Get a Designer Look for Less
June 9, 2021

Get a Designer Look for Less

In a perfect world, we’d all be able to hire designers, craftsmen and contractors to create the indoor spaces of our dreams. But the reality is, not everyone is able to afford the expense that comes with it! Designer touches are costly, and while we may be able to slowly upgrade our homes over the years, some improvements may be out of reach. Luckily, there are many affordable DIY versions that can add the same pizazz without the punch to the pocketbook. From wallhacks to fancy trim, following are some of the easiest (and low-cost) ways to get a designer look for less.


Board and Batten Wall

Photo courtesy Make Life Lovely

Similar to wainscoting, board and batten is a designer feature that adds a special touch to an interior space. Real board and batten can be costly, but you can get the same look using strips of pine and chair rail, a la Make Life Lovely. A cohesive coat of white paint and you’ve got a designer look for a fraction of the cost.


IKEA Cabinet Hack

Photo courtesy Fall for DIY

Search “IKEA hack” online and you’re bound to find hundreds of ideas for turning a basic piece of furniture into an impressive masterpiece. This tutorial from Fall for DIY takes the plain IKEA Ivar cabinet and transforms it into a high-end designer piece. All it takes is some chalkboard paint, some flexible MDF strips and a bit of wood glue.


Craftsman Trimmed Windows

Photo courtesy Thrifty Decor Chick

As most designers will attest, a little trim can make a big difference in home design. Plain, builder-grade windows lack oomph, but having them professionally reframed can be cost-prohibitive. Instead, consider a DIY project courtesy of Thrifty Décor Chick. She uses wooden casing in various shapes to create a chunky trim that takes the window to a whole new level.


Powder Room Wallpaper

Photo courtesy Design Improvised

There’s little doubt that wallpaper can completely transform a room, and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on the eye of the beholder! Long gone are tacky floral wallpapers reminiscent of grandma’s house. Rather, today’s wallpapers are modern, artsy, and able to turn your space from ho-hum to amazing. This powder room makeover courtesy of Design Improvised does just that, and the gold leaf print creates an elegant, designer vibe.


Designer Doors

Photo courtesy Average but Inspired

Doors may not sound like a feature that requires an upscale touch, but it’s the little details that make a major impact in a home. Adding panels to an otherwise flat interior door can make them look high-end without the price tag. Some wood trim and a fresh coat of paint can give an old door a whole new vibe. Follow the tutorial on Average But Inspired for more tips.


Faux Stone Fireplace

Photo courtesy Make Life Lovely

There’s no need to live with an old, outdated fireplace surround. This tutorial from Make Life Lovely uses easy, affordable AirStone (a faux stone-look product) right over the top of old brick to give an outdated fireplace a contemporary look. Adding a wood accent wall and new mantel ups the focal point even more.


Tiled Back Patio

Photo courtesy Sugar and Cloth

Giving your home a designer look isn’t limited to the interior. You can give your outdoor space a high-end vibe as well! This idea from Sugar and Cloth uses cement tiles in a fun geometric pattern to revamp an otherwise dreary outdoor space. Concrete tiles are durable and easy to maintain, and create an inviting, upscale look — more than poured concrete ever could.


Peel & Stick Backsplash Tile

Photo courtesy At Home With Ashley

You can give your kitchen a refresh without spending an arm and a leg on retiling the whole space by using peel and stick backsplash tile. The sheets of tile-like adhesive are easy to install and can instantly transform your space. Best of all, you can stick it right over your old, outdated tile, so no messy demo is needed. Check out the how-to from At Home With Ashley.


Framed Bathroom Mirror

Photo courtesy The Turquoise Home

Many homes come with boring, builder-grade bathroom mirrors. But adding a frame around a mirror can take it from basic to brilliant in a few hours. The Turquoise Home has a tutorial where you simply add interior molding cut to size, then painted in your color choice. It looks like a pro job!


Stenciled Wall

Photo courtesy the Thrifty Decor Chick

Tired of looking at the same plain-old walls? Follow in the footsteps of the Thrifty Décor Chick and paint an upscale pattern on your walls using a stencil. Wall stencils come in all shapes, but this geo pattern gives the space a designer glow. The monochrome color scheme and slight shimmer add to the upscale vibe, for less than $50.

Category Home Inspiration

Elizabeth Penney

Elizabeth Penney is a content writer for Lyon Real Estate and the Lyon Local blog. A Sacramento native with a marketing background, she shares her insider knowledge on restaurants, attractions and outdoor activities throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond.