Elegant, Not Too Flashy: Making Your Cheap Room Look More Luxurious

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Nobody wants to live in a space that looks cheap. Even if you used inexpensive materials to build the room, you’d still want to make it appear elegant. All spaces emit a cozier vibe when their furnishings are of high-quality, after all.

But when people try to decorate a room lavishly, many of them make mistakes that cause the space to look flashy instead of luxurious. Even the smallest changes can result in a big difference, making or breaking a space. For example, hoarding cutesy decorations because they’re trendy. Those things may fill in the empty gaps and nooks, but do a poor job at radiating elegance.

Before falling into the trap of trends or any other common decorating errors, here are the dos and don’ts in making a room look more expensive:

Do: Choose Floors that Mimic Wood

Hardwood floors are a statement in every luxurious space. But they’re pricey and a little hard to maintain. So opt for cheaper alternatives that copy the look of wood almost perfectly instead.

Vinyl flooring is a popular material for wood-like floors. It comes in different types, namely vinyl composite, sheet, luxury, and Karndean floors. Vinyl composite tile (VCT) has a porous surface, hence it requires surface polishing to protect it from any dirt that the material may absorb. For that reason, VCT may be harder to maintain than the other types.

Sheet vinyl comes in a continuous sheet of polymer materials. Its surface is coated in a PVC film, which gives it pattern and color. This material is famed for being low-maintenance and easy to install, but it costs a bit more than tile.

Luxury vinyl or luxury vinyl planks (LVP) are made of limestone-based material mixed with PVC components. It’s more rigid than VCT and sheet vinyl, and pricier. A growing number of homeowners are taking LVP as their flooring of choice for multiple locations in a home.

Lastly, Karndean vinyl planks are considered the “gold standard” in LVP flooring. It’s actually a brand, but it deserves a special mention because it isn’t a “mass market” material, unlike the others. People choose Karndean for its superior durability and premium quality. If you have a higher budget but don’t want to maintain hardwood floors, Karndean should be your pick.

Don’t: Buy a Furniture Set

Many people buy furniture sets thinking it’s more cost-efficient because it’s already “designed” for them. But matching furniture only looks good in a showroom. In an actual room, the set will look like an afterthought. There’s no personality and visual interest.

One of the most essential qualities of an elegant space is variety. There has to be mixing and matching elements. For example, if you have a walnut wood bed, go for a whitewashed oak nightstand. Then add decorations such as throw pillows with varying textures, patterns, and prints. Don’t be afraid of combining different furniture styles as well, like mid-century and boho. As long as the completed look isn’t messy, you’re doing all right.

living room

Do: Add Metallic Items

Brass, gold, and silver accessories instantly add luxury even in a plain room. Consider a gold leaf mirror, a brass table, and few pieces of silver ornaments. Put them in a room sparingly, though; overdoing metallic elements make a space unapproachable. Less is more when it comes to decorating with metallic items.

Don’t: Over-accessorize

Metallic accessories aren’t the only ones you shouldn’t hoard. Any decor, be it a wall art, flowers, greenery, pillows, and others, shouldn’t overload a space as well. The result of over-accessorizing is just a messy room. Instead of making the space look more elegant, you’ve just made it cluttered. If you have heaps of accessories to display, arrange them in groups to maintain a clean look.

Cluster five or seven (or any odd number) pieces of the same decor, and put them on shelves or tables. Create balance by playing with the decorations’ heights; for example, keep the tall ones on the sides, and place the short ones in the middle. This arrangement disguises clutter as decoration.

Do: Create Vignettes

If you don’t have plenty of decorations to display, accessorize the room using your everyday items, like books, some vases, clocks, candles, and bowls. The tip above, the one about creating balance with height, also counts as creating a vignette. The idea is to group similar items together so that they’ll produce a focal point in a space. You can add a statement light fixture to the vignette, like an ornate desk lamp, to draw the eye to it.

Making a room look elegant shouldn’t take a lot of work. Often, it only requires organizing your accessories, displaying variety, and adding a focal point. You don’t even need to buy new decorations or a particular type of furniture, because real luxury isn’t in the abundance of furnishings, but in the quality of each furniture, fixture, and decoration in the space.

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