Real estate pros say your home would look more expensive if you tried these surprisingly cheap tricks

Luxe upgrades on a budget.

ByClaire Epting
Originally Published: 
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No one has to know you got your sofa on rock-bottom clearance or picked up your dining table at the secondhand shop — in fact, real estate pros say these cheap home tricks can make any living space look more expensive. I sourced brokers, agents, and home buyers for wallet-friendly tips to make your place shine. From simple touches that’ll give your bathroom a sleek appearance, to lighting upgrades that make any room more sophisticated, you’ll find amazing ideas here.


Use a sleek bamboo bath mat with a natural, spa-like vibe

“By incorporating a bamboo bath mat, you can incorporate a chic and natural spa vibe in your bathroom,” says Eric Robb, owner of Robb Realty Group in Atlanta. This particular bath mat is made of interlocking bamboo panels that feel sturdy beneath your feet. Not to mention, a rubber backing ensures the mat won’t slip around your floor. It rolls up easily when not in use, making it an especially great choice for compact bathrooms.


Scrub surfaces with these brushes that attach to your power drill

Scrubbing your tile, grout lines, and tub doesn’t have to take a ton of elbow grease — not if you own a power drill, that is. These scrubbing brush attachments connect to your drill, creating an oscillating head that powerfully cleans a wide range of kitchen and bathroom surfaces. You get three different brush heads designed to tackle a variety of tasks, including clearing out hard-to-reach crevices.

  • Available colors: 5


Deep clean with this ultra-versatile, fan-favorite cleaning paste

If you’re going to deep clean, you need the right products to do it — and with more than 124,000 perfect five-star ratings on Amazon, this rosy cleaning paste isn’t messing around. Aptly named The Pink Stuff, this deeply cleansing product removes all sorts of stains — from rust to permanent marker — from your home. The paste is also suitable for removing grease, and grime from a variety of household surfaces, including porcelain, metal, glass, and even wood.


Hide messy cables with this streamlined power strip box

“The unsightly mess of cables makes your home look disorganized and unpleasant,” says Robb. “Instead, you can hide them all inside a cable management box.” With a clean, streamlined design, this storage box conceals your power strip and subsequent electrical cords while allowing them to run freely into your outlet. The lid features a natural wood-grain pattern, further creating a calming effect in your home. It’s a particularly useful investment for pet owners as well — the box prevents your dog or cat from chewing any cords.


Use these marble coasters for a high-end touch on your coffee table

Landoll’s also a fan of marble accents — not only do these ceramic coasters absorb moisture like a pro, they’re also incredibly pleasing to the eye. The unique marble texture gives them a sophisticated edge, while a practical cork backing keeps them from sliding around your table. A minimalist metal holder provides a stylish resting place for the coasters when not in use.

  • Available colors: white, black, gray


Illuminate kitchen counters with an under-cabinet light rope

“My favorite cheap upgrade to houses, as long as they have pretty backsplashes, is under-cabinet lighting,” says Shelby Johnson, real estate professional at Be More Agents. “It really takes the kitchen from standard to luxury feeling.” This LED light rope is one of the easiest ways to illuminate the space under your cabinet — the 3-foot strip adheres to any smooth surface with the included sticky tape. An oversized power button makes it easy to switch on the battery-powered lights.


Liven up your space with these realistic-looking faux plants

“Plants can be a really great way to spruce up any space and make it look more attractive and cleaner,” says Teifke. If you’re always on the go, you can pick up a pair of these faux potted plants — they look just like the real thing, but they never need to be watered or pruned. Place them in your windowsill, on a bookshelf, on your kitchen counter... anywhere that could use a touch of greenery.

  • Available multipacks: 2


Add a layer of soft luxury with a faux sheepskin rug

Piled high with fleecy faux sheepskin, this asymmetrical rug adds a cozy touch to any space — plus, imagine how good it would feel to bury your toes in that soft fur. “It adds a touch of fluffy and luxurious flair wherever you lay it,” says Robb. “Choose the color and size carefully so that it matches perfectly with your home aesthetics.” Luckily, there’s a wide palette of hues available — everything from soft beige to dark red to light blue. Sizes range from 2.9 feet long all the way up to 9 feet long.

  • Available sizes: 16
  • Available colors: 24


Install backlighting on your TV with an LED light strip

To upgrade your home entertainment setup on a budget, Robb recommends picking up an LED light strip and installing it behind your monitor. “It helps to create an attractive and visually appealing backlighting effect,” he explains. Use the included adhesive backing to stick the lights around the border of your monitor, then conveniently plug them into your TV’s USB port. Not only will the colors on your screen appear richer, you’ll also notice your eyes won’t strain as much.

