5 Design Hacks to Fake It Till You Make It

Do home renovation shows have you drooling over exposed brick wallscement tile backsplashes, and marble countertops, but you find yourself without the budget to make it happen? Don’t fret, these costly design and décor projects are easy to hack, allowing you to replicate expensive-looking designs with a few “fake it till you make it” ideas!

Whether you’re looking to spruce up your rental space, redecorate your home, or are a REALTOR® helping a client improve their home for resale, these easy design ideas will deliver impact without breaking the bank.

Image via HandyAndy.NYC on Instagram


Design hack: There’s no denying how much impact a tiled backsplash can have in a kitchen or bathroom. It completes the space and makes it feel finished. Tiling a backsplash yourself takes skill and patience, and hiring a contractor takes time and budget. If you don’t have either of those, consider faking it with peel-and-stick tiles. From funky to classic, peel-and-stick tiles have come a long way in terms of design. Available in large squares or single tiles, this budget décor project is perfect for renters or those looking for a quick, temporary, but stunning solution.

Estimated cost: $75 to $300+ depending on the size of the backsplash area.

Tip: When installing peel-and-stick tile, it’s important to make sure the area is clean and dry. This will ensure a strong hold, preventing the corners of the tiles from lifting, which is a common problem.

Image via NatalieSurdivalHome on Instagram

Feature walls

Design hack: Loving the look of shiplap, exposed brick, and barn board, but don’t have the resources? Fake it ‘til you make it! Forget about spending hours installing shiplap or the mess of exposing old brick, these eye-catching features can be brought to life with wallpaper or printed murals, and they look just as good as the real thing!

Estimated cost: $100 to $750+ depending on the size of the wall and type of covering selected.

Tip: If you are renting or sprucing up a space in order to sell, opt for the removable kind. This will prevent damage to the walls if it needs to be taken down.

Image via My City Apartment on Instagram

Marble countertops

Design hack: There’s nothing quite like the timeless look and durability of stone countertops, so if marble or granite is a must-have for you, start saving! In the meantime, you can hack those builder-basic laminate countertops into something just as beautiful using marble paint-based and epoxy resin kits or stone-like countertop film. While these products might not last as long as the real thing, you should be able to get a few years out of them.

Estimated cost: $300 to $700+ depending on the size of the countertop area.

Tip: Ensure these products look as real as possible by cleaning the surface thoroughly to remove any debris. This will allow you to apply the product smoothly, without air bubbles or streaks. Also, always follow the application instructions. Always!

Image via Desert_Hydrangea on Instagram


Design hack: What homeowner hasn’t dreamed of cozying up next to their fireplace with a glass of wine and a good book? In addition to their functional benefits, fireplaces have become a must-have design element and focal point. However, installing a real fireplace in your home isn’t without expense and caution, which is why more and more budget design enthusiasts are opting for electric. But how do you make those free-standing fireplaces and electric inserts look like they truly belong? Hack it! Build an insert surround from a real mantel, frame out your wall from floor to ceiling, or add built-ins to either side of a free-standing unit.

Estimated cost: $350 to $2,500+ depending on how elaborate you go.

Tip: Do your research when selecting an electric unit—not all are equal. Know how much clearance and airflow is required for your selected unit before building any type of structure and be sure to engage a certified electrician if needing to conduct any electrical work.

Image via Annavynguyen on Instagram

Black window frames

Design hack: Black window frames have quickly become part of the standard options when building a new home, but what about older homes with wooden panes, basic white vinyl, or dated coloured frames? If a $20,000+ window replacement project is out of reach, try bringing new life to the interior of your window frames using black paint. Want the industrial look? That might be as simple as applying some black electrical tape.

Estimated cost: $80 to $200+ depending on how many windows you are updating.

Tip: Success is in the prep work. Make certain your frames are clean and free from debris, then prime the frames with the appropriate primer and wait the recommended amount of time before applying any paint. This will ensure a good paint adhesion and prevent you from having to constantly touch up the windows due to flaking or peeling.

No matter the type of home project you are tackling, there are so many design ideas and easy hacks that can make your home look high-end and beautiful without breaking the bank!


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