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From getting new wall paint to swapping out kitchen hardware, small changes can add up to a beautiful, luxurious effect in your home. Image Credit: Unsplash/Spacejoy

There’s likely nothing that depletes your bank account faster than your wife saying, “I think we should renovate our house.” While big-budget builds, decorations, and renovations can get costly, it’s worth taking a step back and seeing whether you could start with small – but significant – changes.

A fresh coat of paint, for instance, can do wonders for a room, and ambient lighting can create a completely new mood. There are several clever ways to design your home so that it gives off a luxe ambience, even if you don’t spend much to get that effect. Rabiah Salman, a freelance interior designer based in Abu Dhabi, shares how to get the job done, with the following steps. Don’t forget to become an Amazon Prime member so you can tackle your new project as early as tomorrow.

1. Add a fresh coat of paint

paint
A fresh coat of paint doesn't cost much, and it can completely transform the look and feel of a room. Image Credit: Unsplash/Aaina Sharma

National Paint 413 Periwinkle, 3.6L

Johnstone's Wall and Ceiling Silk, Natural Sage, 2.5L

Dulux Ambiance Matte Paint for Walls, Dark Storm, 4L

The easiest way to upscale the look of a room is to refresh the paint on the walls. Salman said: “Applying a fresh coat of paint to walls and trims will instantly enhance the look of a room or area.” All-white rooms naturally look expensive and self-indulgent. But you could alternatively create an accent wall, or give the illusion of a room with more square footage, by painting the ceiling. Another idea would be to leave the walls white but to paint the door to your room a different colour.

US-based paint manufacturers Pantone announced earlier this year that 2022’s colour would be a lively periwinkle (they dubbed it ‘Very Peri’), a kind of purple that’s thought to encourage creativity and imaginative expression. According to US-based Good Housekeeping magazine, other popular colours in 2022 trend towards green – a soft sage or subdued green.

2. Customise lighting

light
Whether you opt for a contemporary light fixture or a traditional chandelier, oversized lighting becomes the central focus of the room. Image Credit: Unsplash/Laurence Katz Kkun

Jaycomey Mid Century Sputnik Chandelier 

DLLT Brass Pendant Ceiling Lights Fixture 

SUZBERRY 3-in-1 Shelf Floor Lamp

Conobo Industrial Floor Lamp

Once paint is taken care of, a simple, cost-effective way to give your rooms character is by changing the lighting. Swap out pre-installed light fixtures for something that’s more suited to your taste. There are lots of renter-friendly options on Amazon, and many have smart light functionality. But if you're ever stuck thinking about what size light you should get, stick to this unofficial interior design rule: when in doubt, oversize it. Whether it’s a traditional chandelier, or contemporary glass globes, oversized lighting quickly becomes the focal point of the room – but make sure the light comes with a dimmer switch, because correct brightness is also essential to its high-end feel.

If you’re not keen on changing light fixtures, Salman advised opting for ambient lighting, instead: “You could add a statement light fixture to the space, in the form of a sculptural floor lamp or a new lampshade.”

3. Add whites and accents

cushion
A few, well-chosen cushions can add pops of colour in your living area and bedroom. Image Credit: Unsplash/Jonathan Borba

Pizuna Cotton White Duvet Cover Set, 400 Thread Count 

Amazon Basics Embroidered Hotel Stitch Duvet Cover Set 

VUDECO Faux Leather Pillow Cover (Set of 4) 

Softpoint Decorative Velvet Throw Pillow Covers (Set of 2)

Menoeceus Boho Abstract Pillow Covers (Set of 4)

Think of your last visit to a luxury hotel – the sheets were likely a crisp, clean white. Replicate the same sense of five-star luxury with white sheets and duvets in your bedroom. Use bed linen with a high thread count (at least 300), a plain sheet rather than a fitted one, and plump the any pillows that you use on the bed.

However, if white feels too sterile to you, don’t hesitate to add colour. Salman said: “Throw in a pop of colour to the living room or bedroom by adding accent throw pillows to the couch or bed.”

4. Upgrade the kitchen backsplash

backsplash
Bring your own taste and style into the kitchen, with an adhesive backsplash that costs far less than the real thing. Image Credit: Pexels/Max Vakhtbovych

Roommates Sticktiles, Chevron Distressed Wood (4 Per Pack) 

In Home Tuscan Peel and Stick Backsplash Tiles, Multi-Colour 

Tiles, in different design styles and colours, can transform your kitchen or bathroom. But the cost of a backsplash can run into the thousands. Not so, with the peel-and-stick variety that looks just as spectacular, and can be set up at a fraction of the cost. All you need is some free time, a ruler and a snap blade knife to make it a fun DIY project that brings the family together.

5. Use wallpaper in unexpected ways

wallpaper
Wallpapers can be used everywhere, with unexpectedly fabulous results. Image Credit: Unsplash/Collov Home Design

Roommates Metallic Silver Striped Hexagon Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper 

Roommates Blue Wave Ogee Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper 

NuWallpaper Grey and White Brick Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper 

YIZUNNU Stair Step Decals 

The peel-and-stick design concept is so popular, you often see it on home makeover TV shows as a secret weapon that zhuzhes up an entire room. Adhesive wallpapers, these days, are so versatile, you don’t have to limit yourself to creating accent walls. You could use a beautiful pattern or print to line the back of a bookshelf, for instance, for a more curated, interesting look. Or you could use it to cover stair risers (the vertical section between each step) to add a dash of colour. For the ultimate upscaled effect, however, you could wallpaper the entire ceiling of your bedroom. According to US-based interior design magazine Elle Décor, you could use a bold colour on the ceiling to contrast with neutral walls, or mix and match a patterned ceiling with colourful walls – either way, it draws the eye upwards, and gives your home a truly unexpected, impressive ambiance.

6. Elevate kitchen or bathroom hardware

cabinet
Remove boring, standard cabinet drawer pulls and knobs and replace them with more interesting versions. Image Credit: Unsplash/Jan Antonin Kolar

Linkaa Cabinet Handles Gold Drawer Pulls with Black Planting (10-Pack) 

Kitmose Cabinet Pulls, Brushed Gold (15-Pack) 

G Decor Royal Assorted Designs Ceramic Door Knobs, Vintage 

This is possibly the smallest change you can make, according to Salman, but it has an impressive impact. Swap out the standard knobs of kitchen drawers or bathroom cabinets with something more modern and chic. Reflective metallics, like brushed brass or rose gold, for instance, immediately create a luxe interior. You could also go the other way, and swap out plain drawer pulls with a vintage design for a more bohemian feel.

7. Add hidden lighting

recessed lighting
Recessed lighting adds interest and visibility to a room. Image Credit: Pexels/Max Vakhtbovych

Cozylady Smart LED Strip Lights, 15m 

Inscrok Bluetooth LED Light Strips, 20m 

Used sparingly and cleverly, recessed lighting can change the entire mood of a room, whether it’s in your living area, bedroom or even kitchen. Salman said the goal of hidden lighting is not just to make things more visible, but to add interest and ambience. She recommended adding a light emitting diode (LED) strip around artwork, the TV screen, or below the upper cabinets in the kitchen. By washing vertical surfaces with light, recessed lighting creates a calming, relaxed ambience. Many LED light strips offer a variety of colours, but warm white light is the most versatile. Remember to have a dimmer handy, so that you can control the mood.

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