How to make a bedroom look expensive on a budget: 11 interior design tips
These expert tips from interior designers will quickly and affordably elevate your sleep space, making your bedroom look and feel more luxe
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If you want to give your bedroom an upgrade but don't fancy an expensive refurbishment, worry not – as there are lots of clever tricks out there if you're wondering how to make a bedroom look expensive on a budget.
Making your home look expensive on a budget is something that often lies in the smaller, cozier details, which can make a huge impact with very little effort. Especially in a bedroom where elevating the decor is something you can absolutely do in the space of just a few hours; so you don't need to dedicate an entire weekend to this project – you can start by decluttering your bedroom in a day to create calm.
We spoke to interior designers to get the best tips for how to make a bedroom look expensive on a budget – from tweaking bedding to switching out lighting, and focusing more on accessories and textures. These are some of the easiest ways to achieve the luxury bedroom of your dreams.
How to make a bedroom look expensive: 11 tips
When it comes to how to make a bedroom look expensive often, the easiest way is to be slightly more intentional with the way you decorate. For example, it's easy enough to keep reusing the same bedding you've had for years, but by switching it out for something that looks a little bit more luxe, you can easily elevate the look of your room.
1. Choose hotel-style bedding
Aurélie Tshiama, an interior designer at Aurelie Tshiama (opens in new tab), shared that if you want to make your bedroom look luxe without expending too much effort or money, picking up yourself some hotel-style bedding works every time – because who doesn't want to know how to make their bedroom feel like a luxury hotel?
“You don't need to purchase the finest cotton threads to turn your room into a boutique suite; a method as simple as picking standard quality simple bedding does the trick," she shared. "Cotton bedding with a thread count of between 200-300 is a great place to start.
“Minimal, basic colored bedding is also a fool-proof way to go to create a luxury bedroom feel on a budget. Find a neutral color that will flow with your chosen color palette (the most popular choice being brilliant or stone white) and stick to it. And don’t forget to iron out the creases from time to time!”
And when it comes to cushions, this is where you can add some color, if you choose to make your bed like a hotel housekeeper. Aurelie said, “Your decorative throw pillows are where you can reference the small touches that elevate your space, whether it be by changing the shape, or switching from a velvet pillowcase to a floral patterned one from winter to summer.”
2. Add a large mirror to the space
Sometimes, making your space look luxurious can be as simple as adding a chic and stylish statement piece that will command the attention of the room. “One simple tip I recommend for making your bedroom look expensive on a budget is to add in a large mirror," says Rudolph Diesel (opens in new tab), a London-based interior designer. "Mirrors reflect light and create the illusion of a larger space."
Wondering what kind of mirror to choose? "To really amp up the feel of luxury, opt for a highly ornate, full-length mirror propped up against a wall to create a decadent dressing area," suggests Rudolph. "I like a burnished gold or copper, paired with rich jewel tones on the walls or soft furnishings."
And while it might sound pricey, your mirror doesn't need to cost much, especially if you look in the right places. “Mirrors don’t have to be the biggest tug in your pocket," says Aurelie. "Platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and eBay provide amazing secondhand options for mirrors and the sizes and dimensions you like.”
Plus, only the most keenly-trained eyes would be able to spot a budget mirror from an expensive one, so it's certainly not necessary to spend much money.
3. Stick with a neutral color scheme
There's a reason why muted neutral shades are such an enduring color trend for interiors – they instantly give off a look of luxury all on their own.
“If you want to create a sense of luxury in your bedroom, I recommend avoiding bright, bold colors on the walls, as these easily can become dated," explains Shanade McAllister-Fisher (opens in new tab), an award-winning interior designer. "Instead, I would opt for neutral shades like the best white paint colors, gray, or beige."
Not only do these soft shades exude glamour, they're also easy to accessorize against. "These colors create a clean and sophisticated look, and can easily be elevated to look more expensive and luxurious with touches of gold, black, or slate gray in your accessories," Shanade tells w&H. "Think metallic drawer handles, slate-topped bedside tables, and sleek black picture frames on the walls."
