Designers Are Obsessed With These Cheap Things That Make Your Home Look Way Cooler

2023-02-28 14:36:47 By : Mr. YXH Packaging

Plants, lighting, artwork, and more.

Even the plainest homes can be made to look cool, and you don’t even need to spend an arm and a leg to achieve the look you’re going for. But if you aren’t sure where to start? Not a problem, as I’ve reached out to a handful of designers who were more than happy to share their favorite tips and tricks on how to make your home look way cooler.

From creating custom artwork to decorating with fake plants, the designers I spoke with were absolutely overflowing with ideas — and the tips you’ll find below can be applied to a wide variety of homes. So what are you waiting for? That blank wall in your bedroom could use some floating shelves, or maybe even an affordable piece of canvas art.

Sometimes it’s the cheapest changes that make the biggest impact — like a fresh coat of paint. “Give your home that unique punch of colour,” Mike Semegen, the owner and project manager of the interior designer Hello Home Studios, tells Bustle. “Enhancing the curb appeal is a great way to give your home a unique look but also catch the attention of others.”

But if you aren’t sure about repainting your entire home? This paint is specifically formulated for your front door and comes in more than 15 vibrant colors to suit any style. And since it only takes about an hour to dry, you won’t have to stress about guests ruining the finish when they come to visit the same day.

Kitchen makeovers can be incredibly expensive; luckily, Semegen has an affordable alternative. “Give your kitchen a unique look with some multicolour, under the cabinet lighting,” he tells Bustle. “Search for an easy to install, cheap under the cabinet strip light that’s going to give your kitchen that extra wow factor. With so many different colour options, and some strip lights that offer a multi colour remote control, your options are endless.”

This strip light in particular is available for less than $20 and comes with double-sided adhesive for easy installation. The included remote lets you switch between 15 different colors when setting the mood. Or, if you’re feeling festive, Semegen also says that “You can even adjust the colours depending on the holiday, your party theme, or just for fun.”

If you don’t care about how colorful your lights are, these light strips come in two light temperatures: daylight and warm white. The adhesive backing also lets you press them right into place, while the power button on the battery compartment makes it easy to turn them on and off — no remote necessary. Plus, their low profile is unlikely to stick out underneath your cabinets.

If your home feels a little outdated, Grace Baena, an interior designer at Kaiyo Used Dressers, has an easy tip that won’t break the bank: “Investing in some stylish and unique light fixtures can really help increase the ‘cool’ factor in your home,” she explains. “Generic light fixtures tend to be overlooked or fade into the rest of your decor, so replacing them with a more dynamic statement piece can be a great way to generate visual interest and add a unique flair to your home’s aesthetic.”

Speaking of stylish and unique, this floor lamp has an industrial vibe that’s perfectly on trend. The heavy metal base helps keep it from tipping over — and each order even comes with a bulb included. Choose from two finishes: gold or black.

There’s just something soothing about being surrounded by plants — and Kristina Davis, an interior designer and furniture expert at Letti & Co, tells Bustle that they can also help make your home look better. “The first item to make your home look amazing is plants. Not only do plants help make your home look great, but they also help purify the air,” she explains. “Whether you choose to go with faux plants, or you’d rather buy real ones, plants are a great way to add a touch of nature to your home.”

If real plants are your jam, these houseplants are incredibly easy to grow, making them great for anyone whose thumb is more black than green. They arrive fully rooted, so all you’ll have to do is water them once a week in order to keep them looking good — and a portion of your purchase is even donated to help shelter animals find new homes.

If you’d prefer greenery that requires zero maintenance, these fake plants look incredibly real — even up close. At less than 4 inches wide, you shouldn’t have any trouble fitting them on bookshelves, window sills, or even your desk. The best part? Each order also includes two pots made from paper pulp, so there’s no need to go out and buy any extras in order to make them look lifelike.

While too many vintage items can sometimes make your home feel outdated, Davis says using them sparingly can make your home feel unique. “Vintage furniture is another item that designers love to use,” she explains. “Whether you get it from a thrift store or you have an aunt who has a collection of furniture from her parents, vintage furniture can add a unique touch to your home.” And if you’re worried about sticking to a budget? She tells Bustle that “It’s also a great way to save money, as vintage furniture is often cheaper than buying something new.”

Not only is this vintage-looking jewelry box available for less than $25, but its small size makes it perfect for entryway tables, mantles, and bookshelves — your options are nearly endless. And if you decide to use it to hold jewelry instead of simply for decor? It also features three compartments on the inside to help keep everything organized.

If that vintage jewelry box doesn’t suit your space, consider opting for this speaker instead. Despite its retro appearance, you can still connect your phone to it via Bluetooth — and the powerful speakers deliver crystal-clear sound that’s perfect for jamming out with friends. Plus, the rechargeable battery lasts for up to six hours.

