How to Make Your Home Look So Expensive on a Budget

We approach interiors the same way we do fashion and beauty: with significant consideration and with the goal of helping you get the very best for your money, however much you have to spend. We firmly believe that you needn't have a never-ending bank balance to make your home look like you do. And to prove our point, we've enlisted the help of three interiors experts, all of whom also believe that, with a little know-how, you can achieve an expensive-looking aesthetic on a budget.


(Image credit: @annelauremais)

We consulted with Busola Evans, associate editor at Livingetc, Sarah Kelley, head of brand and creative at classic interiors brand Rowen & Wren, and Chelsea of The House That Black Built, to find out their top decorating on a budget tips. Here's what they said.


"Instead of blindly buying into what's popular now, go for a classic-looking shape, colour, or pattern. For example, stripes," advises Evans. "When something is very fashionable, cheap lookalikes flood the market and people are more likely to assume you have one."


"Materials like wood and stone have a natural warmth to them, rarely look inexpensive, and tend to look better as they age. Avoid obvious synthetics and plastics at all costs," says Evans. This is something Chelsea agrees with, too. "I've found mixing and layering textures always looks premium," she shares. "I love marble with wood, velvet with bouclé and smooth surfaces with rough stone."


"Having three similar items—say three budget candleholders, small vases, pendant lights, or prints—grouped instantly looks more considered and sophisticated than having them in separate places," advises Evans. 


"Often, it's the simple things and considered details that make for a thought-out interior," says Kelley. "Don't scrimp on things like hardware—choose timeless finishes like antique brass in shapes that have been meticulously designed and will elevate any cabinet, be it in the kitchen or an antique dresser in a hallway. The little things will make your home look so much more expensive."


"Seek out those pieces that are harder to find so that your home invites the 'Where on earth did you find that?' question we all love to be asked," says Kelley. "Pieces that have a unique quality to them bring such discerning character to your home. If you can, opt for handmade furniture and decor accessories because you're then promised that no two pieces are ever quite the same. Pieces that have a story, whether they're created in a charming studio on the British coast or are woven from homegrown willow by mother-and-daughter makers make for a far richer interior. Items like this always tell a story." Secondhand and vintage items will also add character and charm to your home, which is useful if you're decorating on a budget.


"Right now, warm neutrals are very on-trend but generally any tone-on-tone interior always looks expensive," says Chelsea. "Make sure to include a deep colour like black or charcoal for depth, and a metallic to lift."

Next Up: The Affordable Prints That'll Make Your House Look Like a Gallery

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Opening Images: @emmarosestyle, @annelauremais@monikh@brittanybathgate

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.