41 cheap home upgrades that look incredibly good in person

ByChloe Obach

My neighbors recently did a huge home and kitchen remodel and when I saw their stone counters and beautiful lighting I was, at first, jealous. When they told me how much everything cost, I got over it — but I was inspired to do my own remodel with the goal of spending as little as possible while achieving results that are startlingly awesome. Now, I actually think my neighbors are jealous of how little I spent on some of these cheap home upgrades that look incredibly good in person.

Most of these upgrades are extremely easy, too. For example, you can transform your space by simply adding under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. And while counters seem like they would be prohibitively expensive to upgrade, you can create the look of marble — and maintain the durability of your counters — by applying some stick-on marble paper. Even your garage door can get a cheap and easy upgrade with some magnetic door accents or window stickers.

There are so many of these clever, inexpensive upgrades that I'm still remodeling — and I'm having so much fun making my home look incredibly good. Read on for more of my favorite home upgrades below.

1. This LED strip light with 20 colors

It's easy to create beautiful ambient lighting in your bedroom (or any room in the house) in whatever color suits your vibe at the moment with these LED strip lights. Just peel and stick the lights — you get over 32 feet of them — to the underside of the bed, back of the headboard, or anywhere you like. Then, use the 44-key remote to choose from 20 colors, six modes, and eight levels of brightness.

2. These magnetic door accents that transform the look of your garage

Revamp your garage door with these magnetic door accents. The set includes two handles and four hinges that are made from UV- and weather-resistant material. All you have to do is stick them on to create a classic carriage door look that'll instantly increase your home's curb appeal.

3. These magnets that create fake windows on your garage

Add these window magnets to the metal surface of your garage door, and when you step back to look at your handiwork, you will be surprised at how realistic they look. This 32-pack of pre-measured, PVC-coated magnetic panes allows you to create "windows" where you want them. Choose from seven styles.

4. This marble contact paper that's surprisingly realistic

When you don't have the funds to replace an ugly counter or damaged table, apply this marble contact paper and it will look like you splurged, even though you hardly spent anything. It's made of thick, glossy waterproof vinyl that's easy to wipe clean as needed. Just peel-and-stick it onto whatever surface you wish you could replace.

5. An 8-pack of solar-powered deck lights

It's easy to light that dark corner of the garden, your deck, or fence with these eight solar-powered deck lights. The waterproof lights are designed so you can attach them to a wall or fence with screws or adhesive. They charge during the day and light up at night, and you can choose from warm white light or a color-changing mode that cycles slowly through seven colors.

6. These solar-powered lights for your stairs or railing

Attach these solar-powered lights to the steps of a dark flight of stairs or to the railing of your deck to create subtle, safe, and charming lighting. They are easy to screw on, charge themselves with sunlight during the day, and come on automatically when the sun goes down. They are waterproof, rugged, and cast a warm glow.

7. The under-cabinet lighting that's so easy to install

It's super easy to light the underside of your kitchen cabinets, turn your desk into a decorative lighting element, or create a display area on shelves simply by peeling-and-sticking these LED light strips where you want them. You can control the brightness with the included 17-key remote or the in-line dimmer. Choose from white and warm white colors.

8. This peel-and-stick subway tile that looks like the real thing

A bright, easy-to-clean backsplash is a great way to freshen the look and function of your kitchen but hiring someone to install tile is expensive. This peel-and-stick faux tile is inexpensive and so easy to install that you can do it yourself in no time. The 12-inch by 12-inch heat-resistant tiles are easy to cut, have adhesive already on them, look convincingly like the real thing, and are super easy to clean.

9. These smart light bulbs for whatever mood you are in

Screw these smart lightbulbs into the light socket, connect them to the Kasa app or your smart home system, and make your lights serve whatever mood is happening in the room with no effort. When you want to read, turn the brightness up by tapping the app. When you are relaxing, ask for a low lighting in a soothing color by speaking to your AI. They don't require a hub or wiring so they are dead simple to install.

10. These shelves that create a decorative storage space

Hang these two floating shelves with an attached towel hook in the kitchen or bathroom to create a handy storage space and turn your spices or lotion into functional décor. They are easy to install, come in five wood-color options, and — according to the 15,000 reviewers who give them five stars — look terrific.

11. A complete set of knives that are surprisingly awesome

If you are outfitting a kitchen or tired of your hand-me-down knives, this high-carbon stainless steel knife set has everything you need. The 14-piece set includes 11 knives in various sizes, kitchen shears, and a pine knife block. A sharpener is also included to keep your new collection honed. According to reviewers who give them over 7,000 five-star reviews, these knives look and feel so much more expensive than they are.

12. This cable management box so no one can see that snarl of wires

When you get that snake's nest of wires that power your desk or entertainment system tidied up into this cable management box, you won't believe how much cleaner your space looks. There is room inside for an 11-inch power strips and all your plugs, ports in the back let wires in and out, and vents in the top keep it from overheating.

13. These satin pillowcases that are gentle on hair & skin

Not only do these satin pillowcases feel like a decadent luxury to sleep on, but they're gentler to your hair and skin than other fabrics because they are less abrasive and don't pull moisture away. This set includes two pillowcases, available in a wide assortment of gorgeous colors, with an envelope close that keeps your pillow inside the case all night.

14. An easy-to-install rainfall shower head

Make your bathroom feel way more luxurious with this easy-to-install rainfall shower head. It quickly connects to any standard shower arm with no tools required and features 90 rubber jets that deliver soothing, high-pressure water. Choose from six colors, including chrome, gold, and matte black.