  • Available colors: Small — XX-Large


Tidy your kitchen counters by using a magnetic bar instead of a block

Theresa Raymod, broker at Smoky Mountain Realty in Sevierville, Tennessee, says that magnetic knife bars “create a professional vibe in the kitchen and make the counters look light and tidy.” Available in lengths ranging from 10 inches to 24 inches, this stainless steel knife bar definitely makes a lasting impression in the kitchen, but it also proves to be useful in your garage or craft room — the strong magnets hold metal tools and scissors in place. It includes all of the mounting hardware you’ll need, making the installation process a breeze.

  • Available sizes: 10 inches — 24 inches


Upgrade your doorbell with this wireless, customizable version

One way to give your home a high-tech, customized feel without breaking the bank? This wireless doorbell. With over 50 chime sounds and four adjustable volume settings, you can tailor the bell to fit the ambience of your living space. “These doorbells are pretty fun as they can ring in bird calls, chimes, and a variety of other sounds,” Raymod adds. Pick from a wide variety of hues, from neutral beige to baby blue to hot pink.

  • Available colors: 11


Add polish to your kitchen with some peel & stick tiles

A good backsplash is a must if you add under-cabinet lighting — and these peel-and-stick tiles make that space pop. With a raised, 3-D texture, the adhesive sheets have the look and feel of real tiling (without the lofty price tag, of course). Even better, removal is just as easy as application — just peel back the tiles when you’re ready to switch up your kitchen’s appearance.

  • Available colors: 9


Replace your outlet covers with this elegant set

“Simple cosmetic updates, such as replacing outdated hardware, can make a noticeable difference in the overall appearance of a home,” says Joseph Melara, managing broker at Residential Brokers in Palm Desert, California. Starting with your outlet cover, this crisp white option lends a modern, elegant feel to your space. You get four plates in a pack, each of which is covered in a high-gloss finish that resists yellowing over time. The set also includes four screws for hassle-free installation.


Swap your light switch plates for these upgraded covers that come in 3 colors

Moving on to your light switch covers — try these ones with a a clean, minimalist border to add a contemporary feel to your home. Made out of durable zinc alloy, these switch covers are designed to stand the test of time. Besides matte black, you’ll also find them in clean white and neutral almond tones.

  • Available colors: light almond, matte black, white


Use curtain tiebacks that come in sophisticated finishes

Don’t forget about drapery hardware — mounting to your wall with a set of screws, these sturdy metal curtain tiebacks keep even your thickest drapes secured and out of the way. Not to mention, their lustrous finish adds an elegant touch to your space. Whether you opt for silver, brass, or black, your room will instantly feel so much nicer — sometimes, it’s the smallest touches that make the biggest impact.

  • Available colors: 9


Tailor your lighting with this smart bulb that’s customizable

Melara also recommends LED lights for a polished look — this smart light bulb is a great investment that allows you to adjust the brightness and hue of your light with a few taps on your smartphone. Or, you can pair the bulb with any smart assistant device to set timers and schedules using a simple voice command. Forget cold, static LED light bulbs — this wallet-friendly upgrade is the way to go.


Replace your standard cabinet knobs with nicer ones

“Swapping out outdated or generic cabinet knobs and handles with more stylish and high-quality options can enhance the perceived value of kitchen cabinets,” says Melara. This 10-pack of drawer knobs comes in a variety of bronze, nickel, and silver finishes — plus, you’ll find the price is surprisingly budget-friendly. Made from durable zinc, the knobs have a nice, solid weight to them. All of the required hardware is included, so you can get to installing them ASAP.

  • Available colors: 6


Install a modern bathroom faucet — like this one with a waterfall design

“Upgrading bathroom fixtures, such as faucets, towel racks, and showerheads, can provide a more luxurious and expensive feel,” notes Melara. “Choose fixtures with modern designs and finishes that complement the overall aesthetic.” For example, this sleek waterfall faucet gives any bathroom a distinctly high-end look. Available in matte black, brushed gold, and brushed silver finishes, the contemporary fixture features clean, curved lines for a minimalist appearance. The single handle provides effortless control, while the wide spout allows for powerful water flow.

  • Available sizes: 2


Use a minimalist bath towel bar made of sleek stainless steel

Constructed from sleek stainless steel, this towel bar gives your bathroom a sophisticated edge. The sturdy, wall-mounted rack comes in a variety of sizes, so you can choose something small for a hand towel near the sink, or something large to accommodate oversized bath sheets. Opt for classic, versatile finishes such as matte black, polished silver, or brushed gold.

  • Available sizes: 13
  • Available finishes: 5


Hang your hand towel on this simple, modern hook

When it comes to bathroom fixtures, less really can be more — this minimalist, pared-down towel rod speaks volumes. Choose from high-quality bronze, nickel, and black finishes — no matter which option you choose, it’s bound to blend in perfectly with the rest of your bathroom’s decor. Besides hand towels, it’s also great for holding a roll of toilet paper.

