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How to Make Your Home Look More Expensive On A Dime

Do you ever wish that your home looked more elegant? Have you wished that it had more of a staged, organized look? 



 *This post contains affilitate links, which help me to run Arts & Classy. I earn a small commission if you purchase.

When I was growing up, we had a super cluttered home always.

Little trinkets, photo albums, and STUFF everywhere.

I just wanted a nice organized designed space. A couple of years ago, I was actively wishing that I could just declutter my stuff and have a pretty home to come home to every day.

Heck, I still wish for it every day!! Specifically in my office but it is a creative working space… it can be a mess when I am working in there. But I am happy to say I am a reformed clutter bug!

I have learned a few essential concepts along my designing and blogging journey. Now, rooms like my living room and bedroom as less cluttered and more finessed!

I have broken it down into 10 essential elements.

1. Flowers – fresh flowers are always ideal. If you are like me and have a cat that loves to nibble and any fresh flower or plant you put in your house, finding good fake flowers can also work. Flowers give off an organic feel that can really brighten up a room. They add life to a room. Flowers can complement or can be used as a focal point in a room. Either way, putting flowers in an elegant vase will absolutely class up your space making it feel more expensive.

Here is a bouquet you will love. 



2. Hang Curtains High – If you haven’t read my tips on picking the best curtains for your room you should read this first and then come back to this article. The logic behind hanging your curtains higher is that they will give the illusion of higher ceilings, making your space appear grander and larger. With the right curtains and height, you amp up the sophistication in your space x10! AND you don’t have to spend a lot of curtains. I curated a list of 10 elegant curtains under $60.



3. Paint Your Walls – As a renter, this is usually my first step when trying to not only make my apartment seem homey. Even just painting one wall the right color or shade can depict the feeling of the room. For example, my hand painted stenciled Moroccan and grey accent wall really changed the look of my bedroom when I was doing my January Makeover Challenge. Grey can be an easy shade to paint your walls because it is very neutral and elegant. Make sure to pay attention to how color affects your mood and choose wisely.

Here is a similar Trellis stencil you can use in your home!


4. Area Rugs – I adore area rugs! Not only are they great to help with soundproofing a room, but they are perfect for adding pops of color or personality in a room. AND you don’t have to spend a lot for a beautiful area rug. I found some great area rugs for under $150!

Here is a similar rug to this one. 



5. Custom Window Shades – I didn’t realize how true this was until I purchased my own set of custom blinds for my bedroom during my January Challenge. This tip could not be truer on making your space look more expensive.

Here are some similar blinds you can purchase for your home.


6. Switch Out Lamp Shades – this is a cute and easy fix to change the look of a room in a subtle way. You can change the look of your space with modern or traditional shade. It’s also a more cost effective way to decorate instead of replacing the entire lamp.

Here is a beautiful lamp shade that would class up any home.



If you LOVE this blanket on the picture above, I finally found out where you can get one yourself! 

7. Create Vignettes – I recommend taking all your decorative smalls and gather them in one area. Then build cute, simple, and elegant vignettes to dress is your space up. Use your coffee table books, vases, and little trinkets to dress up little spots around your space. Give it a staged look.



8. Use Matching Containers For Storage – you can go as high end or cheap as you want for this, because the uniformity is the crucial element to achieve the high end look in this case. You could go with mason jars, baskets, or containers from the container store. Either way, the uniform look will give off a high end feel.

Here are some baskets that are comparable Wood Wired Baskets, Foldable Fabric Bins, Magazine File Storage.



9. Replace Crappy Hardware – Even when living in an apartment, this is an easy way to glam up your space to give it more of a high end look. Crystal knobs or silver colored knobs for your kitchen and storage cabinets will take your space to the look of higher price level.

Here is an awesome Moen Reflex faucet that I have in my home and love! It has made my kitchen much more ritzy!



