6 Ways To Make Your Apartment Look Like A Fancy Rich Person's Apartment When You're Not A Fancy Rich Person
It's hard to be West Elm on an IKEA budget, but it's not impossible. Figuring out how to make your apartment look expensive like a fancy rich person's apartment is achievable without spending any more money than you can reasonably afford to spend is a very important skill to have, especially when you're young and still building your life. All you have to do is think like a fancy rich person attempting to decorate on a budget. Your question should be: What would Gwyneth Paltrow do with this space if she only had $29 to spend? Then you take your hard-earned $29, and you GOOP the hell out of your apartment. Take it from someone who spends a lot of time trying to look Beyoncé when I'm really Ab Fab (i.e., chic but boring, when deep down, I'm actually drunk and tacky.)
Money, obviously, can't buy you taste. We've learned this valuable lesson over and over again. But it can buy you a tasteful interior decorator, which unfortunately, those of us on a budget more than likely can't afford, or at least are (smartly) unwilling to spend on. So while you're working hard to make ends meet, and dreaming of the day when you wont blink an eye on buying expensive taste, fake it until you make it. Here are some easy, cheap things you can do right now to make your apartment look like a fancy rich person's apartment, even if you're not a fancy rich person.
Have you ever seen a picture of, or been in, a fancy rich person's apartment and thought, "Wow, someone should call hoarders!" No, you haven't, because fancy rich people apartments are always very chic, sophisticated and MINIMAL. Throw out useless junk, and box anything that doesn't service the aesthetic of your space. Less is more, and it's easier to create a stylish look when you've got a minimalist aesthetic.
2. Go white
Fancy rich spaces are often very white. Accent walls are very hard to pull off, so keep everything clean and sharp with white. White and light wood furniture will also give the illusion of cleanliness and space, which are hallmarks of the rich and fancy. Let plants, books, art and small tchotchkes add dashes of color.
3. Fresh flowers
I imagine all fancy rich people have fresh bouquets of flowers all the time. While we humble folk probably can't afford the exotic arrangements of the wealthy, having fresh flowers, even if they're from your local bodega, gives your home a luxury atmosphere. Fresh flowers say "I pay attention" and are a little bit frivolous (you don't need to tell anyone you only spent $4.99), and thus also say "expensive". Meanwhile, I've discovered that the bodega sells some kind of mutant flower bouquet that lasts for 2-3 weeks and still looks fresh, so I'm REALLY economizing.
4. Have a stocked liquor cart
Because rich and fancy people are always pouring themselves some kind of brown alcohol from a fully stocked liquor cart. That, or you can just get your guests drunk and then no one will know the difference about how your apartment looks.
5. Decorate with books
Books are the best furniture, and you can buy them from second hand stores super cheap. Start a library, and build it at every opportunity. Walls of books are often featured in rich and fancy apartments, as the perception is that having the time to leisurely read so much is a habit of the wealthy. Whereas we know that we go to great pains to sneak in reading time to our busy schedules regardless. So it's a double whammy: you'll educate yourself while decorating your space.
6. Customize your IKEA furniture
Even if IKEA is all you can afford, don't despair. With a little bit of customization, usually not using much more than a little bit of paint, you can make IKEA furniture look unique and one of a kind. There are literally so many IKEA customization "hacks" and tutorials online there's no way you'll be able to get through them all, so get to making your IKEA furniture look more expensive and less generically IKEA by changing our door handles, painting less, and spraying things with gold lacquer.