4. Install warm, low-level lighting
Having the wrong type of lighting in your bedroom will not only make it look less upscale – but bright, white light can also really throw off the ambiance of the room too. Instead, Shanade suggests using warm low lighting to transform the space. Not only is it an affordable change, but it will also really help to create a soothing, spa-like vibe within your bedroom to help you sleep better.
“Use lighting to your advantage, with strategically placed options able to create a warm and inviting atmosphere," suggests Shanade. "If you can, install a dimmer switch to control the amount of light in the room – and consider adding a statement light fixture, such as a chandelier or large floor lamp, for a simple way to upgrade the space.”
Mara Rypacek Miller, managing director at luxury lighting brand Industville (opens in new tab), agreed, saying, “Dimmer switches are a quick and cost-effective way of offering multiple lighting levels in a space, allowing you to set the tone and change the atmosphere of a room instantly.”
If you're wondering what other lighting would work, Mara also shared that wall sconces (a lighting fixture attached to the wall) can also add a real touch of luxury without costing a huge amount. “Wall sconces offer a great secondary source of light in large rooms,” Mara explains. “Most bedrooms have an overhead, primary light source like a chandelier or pendant, but wall sconces can be used to add another flattering layer of more indirect light.
“They can even be used to highlight architectural features and design elements such as artwork, or decorative shelving for example, which creates a real feeling of luxury. That’s why it’s also practical if they are operated separately, on a different circuit.” This is also a great idea if you're wondering how to make a kitchen look expensive on a budget.
5. Be mindful of how you arrange the pillows on your bed
While buying hotel-style bedding (as mentioned above) is a fantastic way to instantly upgrade your bed, it's also important to consider the presentation of your best pillows in order to achieve that luxury look.
“Using large square pillows and propping them up behind your sleeping pillows is an easy and budget trick that will instantly make the bedroom look more expensive," suggests James Higgins, CEO of Ethical Bedding (opens in new tab).
“The square pillows should sit against the headboard, and if possible your headboard should be around 30-50cm higher than your square pillow to elongate the bed and provide the illusion of a taller-looking room,” James advises.
“This is especially effective for low-ceiling homes where you want to achieve a more grand aesthetic. To finish the look, add two small square cushions and place one in front of each pillow, and then take a long baguette cushion to prop front and center of the arrangement.”
When it comes to how to make a bedroom look expensive on a budget, this is absolutely a place to save your cash – these cushions needn't be expensive, high-quality choices, as they are more decorative than practical.
6. Use layers of tactile textures
It’s essential that our bedrooms allow us to feel relaxed and calm, and one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to add lots of cozy touches. Layers of soft, textured materials and accessories will not only make your home feel cozy but will also add a touch of opulence.
“A rug can instantly bring a sense of comfort, and there are many types available, from thick woolly options to thinner rugs to help you create a sleek look,” says Suzanne Pearce, co-founder of Casa Bella Furniture (opens in new tab). “Other ways of adding textures include cushions, throws, and blankets, either on your bed or on chairs in your bedroom."
“Even thinking about the texture of your curtains can offer another avenue to elevate your bedroom’s style: thick, velvet drapes offer a sense of warmth, while thin gauze curtains can bring a more glamorous atmosphere.”
Making your bedroom feel luxe can be achieved on all budgets too; whether you’ve only got the money for a cozy throw, or you can afford to adjust your curtains, adding texture at any price point will go a long way to adding a luxury feel.
7. Opt for a decorative headboard for a touch of personality
If you want something a bit dramatic in your bedroom, Martin Waller, founder of the interior design brand Andrew Martin (opens in new tab), reveals that a statement headboard can add an instant touch of luxury with barely any design effort required. And we couldn't agree more; there's a reason statement headboards are a key bedroom trend for 2023, inspired by luxury hotel rooms.
