Contractors & designers say your home could be so much nicer with any of these cheap, clever things

The experts weighed in on quick and easy ways to renovate your space.

ByCaroline Reinstadtler
Originally Published: 
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Upgrading your home doesn’t have to take forever or cost a fortune. Of course, you could always hire a professional to take it to the next level — but when you’re low on time or funds, extra help isn’t always an option.

Fortunately, each of these inexpensive products will make your space look so much better than before, and they all come highly recommended by knowledgeable contractors and designers who know what’s currently trending.


A grout pen to take care of your tiles

This grout pen breathes new life into your bathroom and kitchen tiles in the blink of an eye. "Paint the grout on your shower tiles or kitchen floor to give your room a like-new look,” says Abbott, advising that you “clean around the grout first for best results." If you're sensitive to smells, you can still use this pen without worry; its low-odor ink won't aggravate your airways.


This drying rack that folds to save space

"The best dish racks are going to check off two boxes,” says Giaquinto. “One, they need to take up minimal amounts of space on the counter so they don't add to a cluttered space. Two, they need to be able to easily be stored away to keep your kitchen organized.” She suggests this drying rack that saves serious counter space, since “it allows you to do your dishes, and then quickly fold up and store away.” It's even heat resistant, so you can stash hot dishes without worrying about melting or burns.


A bathroom fan cover that makes your space look way more modern

"If your ceiling fan is 10-20 year[s] old it probably does not help the aesthetic of your bathroom,” shares Ryan Meagher, a business development manager, and lead estimator at BVM Contracting. “If the existing fan is working you can simply upgrade the cover to look more modern,” Meagher adds. This bathroom fan cover will absolutely do the trick. Its white finish looks timelessly classic against most bathroom ceilings, and you can install it in under five minutes for an upgrade that makes a world of difference.


An adhesive shower caddy made of rustproof stainless steel

Kate Diaz, interior designer and co-founder of Swanky Den, recommends this adhesive shower set for a better bathroom setup. "The strong adhesive ensures that the caddies stay in place, and its rustproof stainless steel finish makes it durable and long-lasting. The shelves are adjustable to fit different shower shapes and sizes, making it very versatile,” notes Diaz. Each set comes with two caddies, two soap holders, and a toothbrush organizer, and as Diaz adds, “it also looks stylish with its modern design, which adds a touch of sophistication to your bathroom decor.”


These airtight food storage containers with reusable labels

Not only do these airtight food storage containers keep your provisions on display, but their reusable labels also make organization a breeze. Their lid-locking system keeps food fresher for longer, helping save money on groceries. Each set includes seven containers in four different sizes. According to Giaquinto, "It is really important to use air-tight containers in your kitchen cupboard and pantry to ensure your food stays fresh!”


A handheld showerhead with 9 spa-worthy settings

Real estate entrepreneur and founder of Honeycomb Design & Construction Ati Williams recommends a brand-new handheld showerhead like this one, which features nine spa-worthy pressure settings as a quick way to change up your bathroom. "Change your shower head to a rainfall shower for the spa feel in your bathroom,” says the media personality. The best part? “[You] only need pliers. No plumber needed,” Williams notes. It also comes in a rainbow hue that’d be perfect for a guest bathroom or child’s bathroom.


These cute corduroy throw pillow covers

"Throw pillows are an easy and inexpensive way to add color, texture, and pattern to any space,” says O’Hare. These cute corduroy throw pillows fit the bill; they're machine washable, shrink-resistant, and keep their color without fading over time. Speaking of color, these are available in 19 different vibrant shades. Add them to your bedroom, living room, or patio for a timeless touch of coziness.


A cabinet organizer set that maximizes kitchen space

Christina Giaquinto, a professional organizer and brand ambassador for Modular Closets, loves this cabinet organizer set.“This allows you to instantly create an extra shelf and maximize space,” she tells Mic. It comes with five pieces, which include three larger shelves and two baskets that fit neatly under them to seriously maximize kitchen space. They're not just for cabinets; you can use them in closets, on bookshelves, or wherever you'd like to enhance your storage system.


These outdoor string lights with 27 bulbs

When you're redecorating, remember the importance of your outdoor space; the perfect addition to your patio can bring your home to a whole new level. Take these outdoor string lights, for instance; each of its 27 glass bulbs is dimmable, helping you save on electricity, and you’ll love the retro design. Just ask Lines: “Starry string lights have become particularly popular lately as they instantly evoke a romantic look when lit up against walls or furniture pieces.”


