People With Gorgeous Homes Share Their Best Tips For Upgrading Your House On A Budget

Judith Zeng

Table of Contents

Do you ever visit someone’s home and immediately realize you could use some decor tips? Entering a completely blank space and having to start from scratch can be so overwhelming, though. Lucky for you, this list is filled with ideas from people with gorgeous homes who share their best tips for upgrading your house on a budget.

Pretty much any interior designer will tell you that details matter. The outdated fixtures, dark spaces, or cluttered areas really impact your home’s overall personality. Updating, illuminating, and organizing your home will take it to the next level.

I’ve shopped for the best products to help you put these simple tips to good use. Your home is about to glow up without breaking the bank.

1

Upgrade Outdated Door Knobs

You may think the trick to a beautiful home is a big reno, but the details are really what matters. A home improvement thread on Reddit offered this tip: “[Change] old gold door knobs to each room with brushed nickel ones.” This doorknob is only $13 and comes in a variety of brushed colors, including nickel. This colonial-style knob features a steel round corner adjustable latch and plated bolts that make it sturdy, secure, and stunning.

2

Replace Old Shower Heads With Modern, High-Powered Heads

Rainfall showerheads are luxurious, and this Amazon favorite is an affordable option that will make you feel fancy. One Reddit thread suggests replacing old shower heads that are inefficient and covered in grime. You can install this high-pressure shower head in minutes without any tools and it features a sturdy chrome finish and rubber nozzles that are easy to clean. For less than $30, this is an upgrade you’ll want to make to all of your showers.

3

Swap Old Outlets For Smart Plugs

These smart home Wi-Fi outlet plugs work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to connect your home. Plug anything into these outlets and control lights, appliances, or fans using just your voice or the free accompanying Kasa app. Reddit User Kryssa suggests small swaps like “changing light switches and outlets to more modern ones,” which can instantly give your space an elevated feel. With these plugs, you can automatically turn electronics on and off or set appliances and lights on specific schedules to save money. Even if you don’t have a smart home hub, you can still use this app-controlled outlet to greatly improve your living situation.

4

Spruce Up Your Space With Greenery

One fool-proof way to make your home look beautiful on a budget is by adding some greenery, Tyler Forte, co-founder and CEO of Freshbuilds, tells Bustle. “Plants and flowers can brighten up any room and add a touch of nature,” Forte says. “If you don’t have a green thumb, you can find artificial plants that look real. Place them in strategic locations around your home to add color and life.” This beautiful faux potted plant looks like the real thing and costs less than $20, making it the perfect budget-friendly pick.

5

Give Plants A Lift With A Mid-Century Modern Stand

If you ask me, plants are an easy way to make your home feel luxurious. Reddit User Cablesixback agrees and said, “Plants. It’s the season when my plants come in from the three seasons room and decorate my house. We had a dinner last night and everyone loved how alive my house is.” Lift your plants off the ground with this stylish acacia plant stand. The mid-century modern design is classic and an easy way to upgrade your plant display.

6

Illuminate Your Backyard With Solar-Powered Lights

You can easily create a lighted walkway or driveway (or light up your flower beds) with these solar-powered lights that elevate your backyard space. Not only do these lights offer a practical way to upgrade your home, but they instantly make your yard look 10 times more impressive — and they’re so easy to install. Just stick the stakes into the ground and the sun takes care of the rest. “[…] a little landscaping and a few outdoor lights will brighten up the house,” said Reddit User Cablesixback.

7

Rotate Curtains To Freshen Your Space

Sometimes, change is good — and this trick from Reddit User Cablesixback is an affordable way to keep things fresh in your home. “I change my curtains when we move and since my windows are all about the same length, when I take them down to wash I’ll change which room they go into,” Cabesixback wrote. “This season the lighter cream curtains go in the living room so they help reflect the grow lamps (hot peppers) and really brighten the room when the fireplace is in use.” These affordable, sheer curtains come with two panels in a pack. Purchase a variety of colors for your home and have fun swapping the colors around throughout the year. This set has earned more than 10,000 reviews.

