Of The Cheap Little Home Upgrades You Can Make, Experts Say These 40 Make The Biggest Impact

2022-03-12 02:42:47 By : Ms. Olivia Duan

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Decorating on a budget is an art form. It can take years of practice and shopping trials and errors — with plenty of fails. But most of all — you just need the right tools. Amazon offers plenty of DIY options and home decor that looks expensive while totally staying within your price range. I created a list, with the help of design professionals, of the cheap little home upgrades you can make that experts say make the biggest impact.

I’ve included plenty of finds that will completely transform a room. From peel-and-stick wallpaper and tile to the paint tools you’ll need to create a unique mural, this list is jam-packed with budget finds that will instantly update your home. Filling blank wall space with art or mirrors (both found on this list) will create a cozier home and, ultimately, make it a better environment where you can comfortably live, work, and play.

In addition to providing brand-new ideas to inspire you, this list is filled with affordable upgrades for products you already own (that may seem a bit stale). From luxurious towels, doorknobs, and cabinet pulls, to custom lighting options and fixtures, I’ve added design experts’ favorite products that make a huge difference in the way your home looks and feels to you.

Here’s what experts have to say about 40 home upgrades that will take your house to the next amazing level.

Add some serious character in a heartbeat with easy-to-install peel-and-stick wallpaper. The eucalyptus print is calming and beautiful for a home office, nursery, or bathroom. It’s a design trend loved by homeowners and renters alike. Boutique Custom Home Builder Ben Neely at Riverbend Homes tells Bustle: “You can add some pizzaz to a room by dressing up one of the walls. If you’re a true DIYer you can add trim to the walls in a pattern that fits your style, and with about 1 gallon of paint make it really stand out. If you don’t have the tools or time to do that, simply dress up the wall with regular wallpaper, or even removable wallpaper if you’re a renter.” If you change your mind, it peels off with no residue.

This small change (under $20) will make a huge impact, not only on the style of your bathroom but its functionality. This high-pressure rain shower is 8-inches in diameter and provides that soothing rainfall experience for a fraction of the usual cost. It features 90 jets, a stainless steel body, and swivels so you can adjust it to the perfect angle. Marcos Martinez, a home decor blogger at Men Who Brunch is a fan of this particular shower upgrade and says, “It's easy to install and the quality of the water will make you feel like you're at a spa.”

Fresh flowers are nice and all, but the cost can add up. Martinez recommends this faux succulent to add greenery to your home because he says: “It looks real and can fit in many places, including window sills and office desks.” The small plant — just 8-inches high and 4.5-inches wide — comes in a Farmhouse-style pot with small gray squares and white color block details

If there’s a room in your home that always feels a bit crowded, try adding a mirror like this rectangular option with standard trim. Modloft’s In-House Interior Designer Allison Kersun says, “A simple way to make a room look larger and add more depth to it is adding a mirror to the wall. Using a focal point and angling the mirror towards it will give the illusion of depth.” This one includes metal mounting brackets and hanging hardware to install vertically or horizontally. Kersun adds, “Mirrors reflect both artificial and natural sunlight and can help enhance the light during both day and night.”

Convert your boring shower into a spa retreat with one simple addition: this bundle of eucalyptus. Hang it from your shower head and soon you’ll experience aromatherapy. The steam from the shower will activate the plant’s oils, allowing you to breathe them in and feel refreshed. “Greenery has a way of refreshing every space,” Kersun says. “Fresh greenery added into any room sets a calming vibe to the space and improves the air quality.”

Tired of the same underwhelming walls? Add some budget-friendly decor with a little paint. “Paint is a great inexpensive way to change up a space and add some bold colors,” says Kersun. “If you are handy, add some frog tape about 12” apart horizontally or vertically on one wall to create bold stripes.” The medium-adhesion tape can be used on walls, glass, metal, stone, or wood and you can remove it cleanly.

Swap your ordinary neutral-color lampshade for this psychedelic option that changes the room’s entire vibe. This 10-inch shade is designed for a table lamp and features a marble green pattern that is especially stunning when the light pours through it. This shade fits on any spider-style fitting lamp and does not come with a bulb. “Lampshades can add personality to a room,” says Ruthie Staalasen, the owner of Ruthie Staalsen Interiors, who adds that this oft-forgotten accessory provides the perfect extra pop of color or texture a room is missing.