A storage basket that doubles as a hamper

Yasmine El Sanyoura, a home designer at Opendoor, recommends a storage basket when you're looking to clear out the clutter in style. “To elevate your spaces, utilize baskets like these to create additional storage around your home for everything from extra throw blankets and toys to your TV wires and gaming console,” says El Sanyoura. This basket doubles as a laundry hamper that complements your decorative style and comes with all the room you'll need until laundry day. Its handwoven construction is guaranteed to last, and its colorblock design is timelessly stylish.


This wall decal that accommodates commitment issues

"Wall decals are perfect if you’re trying something new but don’t want to commit to a full paint upgrade, and it’s easy to remove as you look to redecorate the following season,” says El Sanyoura. Decals like this arch wall decal are especially popular. It comes with an adhesive on the back, so all you have to do is peel and stick. When you're ready for a remodel, you can remove it with peace of mind, since it won't damage walls — which also makes it ideal if you’re currently renting.


A rounded mirror with a chic black frame

For an instant upgrade, El Sanyoura loves “incorporating mirrors into rooms throughout the home to make the spaces feel bigger and brighter.” As a perfect example, she shares that this rounded mirror “will instantly update a bathroom or powder room space.” With four pre-installed hanging clips, mounting it on the wall will be a breeze, and you can hang it horizontally or vertically, depending on your design preferences.


A switch plate cover with a bronze finish

Zara O’Hare, an interior design consultant at Land of Rugs, advises: "Switch plate covers are often overlooked, but they can be easily swapped out for a fresh new look at a low cost." This switch plate cover features a beautiful bronze finish and copper highlights, and it's available in a number of configurations, depending on your light switches. The packaging includes machine screws that come in a matching finish to seriously simplify the installation process.


These blackout curtains that actually help conserve energy

"It is a hard concept to grasp, but just by changing the colour, style, or even size of the curtains can transform your space and take it to a new level,” says O’Hare. These blackout curtains are available in a ton of colors, so you’re sure to find one that fits your home, and their textured polyester fabric looks so luxurious. The secret to their blackout technology is their triple-weave construction, so you can block out unwanted light for a good night’s sleep.


A rug runner that's unbelievably easy to clean

Rugs can be pricey; pick up a well-made and inexpensive rug runner like this one to save money and spruce up your space. According to Nichole Abbott, an interior designer at FLOOR360, "A rug runner covers more floor space and is washable, so wash often and air dry to keep it looking nice. Choose a neutral color that can hide bathroom floor imperfections or prevent stains from occurring." As a bonus, you can clean this one easily with a sponge, cloth, or vacuum.


A cushioned ottoman with secret storage space

"Buy a living room ottoman or bedroom ottoman with storage,” advises Abbott. “Then keep your cozy well-loved throws and pillows in there instead of cluttering up your furniture and rooms." You can assemble this cushioned ottoman in a matter of seconds, and it boasts a storage capacity of 440 pounds. Its earthy neutral color options will blend beautifully into your living room or bedroom, and you'll look forward to putting your feet up at the end of the day.


This 5-pack of classic picture frames

Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight, knows the importance of filling your walls with personality: "A piece of wall art can serve as the focal point of a room, and it doesn't have to be expensive. Look for prints or paintings from up-and-coming artists or consider creating your own gallery wall with prints you love.” This five-pack of classic picture frames lets you mount your favorite pieces without the hassle, and you can choose to hang them horizontally or vertically.


A cotton rug with a stunning handwoven design

“Look for handwoven or vintage rugs for a unique touch, or go for bold geometric patterns for a contemporary look,” says Kropovinsky. This cotton rug features a stunning handwoven design that’s braided from durable rags in a myriad of gorgeous colors. Thanks to their detailed manufacturing process, each rug is fully unique, so you'll have a piece that's all your own.


A dimmer switch that works with your lightbulbs

"Adding dimmers to your light switches... simple and no electrician needed,” shares Williams. With this dimmer switch, you’ve got a whole new way to change the ambiance of any room, and you won't even need screws to fasten it in. Use it in conjunction with halogen or incandescent bulbs or with LED lights to adjust your glow with the utmost ease.


This 3-tier shoe rack made of sturdy bamboo

If walking through your entryway feels like a choose-your-own-adventure game sometimes, you might want a three-tier shoe rack like this one to clean out the clutter. "This budget-friendly freestanding shoe rack boasts a stylish combination of bamboo and clear textured material, created through advanced high-temperature carbonization technology,” says Elizabeth Grace, an interior designer, and furniture and home expert. Thanks to its sleek, timeless design and easy installation process, it’ll “enhance the look of any room, whether it be a closet, living room, balcony, entrance, or corridor.”


