estate eye candy is everywhere. And if you love window shopping for
homes online, there's a seemingly endless influx of massive mansions
listed in the tens of millions of dollars. While their trillion square
feet might not tempt you, and their manicured grounds seem like an
eco-nightmare requiring a lifetime of landscaping, the luxury amenities
and highly customized features do make the living seem easy, right? Whether
you're buying, prepping to sell or simply trying to live the good life in your
current home, here are 5 inexpensive ways to add some luxury to your
regular home:1. Â Spa bathroom upgrades.
Iâ€™m not saying you have to have a toilet like Whoopi Goldbergâ€™s or
anything. Â Her flusher has been featured on the View, Oprah and all over the web - one site even made up a song about it (the ditty is a bit blue, though, so I wonâ€™t link here. The curious can find it online.) But
her toilet - yes, the toilet - runs around $7,000!! (No typo, folks.)In
all seriousness, though, spas tend to have a clean, bright look and
feel and luxurious stress-busting features that just flush the tension
right out of you (pardon the pun) Â - many of which can be installed in
your own home for a fraction of what the dreadlocked one paid for her
porcelain potty. Â For example, pedestal sinks instantly - and
inexpensively - open up a bathroom, especially when replacing a dark
vanity and wall-to-counter mirrors. I recently put a new pedestal sink
in my bathroom for less than $600 - top of the line, including faucets
you can get more of the spa look and experience at home, with a relatively
modest investment - especially compared with the lifestyle upgrade for your buck - by
installing granite counters (the tiny slab most bathrooms take can run a
few hundred dollars), a basic bathtub with jets or river-rock shower
floors for under a thousand dollars!2. Â Custom, decorative paint treaments. Â Sponge painting? Â TrÃ¨s
1990. Â Murals in your kidsâ€™ rooms, entry hall inspirational mantras
that greet your guests - paint is one of the least expensive â€œeditsâ€ you
can make to your home, and homeowners are upleveling their homeâ€™s
aesthetics with custom paint in lots of luxe-ey ways.
From harlequin diamonds to chair rails, crown moldings and wainscoating, decorative paint treatments are a simple, cheap and chic method for upping the luxury in your home life.3. Â Built-in anything.
Part of what makes uber-luxury homes, well, uber-luxurious is the fact
that it seems like living life in them would be so neat and clean and
easy. One way to get that feel in your very own home is to build in
some of the necessities, optimizing the way you use your space and
takes great advantage of otherwise unusable areas, generally creating
what the feng shui set would deem free-flowing chi.
Consider building in:
systems. From shelved nooks to closet organizers to garage grids for
sports equipment, storage systems eliminate clutter and make sure
thereâ€™s a place for everything, and that everything has a place. If you
can afford a custom cabinet installation or custom closets, they
certainly offer the fancy moldings and modules that create luxury
appeal. Â But many home improvement stores now offer much less expensive
versions of these systems that look and work great.
and bookshelves. Â Like storage, but activity-specific, built-in office
equipment maintains order and can turn a dead corner of a room into a
highly useful workstation. Â To replicate this functionality on the
cheap, find a corner or nook and put in an armoire-style workstation
that closes and folds up when youâ€™re not working. Â And built-in
bookshelves are a time-tested selling point when your home is being
sold, by the by, so, if you have an empty area from old-school built-ins
which were removed, installing inexpensive shelving might be a great
way to go.
storage. Dead space under the stairs can easily be transformed into a
wine cellar or storage space. My own personal wine cellar is where I
store my kidâ€™s chocolate milk, my electrolyte water and a bottle or two
fish sauce, but itâ€™s a great feature to have at home, no matter what
youâ€™ll use it for!
4. Â Dedicated spaces for anything.
Â Thereâ€™s no need to go all Candy Spelling and dedicate multiple rooms
to gift wrapping. Â But space is a luxury in and of itself, so dedicated
space for your film-watching (a theater room), gardening materials,
crafting supplies or even the kidsâ€™ homework is an extra-special,
super-duper luxury, especially if itâ€™s equipped with the right equipment
for the activity to which the room, half-room or even corner or nook is
dedicated.5. Â Automation.
Â Remember the Jetsons? Â The vision for this century was a fully
automated, robotic home that did all the work of life for you, so your
time would be free to shop at Mooning Dales or work for Mr. Spacely
building sprockets. Â Most of that hasnâ€™t happened, and thatâ€™s probably
for the good. Â But injecting small touches of automation into your home
can give it a decidedly high-end feel - for very, very little cash.
centers. Â Try as we might to minimize it, we all generate trash.
Built-in centers with clearly marked waste receptacles make this dirty
part of life less messy and more manageable.
(And they're also gadget-ally delicious!)I
personally just put a couple of theseÂ automated trash cans- $60
each! - into my own kitchen. Theyâ€™re hands free, so eliminate the
germiness and clunkiness of opening a lid with your hands or feet, and
they were the hit of a recent dinner party! Â (Okay, it was the food,
then the trash cans that guests admired. Â But still.) Â Many hands-free
or automatic household items are available at very low prices, like
automatic soap pumps, paper towel dispensers and robotic vacuum
cleaners. Â And
if you want a built-in recycling center with a techie feel, hereâ€™s one
that should really float your boat - $100 bucks for in-home, eco-chic luxe!
P.S. - You should follow Trulia and Tara on Facebook, too!