The Real Simple Home—a four-bedroom penthouse in Brooklyn, New York, that we transformed with the help of designers and professional organizers—is full of genius decorating ideas, including simple ways to make affordable spaces and furnishings look completely luxurious.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated September 13, 2018
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In the kitchen, a distinctive wallpaper pattern turns a small stretch of white paint into a statement wall. Dressing up small but highly visible spots, like this one, is easy and budget-friendly even if you use a luxe wallpaper option. This striped wall covering is available in black and in blue, and a nine-foot-long roll (more than enough to cover a small statement wall) comes in at well under $100. To buy: Watercolor Stripes Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper, $76 per 108” x 24” roll; wayfair.com.
Christopher Testani

Luxurious homes have a certain aura about them: They feel elegant, spacious, and effortless—and expensive, most of the time. But the secret to homes that look expensive is that not everything in them actually comes with a high price tag. The addition of high-profile luxury home décor accessories helps dress up a space, even if that space is filled with large pieces that are affordable or even low-budget.

In the Real Simple Home, designer-curated furnishings fill the space, but it’s the details that make it spectacular. These simple additions (all for less than $100 a piece!) can help your home look expensive, even if the majority of the furnishings came at a major discount.

Christopher Testani

1
Accent Wallpaper

In the kitchen, a distinctive wallpaper pattern turns a small stretch of white paint into a statement wall. Dressing up small but highly visible spots, like this one, is easy and budget-friendly even if you use a luxe wallpaper option. This striped wall covering is available in black and in blue, and a nine-foot-long roll (more than enough to cover a small statement wall) comes in at well under $100.

To buy: Watercolor Stripes Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper, $76 per 108” x 24” roll; wayfair.com.

Christopher Testani

2
A Chair Cover

There are plenty of DIY ways to dress up basic chairs with paint, a new finish, and more, but adding a fluffy chair cover can make any chair—even if the paint is chipping a little—look and feel expensive. The seat pads used in the Real Simple Home’s guest room are handmade from wool, sheepskin rug, and fur.

To buy: Icelandic Sheepskin Long Wool Chair Pad, $50; etsy.com.

Christopher Testani

3
A Super Soft Throw Blanket

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of throw blankets. What’s not to love? They do so much to dress up a room, but come in such a small (and easily storable) package. In the master bedroom, a herringbone throw adds texture to the smooth bedscape and serves as the finishing touch to the space.

To buy: Pezzo Throw, $75; matouk.com.

Christopher Testani

4
A Sculptural Tchotchke

Vases and other sculptural décor can be busy, but these white lamp slips—used in the Real Simple Home’s office as some bookshelf decoration—are totally neutral. They’ll fit in with any pre-existing décor while also introducing some elegant lines to the space. This collection has four different shapes (and is also available in black).

To buy: Suzanne Kasler French Bisque Lamp Slips, from $59; ballarddesigns.com.

Christopher Testani

5
A Pretty Planter

The brass details on this gray planter make it look super luxurious—and help dress up budget plants. The planter is used in the Real Simple Home’s outdoor space, but it could function equally well indoors. It’s available in two sizes, too, so you can mix and match or set up a small vignette.

To buy: Medium Gray Planter With Brass Stand, $35; worldmarket.com.