Options, from luxurious to thrifty, for every room

No matter your personal preference for home decor — rustic, romantic or repurposed — one common thread amongst well-decorated rooms is the space’s ability to look and feel luxurious.

Whether you’re opening up your home to entertain guests for the weekend or simply stepping in to relax after a long day at work, adding unique features that have that extra special touch, like the mint on a hotel room pillow, can convey a feeling of luxury in a space to look like it was curated with care and attention to detail.

“Luxury means comfort,” says Denise Maurer of Denise Maurer Interiors in Troy. “Homeowners get a sense of indulgence by treating themselves to items in the home that make them and their guests feel comfortable.”

And if a full redesign of your most used room or the one in desperate need of updating isn’t in the budget, there’s a lot you can do to improve your space without securing a work permit and tearing down the walls.

We’ve spoken with local interior designers to break down some of the best ways to make different spaces in the home feel luxurious, whether you have a million dollar budget or not.

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Countertops: Use laminate or quartz as a replacement for true stone or marble

Accessories: Shop the sale section for small, functional decorations like a soap dish or a cover for hand lotion or a tissue box


Heat: A heated towel bar or heated toilet seat is a behind-the-scenes way to achieve luxury

Fixtures: Faucets and sinks serve a purpose, so select something aesthetically pleasing that is also built to last



Cabinets: Cabinets can be painted instead of replaced during a more modest makeover (pro tip: work with a professional that knows proper application techniques and finish materials instead of DIY)

Cabinet hardware: Brushed bronze finishings for cabinets and drawers can elevate the look without adding too much to the overall cost of the redesign


Lighting: Get rid of any fluorescent lighting and make a statement with a pendant or chandelier, add dimmer switches to create a mood, or install under-cabinet lighting to make your countertops and backsplash stand out



Scents: Room diffusers or candles add a memorable finishing touch

Rugs: An inexpensive rug in a vibrant or unique pattern can be made more comfortable with a plush padding underneath


Wallpaper: A wallpaper with texture or an intricate pattern, used in moderation, can elevate the space and make a feature wall stand out

Window treatments: A custom window treatment is designed with functionality (i.e. room darkening) but created with a fabric that enhances the design look for the entire space

Living room


Artwork: Shop locally to support local artists and designers and get a totally unique piece of art

Texture: Add adding some pressed velvet pillows, chunky wool throw or graphic print rugs to instantly create luxury


Furniture: Focus your budget on a big-ticket item like the main piece of the room’s furniture and shop sale sections for smaller design details


There is truth in the phrase, “kitchens and bathrooms sell homes.” And not only will upgrading these spaces help out homeowners in the long run, but both are rooms where residents and guests spend a lot of time, which means they might deserve an upgrade more than a bedroom that a typical guest won’t ever see.

The average small bathroom remodel costs between $8,000 to $10,000, there are minimal upgrades that can be done to achieve the look and feel of luxury without the price tag.

“Bathrooms are a space where you can pamper yourself,” says Andrea Langford of Andrea Langford Designs in Clifton Park. “This space lends itself to feeling luxurious.”

Langford recommends focusing on the more notable features like countertops and hardware, and taking time to understand which materials are worth spending more on and which can give you the luxurious look for less.

Maurer suggests amplifying the space by doing mirror or lighting upgrades, such as framing a plate glass mirror with moldings, or by choosing a unique, bold backsplash tile or stone for the vanity to make this area pop.

“When changing your countertops to something beautiful, purchase quartz that looks like marble or laminate that looks like stone,” says Langford. “Laminates have come a long way and have some wonderful finish options — they offer a clean look, as well as durability and affordability when money is tight.”

Once the bathroom has a more major, focal point upgrade like new countertops or upgraded lighting, there are even more small, affordable decor details that will enhance the space while maintaining the look of effortless beauty.

“Replace towels with large, bright white fluffy towels — spring for quality on those,” Maurer says. “Use an area rug rather than bath mats, and take those giant-sized shampoos and soaps into pretty bottles for the interior of the shower or bath.”


Kitchens are the most common gathering places in the home, and while the more the merrier is applicable when it comes to the dinner table, upgrades to this space should remain functional and minimal, even when keeping updates within the more cosmetic realm.

“Kitchens can be things of beauty, but there isn’t much that is luxurious about loading a dishwasher or braising short ribs,” says Langford. “My advice is to start with the best quality products and finishes you can afford — they will last longer in both appearance and performance.”

Master bedroom

While the master bedroom might not get the same amount of foot traffic that a living room or kitchen does, it’s becoming more common to invest in a master bedroom update in effort to create a tranquil, sanctuary space.

“As couples are getting married later and building careers before starting a family, I have done more bedroom redesign projects to create a relaxing, private space that serves as an escape from a busy career and busy life,” says Paula McCormick of Paula McCormick Interiors in Loudonville.

A master bedroom redesign allows the individual or couple to prioritize what elements truly define luxury for them, whether it’s in the quality of the sheets or a piece of sentimental artwork that establishes the aesthetic of the room and other finishings.

“If custom bedding is not in the budget, buy a great quality comforter or duvet at an overstock company or department store sale and add high thread count sheets and pillowcases,” says McCormick. “And if the space allows, I recommend a chaise lounge by a window or an upholstered bench at the base of the bed.”

And while a fireplace area or new hardwood floors might not be in every master bedroom redesign budget, McCormick too believes in the importance of proper lighting for the space.

“Soft lighting is so important and many times overlooked in a room renovation,” says McCormick. “Adding wall sconces to a space with a dimmer or a few extra recessed lights can make a huge design impact.”

Living room

Living rooms are one of the spaces in the home that gets the most mileage, from entertaining guests into the early morning hours to spending the next day cozied up on the couch. It’s also an area that does not need a big budget to see major transformation in the look and feel of the space.

As far as making such a common area feel luxurious goes, think about the “glamour” trend that’s happening in home design, says Rebecca Provias-Hayner, designer at West Elm Albany.

“Glamour is definitely becoming more and more approachable,” says Provias-Hayner. “Adding a little modern glam with bold jeweled colors, patterned rugs, metallic sculptural shapes or unique floral arrangements is very easy to do.”

When it comes to updating a living room, blend in modern design elements with the functionality of it being a space primarily meant for lounging or entertaining.

“Considering lifestyle is key to any great home design,” says Provias-Hayner.

Taylor Rao is a freelance writer for the Times Union. Follow her on Twitter @whodatgirl_trao

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