Customize Your Home on a Budget: 20 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Expensive
Unlock Your Home’s Potential with These 20 DIY Projects to Create a Truly Customized Space on a Serious Budget
My nana always says, “if you are gonna go to the dance, mine as well buy the shoes.”
What she means is, if you are already going to spend the money mine as well go big!
Normally I take that advice and run, but when it comes to home projects I know that my bank account will reel me back in real quick if I get out of hand.
Luckily there are ways you can make your home look expensive and custom while still staying under budget!
I compiled a list of my top 20 projects to completely elevate your home and the best part is they are super budget friendly!
Budget Friendly Custom Looking Home Improvement Projects
1. Upgrade Hardware
It never ceases to amaze me what a difference swapping out hardware can make.
Whether you are looking to update your kitchen, bathroom, or furniture, changing out the hardware can instantly elevate the look without having to refinish anything.
When we first installed our IKEA cabinets I knew immediately the boring silver pulls had to go and found a really budget friendly Pottery Barn knockoff option on Amazon.
We also updated our plain kitchen cabinets with vintage inspired knobs, pulls, and latches to give them a super custom look.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles and also hardware finishes to create a space full of character and charm.
Check out my favorite kitchen hardware finds here!
2. DIY Artwork
Before you run away screaming let me just say you do not have to be an artist to create custom looking artwork.
I can’t hold chopsticks or a paintbrush right but our home is full of DIY budget art and I promise you all our guests think we paid big bucks for it!
The first method is Adam’s favorite, (I’m serious he immediately tells everyone who walks in the door) a DIY shower curtain canvas.
You read that right, this large artwork is literally just a shower curtain mounted onto a simple DIY frame.
(You can see the complete tutorial here)
The second is by simply printing off public domain art at home!
If you are subscribed to our email list you have access to an entire gallery of this art already.
On the off chance you hate the idea of me emailing you occasionally, you could just google search Public Domain Art and sift through the countless websites that offer amazing art at no cost to you.
Once I find some I like I either print them off at home or send them to CVS, Staples, etc to be printed off for me.
I like to either DIY my own frame out of scrap wood or head to the thrift store to find some good ones to paint or stain.
3. Add Statement Wallpaper
Wallpaper is not just for your grandma although honestly besides covering everything in carpet they weren’t too far off…
I am a huge fan of adding wallpaper to a room, ceiling, or furniture to create a completely unique look.
The best part is that a lot of wallpaper comes in a peel and stick version in case you want a clean getaway later.
We added vintage inspired wallpaper during our half bathroom renovation and I am in deep love.
When we installed our IKEA cabinets I also added a floral patterned wallpaper to give it a more custom look.
The wallpaper possibilities are truly endless and a great budget friendly way to make a space look and feel expensive.
4. DIY Built-In Cabinets & Bookcases
Adam would tell you I am built-ins crazy and he wouldn’t be wrong.
I big puffy heart love a good built-in project, but what’s not to love am I right?
Built-ins are one of my favorite DIY projects because they add extra storage, provide amazing decor options, and make a space feel custom.
When we built arched built-in bookcases in our living room, they completely elevated the space and made the ceilings feel taller.
This might seem like a complicated project but I promise adding built-ins to your space is much easier than it seems.
You can go the IKEA route like we did in our kitchen or make them from scratch like we did in the office to save a ton of money!
We even renovated our walk-in closet using simple MDF built-ins.
This is one of those projects that you won’t regret and you will be shocked at how budget friendly they are.
5. Hang Curtains High
Curtains are one of those things that can serve multiple purposes in a room.
Hanging curtains 2-3″ inches from the ceiling instantly makes the ceilings look taller and the window larger.
Black-out curtains are usually my go-to type because they are thicker than regular curtains and just look high-end.
These are the ones that we bought for our bedroom and I was so impressed I ordered them in white for our living room!
Velvet curtains are another great material option when you are looking to elevate a space.
The best part about curtains is that they can look really expensive without actually being expensive if you choose the right ones and read customer reviews.
Here are my favorite luxury looking curtains that are actually budget friendly
The most important thing to do when purchasing curtains is to make sure you get the right size!
You want your curtains to hang 2-3″ from the ceiling and either puddle or kiss the floor, too short and it instantly makes the space feel cheap…
6. Take Advantage of Faux Marble
Marble is a statement material that says, “look I’m expensive” at least in my head it does…
Thanks to the amazing invention of peel and stick contact/wallpaper you can have the marble look without the marble cost!
I added these faux marble shelves during our $100 bathroom makeover and they instantly added elegance to the space.
Did you know there are also faux marble peel and stick tiles?
It’s true, we added them to our laundry room backsplash and they make me feel so much better about doing endless loads of laundry.
7. Mix Up Living Room Seating Types
There is something very magazine esque about multiple types of seating options in a living room isn’t there?
For instance, instead of choosing a big ole sectional go for a regular size sofa and two accent chairs instead.
You can check out some of my favorite splurge vs save couches here!
8. Create a DIY Faux Fireplace
Fireplaces are great for adding a cozy ambiance to any space.
If the space doesn’t already have one, there are ways to create one that are pretty affordable.
