Make Your Home Look Like a Million Bucks – For Less

So you've bought your first home – congratulations! – and you're in love with every nook and cranny, from the original 1970s bright-orange kitchen to the less-than-polished floorboards and the dark-wood panelling on the bedroom ceiling.

Okay, so it needs some work!

But you've maxed out your budget, and waiting another five years to fix up the bathroom is not an option. After all, life is all about having the freedom to do what we want now without worrying too much about money.

If your first home isn't quite the castle you dreamed about, don't despair. You don't need to import expensive Italian tiles to achieve that luxe look. Try these five simple and inexpensive design hacks to help you create the home you've always wanted, without the wait.

1. Give your kitchen a quick face lift

Instead of ripping it all out, paint cupboards with laminate paint and spruce up your splashback with a fresh coat. Instant makeover! Plus, this approach lets you take advantage of the latest colour trends for the cost of a few tins of paint.

2. Lighten it up

Nothing makes a room look better and brighter than good lighting. Don't bother with superexpensive designer fittings – just invest in enough bulbs (and wattage) to illuminate your rooms and kitchen benchtops. Choose LED lights; they last a long time and don't use much power. For those awkward dark corners, try the stick-on, battery-powered lights.

3. Nab some knock-offs

Filling a new home with furniture can be fun, but it can also take a big chunk out of your savings, especially if you've got your eyes on Eames lounge chairs or a Noguchi coffee table. Luckily, you can find fantastic imitations for a fraction of the price. Try Glicks Furniture or Matt Blatt for high-quality replicas. Vintage furniture – made with solid wood versus medium-density fibreboard (MDF) or veneer – can also be good value.

4. Pamper your bathroom

Rather than ripping out your old-fashioned avocado bathtub, repaint it in gleaming white. Your whole bathroom will look brighter, and you'll save heaps on plumbing costs. The same goes for tiles: Ditch the sledgehammer and repaint them instead.

5. Invest in a show stopper

Raise the profile of your whole room with one amazing item, such as a stone benchtop, a piece of statement artwork, or a framed mirror. It becomes a focal point that you can then enhance with simpler surrounding décor.

When it comes to having that high-end look, less is always more. So go minimalist. Focus on maximising space and light.

Need more help getting the home and lifestyle you want? Click here to find out how you can get the car, holiday and home of your dreams – without sacrificing your lifestyle.