5 Affordable Ways to Update Your Home Right Now

photo: Courtesy of ASH NYC


If you’ve read my last column, you’ll know all about the things I learned buying a house in my twenties. It’s great to have a project to constantly work on, but sometimes you want affordable ways to update your home. Especially if you want to spend your money on other things. I feel you, this past month I’ve been trying my best to make my place look chic without spending too much money on decorative accessories.

Here are a few of my tips for making your place look next level on a budget…


PHOTO: David Foessel; DESIGN: Septembre Architecture


1. Know the difference between cheap looking and affordable

Gold accents can look really chic in the right room. It’s lucky that gold accessories are so in at the moment because you can find them literally anywhere. When buying gold accessories keep in mind that the finish should be luxurious and if possible, the item should weigh a little. Light as a feather super shiny gold accessories might do the opposite with a room and make it look less polished. I kept all my gold in the living room where I have a plum feature wall and cream carpets.

I bought a gold vase from H&M that when paired with some sunflowers looks like part of an expensive inheritance, or maybe like I have a rich boyfriend on the side gifting me things. Also, H&M have a great variety of gold mirrors that look chic when used on a dark feature wall.

2. Don’t spend too much money on the details 

You can create a polished pad with just framed wall art and some expensive looking candles. We’ve all browsed Pinterest, we know how nice it looks, but building your own gallery wall has the potential to be kind of budget blowing. I spent $75 on a whole stack of posters to decorate with, rather than spending $75 on just one piece I now have enough to stretch around the house.

Minted has one of the best collections of independent art, while my favorite Etsy artist Dan Hobday tries to keep large abstract art affordable by allowing customers to purchase a digital download and then get it blown up and framed in a poster store. I love him for this and have multiple prints in different sizes ready to be framed and look super expensive!

3. Swap paint pots for paint samples

Take it from me, paint can be very expensive (and in my case mostly ends up on me). While I enjoy looking like a living art installation, sometimes it’s better to stick to a feature wall. Also, another tip I learned is to buy lots of samples. I actually managed to paint almost a whole bathroom wall with a paint sample that was just a few dollars. When you’ll be buying a whole tub for only small spaces, it might be better to get a few paint samples instead. I hate being stuck with a tin of paint we’ll never use.

4. How do successful women make their pads look so polished?

One of my favorite purchases in the house is my new coffee table. It couldn’t be called affordable really, it’s circular and glass with a thick gold rim. You can find a similar one here. While I was looking into decorating my house, I was interested to know what editors and other successful women swear by to create that polished, timeless look. I got lots of good recommendations, but they were all stores I already shopped at and had been shopping at since I was a student. Lesson learned, there’s no secret to luxe decoration, it’s all about mixing pieces.

My table might be quite expensive, but it makes my Gilded Agate Coasters look hella chic. And allows me to buy bits and bobs from high street stores that look expensive.

5. Get alerts for the stores you love

I’m quite eclectic. I’m going for a copper kitchen and buying lots of unusual accessories because I don’t want my home to look anything like anyone else’s. My boyfriend and I have the same taste in unusual things like gemstone coasters and hand painted plates. So I signed up for a lot of store newsletters with my primary email (so I didn’t miss them!) to decorate my house.

I was kept updated about discounts and able to act on them fast! I fell in love with a bed spread from Urban Outfitters and just didn’t buy it. Eventually, I got a notification about a sale. logged on and managed to get my King Sized bed covers for a fraction of their original price!

Do you have any more tips for me? I still haven’t painted the whole house and made it my own. So I’d love to hear how you found it – is there an end to unpacking boxes? Will the paint ever dry? Let me know in the comments below…


  1. I’ve been really researching how to get an affordable plush area rug to pull together our living room in our new apartment, but I’ve been going back and forth about whether it would be better to have a pop of color in an otherwise understated room or to go for a muted pattern.

  2. These are such great tips! i am currently helping my parents touch up parts of the house and we are doing small little projects like this. Instead of buying a whole new dining set we are just having the chairs reupholstered and its less than half the cost of what it would be to buy a whole new set.


  3. Some fantastic tips here! I’m definitely going to check out Dan Hobday – I always struggle to find artwork that’s unique but also affordable – he seems to fit the bill perfectly!

    Matt | It’s Matt Thompson

  4. Another good tip is never buy furniture full price! We just moved into our first house and haggled our Ashley Furniture order to be more than half price off!

    Miranda – Slashed Beauty

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