Professionals who stage homes say you're making your home look cheap if you aren't doing any of these things

Simple upgrades that are just as impressive as they are budget-friendly.

ByJenny White
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Professionals who stage homes have seen it all, making them experts on what works — and most importantly, they know what doesn’t work — in making the most of different spaces. That’s why Mic reached out to the pros, and they say you're making your home look cheap if you aren't doing the things featured on this list. From simple but impactful home upgrades like adding solar-powered outdoor lighting, to ways to organize and clean your home so it shines, every product on this list costs $45 or less.


Dusting & clearing cobwebs to make your entry more inviting

Christy Walkers, broker and owner of RE/MAX Signature in Phoenix, emphasizes making the entrance of your home inviting, and she specifically points out “removing any cobwebs” as an important step. This reusable duster has a handle that extends from 27 inches to 47 inches in length so you can reach even the highest corners. Once dirty, toss the microfiber head in the washing machine for a quick clean.


Cleaning your windows until they shine

Walkers also recommends washing your windows; to make them shine, pick up this glass cleaning kit — it comes with everything needed to make three 26-ounce bottles of liquid cleaner. The set includes concentrated cleaning pods (that dissolve in warm water) and a refillable spray bottle. In addition to being a better choice for the environment, it’s also quite wallet-friendly at less than $15.


Using planters full of flowers to liven up your front porch

Walkers also suggests creating a welcoming feel before guests even walk in the front door by “adding a potted plant with some colorful flowers.” This wooden planter is made from durable acacia wood and the 13-inch rectangular planter has built-in drainage holes to ensure your plants stay in top shape. One shopper wrote, “the [planter] has a nice depth to it that gives the roots lots of room to grow, does hold about 2 gallons of soil.”


Sweeping your entryway clean

Another tip Walkers had to avoid making your home look cheap is “sweeping up the front porch.” This broom and dustpan set has lots of features to get the job done fast — the broom extends in length to over 54 inches and the dustpan has a comb to ensure everything is removed from the broom’s thick bristles. The set locks together and can be hung from the holes in the handles.


Taking advantage of a funny welcome mat to make guests smile

“I also recommend adding a great welcome mat that makes people smile or laugh,” notes Walkers. This humorous doormat certainly qualifies — the “welcome” side will greet those entering, while the “goodbye” side faces guests as they leave. It features coarse bristles that’ll grab onto dirt, preventing it from getting inside your home. And the heavy-duty rubber backing ensures the mat doesn’t slide around when walked on.


Using mirrors to make rooms look larger & brighter

Walkers says, “Mirrors are a great tool to use to amplify the home.” This round mirror is 11.8 inches in diameter (though smaller and larger options are also available in the listing) with gold accents to complement various spaces. For less than $25, this is a budget-friendly addition that makes any room look brighter and more expensive.


Adding texture & color with throw blankets

Walkers suggests adding a fleece throw with color and texture to your bedroom or living room because “we like to experience contrast and have a point of interest to focus the eye as it comes into a room.” This textured blanket comes in four different sizes (including twin, queen, or king options should you want to drape it across your bed) and many colors to match your existing decor.


Tidying up your closet with shoe stackers

When it comes to your closet, Walkers says shoe stackers like these are one of her favorite space-saving hacks. Each stacker (the set comes with 10 in total) is made from non-slip plastic and can hold a single pair of shoes. They can accommodate most styles, including heels and sneakers.


Making the most out of closet space with thin velvet hangers

To make “more clothes take up less space,” Walkers recommends slim velvet hangers. The hook at the top of each of these conveniently swivels 360 degrees for simplified hanging and each of the hangers in this pack of 20 has a tie bar that can be used for any small accessories. They are available in several colors in the listing.


Maximizing storage under your sinks with 2-tier organizers

To make the area underneath your kitchen or bathroom sink look more orderly, Walkers recommends removing the items you don’t regularly use and placing the remainder in these two-tier organizers. She prefers them because they’re tall with two tiers to utilize vertical space. The organizers are made from sturdy plastic with drainage holes in the bottom and optional movable hooks for storing small hanging items.


Setting the tone of any room with area rugs & smart furniture placement

Walkers suggests pushing furniture against the wall to create a roomy feel. “Most furniture can be placed around an area rug that can set the tone for the size and layout,” indicates Walkers. This area rug is ideal because it comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and patterns to work in different rooms. Another major perk is it’s machine-washable, too.


Illuminating your home with adequate & uniform lighting

Alessia Lamonaca, the owner and lead designer of New Mode Home, explains that “a space with inadequate lighting can feel drab.” Lamonaca also recommends sticking with one color temperature throughout your home. This soft white smart bulb can be controlled using your voice via Amazon Alexa or Google Home or with the free Sengled Home app. Set up timers and schedules to make your day-to-day life a little simpler.