10. Use Vertical Space Wisely – I can’t stress this enough. Come up with a clear purpose for your vertical space, whether, it’s going to be an organized storage space, collage wall, or a place to hang framed artwork. Here is an amazing floating shelf suggestion.



Let me know if this was helpful to you in the comments below.


  • This post is EVERYTHING!! So many good tidbits & advice. Thank you for sharing your home decorating wisdom. I’ve been wondering how to make my place look more homey & straight out of an HGTV magazine, but I’ve been stuck on what exactly to do. I’ll be coming back & forth to this post for encouragement & advice when I start redecorating.

    • Meredith says:

      Lauren, I am so happy you found this article helpful for you! I am really trying to create posts that I feel address subject with decorating that people would relate too. You completely made my day with your comment! Thank you! If you ever have more specific questions, please email me directly artsandclassy@gmail.com. Good luck with your decorating journey! xo

  • Tamara says:

    Love your tips! As a garden designer I use vignettes as well. I enjoy changing them out with the holidays. I also find something that makes big impact in the garden is using repetition in colors.

    • Meredith says:

      Thank you so much Tamara! Garden design sounds like so much fun! How did you get into that? AND Thank you for your additional tip. 🙂

  • Danielle says:

    Wonderful ideas! I’m definitely going to be coming back to this for inspiration! I’ve got a whole house to decorate that is going to be fixed up room by room on a budget! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Danielle! Thank you so much for visiting my site. It makes me so happy to know that you found the info helpful. Have a great weekend!!

  • Sarah Llorente says:

    Love your ideas on here! All fabulous! I just pinned the whole article but also the individual pic of the gold end table with vignette. So pretty! Going to try and do something like this in my living room this week. Thank you 🙂

    • Meredith says:

      Sarah! I am so happy you found this article helpful! Thank you so much for pinning all the images! Good luck with your decorating. 🙂

  • Alanna says:

    Love this! We just bought a house and I will be using some of your tips for sure! By the way – I’ve seen that kitchen hardware (specifically the cabinets) in another desing book. Do you know where they are from?
    Thanks again!

  • Danielle says:

    amazing. I NEED that comforter!!

  • Emily Arnaut says:

    Grat article! I love the tip about the curtains. I did this in my own home, it looks great!

  • Charlene Bennett says:

    Liked all suggestions!

  • Thanks for this post. Your pictures really made your suggestions come alive & so easy to see.

  • Thanks for this post. Your photos really made your suggestions come alive & so easy to see.

  • Yolanda says:

    LOVE LOVE the bedroom!!

  • Lauren Moore says:

    This is a wonderful post! My mum is a curtain designer and so we are lucky to have custom curtains throughout our house, but as we are heading into winter I love the idea of a rug!

    • Meredith says:

      Lauren, Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me what you enjoyed about this post and I am happy you found it helpful! Thats so cool that your mom is a curtain designer. I am sure your home is gorgeous!

  • Jessica Lake says:

    Love this post so much :)!

  • Sarah says:

    These are excellent ideas. Very simple and broad enough for anyone’s taste and style. Thank you for the great tips!

    • Meredith says:

      Sarah, I am so excited that you got so much from this article! It’s great to hear that it can be applies to any style and taste. Happy to give helpful info!

  • delia campbell says:

    thanks that was helpful

  • Kellie says:

    I love your whole site Meredith, well done, I will be checking in often to see what’s new!

    • Meredith says:

      Kellie! I love YOU! Thank you so much for the compliment and it means the world to me that you found the info I am putting out there to be helpful! You rock! Thanks for making my Monday even better!

  • Mary says:

    You’re very talented and I appreciate your site. I’m pinning you now. I can’t wait for your updates.

    • Meredith says:

      Mary! You are so sweet. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. Also thank you for pinning and sharing. It’s readers like you that make so so happy while doing what I am doing. xo Meredith

  • Your ideas are great and achievable for any budget too. The true source for the ‘use vertical space wisely’ picture ledges photo is Oliver and Rust blog.

