6 unexpected ways to make your home feel fancier than it is

Buying a house is incredibly exciting, but it’s also expensive—there’s a reason someone coined the term “poor house” to describe the specific state of a new homeowner’s personal finances.

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Still, upgrading your home’s decor doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’re drawn to all things grandmillennial or you’re more of a contemporary fan, it’s easier than you might realize to make your home feel more advanced than it actually is. I asked two staunch home trainers to share their tips on exactly how to make it happen.

Do your Decor Pull Double-Duty

Rachel Moore, a home stager and lead designer forMadison modern home in California, offers this practical mantra for deciding how to decorate your home: Keep only what is either useful or beautiful.

By this she means that every single object, whether purely aesthetic or actually functional, fits one of these two descriptions. Even better if you can swing it, keep or acquire things that are both beautiful and useful.

“I make coffee in a Chemex, a sculptural piece that I display proudly on my open kitchen shelves,” she says. “My laundry basket is a handmade basket from Ghana. Cereal bowls are thrown by a local potter. When everyday tools are inherently pleasing to the eye, you are always surrounded by beauty.”

“Little things like this can improve the whole look and feel of your space,” she says.

Hotel rooms always look luxurious and inviting – and a large part of that comes down to a lack of clutter. Moore recommends taking a similar approach in your own bedroom.

“Keep as few things in the bedroom as possible,” says Moore. “Lamps, candles, a book or two and a stylish decanter at the most. Everything else has to go.”

An airy duvet with a white linen cover can also help make your bed look luxurious and expensive, she says.

A curated selection of art and tasteful decor items from around the world can help add an air of sophistication and worldliness to your home (and visitors don’t need to know that you actually found these seemingly expensive items at garage sales or thrift stores!).

Some inspiration: a thick stack of coffee table books on photography, architecture and design; a sculpture from a flea market; a handmade wooden box from an international trip; or a gallery-like mix of paintings, pop art and fine art photography.

“The more you can show an interest in arts and culture, the better,” says Moore.

The large, round, construction-grade chest lamps above the bathroom mirror and outdated ceiling fan in your home office? They can go. Light fixtures are one of the easiest and most affordable ways to bring your home up to date and add a splash of personality to any room, according to Candance Toscanoa Florida-based home stager and interior designer.

If you don’t quite have the budget to invest in a whole new light fixture, consider updating the lampshades on any table or floor lamps throughout the house, she says.

Home stagers are basically miracle workers who help sell homes quickly and for top dollar — even ones that are small, outdated, or otherwise unappealing. And to impress potential buyers, they use lots of little tricks and tactics to make a house feel more like a home.

You can also steal some of these methods to reinvent your home before friends or family members come over. To make your home smell subtly wonderful—without relying on the often overpowering scents of air fresheners and fabric sprays—turn your oven on low about an hour or so before guests are scheduled to arrive. Then pour a few drops of vanilla extract onto the foil and put it in the oven, recommends Toscano. Another aromatic option? Dab a lightly scented essential oil on bulbs sporadically around the house.

Replace the half-used roll of toilet paper in the bathroom with a brand new one and put a vase of fresh flowers on the vanity, says Toscano.

Hang curtains the designer way

Small house with low ceilings? No problem. Make your home feel elegant and smart by installing curtain rods as close to the ceiling as possible, then hang curtains that help create the mood you want. Make sure the bottom of the curtains – which you can often find in good condition at thrift stores – just barely touch the floor.

“This is a designer look that can be easily achieved by anyone,” says Moore.

Toscano follows this advice, adding that careful selection of your curtain fabric can also make a world of difference.

“Fabrics like velvet, silk and linen give a more sophisticated look than basic cotton curtains,” she says.

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