10 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive | Thrifty Decor Chick


These are ten of my favorite ways to elevate the look of your home, both inside and out! 

Over the years I’ve discovered some easy decor and DIY changes that make a big difference in our home. 

I could make an endless list of ways to do this with more involved projects like wall trim and built ins, but these examples are much simpler and less involved. 

Most of these can be done in a few minutes. A few of them are smaller projects that will take a little more time, but thankfully I have tutorials that will help you out if you decide to tackle them. 😉

I’ve always thought that some of the more subtle changes make a big difference in a house, especially when repeated throughout. 

They are the little touches that elevate the look of a home!

A few of these are splurges, so when I update multiple like items all over the house, I do it over time. I’ll grab one or two on trips to the store as the budget allows. 

Some of these have taken me a year to finish, some aren’t done and some I’ve just started!

ALL are little details that I think give our home that extra little something. 🙂

1. Replace or paint floor HVAC grates

For years I’ve spray painted our inexpensive floor grates to a darker color that flows with our floors better: 

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I’ve done that with all of the basic tan floor grates that we’ve had in both of our houses over the years. They hold up surprisingly well!

Last year I was strolling down an aisle at Lowe’s when I noticed how many pretty floor vent options were available. I tried one of these cast iron metal grates in a room that day and fell in love: 

iron black floor vents

Over the past year I’ve been grabbing one on trips to the hardware store here and there. Since we only have the floor vents on the main floor, I didn’t have as many to replace as I thought. 

upgrading floor vents

There are a ton of designs available, in both metal and the heavier duty iron versions I’ve used. 

These are still operational like the previous grates — we can adjust the air flow no problem. 

I plan to tackle our wall air intake grates on the walls eventually too!

2. Change out your light bulbs 

Now this one may seem trivial at first (and honestly, in the scheme of things, all this stuff is!), but over the years as we’ve had to change out light bulbs, I’ve replaced some with these round bulbs instead:

round light bulbs clear glass

If you have exposed bulbs or clear glass, they just give the whole light fixture a higher end look:

blue green floral wallpaper

Overall I prefer the white bulbs over clear ones, and the white ones soften the cast a bit, which is nice. 

I’ve only added these on a few lights so far, but they really do elevate the look of the light fixture! They don’t cost that much more than regular LED light bulbs, so this one won’t break the bank.

full glass led round bulbs

They look better, and let off a bit more light.

3. Paint a (interior or exterior!) door

The first time I painted a door in our home black, I was HOOKED. At our last house I got all of the doors in our basement and main floor painted: 

black door white shiplap

That was probably 15 years ago and I haven’t looked back. 🙂

No, you don’t have to paint them all at once! 

It took me years to paint all of our white doors black, and I didn’t even touch the upstairs doors.

I’ve started the process in this home, but it’s gone much slower since I’ve been so focused on bigger projects: 

This DIY takes some time but isn’t difficult. I shared my tips for painting interior doors black — using this tutorial will give you a super smooth finish that looks like it was sprayed on!
brick red front door

4. Dress up the base of your indoor plants 

This small change is one of the easiest! I have a ton of plants around the house (mostly these fiddle leaf figs): 
fiddle leaf fig tips

Plants like this come with small containers that can look a little wimpy. I suggest replanting into a large pot and placing that in a simple basket or pretty vessel. This adds some texture and weight to the plant. 

I use large, cheap plastic pots all the time! You don’t even notice when they’re placed in basket. 

The added width at the bottom makes the whole thing look bigger…which is especially helpful if you don’t have a green thumb!: 

white foyer simple molding

And it’s just a nice decorative touch that adds a little something throughout the house. 

I used to place rocks on top of the plant soil (we have a cat that used to love peeing on the plant bases and the rocks deterred her), but over the years as I’ve replanted, I left those out.

Recently I’ve been adding something different at the base of the plant. I had a ton of this pretty, soft moss in my craft stash and tried laying it out over the dirt: 

moss on base of plant
LOVED it.  Such a simple thing, but it makes the plant look even more lovely!

soft moss on plant soil

I swear this has helped our plants! It seems to help retain water and prevent them from drying out. I could be imagining that, but I think it makes a difference. 