  • Great advice! I always love a good area rug!

  • Tina Dodson says:

    O’Meredith! I loved this whole Pinterest,,,You had some darling ideas,,and your bedroom is stunning,,everything was! And I loved how you added “source”,,sure helps me a lot,,

    Thank you much,,

  • ilsebenita says:

    Can’t wait to try these out when I finally move out!! Love the curtain tip especially!

  • alicenorman1 says:

    I’m a college student getting ready to decorate my first apartment (exciting!) and this post is such a huge help- especially given that I would love to have a classy little place to come home to but on a college student’s budget.

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Alice,

      How exciting to be decorating your first apartment! There are so many little steps that can make a dramatic difference. For example, I hated the tile on my kitchen countertops in my apartment so I covered it all with contact paper. Looks so much better and will be easy to peel off when I move. Happy to inspire and help you get the cute and classy apartment you have always wanted. 🙂 Good luck with school. Those are magical years. Learn as much as you can! 🙂

  • Sherry says:

    Love all your suggestions!! Could you please tell me where you got the comforter? Thanks for the help!

  • Lydia Gray says:

    Hi! Where did you find that cool blanket on the bed in Photo #6???

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Lydia. This was a curated post so I am not quite sure where that blanket came from. Its adorable too. I wish I did know. Apologies. If I find it or if you do, please leave a link in the comments. I will add it to the source info below the image. Thanks for commenting!!

  • Erin says:

    Great ideas! I love your curtain tip especially and have used that in my family room and it definitely helps!

    I think the other important one is to declutter as much as possible. Cluttered spaces always look cheap.

  • Lydia Gray says:

    Aw thanks for responding — I’ll look around:)

  • Sophia Jacqueline says:

    Thank you so much for this! Some of these I already do in my home, like #2 as to hang curtains high – it really Does make a difference. As for the others, I’m really excited to try out!

    • Meredith says:

      Sophia! I makes me so happy to know that you found this post helpful for you own home! Keep me posted on anything else you try! 🙂

  • Julie says:

    You have made your place so so beautiful. I felt like I was looking at a high end design magazine. I want to create your style. You are so talented. I want to learn more. .

  • Cindy Betancourt says:

    Hi Meredith,
    I really enjoy reading your posts and learning about home decor. I am terrible at decorating my home! :/ I need ideas to brighten up and make my house feel homy. I will definitely be coming back to read all of your wonderful posts! Thank you for sharing.


  • Flavia says:

    Meredith, you really know how to address decor with a simple, yet ‘classy’ approach! – You opened up my eyes, and made me think about all the possibilities I have without having to spend a fortune decorating our rental. I am a big fan of vignettes. I think I switch them weekly, just to constantly try new things (with old things!) – Thank You, Thank You!

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Flavia! You did have luck commenting. I have to manually approve every comment but my theme doesn’t really tell people that. I will have to work on it. 🙂 Thank you so so much for your kinds words. I am so happy you are enjoying what I am putting out there!! XO Mere

  • Claire says:

    As a college student moving into my second apartment I have been on a mission to create a space that feels more mature and organized while still incorporating the things I love. I have a slight problem with collecting unique trinkets, I loved the mentioning of decorative smalls and creating vignettes to tie a space together. I am still in the process of unpacking and organizing but your post has given me some fantastic tips! Thank you for the pointers!

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Claire! I am so happy you found this post helpful! I feel like I was battling that issue also in college. It pleases me so much to know that these tips can help you make your 2nd apartment fabulous!! You are amazing. Feel free to take a photo on instagram and use the hashtag #decoratemyrental to share your place when you are done with it. I will feature it on my insta!!!:) Thank you again!!

  • Khadija says:

    I am so glad I came across your site. These are great tips and I will be using most of them!

  • Rosie says:

    My livingroom looks a bit old and out of style, I’m so going to use some of this ideas to give it a new look. Thank you so much for this and your great taste!