Looking for ways to spruce up bland walls? “If you want to add a bit of color to your home without spending a lot of money, then art prints are a great option,” Davis says. “Art prints come in all sorts of designs, from abstract to landscapes, and can be found for very affordable prices.”

These prints in particular are available for less than $15, making them an affordable and easy-to-install option versus painting. And since they’re printed on high-quality canvas, they’re also water-resistant enough to handle humid bathrooms.

While art can add flair to blank walls, that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard to create a gorgeous look. “By just adding a few art prints to your home, you can transform it into an art gallery,” explains Davis — and this trio of prints has already been styled to look good when placed side by side. The vibrant colors are sure to catch the eye. Plus, each one has already been stretched onto a frame, making them ready to hang right out of the box.

Davis has one last piece of advice to help make your home look cooler: upgrade your lights. “Finally, designers are always on the lookout for unique lighting solutions,” she tells Bustle. “From industrial-style pendant lights to modern wall sconces, you can find a variety of lighting options to suit your style.”

But if you’re wary when it comes to installation? Not a problem, as this pendant light can be plugged into a regular wall outlet — no complicated wiring required. And since the power cable is 15 feet long, you shouldn’t have any trouble hanging it over your dining table, a nightstand, or nearly anywhere else in your home.

If that pendant light didn’t suit your style, this pack of wall sconces is a rustic pick that’s full of charm. Installation is a total breeze, as each one only uses three AA batteries (which are not included) to provide hours of light — and there’s even a built-in timer that’ll turn them off automatically should you ever forget. Choose from two finishes: grey or brown.

Nothing says “stunning” like a wall filled with your favorite photos. “Make your home instantly cool by installing a gallery wall,” Karl Mok, a design expert and consultant, tells Bustle. “Simply look for some inexpensive frames of varying sizes, colours or textures and fill them with artwork, prints or photos you love before hanging them up.”

With their pure glass fronts and varying sizes, this set of frames is a good place to start when making your own gallery wall. Mounting hooks in the back make them easy to hang. And if you still need convincing? According to Mok, “Not only is this a great way to update a plain, boring wall but you can also swap the images out as and when you please making it a great way to update your interiors between seasons and trends.”

Small changes can add up to make a big impact — like switching out the fixtures in your home. According to Rudolph Diesel, a top London interior designer, “An easy but cheap way to make your home instantly cooler is by replacing fixtures and fittings such as door knobs, cupboard handles or even your lightbulbs.”

Available in four finishes (matte black, polished chrome, satin nickel, and Venetian bronze), this door knob is a definite step up from the builder-grade knobs that came with your home. It’s best suited for interior doors that don’t require a lock — like hallways or closets — and the adjustable backset allows it to fit nearly any door.

Now that your door knobs are looking good, consider switching out your cabinet pulls with these sleek ones made from stainless steel. They’re resistant to rust and come in three finishes to suit any style: black, brushed brass, or satin nickel. And while the reasonable price may give you pause, don’t worry — many reviewers raved about the “great quality” as well as how they “look great.”

Upgrading your lights is as easy as switching out your incandescent bulbs with these smart ones. They’re energy-efficient — and with a lifetime of up to 20,000 hours, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have to buy new ones anytime soon. You also have the choice of more than 15 million colors when setting the mood, all of which can be accessed using the free smartphone app.

Small, cramped rooms can’t be made bigger without serious renovating — but you can make them feel larger using certain pieces of decor. “I love a strategically placed wall mirror — it expands the room and brings light into dark corners,” explains Mahwish Syed, a high-end residential and commercial interior designer. “Mirrors are also a great alternative to art — they literally frame you as a living work of art!”

With its irregular border and compact size, this mirror is a stylish addition to any table or desktop. It also comes in a variety of colors — from classic gold to sleek black. And if you need ideas on where to put it? Place it across from a natural light source to help bounce around some light to brighten up your home.

Organizers may be helpful, but many of them can look cheap and clunky. Instead, try using a tray to group items together. “I love trays — they corral items and create a visual vignette,” Syed tells Bustle. But if you need examples? She goes on to say that “You can place a tray in the kitchen that houses your bottle of olive oil or favorite condiments. You can create a bathroom vignette with rolled hand towels and a bottle of perfume. And you can place your remote control, candles, and pretty matches on a tray on your coffee table. Artfully placed items elevate your life.”

Not only is this lazy Susan made from chic bamboo, but it also rotates 360 degrees so that it’s easy to grab your items regardless of where you’re seated. It can support up to 25 pounds, making it suitable for everything from scented candles to remote controls — and many reviewers wrote about how it “looks good.”

Need a tray that’s just as functional as it is fashionable? Look no further than this sleek mirror option, as it’s the perfect place to store jewelry, makeup tools, skincare bottles, and more. The raised edges help keep items from falling off — and if silver doesn’t suit your style, it’s also available with a gold border.

