Give Your Home an Upscale Look for Less
Bold Wall Colors with Contrasting Trim
Beige and white walls are overdone. If you want your home to look chic and upscale, go bold. Choosing bold colors for your walls, and adding a contrasting trim color such as a rich cream, will give your home a designer look. Those bold wall colors will also make a striking backdrop for your art and stylish furniture.
Declutter for a Chic Look
Nothing will make your home look shabby faster than excessive clutter. It's absolutely fine for your place to look comfortable and lived in, but it shouldn't look like you're auditioning for the next season of Hoarders. Avoid piling newspapers, magazines and mail on tables and countertops, confine your collections to one room or one wall, and keep areas where you entertain guests free of extraneous stuff.
Mix Solids, Patterns and Textures
Good interior design celebrates variety, so don't be afraid to combine solid colors, interesting patterns and different textures and materials -- from wood to wool. The idea is to create visual interest that will make your home inviting, but without making it look busy.
Decorate to Scale
For many interior designers, the equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard is a room in which the furnishings are completely out of proportion to the space they occupy. Heavy, oversized pieces in a small room or a few small pieces, widely separated, in a cavernous space are equally atrocious. Choose pieces that complement your space and create a sense of balance and visual harmony.
Sleek is Chic
Clean lines and classic design are the keys to giving your home a chic, upscale look without breaking the bank. That doesn't mean you have to choose a particular style of furniture, but you should focus on pieces that deliver the style you want without extraneous decoration or unnecessary enhancements.
Choose Matching Frames for Art and Photos
A gallery wall of framed photos or prints can make a place feel homey, but one of the keys to making it also look chic is to choose matching frames. The uniformity of the frames will accentuate the variety of the images and pull the whole room together. For variety, print and combine some of the images you can find online to create unique yet inexpensive art for your home.
Add Accents, but Sparingly
Tasteful accents can transform a room, and you don't spend a lot of money to achieve a stunning makeover. Accents can be as simple as using good towels, a luxurious robe and glass or ceramic containers filled with bath salts to create a spa-like experience in your master bath. Or they may require a little more imagination and elbow grease, such as adding a glass-tile backsplash to your kitchen. Either way, accents should enhance rather than dominate your rooms, so go easy and choose carefully.
Buy Key Pieces for Less
Sometimes the only way to achieve the look you want is to buy a piece that is beyond your bargain budget. Don't despair. With a little persistence, there's a good chance you can find a gently used clawfoot bathtub or Mission armchair on eBay, Craigslist or another web site that offers high-quality items at bargain prices.