I put so many chrome accessories and bolt-ons in my engine bay one time that the car was too fast, even sitting still. I finally had to remove about half of it, as the speeding tickets it was getting while parked in the driveway were killing my bank account.
Fuzzy dice, extra antennas, raccoon tails on said antennas, dingle balls on the headliner along all window openings, shift knob and locks replaced with dice or skulls, curb feelers, Lady Luck/Mr. Horsepower etc. decals/stickers... maybe some of that chrome trim in a roll...
...that's how you dress up a car without breaking the bank, amiright?
Taking this a step further, and again in the spirit of a cheap way to make a project look better: If the engine is out and you lack time and budget, just rattle-can some black high temp enamel in the engine bay. Sure, brighter colors and a proper application method look better on a high-buck restoration show car, but on the cheap side, for cars that won't see extensive prep/cleaning prior to shows (like a daily driver), black enamel will look better than a bright color as accumulated grease and grim won't show if you didn't wash the engine bay out prior to the show, or did but then drove to the show.
While I agree with you, this is where my brain went:
"More is more" and why not put $2000 worth of cheap pinstripe tape all over something "precious" because you could and then take it to a "precious" show and enjoy the kudos...
Yeah, I talked to a local outfit about wrapping a stylized printed design (of a waving U.S. Flag) on my hood once, and it was quoted at $750. Just to paint it in a solid color was $2 Grand. This was maybe 10 years ago, so I'm sure the prices are both higher, but the comparison was surprising to me at the time.
This is true, in my view. And to me, some cars are much more "stripe-able" than others. Generally speaking, older cars (especially fat fenders and pre-war examples) look better with custom striping than more modern vehicles. It's not that way for all examples, but I'd certainly rather look at pinstriping on a Deuce Coupe than a '73 Cutlass. By-the-way, this holds even more true for flames than pinstripes, in my opinion. 😊