How to Create an Expensive Home Look on a Budget

With the world going credit crunch crazy many of us have had to slash costs within our homes just to make ends meet. Happily for the budget interior decorator, there are many ways to create a stylish, expensive look for very little outlay. We are all familiar with retailers selling low-cost stylish fixtures and fittings, but there are other, more personal recession-friendly methods to make yours a home to be proud of.


Take design inspiration from magazines, friends, and anywhere else you find ideas that you would like to emulate within your home. Build up a mood board or scrapbook using cuttings and photos so that you’ve got a good idea of what you want to achieve. Plan ahead – if you need to work to a tight budget it’s important to have a vision for the finished design. Nothing wastes money faster than a change of mind halfway through!


Paint is a fantastic way to update a room with little financial outlay. A new coat of colour can dramatically change a space for the better, and you can spend as much or as little as you like to achieve your look. Experiment and have fun with paint by trying out some new techniques – create a feature wall with a bold splash of colour, and use complementing and contrasting hues to bring a flat room to life. Being confident in your use of paint will give a room personality, depth and interest, resulting in a professional and luxurious look. Wallpaper is another great way to decorate a room cheaply. There are some beautiful patterns, prints and textures available, and though designer rolls will hit your wallet hard, it’s possible to find cheaper imitations at your local DIY store. If you have your heart set on a certain designer pattern but don’t want to eat into your budget, why not use your chosen paper on just one wall? This is an excellent way to create a feature in a room and might help to influence other aspects of your design. Stencils have improved hugely, and have been joined by removable adhesive wall art that is wonderful for chopping and changing designs. It’s well worth taking a look at these creative options if you fancy letting your imagination run wild.

Cupboard Love

Furnishings and fittings can be very effectively updated with a simple facelift. If you can, change upholstery covers on sofas and chairs to reveal a whole new look. This cheap and cheerful tactic is a brilliant way to give seating a new lease of life. Buying a small amount of expensive fabric and using it to cover cushions or smaller items will unite the look of your room and lend an opulent feel to existing furnishings. You can spruce up an old kitchen by changing cupboard and drawer fronts, or simply painting them a different colour. If your budget will stretch, why not buy glass-fronted cupboard doors to show off kitchen features. Kitchen and bathroom tiles can also be painted or cheaply replaced, with even budget ranges featuring high quality products. Adding smart recessed lighting is another inexpensive way to give a stylish touch to a kitchen, and if your finances allow, throughout the rest of your home too. Tips and tricks like these will help you to emulate many more expensive interior designs, all you need is a little inspiration and elbow grease.

Under Toe

Inexpensive vinyl flooring has had something of a revival, with many DIY retailers now stocking some really eye-catching designs, from the classic to the truly funky. A good alternative to carpet, particularly in heavy-traffic areas of your home, vinyl is durable, long lasting and can be purchased reasonably cheaply. As a substitute for stone or other textured flooring, the best designs look just like the real thing, also being more forgiving and warmer under foot. If you hanker after solid wood flooring in your home, don’t dismiss laminate (or vinyl) alternatives. These can look amazing and will be a great low maintenance, low cost option.

Frugal Finishing Touches

When planning accessories, adopt high street fashion rules – expensive finishing touches will take budget to beautiful. Many interior designers now develop ranges for home stores, meaning it’s possible to indulge cheaply in extravagant-looking pieces to complement your decorating efforts. As well as looking great on a wall, a beautiful mirror will add light, and cheap but stylish lighting in your style will give your home an easy update. Finally, take away the existing clutter in your home. This will immediately make rooms feel cleaner and brighter, giving them a real show home feel.

However strict your budget, have fun hunting down key pieces, colours and patterns to decorate your home. With the huge array of wonderful products available in your high street today, a lack of cash need not restrict your imagination.