8

Replace Old Toilet Seat Covers With One That Softly Shuts

It’s the simple luxuries that make your home feel expensive (without breaking the bank). Reddit user StringOfLights suggested switching out your old toilet seats: “New toilet seats, especially a soft close version is a really simple thing but it’s a nice upgrade.” This elongated seat and lid are soft-closing to avoid that toilet seat slam that accidentally happens so often. The high gloss polypropylene is durable and easy to clean.

9

Install Additional Lighting By Adding LED Strips

This tip saves money and makes your house look better. “Replace incandescent, halogen, or fluorescent lighting with LED,” suggested Reddit user cthart. These under-cabinet LED light strips are perfect for adding a little extra light where you need it without paying for custom lighting or adding to your energy bill. These daylight white lights have an adhesive back and seamlessly blend on the underside of your cabinets, stairs, or even closet ceilings. Push the large button of the battery pack to turn it on. And an added benefit to these lights? They can save you a ton of money. “Do not underestimate the savings of LED,” said Reddit user Mo2005. “It may seem pricy at first but mine paid for themselves already in 2 years. Your energy company might also have a program to give you some for free or send you a rebate.”

10

Replace Boring Hardware With Modern Cabinet Pulls

Upgrade any boring hardware in your home with these sleek, modern cabinet pulls that come in three colors: brushed brass, matte black, and satin nickel. “I call it ‘jewelry for your kitchen,’” one Reddit user wrote. These 5-inch cabinet pulls come in a pack of 30 so you can redo your entire kitchen for less than $35. The brass finish is versatile and high-end looking to make a bold statement on any cabinet.

11

Illuminate Kitchen Cabinets And Closets With Adhesive LED Lights

Reddit user Bizzaroworld725 says they love that under-cabinet lighting is a “super cheap” solution that looks high-end. Installing custom lights is a major expense, but if you need extra light, these battery-powered puck LED lights will do the trick. They can conveniently be mounted to surfaces using screws but also have an adhesive option, so you can stick them anywhere for a little extra light — for hundreds less than you’d pay professionals.

12

Create Ambiance With Dimmer Switches

“Dimmer switches” are a great way to give your home more personality, according to Reddit user Bizzaroworld725. Use this USB switch and dimmer to customize your outdoor or indoor lighting. The female-to-male USB plugs into your existing lights and gives you the power to easily turn them on and off or even dim them for ambiance. It comes with a remote control that allows you to set brightness presets and the DIY adapter works with LED light strips, fairy lights, curtain lights, and more.

13

Revive Old Furniture With A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Over time, paint chips and furniture gets worn. But adding “a fresh coat of paint,” will make a world of a difference, suggested Reddit user Bizzaroworld725. This can of ultra-matte chalk paint can be used on wood, metal, ceramic, or canvas to create a distressed, vintage look. This low-odor, latex formula dries in 30 minutes and leaves the kind of velvety-smooth finish that you can only get from chalk paint. This one-coat coverage paint comes in linen white and boasts more than 30,000 reviews.

14

Modernize Your Home With A Smart Thermostat

Bring your home’s technology up to date with a smart thermostat. This pick is easy to install and will save you money. It pairs with Alexa so you can control it with your voice or within an app — even if you’re not at home. It’s designed to reduce energy usage and even has an ENERGY STAR certification. “Saves you a lot of money on your utility bills and they’re pretty easy to replace on your own,” noted Reddit user ImJustAGirl14.

15

Create An Accent Wall With Removable Wallpaper

If you’ve been staring at the same old counters and walls in your home, dreaming of the day you can renovate everything, give removable wallpaper a try. “[…] wallpaper is coming back in style,” wrote Reddit user salsipuedes1. This DIY option provides instant gratification for just a few dollars, saving you the expense and waste of buying new items. Add it to countertops, cabinets, drawers, doors, and, of course, walls for a luxurious and expensive look. The PVC material is self-adhesive and is smooth and easy to clean.

16

Beautify Old Floor Registers With Decorative Options

Odds are your floor registers are not your top design priority, but replacing old rusted grates with beautiful, decorative options will give your home a grandiose feel. Reddit user edpumkin said, “​​Switch out the heating duct covers for nicer ones (like with a scroll look vs slats). Instantly upgrades the look.” This scroll-designed floor register is budget-friendly and comes in four finishes, including brush nickel, that looks high-end. Plus, it’s earned more than 15,000 reviews.