If you prefer fake plants, but still want a natural, organic vibe in your home, opt for something less traditional, like these dried wheat sheaves. “Get rid of your old fake flower arrangements and use more organic pieces instead,” Staalsen says. This pack comes with 120 stems that can be used to create smaller bundles for decor or parties.

Give your home the perfect finishing touches by adding these decorative outlets and light switch covers. According to Kristin Patrician, owner and principal interior designer at Dwelling Envy Interiors, "Good design is in the details, and updating electrical covers is often a huge miss for homeowners.” This pack of four features beveled antique brass details, which provides “an inexpensive upgrade” that Patrician says “gives your home that instant designer's touch."

Small details — like lighting — separate a house from a home and really add to the overall aesthetic of your space. Custom lighting can cost a pretty penny, but Patrician suggests opting for rechargeable LED lights that can be hung above art, mirrors, or on the walls of your bedrooms, hallways, and more. “Lighting is such an important aspect and can add such a big impact to your home. [...] Without cords or plugs, you can put these lights anywhere for an instant upgrade.”

Add customizable lights anywhere in your home where you could use a little more light with these LED strip lights. They have a strong adhesive on the back that makes it a breeze to install and the strip comes with 300 LEDs in a vivid daylight white, with six levels of brightness from which to choose. “These dimmable LED light strips can be put in almost any area in your home,” Patrician confirms. “From kitchen cabinets, behind mirrors, inside glass cabinets, under shelves, inside closets, or underneath your stairs to name a few, these lights add instant ‘bougie’ status.”

If you’re tired of your old kitchen cabinets but an expensive kitchen renovation project is out of the question, this DIY cabinet makeover kit comes with everything you need to give stale cabinets a facelift. “They work well on almost all surface types, come with detailed directions on how to use, and require minimum prep work,” says Patrician. This kit comes with two cans of cabinet paint, a roller arm, two roller covers, and a 2-inch angled paintbrush.

If a full renovation isn’t in the budget, these peel-and-stick tiles will give you an upgraded look for less. “We love using these for backsplashes, fireplaces, accent walls, and even updating outdated accessories like mirrors or frames,” Patrician says. This set of white, herringbone tiles look like real marble, but they have an adhesive back that makes installing them a snap. This set is waterproof, heat-resistant, and extra thick to look as real as possible.

Sometimes the smallest upgrades can make the biggest impact. “First impressions are important, so approaching the front door, I suggest a new doormat that welcomes guests,” says Brenda Scott, owner and operator of Tidy My Space. “Make sure it's durable and looks expensive!” This one fits the bill: it’s made of heavy-duty rubber and has an intricate design that’s high-end-looking. This mat not only looks good, but it’s also non-slip, easy to clean, and absorbs water quickly. The low profile is perfect for entryways and garages.

Decorate an awkward empty wall in your space with this bold mirror that has loads of personality. Not to mention, it’s practical and useful. Having a mirror by your door is the perfect place to do one last mirror check before you take on the world. It also reflects light, making a space feel brighter. “You can never go wrong with a classic sunburst mirror,” says Scott.

This may not seem like the most glamorous of updates, but new door hardware can make your home feel brand new. Scott shares her tips for selecting the right hardware for your home: “Replacing old worn-out and damaged door hardware is a great upgrade that's always a good investment. Pick a style and color that goes with your personality and the look of the home. Take comfort into consideration.” This option has an easy-to-use lever handle with a privacy lock. It has a satin nickel finish, comes in four colors, and boasts a near-perfect 4.8-star rating.

Looking for a budget update that will completely change the way you feel in your home? Try brand new sheets made from softy, silky material. “New bedding always makes you feel like you're on vacation at a high-end resort,” Scott says. And this set is inspired by those luxurious hotel bedsheets you love. They’ve earned more than 280,000 reviews for their soft, cooling, and durable finish. They have a deep pocket to fit your mattress and are resistant to wrinkles, fading, and stains.

Finding the perfect pillow is no easy task, but this shredded memory foam pillow is completely adjustable so you can achieve that perfect balance between support and comfort (whatever that means for you). “ Your pillow should support your neck and keep your spine straight and face not squished up,” Scott says. This option is made from bamboo and is filled with shredded memory foam that you can remove or add to get your desired thickness. The ultra-soft pillow has a cool and breathable clever with hidden zipper closure.

Your bath towels could probably use a little bit of TLC — but at this price, it’s worth it to just replace them. These soft cotton towels are all white so you can bleach out any stains. They’re highly absorbent, dry quickly, and are so soft. This pack of six has also achieved cult status, earning nearly 12,000 reviews. “Replacing worn out, stained or faded or scratchy towels are a great and inexpensive upgrade,” says Scott. “[...] I love a white fluffy towel, you can bleach it to remove any stains.”

While you’re replacing bath towels, don’t forget the ones in your kitchen. “Even though you wash the dishcloths and kitchen towels regularly, they will get stained and worn out,” Scott says. “It looks cleaner and more sanitary if you wash your dishes with clean cloths.” This pack includes 12 100% cotton dish towels that are highly absorbent and stylish. It has earned more than 36,000 reviews and comes in seven colors to match your kitchen.

Bring luxury into any space with this set of velvet curtains. “Remove the old broken, warped window blinds [and replace them with] with fresh drapery with room darkening liner,” says Scott. “This will give you the sun-blocking feature with the added plus of noise blocking.” Not only does this expensive-looking set have an elegant velvet look and feel, but they are thick enough to provide light dimming and insulation to your home — a win, win. This set can be hung from the rod pockets or used with curtain clips. Choose from 19 colors.

Upgrade your standard sink faucet to this more elegant version with a swivel spout. The two-handle faucet is made of durable metal and brushed with nickel for a modern look and the high arch spout swivels 360-degrees. This upgrade isn’t just more aesthetically pleasing, it’s also more practical. “Old worn out faucets can also start to leak under the sink at the connections, water damage can be very costly and the result of a slight drip under a sink could cost thousands of dollars in floor/ceiling repairs,” Scott says.

Add beautiful florals to your home, even if they’re not in season. These faux flowers look realistic and even feel like real orchids, so they’ll instantly add a beautiful and long-lasting elegance to any space. Beth R. Martin, founder and designer at bethrmartin.com, is a big fan and says, “These faux orchids are super realistic, so no one will guess they are fake. Style them in a planter, a pretty vase, or even add a stem to one of your living orchids that is not currently in bloom.”

Upgrade builder-grade hardware with this sleek, modern option. These 5-inch cabinet pulls come in a pack of 30 so you can redo your entire kitchen for less than $30. The matte black finish on the stainless steel pulls is stunning and makes a bold statement on any cabinet. “Upgrading your cabinet hardware is the quickest facelift for your kitchen,” Martin says. “It might seem like a small change, but it is sure to make a maximum impact. Opt for the matte black or brushed brass finish for a sleek modern look.”

Experience nature in your home by adding these framed canvas art pieces. The three-pack features a tropical plant in a watercolor design that’s modern yet adds warmth. “When selecting artwork, focus on themes that focus on or reflect nature,” says Sara Abate Rezvanifar, the branding and communications director at Ambience.ca. “If you are not able to view nature through a window of your home, you can still experience its many benefits by incorporating artwork that displays nature.” This budget-friendly option will fill a blank space while transporting you to a tropical paradise.

“This wall shelf is really cute and a great place to put small plants, a candle, or other knickknacks,” says Marco Bizzley, certified interior designer at HouseGrail. “It can be hung either horizontally or vertically plus the timeless design goes with almost any decor. Plus it's less than $50, making it a steal.” Each set comes with two unique, intersecting floating shelves that offer storage for trinkets and photos, as well as bring dimension to a room. The shelves are covered in a waterproof and heat-resistant veneer that makes them easy to clean, too.

Jute is a hot home decor trend right now — it’s warm and cozy, as well as being environmentally friendly. This denim-colored rug is made from natural fibers and adds texture and warmth to any interior space. "It comes in a lot of different colors and at $35 you can't beat it,” Bizzley says. Plus, it’s durable enough to hold up against pets, kids, and high-traffic areas and comes in a number of sizes and colors.

Looking to start a little plant collection? There’s nothing cuter than this matching eight-pack of ceramic planters. “This set of 8 porcelain planters is great if you have succulents or like small plants,” Bizzley says. “They are crafted in Japanese style and have drainage holes on the bottom so your plants don't get root rot.” They each feature porcelain handcrafted designs and come with a bamboo tray.

You may not think you can change the way a room feels just by swapping out some lightbulbs, but you can, according to Nicholas Pielaat, interior staging director for the Amy Owens Team. “Light bulbs are often overlooked but [are] an important and easy way to update a room,” Pielaat says. “Switching out those fluorescent bulbs to a warm, soft light can change your space in an instant.” This four-pack of LED bulbs has a vintage filament and warm, amber glass color. They connect to your wifi and smart home devices so you can easily schedule them to come on or off, saving you money on your electric bill.