  • Available colors: 4


Swap your showerhead for this rainfall option that comes in dozens of styles

Not only does this sleek, sophisticated showerhead give your bathroom a luxe feel, it also helps increase the feeling of your water pressure. It’s all thanks to the rainfall-style rubber nozzles, which evenly disperse the water as it flows out. Not to mention, there are so many finishes to pick from, including gold, brass, and chrome — you’ll also find square-shaped designs in addition to this rounded one.

  • Available colors and styles: 29


Upgrade your toilet paper holder with one that comes in luxe metal tones

Even your toilet paper holder can be updated to give your bathroom a luxe look. Replace your current one with this sleek fixture made of brushed stainless steel — the space-saving unit can be installed either horizontally or vertically. Choose from lustrous options such as gold, nickel, and chrome, or opt for a modern matte black shade.

  • Available colors: 5


Level up any room with a vintage-inspired rug

“Vintage-inspired rugs and art elevate a space,” says Austin-based real estate agent Betsy Landoll. This distressed rug may look like a genuine antique, but it comes at a much lower price. Blending together dynamic hues and ornate patterns, the rug adds a rustic-chic element to any bedroom, living room, or hallway. Not to mention, the plush CloudPile material feels amazing under bare feet. There are a variety of sizes and color schemes to pick from, so you can find the piece that fits your home best.

  • Available sizes: 10
  • Available colors: 5


Hang a framed piece of canvas wall art that feels like a vintage find

As for “vintage” art, you don’t have to spend time hunting down a unique piece at a flea market or antique store — there are dozens of gorgeous, vintage-inspired art prints available on Amazon at a wallet-friendly price. Even better, the canvas wall art comes in a sturdy wooden frame that’s ready to be hung in your living room.

  • Available sizes: 3
  • Available styles: 29


Store your cooking utensils in this marble holder

Beautiful and functional, this marble utensil holder makes any kitchen feel more gourmet. It’s the perfect spot to place your spatulas, spoons, whisks, and other cooking essentials — but you can also use it as a remote holder in your living room or as a bud vase in your entryway. Simple and classic, this heavyweight pick will last for years to come.


Update your lighting with this super-minimalist table lamp

“Invest in good lighting. Purchasing a few modern light fixtures can instantly make a space feel more luxurious and expensive in a way,” says Matt Teifke, founder of Teifke Real Estate in Austin. This LED table lamp, for instance, is a total statement piece. Its lean, streamlined design won’t take up much room in your living room or bedroom, but its presence will be known. It offers three light temperature settings — warm, natural, and cool — as well as adjustable brightness levels.

  • Available colors: black, gold, silver


Add this floor lamp with a chic, modern aesthetic to any room

Elegant and modern, this floor lamp makes a tasteful addition to your living room. It’s designed with a sophisticated glass shade and matte black stand, effortlessly blending in among your existing decor — whether you’re going for an industrial-chic or minimalist look. The lamp also comes with two different bulb shades — one cool and one warm — so you can customize your ambient lighting.

  • Available colors: 9


Create a fantastic first impression with this solar-powered address plaque

Tyler and Alyson Peck, owners of Bridge The Gap Home Buyers in Marietta, Georgia, suggest investing in a lighted address plaque to “enhance and make your home look fantastic.” Not to mention, it’s an incredibly low-maintenance addition to your home — the built-in spotlights are solar-powered, automatically turning on at dusk and shutting off at dawn. The modern, minimalist sign is also weatherproof, standing up to rain, frost, and heat. Putting it together couldn’t be any easier — just use the template to place the self-adhesive numbers in a straight line.


Create arrangements in a statement vase

“I am a big fan of having simple and statement vases in which I can place floral arrangements,” says Nicole Beauchamp, Senior Global Real Estate Advisor at Engel & Völkers in New York. With a sand glaze finish, this ceramic vase has a cool, textured look — it stands out on any dining room table or countertop. The 2-inch opening is the perfect size for showcasing a handful of fresh blooms, or you can add a few stems of dried pampas grass to create a low-maintenance centerpiece you can display year-round.

  • Available styles: 3


Use gorgeous faux flowers when you don’t have time for a real bouquet

Don’t want to constantly stock up on fresh bouquets? Forget what you know about cheap-looking faux flowers — this artificial bouquet looks super realistic and will last forever. Available in a wide palette of pinks, purples, and oranges, the floral arrangement is perfect for placing inside a statement vase. You can even bend and prune the stems to your liking.