    • Meredith says:


      I am so so happy this helped you! Good luck with your place and I hope you will share photos on instagram or on my FB page when you are done. 🙂 Best, Meredith

  • Uylonda says:

    This is just what I needed! I am getting ready to do some redecorating since my daughter has gone off to college and this touches on everything.

  • Linda says:

    This is great. Inexpensive ideas for once.

  • Jenna says:

    Where did you get the rods for the window treatment? I love them…

  • alite says:

    Hi! Where can I find that coffee table in the picture under #1:Flowers? I’m looking for something just like it!

  • Diana Landen says:

    I’m very impressed with your sage advice on decorating. You’ve touched on every important aspect of decorating to make the best use of living space to keep it organized, elegant, homey, comfortable and most importantly, affordable. This is by far the best advice I’ve read and pinned that details the things that actually apply to my concerns in decorating my home. Keep up the good work! I look forward to reading more advice from you.

    • Meredith says:


      Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so happy you found this post to be helpful to you! To me, home is a sanctuary. I want my home to make me feel stress free and cozy. With this in mind and a practical use of space, this post was born and I am amazed at the volume of positive responses I have received. Thank you for taking the time to let me know how this post impacted you! You are the best! xo Meredith

      • Anna says:

        Great help!? where can I find this comforter?

        • Meredith says:

          Hello Anna!! Thanks for leaving a comment. I am actually not 100% sure where that comforter came from but I have received a lot of compliments about it. I will see what I can find out and send info your way if I find the source. Sound good? Best – Meredith

  • LOVE! this! Just moved out to California and trying to keep my place as cozy and classy as possible. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mercedes says:

    I am in the process of decorating my space and this list a very helpful to me. I painted the hardware on my dresser adding silver elegance to my space this article made me happy. Thanks.

  • Barbara says:

    Your suggestions are very good. I live in very warm climate and the homes aren’t real big. I do not use any rugs or curtains…it tends to close the space in ?.. Instead I have plantation shutters and wood floors…it keeps the inside cooler

  • Jo-Ann Murrell says:

    Good solid advice that anyone can easily follow to create an elegant home. Thank you.

  • GTV says:

    Fantastic ideas. I particularly liked the idea of matching baskets for storage. It is such a good design idea and I would do it in the garden too – a row of the same bush/tree looks so much more elegant than a mixed up border.
    I have tried extending the curtains to make the window look better and it works.
    I am so lucky to have inherited some gorgeous rugs – they are like jewellery for the floor.
    Making use of vertical space – have to do that more myself.
    Best of all – fresh flowers (and healthy pot plants). So many good ideas – thank you so much.

    • Meredith says:

      I can not even begin to tell you how happy your comment made me. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to leave some feedback on this post. It makes me so happy knowing it has been well received!

  • Alice says:

    Cute ideas! However, “on a dime” is sort of misleading for this article, as some of these suggestions would take tens or hundreds of dollars…

  • Anne Lubin says:

    Hi, I was wondering (if you don’t mind telling) where you brought your couch from.

  • Deb Williamson says:

    Love this. So much good info. I’m going to share with my daughter.

  • Kim Elizabeth says:

    I love most of these ideas….but why am I the only one that doesn’t like the look of curtains hung so high above window? That blank space between the top of the window and the curtain rod drives me crazy!! LOL.

  • Noelle says:

    Hi. Love this post. Could you tell me where you got the narrow shelves for the vertical space ? Thanks.

  • Lucines says:

    Are you kidding me!!! Can’t wait for the hubs to get home to show him. I am getting to work ASAP starting with the curtains and I will check out that Moroccan wall for the living… Beautiful. Thank you so much for this post.

    • Meredith says:

      I am so happy you got so pumped about this article Lucines!! 🙂 Please share photos if you implement any of this advice! I would love to see before and after photos!

  • Betty anderson says:

    Wonderful ideas. We are moving into a “character” home and I will be using some of your ideas.