Never underestimate the power of good lighting. “An easy way to make your home feel high-end is to add a table lamp for soft, warm lighting,” says Kelly Marohl, the owner and designer of the Greenspring Home. “Even if you have recessed lighting, turn on this pretty ceramic lamp for a more comfortable, homey vibe.” This popular ceramic table lamp has a cylindrical base with geometric designs that look modern and clean.

According to Interior Designer Danielle Montgomery at Hillaries Road Interiors, organization is a crucial part of creating a home. “Drop zones in your home are extremely helpful,” Montgomery says. “Having a place to catch clutter and organize things helps to keep your main living areas clear.” That’s why she recommends this decorative box that comes with a lid to conceal small messes. The wooden box has a tassel handle and is ideal for holding jewelry, mail, or even your remote controls. It looks like a purely decorative piece but has hidden storage that makes this a must-have.

Here’s another option for door hardware if you prefer something more unique. This privacy door knob features a crystal glass doorknob and matte black hardware. It’s keyless but does have a latch with locking capabilities. This set comes with everything you need to give your home’s doors a total makeover and it comes in three colors.

Reviewers and experts alike love these clever outlet covers with built-in lights. This pack of two comes with two wall plates for your outlet and has an automatic, motion-activated light. “These built-in lights add to the smart home features we all love and give just enough light for when you walk in the door,” Montgomery says. It keeps your outlets free since you don’t have to plug in as many lights and they’re a breeze to install.

This may just look like a book about shoes, but it’s really a decorative statement that says something about you. “Decorative accents are where a lot of personality can come into your home,” Montgomery says. “Coffee table books are one of my favorite ways to share personal interests. They can be great for conversation starters and give your guests a peek into the things you enjoy.” This hardcover option is fun, eye-catching, and boasts a near-perfect rating and more than 2,000 reviews.

“With so many people working from home, having a great Zoom background has become more important than we ever thought it would,” Montgomery says. “Having great shelving or bookcases in the background is an ideal backdrop.” If you’re lost on how to decorate shelves, Montgomery has some ideas for you — like this decorative wooden knot. “[...] Books are of course a no-brainer, but be sure to include, some greenery, decor items, personal touches, and bookends for interest too,” suggests Montgomery. This natural-looking element is on-trend, unique, and affordable.

These unique pillow covers add so much visual interest to your living space or bedroom. They’re handmade and feature 3D florals that create an extraordinary texture and look. Pair the wool and viscose covers with a minimalist set up to let them steal the show. “Green is the color of the moment, and these pillows are the perfect way to incorporate the trend,” says Interior Designer Courtney Wollersheim at FLOOR360.

This cotton rope basket continues to grow in popularity because it’s both stylish and practical. While you can use it as a laundry basket, it also makes a great place to store linens, kid’s toys, or spare blankets. “Woven baskets are a great way to add texture to a home,” Wollersheim says. “Woven baskets add beauty and function to any space.” This one has earned more than 11,000 reviews and is available in five colors.

Looking to take your dining space to the next level? “Add an attractive and warm natural element with a twine pendant light above your reclaimed wood dining table or kitchen island,” Wollersheim suggests. This one is corded and features a modern, weave shade that’s warm and inviting. It’s easy to install, but does not come with a lightbulb. The natural fibers of this decor piece will make you feel relaxed.

Minimalists will love this infinity vase that’s perfect for bold florals or organic decor like pampas grass. The clay design is 9-inches tall and comes in a versatile white that can lean modern, whimsical, farmhouse, or Scandinavian. “I'm in love with this planter; the curves, lines, and texture are so beautiful,” says Interior Designer Karen Gutierrez at Mackenzie Collier Interiors. “It's the right statement and artistic piece that will help style any credenza.” Not to mention: this artsy find is only $25 and also comes in pink and blue.

Earthy elements like this interesting rectangular pedestal offer an unexpected way to display planters, candles, and other home decor items that make your home look posh without breaking the bank. “Place in the kitchen with some mugs on top, on the coffee table with a candle, or on the ground with a succulent,” says Farris Wu, founder and CEO at DecorMatters. “The possibilities are endless, the neutral material goes wonderful with any interior design scheme, and it is an affordable price.” This wooden pedestal also comes in a round shape and boasts more than 2,000 reviews.