way your home sounds.
- Architectural interest – Crown molding, either along ceilings or at the tops of cabinets, columns on a porch, curved entryways or new shutters are all ways to create extra visual interest through the shape of the house itself.
- Under-stairs nook – Many homes have an awkward space under the stairs. Instead of wasting it, transform it into whatever fits your needs best. It could be a small home office, a secret reading nook for you or the kids, shelving or even a spot for Spot.
- Plants – Indoor plants offer a range of physical as well as mental health benefits. They clean the indoor air of toxins, reduce stress and, quite simply, their beauty can lift our spirits. Add enough of them and pretty soon you have a lush oasis right at home.
- Shelves – Displaying art? Use a shelf. Got books? You’re going to need shelves. Collectibles? Shelf again. Built-ins will give your home an air of sophistication. Bless’er House gives us a budget-friendly faux built-in guide using IKEA shelves.
- Basement pole covers – You’ve finished your basement and it looks fabulous … except for that random pole in the middle of the room. Hide it with these pole cover tutorials from The Cozy Home Chronicles.
- Laundry room work surface – Laundry rooms are often an afterthought. Stop feeling like Cinderella by giving yourself a better work surface and proper storage space.
- Smart appliances – Smart thermostats, lighting and water monitors are just a few examples of smart devices that can make your life easier and eco-friendly. Imagine not having to mess with the temperature of your house while you’re at work or fretting about a burst pipe while way for the holidays. These are great ways to be more socially responsible and care-free at the same time.
- Upgraded appliances – Cursing at your dryer because everything is still wet after two rounds isn’t cute or classy. It’s also hard on energy efficiency. Consider upgrading your major appliances, particularly those in the kitchen and laundry room, and you’ll likely find luxury hiding in some unexpected places.