40 mistakes you're making around the house that make your place look bad

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For those of us who live in the real world — and not in a show home ripped from the pages of a glossy architectural magazine sitting on a coffee table — keeping up with the house is an ongoing challenge. Work, family, and having a life don’t leave much room for curating an interior, let alone just keeping things clean and tidy. And chances are, you’re making a few mistakes around the house that downgrade the look and functionality of your space.

Look, you’re not alone — I can’t think of one thing on this list that I’m not also guilty of. (Maybe don’t come and stay with me, am I right?) But I’m highlighting these errors so that none of us have to live with them — and luckily, there are cheap and easy fixes. All you have to do is put one or two of these cheap home upgrades to use in any given room to start really noticing an improvement. You deserve a home you truly enjoy, so treat yourself today.

01

Mistake: Using old, sad pillows on your bed

Solution: These cooling gel pillows that are plush & supportive

There’s no bad side for laying down your head when you have these gel pillows since they have natural bamboo covers that are breathable and stay cool all night long. Also filled with cooling gel fibers, the plush pillows stay lofted and fluffy, so whether you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper, you’ll be all set to saw some logs.

  • Available sizes: 2

02

Mistake: Not lighting up the underside of cabinets

Solution: These under-cabinet lights that are easy to install

It used to be that under-cabinet lighting required a lot of wiring and an expensive electrician house call, but not anymore: These under-cabinet LED lights can turn any dim area into a showplace worthy of an interior design magazine. They install in just minutes under bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, or inside cupboards or closets.

03

Mistake: Keeping your floors bare

Solution: An accent rug to pull the room together

Area rugs are a great way to pull a space together in a hurry. This braided area rug has a natural aesthetic that adds texture and dimension to any room in your house. Perfect for use in high-traffic households with children and pets, it’s durable and cleans easily. Choose from a range of colors and sizes.

  • Available sizes: 32
  • Available colors: 8

04

Mistake: Leaving your devices scattered everywhere while charging

Solution: A charging station that rounds up all your electronics

With space for six devices, this charging station is a much more organized alternative to having your devices scattered all around the house while they’re powering up. It automatically senses what device is plugged into each of its six ports and delivers the appropriate high-speed charge. The station comes with a set of short cords for an uncluttered look on any desk or countertop.

05

Mistake: Neglecting to condition wood furniture

Solution: This wood polish that protects & shines

When your wood furniture dries out due to dry air, sun exposure, or just the ravages of time, it can start to take on a dull, cracked appearance. Nourish and protect your furniture with this wood polish and conditioner that adds a beautiful sheen. Highly rated, the natural formula helps to remedy existing scratches and fend off future damage.

06

Mistake: Putting up with a ripped & stained sofa

Solution: This sofa slipcover that hides a multitude of imperfections

Maybe your kitty has shredded your sofa cushions, or perhaps you have kids who’ve worked their magic on the furniture with markers and paints. Whatever the case, if your sofa is in less-than-optimal condition, use this sofa slipcover to dress it up. It comes in sizes for loveseats, couches, and easy chairs, and stretches to a snug fit.

  • Available sizes: 7
  • Available colors: 36

07

Mistake: Thinking your overhead lights qualify as “mood lighting”

Solution: These colorful taper candles that add instant ambience

I’m all for eating Tuesday night dinner in front of the television by candlelight, and with this 10-pack of taper candles, you can afford to set the mood for dinner all week long. These unscented candles are smokeless and dripless, and come in classic colors like white as well as fun shades like coral and turquoise.

  • Available colors: 8

08

Mistake: Having a closet that’s mega-disorganized

Solution: This hanging organizer with shelves & drawers

If it takes you an extra half hour to get out the door in the morning because your closet is a jumbled black hole, pick up this hanging closet organizer — it’s the perfect way get things in order. Featuring three large open shelves, two smaller shelves, and several drawers, this organizer is great for sweaters, accessories, and everything in between.

  • Available colors: 2

09

Mistake: Using elbow grease to scrub fridge shelves

Solution: These fridge liners that are easy to wipe clean

Save yourself some elbow grease by placing these liners on your refrigerator shelves — they’re easy to wipe clean, so you can bid farewell to scrubbing stuck-on food off of glass. The BPA-free liners can be trimmed to size and feature grippy undersides that help them stay put.

