Get Bougie on a Budget With DIYs for Quiet Luxury Decor

A caucasian woman setting up neutral-toned home decor in her living space.

Quiet luxury is “out” for spending habits. It's one of the interior design trends of 2024. It seems folks still want an elevated touch somewhere in their lives but aren't blasting it on social media.

Decorating a home doesn't have to be expensive. General thriftiness and craftiness can get you pretty far. Getting bougie on a budget helps define some reasonable design goals. Between DIYs and secondhand shops, that luxurious home can be yours.

Understanding Quiet Luxury

An inspirational, minimalist room from Restoration Hardware, demonstrating Quiet Luxury and high-quality interior design.
Image Credit: Restoration Hardware.

In decor, quiet luxury evokes the luxe resort for wellness and getting away. The emphasis on organic textures, warm tones, natural woods, and expensive materials exudes luxury.

All these elements are a visual understatement,  especially compared to the old-world gaudiness of Baroque gold. Even modern-day luxury is often dripping with excess, from beautiful glass chandeliers to marble floors, counters, and more.

As a design parallel, quiet luxury represents the same wealth without excess. Many want the comfort of wealth but need help decorating their lives with its trappings. Designing a home with a tight wallet doesn't prevent you from getting bougie on a budget.

Quiet luxury focuses on subtle elegance, refined taste, and understated luxury. If creating a serene and sophisticated ambiance is the goal, stressing about affordability makes no sense.

DIY Projects on a Bougie Budget

Cheerful young woman giving blue door to her husband assembling kitchen cupboard
Image Credit: Dragon Images / Shutterstock.

The most effective way to save money on interior design is to do it yourself (DIY). DIY projects are cost-effective for several reasons, including material and ‘free' labor. The cost is often sunk into materials alone when making furniture from scratch.

There are many creative folks online. And social media is full of DIY ideas and inspiration, including tutorials, for even the most fledgling DIYer. Whether creating custom artwork, restoring furniture, or making whole pieces from scratch, there's a project for that.

Ahead of the Curve

Curvature displayed with room inspiration from Jonathan Adler's J-Approved blog featured on the Jonathan Adler webpage.
Image Credit: Jonathan Adler.

Curves are organic in shape and visually pleasing. They can be incorporated in many ways: inset arches, carpets, wall decor, and Furniture. Many expensive designer furniture pieces include organic shapes, but some want to save money for a bed frame.

One French designer based in Australia duped the super on-trend Yoko bed frame designed by Sarah Ellison. Margaux Follis of @thefrenchfolk offers a great tutorial on creating gorgeous wooden sphere legs for her solid wood bed frame. Incorporating other curved furniture, like the viral side table made from IKEA bamboo bowls, continues the curved shapes throughout the room.

Layered Textures and Textiles

Multiple reversiblr cashmere pillows/covers featured on a small sofa with a potted plant next to them. Furniture and photo from Williams-Sonoma.
Image Credit: Williams-Sonoma.

Keeping it in the bedroom, upholstered headboards have made a comeback. Part of their return stems from the emphasis on varied textiles. Understated elegance emphasizes a mix of materials. Opting for similar shades in different materials makes minimalist styles appear visually interesting.

One woman, Emma Hill, created a great tutorial for a removable, washable headboard cover. Hill, well-known in the DIY design community, is known for its professional polish. Her particular design allows for an easily washable, customizable headboard.

Mixing materials also allows for more stylized aesthetics. For example, a linen and boucle mix works for bohemian and minimalist styles. Yet silk and velvet are perfect for maximalist aesthetics.

Let the Walls Talk

A room with multiple pieces of artwork from West Elm, including wall hangings, pottery and figures.
Image Credit: West Elm.

If walls could talk in a quiet luxury-styled space, they would have all the personality (but on the down low). Texture is as important with wall finishes as furniture and decor. The biggest emphasis with this style trend is wall paneling.

Incorporation wall paneling is affordable and simple – if you do it yourself. Plenty of DIYs showcase how to create these wall details. The traditional route is time-consuming but easy with a laser level.

But if spending hours measuring and installing trim and molding doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you can buy wall paneling kits instead! There are even some ways to fake wall paneling for folks who don't want to go through all that trouble.

Wall paneling may not fit your aesthetic at all. If so, consider Roman clay. Like limewashing, it creates a rustic, textured finish. This wall finish can be DIYed or faked with the right materials, perfect for quiet luxury.

Scoring Vintage and Secondhand Finds

Front entryway to Thread & Soul (Dec 2023).
Image Credit: Missvain – CCA 4.0/WikiCommons.

The best way to invoke luxury in any space is with one-of-a-kind pieces. Now, unless you are talented in some artisanal craft, DIYing most art pieces doesn't happen. Instead, hop over to the local consignment or thrift store.

Secondhand shops are great places to buy (and sell) vintage pieces. Regardless of the aesthetic you infuse into your quiet luxury design, vintage doesn't have to mean expensive. And if you're isolated, check out secondhand apps for the perfect used pieces. This is the way to go if you plan to lean into statement lighting and more.

What you save in money, you'll spend in time. Looking for the perfect piece to curate the home of your dreams takes time. If you are handy, you can find some pieces for free and try your hand at restoring those instead.

Wood and Earth Tones

Clayhill Coffee Table from Arhaus, featured in a display neutral-toned living space.
Image Credit: Arhaus.

Mixed tones and textures go beyond furniture. Considering the 2023 best-selling paint shades from the top paint companies all fall into warm neutral, it won't change soon. Off-whites are super adaptable, and you can make them cooler or warmer in hue.

And Pantone's color of the year, Peach Fuzz, is yet another warm, earthy shade. Earth tones don't all have to be deep, dramatic greens or statement shades of rust and brown. Feel peachy keen knowing a color-drenched room of pink is very on-trend with quiet luxury.

Mixed wood tones go very well with warm neutrals. For scored vintage, stripping paint and aged stain are the way to go. Older pieces are often solid wood, or at least mostly wood, meaning a variety of natural wood shades.

Removing stains and strong undertones from natural wood is pretty simple. If you're stuck with merely upgrading your IKEA furniture, you can even fake wood stain with vinyl contact paper or a DIY stamping method.

Removing Visual Clutter

Baskets and organization inspiration from the 24 SS West Elm website landing page.
Image Credit: West Elm.

Quiet luxury looks what it sounds like. There's not a lot of visual “noise” with eyesores like tangled cords and clutter. Even if the clutter includes often-used items, there's a solution.

Functional, hidden storage comes in many forms. Storage ottomans are a great way to vary materials and hide those extra blankets. A throw blanket here or there is on-trend, but piles of them are visually messy.

Aside from useful clutter, maybe it's time to organize. Minimizing excess is a testament to quiet luxury. The seamlessness evokes a contentment with what's already owned. Even for maximalist aesthetics, there's a way to avoid clutter.

Minimize Excess and Maximize Enjoyable Spaces

cleaning bedroom
Image Credit: Natallia Ramanouskaya/Shutterstock.

Decorating the home for any trend should be intentional. And with quiet luxury's emphasis on investing in quality over quantity, every budgeted dollar goes that much further.

Luxury doesn't always have to come with a hefty price tag. DIY projects are a great way to build skilled labor and expand potential side hustle options! Creating a luxurious and personalized space without breaking the bank is more than possible when you're bougie on a budget.

Author: Amanda Hoyer


Located in Texas, Amanda has written for many major media groups, including the Arena Group's Dengarden and Digital Trends' ToughJobs and 21oak, as well as several other respectable agencies: Content Journey, Page One Power, and more.