Useful Tips and Tricks to Make Your House Look More Expensive

Cozy office room with a piano in lake forest

Would you consider your home “builder grade?” Meaning, it’s made with low-grade materials that obviously didn’t cost much for the builder? Jumping into a “cookie cutting” property makes sense, financially, but when you want to make upgrades without putting yourself in debt, what can you do to make your house look more expensive than it is?

Fortunately, there are a variety of projects you can take on, either by yourself or with a trusted contractor, which can be as simple as adding color for an accent wall, updating fixtures or adding a rug to specific area.

Custom details

Most builder grade homes have no custom details – absolutely none. This is your chance to correct that wrong, but without taking on a massive project. For example, look at your ceilings. Are they covered in the dreaded “popcorn?” Decorative ceiling tiles can completely alter the look and feel of a plain room, and there is little to no prep work that needs to be done to your popcorn ceilings.

Installing a butcher-block countertop in the kitchen can be transformative, giving your kitchen a higher-end look without having to do a complete remodel. Crown molding in any room is a custom detail that will make a room looked finished and complete, bringing the ceilings and walls together, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Get artsy

Bringing large-scale art into a room can create a centralized focal point around which the rest of the room can be designed. Oversized pieces really grab the attention of whoever enters the room. However, be careful not to choose something too commercial, like the paintings/prints you see at chains like Bed Bath & Beyond. Look around at estate sales or at thrift stores for original pieces that speak to you.

Buying frames in bulk is also an option for pieces you’ve had in your storage boxes for years and want to finally put them on display. Strategically placing them on walls throughout the house can add an element of style and class that can make the home look more expensive than it actually is.

The heirloom difference

Speaking of thrift stores, keep an eye out for vintage items, like an old dresser with inlaid wood, classic barware such as crystal decanters, anything with an heirloom appearance.

If you are in the market for heirloom furniture, look for solid hardwood construction and avoid MDF or fiberboard products. Look at the wood grain and color and make sure it all matches. Don’t pick up a piece that has gaps in the joints, and look for pieces that are joined by dovetail joints or a similar type of high-end joint. You might be able to save a lot of money on great products that just need sanding and stain.

Upgrade fixtures

Your home undoubtedly has basic or lighting that has not aged well and should be replaced. Get rid of your shiny brass fixtures and replace them with something modern. For example, the trend with ceiling fixtures right now is to go with a clean, streamlined look. While shiny brass is definitely out, soft gold has become a popular new finish on light fixtures, and it’s a trend that should last long enough for you to get a return on your investment.

Have you noticed an influx in vintage Edison-style bulbs in various retail spaces? That retro vibe is definitely in and it appears the nostalgia won’t fade any time soon. If you’re worried about being non-eco-friendly, don’t – the Edison style bulbs are being made with LED technology. However, if you’re a purist, they are also available with incandescent innards, and they are quite cheap – probably on average.

Heavy on hardware

You’d be amazed how you can transform a kitchen or bathroom with new hardware, such as cabinet and drawer pull knobs and modern showerheads and faucets. For some interior designers working with clients on a strict budget, this is a go-to method of improving an interior space.

Beware – the project can get pricey in a hurry if you have a penchant for high-end faucets. For example, Lowes carries an ultra-modern stainless steel high-arc kitchen faucet that retails for ,088. You can purchase a similar style faucet (definitely not ultra modern) with a high arc that looks sleek and only pay .

Add color

Whether it’s new curtains that go to the ceiling or painting a wall, adding colorful elements can transform a space. In some cases you’re actually toning down an already garish room, but in others, you’re taking a stale, tired looking room and making it bold with brighter paint colors.

Color can also come in the form of throw pillows. That boring couch and chairs can all be significantly improved by adding vibrantly colored pillows to them. If you’ve got a room with neutral/bland colors, try using an array of colors with rainbow hues in your pillows to give the space more pizzazz. A lush throw blanket can also add a high-end look to an otherwise unremarkable piece of furniture.


Do you have cheap tiles on your floors? Perhaps your old hardwoods aren’t looking so fresh anymore? Try throwing down a large rug to make your space more cozy and inviting. Whether it’s a bedroom or a living room or a hallway, the addition of the right rug will jazz up any space.

A rug can be used to define areas. Seating area, dining areas and foyers are all spaces that can be individualized by the use of a rug. A style guide to remember is that if you have furniture in the proximity of your rug, such as a dining table and chairs, make sure the chairs have at least the two front legs on the rug.

Design and build contractor

Rather than risk getting it wrong, bring in a trusted design and build contractor to help you out. Professional designers work with clients full time to make their homes more livable, and they have great ideas backed by years of experience. They are the go-to experts for insights regarding what trends are hot and what trends have faded away.

At New Concept 180, we’ve got a great group of designers who work with professional builders capable of tackling your project with expertise. Contact us today and let’s go over your ideas and we’ll share ours with you. Whether it’s a big remodel or just adding interesting design elements here and there, we’re ready to help spruce up your home.

Latest blog posts

01 04 2019

Tips for Planning a Successful House remodel: Where to Start and Mistakes to Avoid

12 03 2018

Is Winter a Good Time for a Home Renovation Project?

11 06 2018

The Most Effective Ways to Remodel Your Dining Room

10 03 2018

The Biggest Challenges in Old Home Renovation and How to Beat Them

09 04 2018

Quick Tips on Building an Addition for a Master Bedroom Suite and Bath