I'm an HGTV renovation host – how to make your home look expensive on a budget using Ikea, Facebook Marketplace, and DIY | The Sun

HGTV star Lauren Makk knows a thing or two about living like a celebrity without spending like one.

The DIY diva is, after all, an expert on upgrading your home décor without dishing out the dough.

The get-it-for-less guru believes that there is a big difference between something looking expensive and actually being so.

Decades before becoming a designer, the host of Renovation Possible learned how to fake it when creating your dream home.

The previous co-host of ABC’s FabLife, Lauren would watch her mother make everything from home décor to clothing – and even pickles.

"I never realized we didn’t have a lot of money because my mother would make everything look so amazing," she exclusively told The U.S. Sun.

The Nashville-based host and entrepreneur, who owns her own design business, recalls some of her earliest home makeover memories.

Her mother would buy properties at auction and convert them before renting out, putting Lauren to work from an early age.

"I was helping to rip up floors and drywall," she explained.

These past experiences have made her hungry for a DIY challenge to this day.

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This get-it-for-less guru is known for taking viewers along on her DIY projectsCredit: Lauren Makk

Perhaps her easiest tip for a home transformation is simply to keep things tidy.

Something as small as making your bed every day can add instant satisfaction to space.

"If you can do nothing else to your home, keeping it clean is the best way to show off your space. It’s an instant elevation.

"Think of how you would expect a nice store to be more organized and respectable looking than a garage," she explained.

She also uses magazines or photos of rooms she loves the look of for research.

For her own space, she believes that books are always the best answer.

Lauren explained: "I organize my book collection by colors so that it makes it a rainbow effect.

"I also do this with shapes. It makes any collection instantly look more curated or artistic."

She also believes it is always good to have a book – or five – out on the coffee table, end table, or nightstand.

Adding plants or stacking them horizontally also gives an elevated effect.

"I love going to a yard or rummage sale and buying inexpensive art books.

"It easily adds a sense of sophistication to any space."

When it comes to family treasures, Lauren understands that the struggle of balancing style with sentimental pieces is definitely real.

When her grandmother left her a very extensive Norman Rockwell plate collection, Lauren struggled to let go herself, but soon found a common ground.

“I kept some that I loved and put one in the kitchen. When I see it when I’m eating, it evokes emotion in me."

But she also gave some away, adding: "I want someone else to enjoy them and know that my grandmother would have liked that too.

"I am trying to take a more mature approach to things like this."

The other challenge she faces is her young children bringing stuff back from school.

Though she wishes she could keep every macaroni necklace – and handprint painting – from her pre-K student and first grader, she only holds onto to those items she finds most precious.

The rest she either gets rid of or disperses to other family members.

The expert designer, who knows how to do A-list taste on an affordable budget, says elevating your space with what you already have is easy to do.

She said: "I’ll take doilies that were from my grandma and spread them around my house.

"I have put them under perfumes or on bookshelves – it also makes it seem less grandmotherly."

A pop of paint is another pro-tip the TV home style star shared – and it can also bring out your more playful side.

"Paint is always a great way to instantly add some new interest to your home – I am not afraid of dark colors or using an accent or shade that makes you feel risky," she said.

The trends right now include terracotta and blush colors making a comeback.

She also explained that metals are having a moment.

“I love adding marble in some inexpensive way, like a marble bookend or something with brass.

"It looks luxurious but it’s also cool like an antique bronzy brass which is not like your mother’s brass," she joked.

According to Lauren, gilded things are in – and so is anything that appeals to you.

As this budget-loving designer said: "Nothing is completely out.  If you love it, it's luxury."

You can even deck the halls – or the walls – with affordable art or items that can be conversation pieces.

The renovation guru also doesn’t think you have to be restrained by rules.

She believes that you should go ahead and combine rustic décor with more modern touches without spending a million dollars – but no-one has to know.

"I’m into embracing a lot of different styles because it really adds to a look of sophistication and a well-lived life.

"You can get something at a thrift store, or even a piece that looks vintage from Ikea now.

"People are paying a lot of money for things that look old, but you can easily copy this look."

Taking risks in your own pad is also your prerogative – and now easier than ever with inexpensive and temporary tools.

Lauren herself is a lover of decorative backsplashes that won’t break the bank.

Stick-on solutions are both budget and renter-friendly.

She said: "It doesn’t hurt to try something new.

"People are so scared to make a mistake and think it will be expensive or a huge headache, but my home is always a project in the works.

"I always tell others, don’t be afraid to paint something or to feel confident about sticking up some temporary wallpaper – it’s not going to tear anything up."

The HGTV host has also learned some things the hard way.

"Practising DIY is just like trying a new exercise. The only way you’ll know if you’re good is if you don't suck at something," she said.

She also explained that while it’s fun to mix things up, investing in interiors that make you feel good and want to keep forever will also save you in the long run.

This DIYer is a big fan of duping an expensive product because as she said, "almost anything can be copied with your hands."

“I love knocking something off in my own home because I can customize it to my space and wall color and tailor it to the size and shape I want."

She encourages others not to get discouraged if they don’t have the budget for something.

"If you can’t afford something, you might be able to reproduce it on your own."

She applies the same mentality for those items you want to trash.

“First, try to reimagine and repurpose it instead of changing your décor,” said the host.

She recalls how she recently rehomed a couple of chairs from her son’s school.

“They didn’t match my décor, so I painted them with wall paint," she said.

"If it went wrong, I knew I could give it away – and get that skill-building exercise in."

When it comes to budget designer buys, Facebook Marketplace is Lauren's recommendation.

And as for things to avoid, trendy cloud couches are out, she says.

“They're so uncomfortable and expensive. You’ll instantly regret it,” she warned.

She is also a staunch supporter of sustainability – having first experienced it as a way to save money.

"I would paint something black if it was blue, so it was cost-effective, but I later realized it also had an impact on the environment as I wasn’t purchasing a brand-new piece," the renovation expert recalled.

Lauren recently started a YouTube series called Momma I Made It – for those who want to delve deeper into her DIY projects.

“It’s cool to see a makeover I do on TV in 30 minutes, but people started requesting to see things slowed down.

"They really want to learn how to do things themselves."

The best part, according to Lauren? "You’ll see me learning from my mistakes as well."

"I just want people to feel encouraged to build the home of their dreams.

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"My message as a trendsetter or a designer is to just do whatever you need to stay happy in your space.

"And yes, even if that involves a Live, Laugh, Love poster, there's no need to pull it down."

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