The Goods

Easy design cheats for faking a million dollar look

You don’t need to break the bank to have a beautiful space. Here are a couple tricks and tips for creating a luxurious look for a fraction of the price.

You don't need to break the bank to have a beautiful space. Really. Achieving a luxurious aesthetic in your home can be done by getting creative with inexpensive pieces, rather than slapping down a wad of cash. To help you out, here are a few of Steven's best tricks and tips for creating a million dollar look for a fraction of the price. 

Build an expansive mirror with floor tiles

As with art, the impact of a mirror is dramatically intensified by increasing the scale. A large mirror can make a space look so much bigger, but the reality is that a big piece like that can be very expensive. Steven accomplished this look for way less by using Ikea mirror tiles — a set of 4 costs only $9.99! We added spray paint treatment to the mirror for extra interest, and used wood medallions and graphite tape to finish off the corners and edges.

Choose MDF moulding over solid wood

Notice that we framed the mirrors (above) with moulding. Panel moulding is great way to add architectural interest to a space, while elevating the overall feel of a room. We used moulding made of MDF, the most common composite material, over solid wood as a way to cut costs. MDF is not only less expensive to purchase, but it will save you big time when it comes to maintenance and labour to install. 

Use off cuts to create a single slab backsplash

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Using a single slab stone as a backsplash or countertop is certain to put a huge dent in your budget. To create this look for far cheaper, use off cuts from stone suppliers. Off cuts are leftover pieces from from past projects that are sold at a fraction of the price. You may need to constantly keep checking back for different styles, since you'll be limited to what others have chosen, but the savings can be huge!

Another option is to use a large format marble tile, but install it with a very, very thin white grout line, as opposed to light or dark gray, which will make it look a lot more seamless.

Opt for a marble tray over a full countertop

The look of marble countertops is beautiful but not always affordable. Save yourself from undergoing a massive reno, while still bringing in the same feel to your kitchen, by covering your countertops with a large marble board or tray. Small hints of marble, especially on this scale, will go along way.  

Resource guide:


Union Lighting

  • Sconces

Tonic Living

  • Pillows


  • Umbrella stand

Sheridan Nurseries

  • Fiddle fig tree