17

Elevate Your Space With A Glam Light Fixture

It’s okay to splurge a little on decor for your home, but be sure to do it strategically. “Some things that might be a bit more expensive than ‘cheap’ can add a ton of value at not a ton of money: replacing light fixtures: getting rid of an old grimy one for a new modern look can be done for less than $100 and [is] not tough to do,” wrote Reddit user randycrantz. This sputnik chandelier is an industrial-style fixture that features four lights. Add it to the ceiling of your entryway, bathroom, or dining room to elevate the space.

18

Upgrade Kitchen Hardware With A Modern Faucet

Replacing hardware around the house is an easy DIY you shouldn’t be afraid of, according to another Reddit user. “If the faucet hardware is outdated, replace it,” they wrote. “It was a way easier project than I expected and really updated the feel of the kitchen and bathrooms.” This pull-out faucet is made of stainless steel and has an elegant high arc silhouette. The single handle faucet is brushed with nickel and gives you the option of three spray settings: stream, spray, and pause. The rust-resistant finish will take your kitchen to the next level.

19

Create A Cozy Feeling In Your Backyard With String Lights

Creating the backyard of your dreams is easier than you may think. “If you have a back patio, get some outdoor string lights, it brightens up the backyard,” wrote Reddit user Aenouz. After you pick up a set of lights, you’ll need a light pole like this pick to hold them up and transform your space. The poles stand 8.5 feet tall and are made from sturdy metal with durable forks that stay in place in the ground.

20

Install A Bidet Attachment On Your Toilet

Not only does this bidet attachment not require any special tools for installation, but many reviewers were able to get the job done in just a few short minutes. And if you ask Reddit user alanbdee, having one in your home is non-negotiable. “I feel like I’m in the stone ages anywhere else,” alanbdee wrote. The bidet’s water pressure is easily adjustable using the small knob on the side — and unlike some bidets, this one is designed to fit onto any standard-sized toilet.

21

Switch To A More Discrete Trash Can

Put your trash can out of sight for a cleaner, more inviting feel in your kitchen. This 2.4-gallon kitchen compost bin is designed to hang on the inside of your cabinet or under your sink so that it’s out of sight. According to Reddit user popzelda, discrete trash cans are a must and “much better than having the trash can out.” This mountable trash can is convenient for food scraps or other compostable materials that you need to keep away from bugs. This bin comes with a hook, two adhesive hooks, and 20 trash bags.

22

Keep Your TV On A Low-Profile Mount

If the size of the TV has been a design debate in your home, take advice from Reddit user sydneyface: “Wall mounts for TVs can make a huge difference in making a space look neater and tidier.” This TV mount has a low-profile bracket that holds a TV up to 70-inches. It can be adjusted to accommodate 16 to 24-inch wood studs and will securely hold up to 132 pounds — all while making your living space look less cluttered.

23

Spray Paint Worn Or Dated Fixtures

“[I] refinished my ugly brass ceiling fans,” suggested Reddit user CountingSatellites. “Took them all apart, got rid of the weird little points on the end of the blades, painted the metal with oil-rubbed bronze Rustoleum, and finished the blades with gel stain. Looks pretty good for under $20 (I already had the gel stain), and it changes the feel of the room.” This spray paint can be used on wood, plastic, metal, wicker, plaster, and unglazed ceramic. It dries in 20 minutes and offers a high-end metallic finish that’s easy to DIY.

24

Adhere Draft Stoppers To Doors To Keep The House Quiet

Your home should be your sanctuary. Minimize noise and even cut down on your electrical bill with this tip from Reddit user aerorich: “I put weather stripping and a door sweep on the closet door where my networking equipment is. Eliminated fan noise from the rest of the house and cost me about $10.” These #1 best-selling door draft stoppers, which come in a pack of two, can be installed quickly thanks to an adhesive back. They seal the bottom of the door to help keep out dust, light, noise, bugs, and warm air. This pick has earned more than 20,000 reviews.

25

Install An Electronic Keypad Deadbolt To Avoid Carrying Keys

No need to carry house keys anymore after upgrading to this electronic door lock. “[Get] Digital locks!” suggested Reddit user notlikelyevil. “Not smart locks but locks with a keypad! 8 or 10 years without house keys.” This electronic keypad deadbolt is made of sturdy zinc alloy and stainless steel and is weatherproof and easy to install. You can set up one-time use passwords for package drop-offs or store up to 20 access codes that you can share with family members.