This semi-gloss paint that doubles as a primer

Raf Michalowski, interior designer and founder of Meble Furniture, loves to experiment with new shades of paint when it comes to refreshing any room. "You can paint one wall in an accent color or paint the whole room in bright, cheerful hues... I would recommend using light and airy colors to make the room look bigger and more open,” he says. Conveniently, this acrylic latex option comes with a built-in primer that exponentially speeds up the painting process, and its dreamy pink hues are sure to win you over.


A peace lily that helps purify the air

"Plants can add life to any room,” says Jason Farr, interior designer and founder of Aviara Pavers. He recommends that buyers “Choose low-maintenance plants that can thrive in your home's environment” and “Place them on shelves, tables, or even the floor.” This peace lily is a borderline perfect choice; it thrives in bright, indirect sunlight and acts as an all-natural air purifier, filtering out unwanted pollutants so you can breathe easily. It’s also a great plant for houseplant beginners.


This sandstone statue with a thought-provoking design

Chris Alexakis, interior designer and founder of CabinetSelect, loves exciting artwork for its capacity to shake up your space: "Small changes can make a big impact... Consider changing out your existing accessories with new ones. Add some fun and interesting pieces such as vases, sculptures, artworks, plants, or rugs." This sandstone statue is a fantastic choice, due in large part to its intellectually-inspired design. Its durable craftsmanship ensures it'll last a long time, and thanks to its stable base, it stays put. Plus, it’s budget-friendly.


This minimalist set of floating shelves

If you’re running out of space to store your ever-growing collection of books, you could probably benefit from this minimalist set of floating shelves. "You can also add a few books for a more inviting atmosphere,” advises Alexakis, as the addition of a couple of volumes almost always makes your space “look lively.” They're made from sturdy wooden boards and metal brackets, and each shelf can hold up to forty pounds, so you're safe to bring out your inner Belle.


This tabletop fountain that encourages peace & tranquility

Cam Dowski, a real estate contractor and the founder of, recommends bringing peace and tranquility to your home with this tabletop fountain. "With natural rocks and beautiful lighting, it gives a perfect touch and appeals to the aesthetics to make the house look much better,” he says, citing the “calming and rhythmic effect of flowing water in the silver trays that reflects different shaded lights.” The built-in pump quietly circulates water, which prevents algae buildup, and you can simply turn it on and off with the included switch for convenience.


A 3-tier spice rack that's expandable

“Three-tiered spice racks allow you to easily organize your spices or pantry products,” advises Giaquinto. With just one pull, you can actually expand this spice rack to achieve the right fit wherever it goes. Its anti-slip surface keeps bottles, cans, and containers in place, and each of its three tiers enables you to find what you need fast. It’s a great way to make the most of your space.


A collapsible laundry bag with soft handles

Don’t let the aluminum handles on this collapsible laundry bag fool you — they’re coated in a soft material that gives you a firm grip, so the bag is super easy to carry. "My favorite laundry basket for every size home is a foldable laundry basket,” says Giaquinto, and she specifically recommends it for apartment or dorm-dwellers. Why is it such a great space-saving pick? It “fold[s] up flat and can be hung on the inside of your door, or stand nicely next to your dryer, or fit beautifully in between a shelf."


This botanical wall art with a peaceful vibe

Nick Lines, the director of Internal Doors & UK Oak Doors, knows the importance of a creative touch in any space: “Displaying artwork is one of the quickest ways to bring an area or room together. For a modern touch to any living space, try investing in some interesting wall art or framed prints that reflect your style.” This botanical wall art, which is waterproof and fade-resistant, has a classic design that’ll bring a peaceful vibe to your living room, bedroom, or kitchen in no time flat. Plus, you can’t go wrong with the price.


A floor lamp with a modern square design

"Using lamps as opposed to overhead lighting gives greater control over how bright or dim certain areas of your home will be kept during different times of day (and wasting less energy!),” advises Lines. That’s only one of the many amazing attributes of this floor lamp; its modern square design makes it as elegant as it is effective, its energy-saving LED bulb is a more eco-friendly choice than an incandescent bulb, and it lasts longer, too. You can get it in a few different colors, from bronze to brushed nickel.


A video doorbell with 2-way audio

"Blink Video Doorbell is a home product you can buy to elevate the appeal of your home,” says Zach Tetley, the co-founder of NexusHomeBuyers. It keeps your home safer than your average security system, since “It has two-way audio with a 1080p HD display and even has an infrared night video. Most importantly, it has long battery life, and you can personalize your notifications. You would even get notifications when motion is detected or someone presses the doorbell." Just connect it to your smartphone for maximum security, even when you’re away from home. Security aside, it’s also a nice way to know if you’ve got a package waiting at your doorstep.