10

Mistake: Having a bulky power strip on the floor

Solution: This outlet extender that plugs into the wall

Power cords are never the most attractive things, but they don’t need to be a trip-and-fall hazard, too. You can remedy that situation by switching from a power strip that lies on the floor to this wall charger and surge protector that plugs into any outlet. With five AC sockets and four USB ports, it’s an easy way to clear up cord clutter.

11

Mistake: Using the kitchen towels you’ve had for ages

Solution: These classic towels made from absorbent cotton

You can have the most attractive designer kitchen in the world, but if you’re still using the worn-out towels you inherited from your mother, they’re going to drag the whole look downhill. Made from 100% cotton, these kitchen towels have clean lines and a classic look, and since they’re both soft and absorbent, they’re perfect for drying dishes and wiping down counters.

  • Available colors: 6

12

Mistake: Letting your clothes pile up on “that chair”

Solution: An over-the-door organizer for clothes & bags

There’s a good chance you default to letting clothes and accessories pile up on that one chair in the bedroom. We all do it, but it junks up a room fast. This over-the-door organizer provides a place to hang those items quickly and easily, so you don’t have to cramp up your brain trying to figure out where they actually go — but you’re also not just tossing them on that chair. Result: The room looks more like the calm oasis you’re after.

13

Mistake: Tracking dirt & moisture into your house

Solution: This doormat that traps dust & grime

With grippy fibers, this doormat traps dirt, dust, and grime from your shoes as you walk across it, so you don’t end up tracking everything into your entryway. It features a low profile for easy clearance as your door passes, and when you’re ready to clean it, you can simply hose it down and let it dry in the sun.

  • Available sizes: 2
  • Available colors: 7

14

Mistake: Leaving your butter in the store packaging

Solution: This sleek butter dish made from bamboo

Stop leaving your butter in the packaging it came in from the store, and put it in this good-looking butter dish instead. Made from natural bamboo, it’s sleek and modern and features a groove that keeps the lid securely in place. This container fits all sizes of butter sticks and is both dishwasher- and microwave-safe.

  • Available colors: 3

15

Mistake: Scratching up your floor when you move your furniture

Solution: These furniture pads that keep everything in place

These furniture pad grippers can help protect your wooden floors, whether someone accidentally jostles your buffet during Thanksgiving or your friends move the coffee table to make space for a game of charades. They’re backed with rubber to ensure that your furniture won’t budge, and the felt cores cushion furniture legs.

16

Mistake: Letting your furniture cushions sag

Solution: The cushion insert that props them up

As your couch ages, the cushions can lose their oomph and become saggy, making them uncomfortable to sit on. Instead of replacing your sofa or favorite chair, try a less expensive fix with this cushion insert that can extend the useful life of your beloved furniture. Made with dense foam, the insert goes beneath cushion to reinforce it for added support.

  • Available sizes: 3

17

Mistake: Settling for one boring comforter

Solution: The reversible comforter that lets you switch up the look

It’s so easy to fall into a rut in your bedroom, but if you’re ready for a change, this reversible comforter is the best bang for your buck. It comes at a totally reasonable price point and delivers two looks for one, making it possible for you to style your room seasonally or as the mood strikes. Featuring a classic diamond-quilted pattern, it’s machine-washable for easy care.

  • Available sizes: 3
  • Available colors: 8

18

Mistake: Keeping refrigerated foods in a jumbled mess

Solution: These fridge bins that make it easy to see what you have

When food is loaded into your refrigerator with no rhyme or reason, it’s hard to get motivated to cook — not to mention that food goes to waste since you can’t see what you have. These organizer bins help get your fridge all straightened up, ordering everything from produce to meats and cheeses to drinks and canned items. They’re transparent, so you can easily see what you have, and they’re easy to wipe down with just a damp cloth.

19

Mistake: Cramming your clothes & linens in the closet

Solution: These vacuum storage bags that compress items

When your closet is crammed full of stuff, it looks disorderly and can also be hard to find things. Remedy those issues by offloading your off-season and unused items into these vacuum storage bags for easy and compact storage under your bed, in your attic, or elsewhere. They reduce the amount of space contents take up by 80% and also keep moths and moisture at bay.