26

Improve Your Home’s Exterior With A Chic Mailbox

Reddit user okiedokieKay wrote that the key to better curb appeal is a “new mailbox. My old one was weather-stained, starting to rust, a dated color, and falling off the wall. And barely fit the mail. The new one is [a] great size and brings the house more up to date.” This mailbox is large, black, and embossed for a shiny and durable finish — plus it costs less than $30. The front door access is wide to fit packages and it’s designed with sturdy reinforced brackets. Its pre-drilled holes make it easy to install to an existing mount or pole.

27

Create A Focal Wall Using Unique Picture Frames

Displaying photos of memories close to your heart is a great way to add character to your home. Chris Harvey, an interior expert for Setlrad, tells Bustle, “ If you have a plain wall which needs a makeover why not create the ultimate picture wall to act as your room’s main focus point? When decorating your walls, balance is key.” Use these wooden window frames as your starting point for a gallery wall. The set of two holds four photos and can be hung vertically or horizontally to accommodate photos. This pick is made of rustic pine wood and comes in three colors.

28

Utilize Mirrors To Make Small Spaces Feel Bigger

Another tip from Harvey: “A mirror can make any room look double the size, which is the perfect way to create the illusion of depth and space.” It sounds so simple — and it really is. A full-length mirror like this option is the perfect “decorative element to use in a tiny room [… or] hallways,” Harvey tells Bustle. This modern, rectangular mirror has a thin frame and can be mounted or leaned up against a wall.

29

Optimize Storage Space To Minimize Clutter

Bulky furniture and clutter may be weighing your home down. “Minimize Furniture: Don’t have too much furniture in one room as adding too many pieces can make a room feel overcrowded, cluttered, and negatively impact the flow of the space,” Harvey tells Bustle. “Save money and keep your home minimal but ensure you have enough storage space at the same time. With more floor space, the room will feel bigger and brighter.” Your stuff has to go somewhere so make sure your storage is well-utilized. This five-shelf hanging organizer hooks onto your closet rod and seamlessly blends in with your closet. Use it for shoes, jeans, or accessories like scarves and belts.

30

Secure Rugs In High Traffic Areas With Durable Tape

Rugs are an easy way to add warmth and coziness to a home. Reddit user kiminley recommended using “runner rugs in hallways or area rugs in high traffic areas […]” They continued, “Makes a huge difference and I love walking on something that’s so plush and quiet now!” Keep things quiet and in place with this rug tape that’s tough yet won’t damage your floors. This heavy-duty tape is double-sided and features a durable mesh to grip rough or smooth surfaces. Use it on tile, vinyl, concrete, wood, and cement, without worrying about it leaving residue behind.

31

Ensure Your House Numbers Are Legible From The Street

“Address numbers that are very visible from the street,” is one tip that Reddit user whyamisosoftinthemind offers for a more elegant home. These 5-inch stainless steel house numbers are legible and big enough for friends and delivery services to easily spot your house. These best-selling address plaques come with all of the mounting hardware you need and will elevate your curb appeal in a functional (and affordable) way.

32

Add Door Bumpers To Your Cabinets For That Soft-Close Effect

No need to invest in expensive custom cabinets for that “soft close” feel or to worry that every time you shut a cabinet door you are slowly destroying its surface. Instead, grab a pack of these rubber bumpers that eliminate slamming sounds when you close your cabinet doors. Reddit user minirems swears by them and raved, “[…] It’s amazing to not hear that banging every time a door or drawer is closed. I wish I’d thought to do it sooner!” Each pack comes with 100 bumpers that can be used on toilet seats, drawers, and even doorknobs. The transparent design makes them nearly invisible.

33

Choose Decorative Storage That Is Functional And Stylish

This decorative basket continues to grow in popularity because it’s both stylish and practical — a winning combination that Reddit user hardyz says will instantly improve your home’s aesthetic. “I’ve bought a ton of baskets from the dollar store,” hardyz wrote. “They have different sizes and are always useful. My pantry had some wasted storage space because of the door and shelves difference. I put screws in the door and hung dollar store baskets on it for storing my spices. Freed up an entire shelf in my pantry.” Getting creative with storage will save you money and time. This basket is great for storing linens, kid’s toys, or spare blankets. It adds texture to the space while serving a functional purpose.

