7 Ways to Make Cheap Furniture Look Expensive

Cabinets with retro handles.

Just because your furniture was inexpensive doesn’t mean it has to look cheap. If you have an old or cheap piece of furniture, you can transform it into something that looks new and expensive with a little bit of work. Here are seven ways to make cheap furniture fancy.

1. Add an Overlay

Blue drawers.

Adding a contrasting overlay to drawer faces can turn a plain dresser into something classy. You can find easy to apply overlays that come in a variety of sizes and patterns to fit just about any piece of furniture. You can also paint the overlays before applying, so matching existing color is not an issue.

2. Retool the Legs

Just because your furniture was inexpensive doesn’t mean it has to look cheap. I

The difference between cheap and high-end furniture is usually in the details. If your couch is in decent shape, sometimes replacing the legs can really take things to the next level. For example, you can turn an inexpensive IKEA couch into a luxury item by adding tapered wood legs that are stained to blend in with the original color. If you couch is low to the ground, adding wood legs or propping the old ones up with risers can also do the trick.

3. Replace Hardware

A set of vintage drawers.

One of the easiest ways to breathe new life into furniture is replacing the old hardware. Swapping out old pulls for new hardware can really make a piece stand out. The best part is that you have an array of options to choose from when picking out the new hardware. You can pick anything from modern and vintage to leather straps. If the existing hardware is good and just needs some work, consider painting it a new color to spice things up.

4. Add Color

Colorful decorations in a home.

Speaking of painting, sometimes adding a splash of color is all it takes to make an old piece of future look expensive. For example, spray painting a metal coffee table gold can take it from looking utilitarian to high-end. You can also paint portions of the furniture, such as the legs or accents, to really make it pop. Alternating colors is also a good way to bring out certain features (or hide others). If you don’t like how it looks, you could always start over without breaking the budget.

5. Refinish the Surface

A wood dining room table.

Refinishing a wood surface is a great way to make it look more expensive and hide any blemishes. If the wood has good grain, you can opt for a lighter stain to highlight the natural look. If you are working with a cheaper wood or laminate, painting it a vibrant color can make it look like new. Another trick is to only paint the outside of the furniture and stain the interior pieces to keep the wood look. You can also consider adding accents to the piece, such as brass corners, to really make it look fancy.

6. Add Contact Paper

End tables with contact paper.

Contact paper is an easy and inexpensive way to make a surface look more expensive than it really is. Contact paper is self-adhesive, so installing it is a breeze. It also comes in a variety of options, including stone, marble, granite, and wood. So if you have an old coffee table that has seen better days, you can make it look like a high-end marble piece with the right contact paper. Contact paper can be applied to just about any surface, though some adhesives will damage coatings and finishes after being applied.

7. Repurpose the Furniture

A bookcase used a headboard.

Changing the original function of the item can make it appear more expensive. If you do it right, the old item can look like a custom piece you had made for a specific purpose. For example, you can turn an old bookcase on its side, repaint it, add legs and turn it into a console or use it as a headboard. The end product will look nothing like a bookcase and you will fool everyone into thinking it is a custom piece.