You could always go the simplest route, which is to buy a complete electrical fireplace unit.
Those can be really nice and look amazing, but they are pricer than the DIY option.
In our newly renovated office I really wanted to add a faux fireplace as the focal point of the space.
So we made a really simple version out of plywood and are currently using candles instead of an insert.
I love the charm it adds and eventually we will add in electric logs to give it a real fireplace aesthetic.
9. DIY Decorative Moulding
You can install decorative moulding to add architectural interest to plain walls.
Decorative moulding is a timeless feature that can be pretty simple to DIY.
There is a wide variety of options but one of my favorites is picture rail moulding like we installed in the office.
They also make foam crown moulding now which is a cheaper and easier option for adding elegance to a room.
10. Be Bold with Wall Color
Choosing a bold color is another way to add interest and character to a room.
Instead of choosing a neutral pick a deep hue and paint the baseboards and crown moulding to match for a really sophisticated look.
11. Refinish Outdated Furniture
Whether you have had the piece forever or found a fixer upper on Facebook Marketplace, refinishing furniture is a simple way to create a rich aesthetic.
Using paint or stain is an easy way to update a piece without spending a bunch of money.
You could also install decorative trim or peel and stick wallpaper to really add some pizzazz to the piece.
12. Paint Interior Doors
White doors are so hard to keep clean anyways, mine as well change them up!
Painting interior doors black, grey, or even matching them with a rooms trim color is a cheap update that makes a big difference.
We have been slowly but surely painting all of our interior doors Black Magic by Sherwin Williams with zero regrets.
If you have plain doors you could also add some picture frame moulding to make them look more custom.
13. Upgrade Outdated Light Fixtures
Sometimes we are so used to outdated light fixtures hanging around we don’t even realize how much they are affecting a spaces aesthetic.
The dreaded boob light (you know the one in your hallways) is the best place to start swapping!
You can find reasonably priced light fixtures on Amazon or Wayfair and sometimes you can getaway with simply painting your existing one in a richer finish.
Here are my favorite budget friendly light fixtures
Adding a medallion around the light is great way to add a little glam too if you are into that sort of thing (I totally am)!
14. Add Thick Window & Door Frames
This is one of my all time favorite DIYs and one of my very first projects.
Its my favorite because its easy, cheap to do, and makes a huge difference.
Removing the wimpy builder grade trim and replacing it with thicker trim makes windows and doorways look much more grand.
There are a ton of different styles of framing depending on your taste but this version is my go to!
Go for a really bold look and paint the frame and trim in a pop of color.
The window trim in our kitchen is painted black and I won’t be stopping there, here are some of my favorite color options.
15. Update a Bathroom Vanity
Bathroom remodels can be time consuming and expensive.
One quick fix to add sophistication to the space is to update the bathroom vanity.
You can do this with bold paint colors and even adding a textured peel and stick paper to the door fronts.
Another easy way to elevate the vanity is to paint or swap its existing hardware and faucet.
If the existing vanity is beyond repair you can scour the big box hardware stores scratch and dent aisle.
Sometimes you can find a really nice vanity that just has a scratch or broken hinge that is easily fixable!
16. Frame the Mirror
While we are on the topic of bathrooms…
The frameless builder grade mirrors are so plain and boring why not add some dimension and color with a frame.
You can either DIY your own frame out of trim and moulding or buy a premade kit for a pretty reasonable price.
17. Utilize Unused Space
This one is a little broader but it’s all about creating a “moment.”
Do you have a gorgeous bay window with nothing going on?
Build a breakfast nook bench with storage or setup two accent chairs and a small table.
Cultivate the unused spaces in your home to add both function and character.
18. Statement Mirrors
Mirrors are amazing pieces of decor because they can make a room feel larger and brighter.
Large statement mirrors are stylish and timeless in any space.
If you aren’t into adding one giant mirror I suggest something like we did with our plain sliding doors.
That DIY project made the bathroom entrance appear larger and the room itself more grand.
DIY Mirrored Sliding Door Tutorial
19. Utilize Expensive Looking Fabrics
This one is probably the easiest way to make a space feel more luxurious.
Utilize throw pillows, blankets, and rugs to give the room dimension and color.
Faux fur and plush blankets make a space feel warm and upscale.
Amazon is my favorite place for finding all the best cheap throw pillow covers that look super high end.
20. Adding Architectural Details
If you know me at all you probably guesses this one was coming!
I am huge fan of adding timeless architectural details like wainscoting, board and batten, and paneling to a space.
They add so much interest to the space and do not have to be hard to DIY.
Board and batten is probably my all time favorite because there are so many stylish versions you can utilize!
You can also add these details relatively cheap based on what material you decide to use.
Find my complete guide and when to use MDF vs Solid wood here!
The best part is these architectural details have been in homes since forever so they aren’t something you will need to redo with each new trend.
Creating a Customized Space on a DIY Budget
Those are just a few ways I like to customize our home to look and feel more expensive than it actually is.
Obviously in your home you can and should do whatever makes your heart happy.
The most important thing is to create a space that you and your family want to spend time in and love.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars curating a space that’s right for you, you can simply DIY it!
Let me know what you think of this list and if you have any that you would add.
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