34

Cover Your Couch With A Slipcover To Keep It Clean

There are key pieces in your home that are worth the extra work (and expense) to keep in pristine condition — your couch is one. Karen Lee, a household organization and functional decor expert and the founder of Smart Robotic Home, tells Bustle, “Your couch is often the focal point of your living room, which means if it does not look great, it will be the only thing you or your guests will notice.” But you don’t have to spend a ton of money to keep it looking new. Instead, Lee suggests that you “buy a couch cover to give your old sofa a facelift.” This slipcover is made of chenille fabric and features decorative lace trim. It’s machine washable to keep your couch clean (even if your pets and kids can get messy).

35

Replace Your Bulky Knife Block With A Modern Magnetic Bar

To de-clutter your kitchen and give it a more minimalist feel, Reddit user jamesfinity suggests snagging a magnetic knife bar. “Get your knives off the of the counter where they take up valuable counter space, or out of a drawer so they are in easy reach,” they wrote. While this stainless steel bar safely holds knives, it’s also perfect for storing tools or crafts of various sizes, thanks to its ultra-strong magnet. It measures 16-inches long and easily mounts to the wall. This simple switch will make your home look better in a flash.

36

Sanitize Your Home With A Hand-Held Steamer

Reddit user SwimsDeep calls the handheld steamer a game-changer. “[It] cleans, sterilizes, removes stains, hard-to-reach spots (toilet seat bolts), wrinkles in clothes, grease removal, so many uses—all without chemicals!” SwimsDeep wrote. “Fill with distilled water (to avoid mineral build-up which will clog the system), turn on, and go! Disinfect everything!” This multipurpose tool heats up quickly — and is lightweight enough to take with you on vacation.

37

Add Privacy Without Blocking Light With Beautiful Window Clings

Here’s a budget-friendly upgrade you can add to your house that will make a huge impact: frosting your windows. Not only does this window film add extra privacy to your windows or glass doors, while still allowing light to filter in: a win-win. “[…] one thing we’ve enjoyed is peel n stick privacy window clings for bedrooms/bathroom,” wrote Reddit user facystox. “We get to let more AM sunshine in (on days we sleep in) without compromising privacy at night.” This decorative film relies on static instead of glue so it won’t leave behind any residue. This 3D rainbow film blocks glare and creates beautiful light around your home.

38

Seal Exterior Cracks That Could Lead To Expensive Repairs

Keep the exterior of your home looking great by quickly repairing any cracks you see. “The damage caused by water infiltration can multiply into thousands or tens of thousands quickly,” wrote Reddit user Vegatable_Swan_8995. “I was told once that a 1/2” hole can allow up to a gallon of rainwater per hour into a home. In my 28 years of experience, 99% of water damage could have been avoided with preventative maintenance like caulking the exterior of your home.” This waterproof caulk and seal takes 30 minutes to dry and locks out moisture, mold, and mildew. It boasts more than 10,000 reviews.

39

Breathe New Life Into Old Pillows With Affordable Pillow Covers

New pillows can completely change the feel of a space, but they can also break the bank. Lori Murphy, Strategic Interior Design Advisor at Real Estate Bees, tells Bustle that a cheaper swap can also work: “If you have throw pillows that still have a good shape but the color or pattern is worn or outdated, refresh them with new pillow covers.” These pillow covers feature a modern farmhouse vibe that can update your existing pillows. The set of four includes a faux leather case, one with a faux leather accent, and two with geometric patterns. The set is thick and soft and best of all — machine washable.

40

Complete Your Bedroom With A Bedside Table

If there’s one piece of furniture that will always be in style, David Tully, realtor at eXp Realty, tells Bustle it’s a bedside table. “Bedside tables are never out of fashion,” Tully says. “This black winsome wood table would provide a charm in the bedroom. Decorating the table with contrasting color items like books, vintage alarm clocks, and scented candles would just add so much to the existing elegance. The simple design of this solid oakwood will make the bedroom more spacious.”

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