How to Make Cheap Buys Look Like a Million

You do not have to spend a fortune to look like you live in the lap of luxury. You simply need to know how to shop effectively and what to do with the items you buy to make them look expensive.

Products are not all priced in the same proportion to their worth. Some, put simply, are marked up more than others. What this means in terms of value is some low-priced items are actually worth far more than other equally priced items.

Moreover, you can make an inexpensive item look expensive just like you can make an expensive item look cheap based on what you do with it. Anyone who has seen a Mercedes-Benz covered in bumper stickers knows this is true. From your home to your clothing to the gifts you buy for others, you can pick up bargain basement items and transform them inexpensively into enviable treasures with just the slightest bit of savvy and care.


A big part of what makes the items in a home look expensive, whether they really are, is their placement. When the objects and furniture in a home are haphazard in their arrangement, even the most expensive items can look cheap. When everything appears to have its place and purpose, when nothing seems thrown together or in disrepair, it elevates the entire space. Intention in orientation, including an item’s relationship to the other items surrounding it, is worth its weight in gold when it comes to putting together an expensive-looking home on a dime.

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A few tips for accomplishing this easier include:

  • Buying picture frames in bulk. Anything looks like art in a frame, including travel postcards, old family photos, restaurant menus, photo booth strips and kids’ drawings. Moreover, nice-looking picture frames are inexpensive. Hang creative choices of inexpensive art in smartly designed cheap picture frames and you can give your home the class and allure of an art museum. Best of all, you can change out the pictures in those frames and even the frames themselves whenever the mood strikes.
  • Committing to a color palette. Color palettes exist for a reason. Colors have natural relationships to one another, some complementary and others not so much. One of the most common mistakes amateurs make in decorating their homes is failing to recognize this single piece of wisdom and treat it as a rule of thumb in their design. By adhering to a particular color palette in the design and decor of your home, you pull every disparate piece together into a single, uniform look and feel. No element of your home stands out as too jarring or not belonging. Everything in the home seems to go together and fit every other thing, which conveys style and sophistication.
  • Keep it simple. Another classic amateur mistake is to think fancy accessories with all the bells and whistles conveys affluence. To the contrary, it mostly conveys clutter and, perhaps, overcompensating. What truly conveys affluence is unadorned, uncluttered simplicity. Humble minimalist designs can overcome cheaper design and a price tag to match where elaborate, ostentatious design can look gaudy and tacky no matter how much it may have cost. When filling a room, opt for a few choice necessities rather than a warehouse of every element imaginable. You can likely end up being able to afford nicer pieces, too, when you commit to only buying the necessary few.


One way to transform a bargain piece of clothing into an expensive-looking garment is to trade out its clasps, such as buttons, snaps or zippers, with a more expensive variety. You can spend far less on the fancier clasps than you would on a fancier shirt and the effect is virtually the same. Even if you pay a tailor to make the change for you, you still get a more expensive-looking piece of clothing for a less costly price. The garments you wear underneath your clothes can also have a significant influence on how cheap or expensive an outfit appears.

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Clothes that fit well naturally look like they cost more, whatever they are, because they make the wearer look sharper and more well-groomed. One way to make your clothes appear more tailored is to wear form-fitting underwear that does not bunch or create lines in places. Similarly, iron your clothes before wearing them to remove all the wrinkles. Wrinkled clothes simply look cheaper, no matter how much they cost. Always keep a lint roller and disposable razor handy to help eliminate elements that cheapen an outfit’s appearance.

Remove all hair, pet fur and random items clinging to your clothing. If you can afford to tailor an old and ill-fitting piece of clothing, then it can serve your projected affluence far better than replacing it with a new but equally ill-fitting alternative. Pairing a piece or two of expensive clothing with an otherwise cheaper outfit helps elevate the look of the rest of the outfit to a more affluent-seeming status. Similarly, accessorizing on a bargain outfit with a less-bargain piece of jewelry can also elevate the outfit as a whole.


You can find abundant gift possibilities out there that look like they cost you far more than they actually do. Whether ties, watches, drink sets, loafers, scarves or cutlery, bargain items that look expensive and bargains on expensive items alike exist in many common marketplaces. The internet, for one, is a great place to find never-ending bargains on luxury items and cheaper alternatives that look as good as the originals. Flea markets and discount stores are great places to visit in person to find the same. You can also find steals on items donated with genuine value at thrift stores and consignment shops.

The key to making sure your efforts at smart shopping for cheap items that convey wealth does not backfire is to avoid giving away your secret. Remove any labels that might betray a luxury brand knockoff’s true source. Also, keep any item you wish to look like a million bucks as clean and unblemished as if you had a live-in maid doing it for you.

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