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BrightNest's mission is to make homeowners happy.

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6 Ways to Step Up Your Sophistication at Home




We’d like to drop a new phrase into your lexicon: Casual Sophistication.

That’s right. Gone is the era of stuffy, uncomfortable couches, museum-like air temperature and ornate decor. These days, your home can be sophisticated, put together and – dare we say it – comfortable. And, just like that little H&M number you get compliments on left and right, sophistication doesn’t have to be pricy.

With these tricks, your home will show that you have your life together and have an eye for style without the stuffiness and frumpiness “sophistication” used to represent. Here are eight ways to look more sophisticated without hiring a designer:

1. Bring the Outdoors Inside

Fresh flowers and leafy plants add color and visual interest to any room in the house. The most cost-effective way to add an outdoor element is with potted houseplants. Not sure what to buy? Check out our list of five easy and affordable house plants or ask a professional at a nursery what they’d recommend for your particular climate.

Another great option is fresh flowers. While you’ll have to buy new flowers once a week or so, you have the freedom to change colors and blooms on a whim. Tip: To keep flowers alive longer, place the vase in the fridge at night.

2. Add Crown Molding

Luxury is all in the details, and one of the highest-impact details in your home is its molding. Add crown molding to the floorboards and ceiling, or at chair height. When it comes to molding, wider is better. If you already have crown molding, but it’s on the thin side, step up the sophistication by adding thin strips of molding to either side of the current pieces. Crown molding costs about $1.50-$6.50 per foot if you install it yourself, and up to $25 per foot to have it professionally installed.

If the idea of installing crown molding makes you go cold, go faux instead! All you need is white paint and painter’s tape to achieve the look of crown molding. You’re three steps and six hours away from sophisticated crown molding.

3. Let Go of Perfection

The living room you barely sit in can be perfect. But what about the den where you do art, or your home office? Let them be a work in progress! Life happens, and if you’re constantly trying to clean up after yourself, you’ll never progress. Instead, let things in creative spaces happen naturally. For example, if you keep a push-pin inspiration board, don’t try to reel it in with a frame. Let it go and grow!

The trick here is to keep the madness contained. Designate certain spaces in your home, like a corner table or home office, as creative spaces, and then use them for that purpose only. Over time, you’ll curate useful space that looks sophisticated and meaningful.

4. Shop Garage and Estate Sales

Fact: High-quality pieces of furniture look sophisticated. To find high-quality furniture without the high price tags, spend your Saturdays perusing garage sales. Often, people sell real wood furniture, crystal, art, silver, china and other expensive items at a bargain price. Tip: When you come across something you like, try to imagine it in your home, instead of a yard.

5. Replace Door Knobs

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It’s all in the details. Elevate the look of your home by replacing the humdrum door knobs with bronze or brass pieces. They’re easy to switch and instantly add sophistication to any room.

While you’re at it, replace your light switch panels, too. Why stick with boring white when you can go bronze? These two quick changes only require an hour or two and a basic screwdriver.

6. Camouflage or Hide Electronics

We love the E! Network as much as the next person, but a TV doesn’t do much for a room’s class. Not to mention the cable box and wires that go along with the whole entertainment shebang. To elevate your system, camouflage it by hanging it on the wall among framed art and photographs. Instant gallery wall! Or, pop it into a piece of furniture with doors that close. When the TV is off, close the doors. You’ll have the look of luxury without saying goodbye to your Sunday Night Football.

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