  • Available styles: 11


Create a mini gallery in your home with a set of frames

Another one of Beauchamp’s suggestions is to pick up a set of picture frames and create a mini gallery on your wall. “In fact, I did this myself [...] to create a great Zoom-ready background for one of the walls in my home office,” she says. With a matte black finish, the frames offer a contemporary, minimalist vibe — and let your photos or graphic prints do the talking. The set includes 10 frames in a variety of sizes for making an eclectic grouping on your wall.


Declutter with these storage bins with faux suede handles

“One of the simplest ways to make a home look more expensive is to declutter and deep clean every room,” says Samantha Odo, real estate sales representative at Precondo in Montreal. “Remove any unnecessary items, organize belongings, and ensure surfaces are spotless.” These fabric storage bins are a great way to keep clutter at bay — fill them with spare blankets, pillows, towels, dog toys, or anything else you find strewn about your home. Each bin features a pair of reinforced faux suede handles, allowing you to easily carry it from room to room. Choose from versatile neutral shades of beige, gray, and brown.

  • Available colors and patterns: 7


Create a luxurious feel with these linen sheers that let the light in

“Hang curtains or drapes that are slightly longer and wider than the actual window to create the illusion of larger windows and higher ceilings,” says Odo. She further advises going for materials like linen for a “luxurious touch.” These sheer linen curtains are an excellent choice. They come in a wide range of sizes, so you can easily select slightly oversized measurements to carry out Odo’s advice. You also have lots of hues to pick from, including natural beige, sage green, and denim blue.

  • Available sizes: 9
  • Available colors: 16


Makes your space feel more expansive with mirrors

“Mirrors can make any space look larger and more luxurious,” says Adie Kriegstein, Manhattan-based real estate salesperson at Compass. “Hang mirrors strategically to reflect natural light and visually expand rooms.” This circular mirror is a particularly stunning option, designed with a subtle frame that comes in lustrous gold and matte black styles. With sizes ranging from 16 inches to 32 inches in diameter, it’s easy to select the mirror that suits your space the best. Place it above your dresser, over your sink, or amongst a collection of framed graphic prints.

  • Available sizes: 16 inches — 32 inches
  • Available colors: 4


Run home appliances more easily with a smart plug

It may be a small adjustment, but installing a smart plug can make day-to-day tasks much simpler. “As a real estate agent I think these add significantly to one’s quality of life, just making running home appliances easier,” says Kriegstein. Pairing with your Alexa- or Google Home-enabled devices, the plug allows you to set timers and schedules for your appliances with nothing but a voice command. Or, if you’d prefer, you can toggle any settings with a few taps in the Alexa mobile app.


Improve your home’s ambience with an essential oil diffuser

“An essential oil diffuser is a great way to improve the air quality and ambience of your home,” says Kriegstein. With an aesthetically pleasing, curved body and wood-grain texture, the diffuser effortlessly blends into its surroundings. The whisper-quiet unit emits a fine mist for up to 13 hours on a single tank fill — long enough to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Simply add a few drops of your favorite fragrance, set the LED light to a calming hue, and take a deep breath. You’ve earned this.

  • Available colors: dark, light


Illuminate dark areas with these motion-activated puck lights

Kriegstein says that motion-sensor lights are “perfect for dark hallways, closets, or rooms where you need some extra light.” With a self-adhesive backing, these motion-activated puck lights can easily be installed on any smooth surface in your home. You get three battery-powered lights in a pack, so you can place them throughout your living space. Each one detects movement up to 10 feet away, and automatically shuts off once the motion has stopped.


Get both light & privacy with this window-cling film

Window film can be an affordable way to add privacy to your home without blocking out natural light,” Kriegstein states. The thin vinyl covering is placed directly on your windows — all you need is a little bit of water. While the frosted film ensures passersby can’t look inside your home, it still allows diffused natural light to enter. Not to mention, it filters out 96% of harmful UV rays, so you can enjoy the sunshine in comfort.

  • Available sizes: 15
  • Available colors: 5


Add polish to sofas & beds with these rustic throw pillow covers

“Throw pillows and blankets will add some elegance into your space,” mentions Kriegstein. Instead of investing in all-new cushions, simply place these rustic-chic covers over the inserts you already own. (Don’t have any? Pick some inserts up for cheap on Amazon.) Featuring a soft jacquard weave, each cover incorporates just a hint of texture into your space. Place them on your sofa, your bed, or an oversized chair — with over a dozen jewel tones and neutrals to pick from, you’re bound to find a hue you love.

  • Available sizes: 5
  • Available colors: 17


Drape a cozy throw blanket over furniture for an inviting texture

Made out of 100% cotton, this cozy throw blanket is a welcome addition to any sofa or bed. Thoughtful details — such as a tasseled edge and subtle zig-zag pattern — give this throw a unique, lived-in feel. There’s a rainbow of colors to pick from, including aqua blue, blush pink, and hunter green.

  • Available colors: 21