A velvet slipcover that stretches to fit your sofa

Instead of splurging for a new sofa, pick up this velvet slipcover that’ll switch up your space in a matter of minutes. "We have thoroughly observed that a set of velvet slipcovers will magically change the whole vibe of the couch,” says Casey Ames, a licensed realtor at Gem State Cash Offer. It boasts a one-size-fits-most design that's practically guaranteed to work with your couch, and it's machine washable in case of spills or stains.


A clean burning candle in a beautifully designed tin

Judi Kutner, a real estate agent, interior designer, and the head writer of Apartment Notes, knows the importance of elegant details in your space. "Candles can create a warm and cozy ambiance in any room,” she shares. This clean burning candle is no exception — its coconut wax blend and three wicks contribute to its 40-hour burn time, and its beautifully designed tin only adds to its glamorous glow.


These metallic planters that water your plants for you

"Adding a few plants to your home can bring life and freshness to a space. You can find a variety of styles and sizes of plant pots on Amazon,” shares Kutner, and these metallic planters are a phenomenal choice. Thanks to their innovative design that slowly absorbs water over a 10-15 day period, they essentially do the watering for you, making plant ownership that much easier. Each set comes with six stylish pots in champagne gold, rose gold, and silver.


A faux fur throw blanket that's cozy beyond belief

"To add depth and interest to a space, incorporate different textures such as fur, velvet, and woven materials into your decor,” Kutner advises. This faux fur blanket isn’t just an excellent decorative choice — it’s so cozy, you’ll want to curl up all year long in its soft polyester material. You can display it in so many ways, whether you drape it over your sofa, fold it on top of your bed, or use it to keep a pet warm and cozy.


These metal bookends with an arboreal detail

Brian Jeffries, the lead advisor at Building Product Advisor, knows that literary decorations bring brilliant creativity to any room. "Decorative bookends can add a touch of sophistication to your bookshelf and keep your books neatly organized,” he states. These metal bookends are as sophisticated as can be, and any book lover will appreciate their beautiful tree designs. Their rounded corners prevent painful scratches, and their anti-skid pads keep them in place, no matter how full your shelves may be after one too many trips to the bookstore.


This cotton lampshade that's fully handmade

"Updating the lampshades in a room can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of the space,” says Jeffries, and this cotton lampshade is just right for the job. Its classic linen material is made from a cotton blend fabric that looks amazing when lit, and each one is fully handmade. Because they’re so inexpensive, you can buy multiple and display them all over the house for an easy switch that makes a world of difference.


A wicker storage basket that does it all

Whichever items tend to cover your floors, be they clothes, toys, or shoes, a wicker storage basket like this one can help you clean up the chaos. According to Jeffries, "Woven baskets can be used to store items such as magazines, blankets, or toys, while also adding a touch of texture to your décor." If you’re in the market for a new hamper, it’s also a great choice for stashing dirty clothes until laundry day, and its durable handles hold up as you carry it to the laundromat.


A ceramic vase with a modern design

Natalie Rebuck, the principal designer at Re: Design Architects, loves this ceramic vase for its unique design and high quality: “I have this vase in my own home. [It’s] a beautiful accent and feels much more expensive than its price.” Thanks to its handmade construction, it's extremely well-crafted and won't crack or corrode easily; plus, its rubber paint surface is totally smooth to the touch. It also makes a gorgeous gift for any couple, family, or transplant who's setting up a new space.


A bathroom set made of matte stainless steel

"Give your bathroom a lift with new accessories,” advises Rebuck. The accessories in question? This chic bathroom set made of matte stainless steel, which won’t scratch or rust. Each set includes a double clothing hook, a towel rack, and a toilet paper holder, all of which are super easy to install with the included screws and anchors. As a bonus, each set comes with a five-year warranty, so if you’re unhappy with your buy, you'll receive a full refund.


These geometric serving platters made with gorgeous carved wood

Samantha Black, a design and project director at, thinks that wooden accents are the way to go. “To add warmth to your room, carved wood trays can provide an infusion of natural elements which can be used in any room, whether for charcuterie boards, catch-alls by the front door, or jewelry tray for your nightstand,” Black says. Use them outside the kitchen to keep track of your everyday essentials, since they’re made of a material that can handle it; Black loves “distressed wood for a catchall by the front door which can handle the impact of your family tossing car keys in there each day.”