    • Meredith says:

      Betty! I am so happy to hear you are excited to use some of the ideas I shared. 🙂 If you want to share you before and afters, please use #artsandclassyathome.

  • Vivian says:

    I ENJOY all of your ideas!!! Please can you tell me where to find the comforter from Amber Interior. I have not had any luck to find it anywhere.

    • Meredith says:

      Hey Vivian! Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out. I actually don’t know where that blanket is from. Boy to a I wish I did. I get emails about it a lot.

  • Anna O'Leary says:

    YES YES. Meredith I agree with your great tips. The really important ones about going high to draw the eye upwards with curtains, mirrors, kitchen cabinets …….. creating an illusion of height. Huge mirrors can make a space so wonderful. Lighting is another great trick. I have pinned your article into my favourite private folder as I will go through it and use it as a check-list. Great jib Meredith. (I am a retired Interior Designer ).

  • Kailey says:

    Great tips!! 🙂 I’m currently renting and these tips are amazing

  • Mary L Duncan says:

    The pictures are beautiful and the way you write…enthusiastically without being tiresome. Thank you. Most of your tips are doable in our apartment starting with the flowers which is very Feng Shui!

  • The Jessie K says:

    Love you tips and examples! I’ve also been noticing lately that using the color white when decorating or using white furniture, blankets, or accent pieces really makes a room feel fresh and elegant. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

    Quick question- I hope you don’t mind me asking here, but is there a plugin to get the ads on the very bottom of your photos? I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that forever. Thanks so much!

    • Meredith says:

      Thanks Jessie! So problem! The plug in I use is called Content.ad check them out online. You can also monetize Sharaholic if you want to go that route!That also has a plug in and floating share buttons at the bottom of each of my post and page.

  • Marcela says:

    I absolutely loved these tips!! Moving next weekend and I can’t wait do to some of these things!!

  • Starr says:

    Thank you! These tips and photos are great, and love that you added links.

  • Jean says:

    Love,love,love your blog. The ideas are great. Will be coming back again. Thanks

    • Meredith says:

      Jean!!! Your comment was so sweet!Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me how much you are enjoying my blog. It really means so much. I put so much time and energy to this passion of mine and to see that others are benefiting from what I am putting out there makes me so happy!

  • Melanie says:

    Very helpful ideas! I am also a renter and your ideas help me to feel that my options are not as limited as I thought. Thanks!

    • Meredith says:

      Melanie!!! you are exactly the person I am always trying to reach! I believe that decorating as a renter can still fun and you can create a cozy, classy, and stylish space to reflect your style! Thanks you for letting me know! Have you downloaded my 7 Days 2 Home Ebook yet? It’s free!

  • Andi says:

    Thank you for the great tips about home decorating, this article is very informative. I so love your ideas..classy but not costly! I like that..just perfect for my research to help me in decorating my home. ??

    • Meredith says:

      Andi! I am so happy you found me and are digging what I am putting out there! If you ever want to share your space on social media… I would love to see it if you applies any of these tips! Use hashtag #artsandclassyathome. Thanks again! Best, Meredith

  • Sherry says:

    Can you tell me the source of the desk?

  • kyndal says:


  • Lindsay says:

    This article spoke to my decorating & design soul! Especially motivates the thrift nature in me. I feel so motivated and inspired for when I get my place come this summer. Thanks!

  • Tonya says:

    I really enjoyed reading and looking at all of your tips and ideas. I am going to use as many as I can to help me beautify our space. Thank you for taking the time to research this and share it with others. I think my favorite as the framed art wall and the organized container area. I also like to use decorative pillows to add pops of color and different fabrics to my spaces.

    • Meredith says:

      Hello Tonya!

      I am so happy you found my tips helpful! I think that people can overcomplicate the decorating process. I am really on a mission to show people that you really don’t have to spend much to decorate your home beautifully! It’s the little tips and DIY’s that really bring it to life. Thank you again for taking the time to let me know.