  • Available sizes: 5

20

Mistake: Ignoring the rips in leather goods & furniture

Solution: This leather & vinyl repair kit

Whether it’s a burn in your armchair or a rip in your favorite leather jacket, there’s no need to just leave it that way — this leather and vinyl repair kit lets you fix up all manner of imperfections. The kit includes mixable color repair compounds, a brush, spatula, mixing jar, and backing fabric, so you can whip out a DIY repair in no time.

21

Mistake: Throwing utensils in the drawer willy-nilly

Solution: This expandable organizer that maximizes space

When you’re cooking or preparing to serve food, you don’t want things to be any harder than they have to be. Help yourself out and get this bamboo drawer organizer that keeps everything orderly and easy to find. Expanding from just over 17 inches to 20 inches, it’s size-adjustable to accommodate all your items and fit a variety of drawers.

22

Mistake: Leaving your curtains drawn all the time

Solution: These magnetic curtain tiebacks that let light in

Leaving your curtains hanging down all the time is like having bangs and never styling them. These curtain tiebacks help you style your windows by pulling the curtains to the side and letting natural light in. The embedded magnets make it easy to secure each tieback to itself. You can pull your curtains all the way back or use them to keep the curtains half back — however you like.

  • Available styles: 8
  • Available colors: 7

23

Mistake: Ignoring hard water stains

Solution: These pumice stones that remove them

If you have hard water stains in your toilet, sink, or bath tub, these pumice stone cleaners are an easy and natural way to remove them. Effective but gentle on porcelain, they get rid of rust and lime stains, too. One reviewer raved, “We have very hard well water and this has caused stains that nothing would remove. It took about ten minutes of work to remove the stains. A super product.”

24

Mistake: Scattering cosmetics all over your bathroom counter

Solution: This vanity storage bin that corrals everything

Instead of scattering your toiletries all over your bathroom counter, get this vanity storage bin that will keep everything you need nice and orderly. The bin features compartments on the top for organizing your tubes and jars, while a removable drawer is perfect for makeup sponges, bobby pins, and more. If you want to stow it away, it’s easy to tuck the whole thing into a cabinet.

  • Available colors: 3

25

Mistake: Letting dust & grime cake on your blinds

Solution: This blind duster that makes cleaning fast & easy

Cleaning the blinds is normally a pain in the tuchus, and I don’t know about you, but at my house they get dirty very, very fast. Now, it’s easy to keep them clean, thanks to this blind duster that has “fingers” to tackle several slats at once. The microfiber cloth traps dirt, and once you’re done, you can remove the cover and throw it in the washing machine.

26

Mistake: Failing to care for cutting boards & butcher blocks

Solution: This food-grade oil that conditions & protects

I don’t know about you, but I use my wooden cutting boards not only for food prep, but also for serving, so they’re almost constantly in use. For wooden boards to stand up to such heavy rotation, it’s important to take care of them properly, and that includes conditioning them with a cutting board oil. This food-grade mineral oil nourishes the wood and keeps it from drying out and cracking. It’s also great for use on your butcher block island.

27

Mistake: Leaving the living room full of clutter

Solution: The storage ottoman that makes it easy to clean up in a hurry

Whether you have last-minute guests dropping by or you’re just tired of looking at all the clutter scattered across your house, this storage ottoman makes cleaning up a breeze. Simply open the top, throw your clutter inside, put the top back on, and hey, presto — it’s neat as a pin. As a bonus, you’ve got extra seating or a footrest, too.

  • Available sizes: 3
  • Available colors: 11

28

Mistake: Using plastic hangers that don’t grip clothes

Solution: These velvet hangers that are nonslip

Don’t you hate it when your prized silk and satin garments end up on the floor because they’re so slippery that they slide right off of their hangers? Or when your hangers can’t hold onto the spaghetti straps on your camisoles or dresses? These velvet hangers ensure that your clothes stay where they’re supposed to, instead of on your closet floor. Plus, the ultra-slim profile means they take up less space on your closet rod.

29

Mistake: Letting the corners of your area rug curl up

Solution: These grippers that tack down your rugs

Area rugs really add a lot to a room, but if they’re allowed to stay loose on your floor, they can slide around and look wonky or the corners can start curling up (both unattractive and a trip-and-fall hazard.) These rug corners use hook-and-loop fastening technology to tack rugs down and keep them in place on your floor. Trust me, this will do a lot for your space.

