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6 Ways to Make Cheap Furniture Look Designer

Use these tips to upgrade your old pieces instead of buying new ones.

Trying to furnish your space can quickly end up costing thousands, especially if you're looking for high-end pieces. That's why many of us opt for more modest purchases, sticking to hand-me-downs or affordable items from the big-name chains. If you still want that luxurious look, however, there are some simple, cost-effective things you can do to upgrade cheap furniture. Read on for six ways to give your pieces that designer feel without breaking the bank.

RELATED: Sam's Club Sells a Cheap Anthropologie Cabinet Dupe—Is It Just as Good?

Try adding some trim.

carpenter using nail gun to add crown moulding on cabinets

Cheap cabinets and drawers tend to be plainer than their expensive counterparts. With that in mind, Jaclyn Eickenhorst, a design expert and creator behind Home-Made High-End, says you should add trim details to elevate things.

"This look can easily be achieved by applying trim pieces or molding to flat surfaces using wood glue or simple brad nails," she shares. "The extra detail draws the eye and adds the type of instant customization you'd expect to see on high-end pieces."

In fact, this is advice Eickenhorst has used herself.

"I've created several 'IKEA hack credenzas' adhering to this exact model, and people can never tell they weren't store bought from a high-end brand," she says.

RELATED:  6 Color Updates to Make Your Home Feel More Expensive, Experts Say.

Play with scale and proportion.

modern living room with decorative pillows on couch

Designer pieces also tend to "stand out because of their unique dimensions," Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and founder of Arsight, tells Best Life. To bring this trait to your inexpensive furniture, he recommends playing with scale and proportion.

"Think about adding a tall base to elevate a table or perhaps use pillows to change the depth and look of a sofa," Kropovinsky suggests.

Upgrade the upholstery.

workman upholstering furniture in repair furniture workshop

Making changes to the materials that cover your furniture can make a major difference as well, according to Kyle Bazylo, an experienced interior designer and founder of Moving To Winnipeg. He says you can easily upgrade the upholstery of old pieces instead of paying a much higher price for entirely new furniture.

"Investing in quality upholstery or fabric covers can breathe new life into your furniture," Bazylo says. "Choose rich, textured materials like velvet, faux leather, or premium linens. The tactile appeal and luxuriousness of these fabrics can mimic the lavishness found in designer furnishings."

RELATED: 7 Home Stores That Sell the Best Quality Couches.

Swap out the hardware.

knobs on the drawers of a dresser

If reupholstering your furniture feels too ambitious for you, Kropovinsky says you can make a smaller switch by swapping out the hardware.

"Details matter, and changing out the knobs or handles on dressers, cabinets, or side tables can elevate the piece," he explains.

You should look for "brushed brass, matte black, or even leather pulls," according to Kropovinsky. "Hardware is like jewelry for furniture; it makes a statement," he adds.

Change up the legs.

Handyman using screwdriver when assembling wooden table in apartment of customer

New fabrics and handles aren't the only changes that can give you a more high-end look. Sandi Huynen, an interior designer who works as a home and design expert at Winnipeg Mortgage Broker, says that swapping out the legs of your cheap furniture is "another easy way" to elevate things.

"This is particularly effective with smaller items such as end tables, coffee tables, and even chairs," Huynen says. "Look for stylish, decorative legs in a classic or modern style which instantly add a designer touch."

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Add intentional accessories.

Close up on tray with decorative items in living room.

If you're not confident with your DIY skills, focus on acquiring some accessories for your furniture instead. Ilia Mundut, founder and CEO of the online home design store HeftyBerry, tells Best Life that things like decorative trays, designer vases, or upscale table lamps can really enhance the overall appearance of pieces, without the need for much physical labor.

"Well-chosen accessories divert attention from the furniture itself and draw the eye to carefully curated elements," Mundut explains. "These accessories can set a sophisticated tone for the entire space."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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