7 On-a-Budget Ways to Make Your Home Look Like a Million Bucks

Great design doesn’t have to cost a fortune. But it sure seems like it does! Which is why we were so pleased to check in with our interior designer friend Kate Lester, who assured us that even the pros love to pepper cheap-and-chic design moments throughout their projects. Feel like your place needs a budget-friendly refresh? Take a cue from these seven sneaky-luxe decor tricks.

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Courtesy of Kate Lester Interiors

1. Decorate With Your Linens

What are your beautiful throws, towels and coverlets doing hiding in the closet? Lester is a huge fan of putting your prized soft goods out on display for everyday enjoyment. (Think: a blanket draped over the back of a sofa or a stack of your best towels on a stool in the bathroom.)

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Courtesy of Kate Lester Interiors

2. Forage For Dramatic Greens

You’ve heard us wax poetic about the wonders of greenery before, but let this photo and pro tip from Lester serve as a reminder: A few branches placed in a big ole’ vase adds serious wow factor…for absolutely no cost.

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Courtesy of Kate Lester Interiors

3. Pull Out Your Accessories

Hats, baskets, scarves and even a well-placed pair of rain boots make for super-lovely foyer decor. “My personal favorite trick is to arrange a grouping of straw hats in all shapes and sizes,” says Lester. “It adds so much dimension.”

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Courtesy of Kate Lester Interiors

4. Create A Reading Nook

One chic and easy room update? Create a small reading nook where there wasn’t one before. (Hint: Break up your living room layout by moving a cozy chair, small cocktail table and plant to a sunny corner.)

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Courtesy of Kate Lester Interiors

5. Load Up On Coffee Table Books

Stacks on stacks on stacks of coffee table books are the ultimate shortcut for a professionally styled look. Hit up flea markets and used book stores for cheapies—then group them three-deep across your coffee table, topped with treasured tchotchkes.

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Courtesy of Kate Lester Interiors

6. Print Your Own Art

Ever heard of printable art? It's exactly what it sounds like: Many e-tailers, like Etsy and Juniper Print Shop, sell high-resolution artwork downloads—which you can print at home (or email to your local print shop) and frame yourself on the cheaps. “Print the art on watercolor paper,” says Lester. “This adds a little texture and a more luxurious feel to the piece.”

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Courtesy of Kate Lester Interiors

7. Or Make Art From Random Objects

Bespoke art can make your home look all kinds of #fancy. “Vintage finds make for great conversation starters and decor," says Lester. “I had a life preserver framed for a client and voilà! Instant art.”

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Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.