There are little things you can do to elevate your home decor. Adding these accents need not cost a lot of money, but they take a little thought and planning. Here are my 8 tips to add elegant touches to your home.

1. Color

Many people paint their walls white, off-white, or even beige. I think most people opt for neutral tones when they decorate. My mother was the total opposite. She always decorated with color, and our house was a showplace when I was growing up. Neighbors would ask if they could come in and look around based on the little glimpses they got through our windows.

Don’t be afraid to commit to a color. Try painting an accent wall. Be creative, and make a wall two-tone. Or create an artsy nook. Add colorful touches like blue glass accessories, floral arrangements, or colorful pillows and throws.

I had a decorator friend tell me to never to put flesh tones on your walls. They kill a room. Try cool tones like a pale blue or gray. Or better yet, do like the Italians and the French, and add texture to your walls with wallpaper, paneling, or fabric. Très élégant.

2. Dark green plants

Another of my mother’s decorating tricks was to put dark green plants around the house. They add a richness to any room. She had a plant corner in our entryway. My father installed a pole in a corner that went from floor to ceiling, and she hung plants up and down it in a column. It made an elegant feature section of the room.

Try adding green plants with dark leaves. Cluster them together for some drama. They clean the air, and help complete the design of a room.

3. Art

I have a friend who bought a house and left her walls bright white. I asked her when she was going to hang something on her walls, and she said never. She loved the look of blank white. It felt clean to her. OK, that’s her choice. It’s her home. But if you want to make your home look more expensive and expressive of who you are, invest in some art. Paintings, wall sculptures, tapestries, shelves, wall sconces — there are so many choices to add interest to your walls.

Try painting something yourself. Buy a canvas and some paints at an art or craft store. You don’t have to be a classical artist, just paint some color blocks or patterns that mimic the design of your furniture. Think modern art. Or create a landscape, or some stripes, or dots. You’ll be surprised at how professional of a painting you can make with your own two hands, and a little imagination.

4. Interesting lighting

There was a trend for a while to add track lighting to homes or to place recessed lights in the ceiling. These types of overhead lights can be useful when you drop something on the floor and can’t find it, and you need to flood your room with light. But otherwise, they can be harsh for everyday use. Side lighting is softer, warmer, and cozy. You can achieve this with interesting lamps, candles, sconces, and even fairy lights.

Lighting can change the mood of a room. Try different color selections. Or buy a lighting feature like a chandelier, candelabra, a lighted sculpture, or a salt crystal light. Add ambience. Everyone looks prettier by candlelight.

5. Beautiful books

Hard cover books on subjects like art, travel, decor, and fashion, can look elegant stacked up on a side table, a coffee table, or a beautiful book shelf.

Find subjects that interest you, or that can become conversation starters. You can buy them new or save money by searching for them at used books stores, yard sales, and estate sales.

You can group them by color, or place them around individually. Pretty and smart.

6. Replace handles and knobs

Swap out the standard handles and knobs that came with your cabinets and drawers. Replace them with elegant, interesting ones. You can choose super modern, streamlined ones, or intricate baroque ones. Go for color, or change gold to silver, or vice versa.

Wake up those tired old cabinets and doors. These tiny details can add personality to your decor, and make tired old pieces look more current and expensive.

7. Scent

My house is usually filled with the scent of whatever I’m cooking. That can be a good or a bad thing depending on what was on the menu.

Sometimes you want to create a relaxing atmosphere or add a holiday spirit to a room. You can easily accomplish this with scented candles, reed diffusers, room sprays, essential oil diffusers, or even by boiling some lemons, oranges, and a cinnamon stick in a pot of water. Or bake a tray of cookies. Yum.

Also, pay attention to your drains. Keep them free of smells by sprinkling in some baking soda and then pouring in white vinegar. It will foam up. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water. It will leave behind a fresh absence of smell.

8. Declutter

My last tip is not to add anything, but to take away. Clear your rooms of clutter. If you have mail piled up on a table, or a mound of laundry on a chair, clear it away. It helps on so many levels. Not only will your house look more elegant, your mind will feel free of clutter as well.

Having a lot of clutter around your home can really weigh on your mind. You may not even realize it until you clear it away.

Most of us have too much stuff. If you don’t have room to put things away in your home, perhaps it’s time to box some things up and donate them to someone who really needs them.

I hope you enjoyed my 8 tips to add elegant touches to your home. Do you have any ideas to add to my list? Let me know in the comments section.

Click here to read the entire Elegance Series.