“Look towards using intricate headboards as a way of introducing personality to a space – after all, our bedroom interiors should be as individual as the people that inhabit them," says Martin. "Don’t be afraid to choose a more outlandish style, as this only adds more character.”
Headboards can be pricey, but there is a huge range of budget options available to choose from. However, if your budget is a bit tighter, Rudolph suggests, “Look for vintage or second-hand pieces that you can reupholster yourself with fabrics such as velvet or corduroy to create a cohesive, luxurious look.”
8. Ensure your curtains are hung properly
A part of your bedroom you may not have considered is your curtains – but according to Anne Haimes, design director and founder of Anne Haimes Interiors (opens in new tab), curtains can dramatically change how 'expensive' your room looks.
"Curtains are an important part of bedroom design, as they help to soften a room and add more texture," explains Anne. "However, hanging your curtains incorrectly can hurt the appearance of your bedroom – so changing this can give your bedroom a touch of luxe without spending a thing."
How should your curtains be hung, then? "As a general rule, you want the bottom of your full-length curtains to skirt along your floor without dragging or leaving much of a gap," Anne tells w&h. "Hanging curtains closer to the ceiling, if you can, will also create the optical illusion of elongated walls, and make your ceilings appear taller and grander."
9. Try to avoid lots of clutter
It’s an easy thing to forget about, but ensuring that your bedroom isn’t cluttered and full of ‘stuff’ is one of the easiest tricks if you're considering how to make a bedroom look expensive on a budget. Suzanne said, “Having objects strewn about the space might feel homely, but it won’t help you get that expensive look you’re after.”
In fact, curating the pieces you have on display can instead make a real impact; instead of filling your bedroom with lots of items – from decorative knick-knacks to stacks of books – choose only your most aesthetic items to leave out; be it your favorite bottle of perfume, or your most special framed photo, for example.
In order to help corral the clutter (aside from decluttering your home in general), Suzanne also suggests, “Look into storage options, whether that be under-bed storage, bedside tables with drawers, or classic solid wood wardrobes. Keeping everything neatly stowed away will free up space, making the room look bigger, airier, and altogether more luxe.”
10. Frame your artwork properly
Including artwork in your bedroom is a must for a luxury-looking space, but it's important that you frame any artwork you have, rather than hanging it as it comes, in order to achieve an elevated look.
"I often see people neglect to frame their art which, unfortunately, can give the impression of posters in a teenager’s bedroom, rather than a luxurious home," explains Anne.
And framing shouldn't set the budget back too much either; "Nowadays, you don’t have to spend a tonne of money to have expensive-looking art," Anne explains. "Prints have become increasingly popular as a cost-effective way to introduce unique and personalized art into your home. And basic picture frames are fairly inexpensive to purchase new. Or, they can also be found at your local charity shop for a fraction of the cost."
11. Color drench for added oppulence
While a neutral color scheme is the simplest way to decorate your bedroom for a luxe finish on a budget, it’s a look that doesn’t work for everyone – especially if your home is all about bold and bright colors.
If so, you’ll be glad to know that color is a possibility if you want your bedroom to look expensive. But the one caveat is that you'll need to go bold, or not bother at all.
“To make your bedroom feel more luxurious, it's all about committing to the room; so no feature wall," says Tash Bradley, director of interior design at Lick (opens in new tab). "It’s about being decadent, and absolutely leaning into the design and wrapping the whole space with color. This means walls, any woodwork, and potentially your ceiling, or painting your ceiling in a slightly paler shade. By committing to a room, you give it that expensive richness and confidence.”
So what sort of colors should you use? If you fancy leaning into one of the biggest interior paint color trends of 2023, Tash suggested, “To go luxe using color without spending a fortune, you’ll want to go with rich jewel tones. Opt for colors that ooze a richness, colors that have heavy and deep pigments."
Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.
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