5. Adding exterior and landscape lighting

I will stand on my hill of landscape lighting forever! Ha! It’s always been that one exterior detail that I’ve noticed about really lovely (and expensive!) houses. 

There’s no electrical knowledge needed!:

easy landscape lighting DIY

I’m telling you, it will make your house look AMAZING at night. I hear from readers all the time who are shocked at how easy it is to install. 

It takes some time, but it’s not a difficult DIY!

I’ve also fallen in love with pretty cafe lights that hang over a patio or deck: 

cafe lights over patio
cafe lights under pergola

We know what a difference the right lighting inside makes, and think it goes double for outside!

6. Replace switch/outlet covers

This is another small detail that on the whole makes a bigger impact than you’d think! 

decorative light switch covers

You’ll need a flathead screwdriver and about a minute to change out each one.

white decorative switch cover

And the outlets on our kitchen backsplash as well:

white wavy tile gray grout

I haven’t done many of the other outlet covers yet, just because they’re not as noticeable. You can definitely take your time with these small updates! 

The covers I used have an insulated backing that helps to retain both heat and cool air. Have you ever felt how much cold air comes through outlets in the winter? It’s crazy.

There are a TON of decorative switch plates at most hardware stores, and most come in all of the configurations you will need. Ours come in multiple switches options, GFI outlet/switch combos, etc. 

7. Change out door knobs

Updating your door knobs is a great way to update your home! If you have basic door knobs, they are easier than you’d think to change them out. 

black door white beadboard

I had to cut out (or mortise) where the door latch goes on EVERY DOOR. But it was worth it!:

mortise door for new knobs

If you don’t have to do that, this is a much quicker job! Once you get the hang of it, each one should only take about five minutes. 

When we picked all of the details for our current home, I chose these simple black handles instead of knobs: 

black handle knob white door

I’ve loved having handles instead of knobs — they are especially helpful when your hands are full. 🙂 You can push them down or up to open so it’s a little easier to maneuver. 

Not only do the newer door knobs look better, but they feel more substantial as well. It’s an easy change that definitely makes a home feel higher end.

8. Update or add cabinet hardware

This is one of the easiest upgrades in the kitchen! If you don’t have hardware on your cabinets, adding knobs or pulls will elevate the space quite a bit: 

DIY shaker drawer fronts

Hardware will reduce the wear and tear on your cabinets as well! 

This can get expensive if you’re starting from scratch, but there are so many great options at great prices now! You can buy them in bulk for less too.

DIY folded clothes storage

Those are a little over $2 each when you buy a bunch!

As with many finishes in your home — spray paint will give you a quick cabinet hardware update for WAY less! If you like your hardware design but not the color, spray paint is a great solution. 

See how to paint your cabinet hardware for an easy refresh:

white cabinets black hardware

9. Updating drapery rods and adding pleats

Window treatments are huge! Hanging them a bit higher and wider than the window frame will make the windows feel grander. 

Last year I tried a new window treatment update that made my store bought curtains look SO much more expensive: 

DIY pleating on drapes

They went from messy and floppy to perfectly spaced and pretty: 

green bookcase in office

I still have one more room I’d like to add this pleating tape to. I LOVE the look!

But the drapery hardware makes a big difference too. When we moved in, I bought the cheapest, skinniest drapery rods I could find. 

brass drape rod leather

Not only is it a little thicker, but that leather finial at the end just gives it a unique little detail. 

By the way, I don’t think your drapery hardware needs to match throughout the house! I shared where I found really long curtain rods for a great price a few years ago. The IKEA drapery hardware is excellent!

10. Add fixture to recessed lights

I LOVE adding decorative lighting where we have recessed lights. I think a pretty fixture goes a long way to updating a space.

blue white floral wallpaper

You don’t even need to turn off the breaker — this is almost as easy as replacing a light bulb!

Those kits allow you adjust the length of the cord and everything. 

adding hanging light canned light

I had a horrible time with one brand, so be sure to check out that post before trying this DIY. 

Both options allow you to hang a pretty light where there was none! 

We later added a long pendant light in our tall stairway too: 

hanging light open stairway

Notice those pretty round bulbs? 😂 I love them!

Have you added any of these decor and DIY updates to your home? Remember, it doesn’t all have to be done at once. Take your time as your budget allows. 

I promise no one will notice that your switch covers don’t match in every room. 🙂 



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