While that mirror tray would look great in your bathroom, this decorative tray is better suited for the coffee table in your living room. It also features raised edges to help keep your items secure — however, the golden handles give it a modern touch that sets it apart from the competition. Choose from eight colors.

You don’t have to cover an entire room in wallpaper to achieve a cool effect. According to Syed, “Another cheap thing to make your home amp up its coolness factor is strategically applying removable wallpaper in niches and focal points.”

With an adhesive backing that lets you press it into place like a sticker, this removable wallpaper is an affordable option for less than $10. The vinyl surface is durable, helping it hold up in high-traffic areas. And if you need ideas on where to stick it? “I often use a fun wallcovering in an entry closet for unexpected flair,” Syed tells Bustle. “Putting a funky pattern in a closet also gives you more courage to try something bold. And bold is cool in the right dose!”

While small pieces of art can be arranged in a way that creates a big impact, there’s something to be said for hanging up larger pieces and calling it a day. “Going big on art is another cool experience and often unexpected in smaller homes,” Sterling McDavid, principal interior designer at Sterling McDavid Design, tells Bustle. “Etsy is filled with talented artists who integrate texture, layers and light to their work so no need to break the bank - with enough research you can find a cool conversation starter.”

This canvas wall painting is a good example of what McDavid is talking about. Both the flowers as well as the background have some texture to them — and the blue-to-white gradient makes it feel like there’s a spotlight shining right on it. Plus, the canvas is already wrapped around a wood frame, making it ready to hang right out of the box.

“Of course, it’s always cool to declutter before adding anything else to your space!” says McDavid. With that in mind, this organizer makes it easy to de-clutter overstuffed closets. Five drawers and five shelves give you tons of room for underwear, socks, shirts, and more, while small mesh pockets on the side are the perfect place for smaller items, like umbrellas. Choose from two colors: black or grey.

If that previous organizer won’t work with your closet, consider taking a look at this over-the-door version. 24 breathable pockets give you tons of space to store socks, shoes, and more. The pockets are also made from mesh, making it easy to see what’s inside without having to unpack anything — all while strong hooks on the top make it easy to hang over any standard-sized door.

The hard surfaces all over your bathroom can make it feel clinical. Luckily, Amber Shay, the national vice president of design studios at Meritage Homes, has an easy fix: “Turn your bathroom into your sanctuary with vintage rugs, art and soft décor to make your bathroom look and feel like a welcoming place of respite.”

Made from 100% polyester, this soft Moroccan-style rug is a stylish pick for any bathroom floor. Its nonslip backing helps keep it from shifting out of place on wet floors — and if it ever gets dirty, you can safely toss it into the wash for a quick clean. Choose from five colors as well as six sizes.

Speaking of soft decor, investing in a good set of towels is never a bad idea — and these ones are made from 100% Turkish cotton. The loop-pile height is high, giving them a fluffy texture that feels oh-so luxurious after a soak in the tub. And with more than 15 colors to pick from, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a shade that compliments your bathroom.

Have a bunch of smaller decorations that you don’t know how to utilize? Not a problem — Michal Rubin, interior designer for MR Interiors, has an easy suggestion. “I am obsessed with leaning and layering framed art on a console table or on a bookshelf,” she tells Bustle. “The frames and the art don't need to be part of a set, but you should keep the colors ‘consistent.’ A small brass frame leaning on a larger scaled gold framed piece... the layered look is really cool and looks super expensive!”

With that in mind, this console table is the perfect place to put small decorations on display. The oak style makes it look more expensive than it is, while its narrow profile allows it to fit into small spaces, like behind your sofa. And if you want to use this tip, but don’t have any decorations to layer? Rubin also says that “These can be bought at yard sales, thrift shops, you can splurge on some, save on others! Mixing & matching is key to make everything look more ‘worldly.’”

Some bookshelves can cost upwards of $100, whereas this one is available for less than $30. The wide, open shelves are great for holding decor — or, you could even use them to store plates and glassware in your dining room. You also have the choice of more than 10 different finishes, from classic brown to a light and airy shade of maple wood.

These golden frames would look so good sitting on those bookshelves or that console table — and they’re even made with real glass rather than plastic. They also come in three sizes, making it easy to layer them just like how Rubin suggested. But if that isn’t enough? The waterproof exterior makes it unlikely that the color will fade if they ever get damp.

If those last frames didn’t suit your style, these ones might be better suited for your home. The floating photo style makes them look incredibly modern — and each one is made from sleek metal, with a thick glass front that gives them some extra heft. Each order also comes with three in varying sizes, making it easy to create that stunning layered look.