Cutting down on clutter in the kitchen & bathroom

“Too many items on your countertops can make your kitchen and bathroom feel cluttered,” says Lamonaca. Use this expandable organizer to tidy it up. It’s made from heavy-duty metal with a scratch-resistant surface. It can expand from 16 inches to 26 inches in length depending on the number of items you need to store and the available space. A white version, as well as a two-tier version, is available in the listing.


Refreshing bathrooms with clean-looking accessories for a uniform look

“Replace dingy soap dispensers and toothbrush holders with this chic and affordable bathroom accessory set,” says Lamonaca. It comes with five useful pieces — including a soap dispenser, two toothbrush holders, a storage canister, and a soap dish — and everything is made from sturdy ceramic. The classic white finish will match with practically any existing bathroom decor.


Creating a welcoming atmosphere with outdoor lighting

Don’t ignore the outdoors to give your home a high-end look. “Enhance your curb appeal with these solar-powered outdoor wall lights to create a more welcoming atmosphere,” says Lamonaca. The waterproof light is charged by the sun during the day, then turns on automatically for up to 10 hours straight at night. Installation is simple with no wiring required.


Repairing wooden furniture with a DIY-friendly repair kit

With this extensive repair kit, fixing scratches, water rings, and other damage on your wooden furniture will be a simple project. And it’s one that you definitely want to do because Lamonaca indicates that “scratched surfaces can diminish your home's appeal.” Included are repair compounds and touch-up markers — in a wide shade range to match the color of your furniture — plus various tools to get the job done with professional-looking results.


Using artificial plants to add life to any space

Artificial plants like these will “add a pop of color and vitality to any room,” notes Lamonaca. The set comes with three different faux plants in gray planters — each one is about 10 inches tall. They’re a best-seller on Amazon with a 4.7-star overall rating after over 12,000 reviews.


Organizing with space-saving clear bins

Lamonaca says, “Maintain order with these versatile and space-saving closet organizer bins,” — and the two-pack of bins is also ideal for tidying up a pantry, fridge, or under-sink area. They’re made from sturdy plastic with built-in handles for easy access.


Replacing outdated & broken light fixtures

Because “outdated or broken light fixtures can detract from your home's appeal,” Lamonaca suggests using this flush-mount light “for a contemporary touch.” The round fixture features a matte black exterior and a champagne gold interior, and it’s 12.5 inches in diameter. The built-in LED light puts out a warm white glow, but it can be set up for dimming if desired.


Giving blank walls a finished look with art

“Blank walls can make your home appear unfinished,” indicates Lamonaca. She suggests “hang[ing] these affordable and stylish wall art prints to infuse some color.” Each one is 11 by 14 inches in size and the wooden frames will bring warmth and a rustic flair. The wall art set has earned an impressive 4.6-star overall rating on Amazon.


Repairing damaged items around your home

Zara O’Hare, interior design consultant at Land of Rugs and a professional home decorator and stager, indicates that “one of the worst things you can do to make your home look cheap is to neglect maintenance and repairs.” Luckily, by purchasing this highly rated silicone repair glue, you’ll be able to fix endless items around your home — it can be molded to stick permanently to materials like glass, wood, metal, plastic, and more. It’s heat-resistant and waterproof for use indoors or out.


Hanging art, mirrors & shelves straight

O’Hare says, “Small things like unevenly hung pictures and crooked shelves can make the home feel neglected and uncared for.” Use this laser level to ensure that pictures, shelves, mirrors, artwork, curtain rods, and more are hung perfectly straight — it’s well worth the $17, considering the amount of frustration it’ll eliminate. The level projects the laser line at any angle needed (it even rotates 360 degrees), and it’s powered by two AA batteries.


Avoiding throw pillows with words & sayings

Dan Mazzarini, the principal and creative director of BHDM Design, says that avoiding throw pillows with wording or phrases on them and instead opting for plain covers will make your decor cleaner. These velvet pillow covers are particularly ideal because they look rich and luxurious, yet boast a price tag of under $11 for the pair. They come in nearly any color imaginable — from neutrals like khaki or gray to vibrant hues like bright pink or lemon yellow — as well as different sizes and shapes. If you need inserts as well, this pair fits and brings the total for the entire project to just $25.


Switching to light-colored drapes to let in sunshine

“Remove any dark drapes and swap them for lighter drapes to let in the natural light,” recommends Mazzarini. These linen curtains have a textured woven fabric paired with a light gray-beige shade brings an airy, natural feel to any space. The grommeted top makes for simple opening and closing. Other colors and sizes are also available in the listing including white, gray-white, and taupe.