30

Mistake: Leaving your lights on full blast instead of using dimmers

Solution: This smart light switch that lets you adjust brightness

Don’t just settle for full on/full off lighting — get this smart light switch that you can install yourself using easy step-by-step instructions. Not only will you be able to dim your lights — which will add lots of atmosphere — but you’ll be able to set energy-saving schedules and turn your lights on and off from anywhere using the compatible smartphone app.

31

Mistake: Not maximizing under-cabinet storage space

Solution: This expandable 2-tier under-sink organizer

Using under-sink storage space can be notoriously tricky since pipes are involved, but this expandable under-sink organizer is designed for the job. The U-shaped organizer fits around any pipe, and since it’s height-adjustable, you can lower or raise it to accommodate toiletries, cleaning supplies, or anything else you’ve got hanging around the cabinet.

32

Mistake: Not touching up your walls when they get scratched

Solution: These fillable paint brush pens that make touch-ups easy

Scratches, stains, and marks on your walls can really make a room look tired and past its prime. Get these fillable paint brush pens and keep them handy, so you can quickly and easily touch up your walls on the fly when accidents happen. These pens are equipped with easy-to-fill syringes and the precision brush tips gives you dripless application.

33

Mistake: Leaving your cooking utensils scattered all over

Solution: This utensil holder made from chic white marble

The best kitchen utensils in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t find them when you need them — keep yours in this white marble utensil holder. The utensil holder looks good enough to leave out on the counter, so you can always locate the tools you need, whether you’re mixing, whipping, folding, or scrambling.

34

Mistake: Coming home to a dark, unwelcoming driveway

Solution: These solar lights that light the way

If you don’t have outdoor lights to welcome you, coming home can be a bit of a drag. These solar-powered outdoor lights make it easy to light up your driveway, porch, or walkway, and the built-in motion sensors conserve energy. They install easily with two screws and don’t require wiring or adapters.

35

Mistake: Keeping old, lumpy throw pillows around

Solution: These throw pillow inserts that perk up your couch

I frequently write about how easy it is to switch out your decor using new throw pillow covers, but if the throw pillows themselves are thin, lumpy, and tired, you’re not going to be gaining any ground. Switch them out with these throw pillow inserts that feature a fluffy fiber filling for comfort and long-term durability..

  • Available sizes: 10

36

Mistake: Leaving your pantry a crowded, jumbled mess

Solution: This over-the-door organizer that buys you more space

When your pantry is super crowded, it’s hard to see what you actually have to eat, and equally hard to get motivated to cook. You can get some extra space to spread out with this over-the-door pantry organizer. It has 24 transparent pockets for snacks, condiments, tea, and more, and displays everything clearly, so you can locate exactly what you’re looking for.

37

Mistake: Leaving your sponge in the bottom of your sink

Solution: This sink caddy that lets your sponge air dry

When your sponges and dish brushes lay in the bottom of the sink, they just marinate in that leftover water and end up moldy, mildewy, and smelly. Give your sponge a chance to dry properly with this sink caddy. It adheres to the side of your sink and the open-air design allows everything to drain. Plus, it’s a great way to tidy up counter clutter.

38

Mistake: Losing your remote controls between the couch cushions

Solution: This rotating holder that keeps everything within reach

When you can limit clutter, it makes your house feel calmer and more restful. This remote control holder gives you a convenient way to organize all of the stuff on your coffee table into one convenient container that even rotates to make the contents easy to access from a variety of angles. Finished in faux leather, it comes in a variety of colors to coordinate with your interior.

  • Available colors: 15

39

Mistake: Storing your pans in a pile

Solution: This adjustable pan rack that spaces them out for easy access

If your pans are all stacked up on top of one another, you know how hard it is to get to the right pan when you need it. This adjustable pan organizer stacks and spaces out your cookware, making it easy to retrieve what you need when you need it. Suitable for use in a horizontal or a vertical configuration, you can keep it on your counter or place it in a cupboard.

40

Mistake: Leaving a tangle of cords on the floor

Fix: This cord cover that wrangles them

Multiple cords snaking along the floor is a true eyesore, but this cable cover makes it easy to conceal them. It’s durable but flexible, and features an open channel in back that makes it easy to insert cords. Available in 6-foot and 10-foot options, it can be trimmed to size and features nonslip backing to keep it in place.