Now that you’ve grabbed some frames, a set of floating shelves is a great place to put them on display. “I love adding elongated floating shelves to a family room/great room and filling these with frames (for an added touch, I love filling the frames with family photos and color correcting them so they're all in black + white, or all sepia tone, etc.),” Rubin explains. “This looks really beautiful and uniformed, making the space appear ‘finished.’”

Not only do these shelves come in four different finishes (espresso, grey, walnut, and white), but they also have a weight limit of up to 11 pounds, making them suitable for all sorts of decorations. Plus, the raised lip in the front helps keep your items from falling off.

Rubin has a few more suggestions on how to make your bookshelves pop. She says, “Layer large books, lay them flat, put a candle on top; Lean books up against the shelf and add a pretty bookend; decorative objects you've collected from traveling make for great styling props as well!”

Not only do these books look incredibly fancy, but they also open up to reveal a hidden compartment where you can stash small items to help keep clutter to a minimum. They look realistic from afar, making it unlikely that guests will notice they’re fake — and one reviewer even commented about how the colors are “beautiful.”

With its beautiful golden glass container, this scented candle delivers a rich pop of color wherever you put it. The eucalyptus orange aroma is uplifting, helping boost your mood after a stressful day. It can also burn for up to 35 hours — and unlike some candles, this one is made using 100% soy wax rather than harsh paraffin.

Wall art can be expensive — but Jessica Sommer, VP of Maverick Design and Wedgwood Homes, has an affordable solution. “While it can be challenging to find massive wall art on a budget, we encourage people to get creative!” she tells Bustle. “If you’re feeling crafty, grab a budget canvas or paint over an existing one (thrift shops and discount home stores are great for cost-effective canvases that can be painted over).” And if you aren’t confident in your artistic abilities, fear not — Sommer also says that “[...]you can bring out your inner artist by painting an oversized canvas in one solid color, giving texture through paint brush strokes alone.”

If you’re feeling adventurous, this pack of stretched canvases is available for less than $25. Each one has already been triple-primed, making them ready to paint the moment they arrive. They’ll also work with all sorts of mediums, from charcoal to oil paint — and you even have the choice of five different sizes.

Not sure what colors to paint those canvases? Sommer has an easy-to-follow recommendation: “Try all white for an editorial, muted look, or paint it a deep warm black for a moody, dramatic vibe. Acrylic, wall paint, or spray paint will work for this. Painting a large canvas with solid silver or gold metallic paint can also add an editorial edge (we recommend trying metallic Rust-Oluem).”

With that in mind, these acrylic paint pens come in 12 different shades, making it easy to create all sorts of colorful creations. The medium-sized tips are great for finer details — though they can also be used to create wider strokes with a little back-and-forth. They’re also suitable for use on nearly any type of surface, from stretched canvas to glass windows.

If you’re going for that editorial look that Sommer described, these metallic paints are a solid choice. Each set includes six colors: bronze, copper, silver, gold, iridescent white, and iridescent graphite. The colors are mixed with ground ceramic beads, giving them even dispersion as well as exceptional brightness — and many reviewers commented on how they’re a “great value” for the price.

Buying new pieces of furniture is rarely ever cheap. Instead, Sommer suggests putting your DIY skills to the test. “Oftentimes, when a piece of furniture or décor becomes worn or dated it can feel like it needs to be replaced entirely, but we’re a big fan of a DIY revamp!” she tells Bustle. “A quick spray paint update on an old coffee table, lamp, or even vase can go a long way towards updating a room and is more sustainable than replacing entirely.”

As for what colors you should use? Sommer goes on to say that “Using black, white, beige, brown, or muted colors to repaint gives a designer feel and breathes new life into an older item.” Luckily, this painting kit is available in two different shades of calming white: vanilla frosting and simplicity. It also comes with a paintbrush, sponge, as well as a durable topcoat to help prevent scratches to the paint underneath. The best part? The small tub of paint has enough inside to cover up to 60 square feet.

If something about your living room feels bland, Sommer suggests “Simply switching up a few key elements like throw cushions, and adding some new candles or a vase can go a long way in changing a room's aesthetic.” With that in mind, this floor pillow is a comfortable pick that can go a long way in making your home feel cool. Scalloped edges and chenille fabric make it feel oh-so luxurious, despite costing less than $40 — and you even have eight colors to choose from.

While regular candles will eventually need to be replaced, these LED ones can stay lit for up to 72 hours before you need to switch out the batteries. Each order also includes a remote so that you can control them from afar — and since they flicker just like lit candles, guests will have to pay close attention in order to figure out that they aren’t real.

Not only are these vases made from gorgeous ceramic, but their vivid colors are also a fun way to add some “cool” wherever you place them. The narrow bases make them suitable for small spaces — like on a decorative tray, window sill, or even the back of your toilet. And if you aren’t into the colors you see pictured above? They’re also available in lighter shades (of the same colors) that are more similar to pastels.