Scenting your home with fragrances that aren’t overpowering

Mazzarini is a big proponent of using “fragrances that are not overpowering” in the home. And this reed diffuser features a great example — the pine and clove scent is light, earthy, and calming. Add or remove the diffuser sticks (it comes with six of them) to control the strength of the scent as desired.


Making your bed in sheets that give off hotel vibes

To give your bedroom a high-end-hotel look and feel, Mazzarini recommends “going for all-white bedsheets and pillows.” This bedsheet set is popular on Amazon — with a 4.5-star overall rating after 106,000-plus five-star reviews — and it’s comfortable year-round because its microfiber material is moisture-resistant and breathable. The set includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and four pillowcases.


Replacing worn towels in your bathrooms

In your bathroom, Mazzarini indicates you should “put all new towels on the towel bar.” This towel set is made from 100% Turkish cotton that is soft, fluffy, and absorbent. Included are two bath towels (each is 27 inches by 54 inches in size), two hand towels, and two washcloths. A bath sheet and other combinations of towel types are also available in the listing.


Changing out old shower curtains

Mazzarini also recommends using a white pique shower curtain in bathrooms for a fresh look. While this shower curtain may cost less than $20, its high-quality features make it seem much more pricey. The thick waffle weave fabric boasts multiple layers of waterproof coating to keep it in top shape, the 12 rustproof grommets at the top allow for effortless opening and closing, and the hem is weighted.


Organizing drawers so they aren’t a jumbled mess

Christina Giaquinto, a professional organizer and brand ambassador of Modular Closets, suggested adding these expandable dividers to your drawers because it “not only looks better because it is organized, but also it prevents you from buying things you already have because you can see everything from above.” The set comes with four spring-loaded dividers that expand in length from 11 inches to 17 inches to fit in most drawers. The ends are covered in foam to prevent the dividers from scratching or damaging the walls of the drawers.


Tidying up small kitchen appliance cords

Giaquinto recommends using these cable clips to prevent small kitchen appliance cords from becoming an eyesore. “[They’re] effective in keeping unsightly cords out of sight and well-organized,” she explains. The set comes with 16 cable clips in a couple of sizes. Each one has a strong adhesive backing that’ll allow you to attach it to various surfaces based on your specific setup.


Stashing your food in uniform containers

“Your home will look cheap if you leave cereal boxes and other boxed food items sitting on your countertops and creating clutter,” says Giaquinto. Instead, put everything in these food storage containers which are aesthetically pleasing, but also boast airtight, locking lids to keep the contents inside fresh for longer. Included are two extra-large, four large, four medium, and four small containers to hold various foods.


Properly repairing damaged drywall before painting over it

If you have a hole in your drywall from your door knob hitting it, Melissa Zimbelman, a real estate agent and property manager with LUXE International Realty & Property Management, suggests fixing the hole using this repair kit before putting up a doorstop. The set comes with everything needed to quickly and effectively repair drywall damage, including a tub of spackling compound, a 4-inch adhesive patch, a putty knife, and a sanding pad. It’s beginner-friendly — anyone can do it.


Protecting your drywall from getting damaged again post-repair

To keep your repaired drywall in good shape (as recommended by Zimbelman), you can use this magnetic doorstop. It’s available in several finishes in the listing, is easy to install, and the magnetic feature means it can hold the door open for you, too.


Cleaning baseboards before painting them

To clean up your baseboards (especially if you’re planning on painting them), Zimbelman recommends using magic erasers. The set comes with six powerful scrubbers that provide a deep clean when wet — no cleaners required. Beyond baseboards, magic erasers can be used on walls, appliances, doors, and many other surfaces.


Using silk flowers that won’t wilt after a few days like fresh ones

Emily Clancy LoPorto, a licensed realtor, recommends “a very simple bunch of silk flowers” for decor after decluttering surfaces. The bouquet includes two roses, two hydrangeas, and leaves to fill it out. Several other colors and styles are available in the listing.


Hiding aging or damaged flooring with kitchen mats

LoPorto explains that “a mat or rug meant for [a] kitchen space can help camouflage an aging laminate or vinyl tile floor.” This floor mat is made from thick memory foam to provide relief for your feet (and general all-around comfort) and absorb shock, too. The non-slip bottom means it won’t slide around you walk on it. Choose from a variety of colors, patterns, and sizes in the listing.


Swapping out yellowed light switch & outlet plates

“Yellowing light switches and outlets can cheapen the look of a home,” explains Farah Sutton, a licensed real estate agent. “Swapping out to white or modern faceplates and covers is a way to give a room a refresh and a more modern feeling.” These white wall plates feature clean, straight lines with a crisp white finish. They’re only $6 each, so it’s a low-cost option for major impact.