15. The tablet mount that is like command central for your kitchen

This tablet mount will hold your device so you can use it as a kitchen recipe book, whether you like cooking videos or written recipes. It can be mounted on the wall, under a cabinet, or placed on a tabletop. Plus, the holder can be rotated 360 degrees to give you the most comfortable viewing angle.

16. A complete charging station and shelf you just plug in

Plug this outlet shelf into any outlet and turn it into a complete charging station for all your gadgets — it even has a built-in night light that turns on at dusk. The surge protector features three AC outlets and four USB ports. What's more, the roomy shelf has channels for cords and holds your phone, tablet, and earbuds.

17. This curtain of lights for inside or out

Hang this set of curtain-style fairy lights on top of a curtain or on their own to create a magical lighting scene with the warm white light they throw. Choose one of the eight modes for a steady light or one that twinkles, flashes, fades, or more. You can string them together for a larger display and they are waterproof so you can use them outdoors.

18. A shower curtain liner that doesn't get gross

This shower curtain liner is made of a completely waterproof PEVA so water rolls right off the surface and it dries quickly. The magnets in the bottom keep it from billowing onto you while you bathe and it's completely transparent to let natural or ambient light into your shower. Pair it with a decorative shower curtain or use it alone.

19. This window film that lets light in while creating privacy

Just press this privacy film onto the glass of your windows and it will feel like you changed the panes out for stained glass. No one will be able to see you from the other side of the glass but the sun will stream through the bright colors, creating beautiful interior light. Plus, the film provides UV protection and helps conserve energy in your home. Reviewers are thrilled with the results and the easy installation, giving it over 29,000 five-star ratings.

20. This stand-alone toilet paper holder with a shelf

No room to mount a toilet roll holder in your bathroom? This stand-alone toilet paper holder is a functional and stylish solution. There's room in the bottom basket to hold a few backup rolls. The dispenser hook makes changing the roll super easy. And there's a shelf on the top to hold your phone or a box of tissues or wipes.

21. A wall-mounted dispenser for your shower

Secure this three-section dispenser to the wall of your shower with the included adhesive and you will solve so many problems at once. It gets rid of the proliferation of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles, dispenses a precise amount of product to cut back on waste, and lets you use economical large bottles of toiletries without having to store them in the shower. It looks elegant and almost 11,000 people give it five stars.

22. These bulbs that turn any mirror into a lighted vanity

If your vanity mirror doesn't light you well enough to get your makeup or hair right, just stick this string of adhesive bulbs to the mirror and plug them in. They deliver a bright, natural light precisely where you need it so you can get your color and details right without dropping a small fortune on a Hollywood-style makeup mirror.

23. This waterproof phone holder for the shower

This shower phone holder is 100% waterproof, so you can listen to music and podcasts or watch videos without worrying about your device getting wet. The holder features a two-layer waterproof design and an anti-fog screen. It's compatible with most smartphones and can be rotated for the best viewing angle.

24. These solar-powered pathway lights that are so easy to install

Upgrade your outdoor area with these low-effort solar-powered pathway lights, which turn on automatically at night. The waterproof lights are made from durable stainless steel, and they're easy to install in a few minutes with no tools required. Each order contains 12 lights and you can choose from warm white or cold white colors.

25. These outdoor string lights that create a warm glow

Create a warm, inviting hangout space with these outdoor string lights. They're dimmable, weatherproof, and available in three lengths — 25, 50, and 100 feet — to suit your needs. The bulbs provide a warm white glow, and you can choose from three string colors: black, green, and white.

26. A set of self-adhesive mirror wall stickers that brighten up any room

With these mirror wall stickers, you can quickly customize your decor and brighten up the room. Each pack contains 32 self-adhesive hexagon stickers that you can place in any formation, and their acrylic surface will reflect light like a mirror. The decorative stickers can be applied to any smooth surface around the house and you can choose from five sizes.

27. This flameless candle set you can control with a remote

These battery-powered flameless candles will flicker just like a real flame and provide up to 150 hours of continuous glow. The candles are safe to use in any room and are easy to turn on and off with the included remote — you can even set them on a timer for up to eight hours. Each set comes with three candles.

28. A toothbrush holder & toothpaste dispenser that reduces bathroom clutter

Reduce clutter in your bathroom with this wall-mounted toothbrush holder and toothpaste dispenser. The easy-to-install holder adheres to the wall with no tools or drilling required. It has four toothbrush slots with a dustproof cover, and when you place your toothbrush under the sensor, toothpaste will be dispensed for you. Plus, the top of the holder functions as a storage shelf.

29. These sleek cabinet knobs that'll refresh cupboards & drawers

For a quick and easy cabinet refresh, replace old handles with this set of modern cabinet knobs. They're made from durable stainless steel and come in a variety of colors, including brushed brass and polished chrome, and mounting screws are included. The knobs are sold in packs ranging from five to 100, depending on your needs.

30. A glass jar set for easy organization

These glass storage jars make it so easy to organize items in the pantry, medicine cabinet, office, and other areas, and you can quickly find what you need at a glance. The 10-piece jar set is made from durable borosilicate glass with bamboo lids and they come with chalkboard stickers so you can label everything.

31. A rotating faucet that makes it easier to wash your face

Give the bathroom sink an upgrade with this rotating filter faucet, which swivels to make it easier to wash your face and gargle. It can be mounted directly onto most faucets (an adapter is included, too) and offers two water settings: a gentle stream or a stronger spray.

32. These refillable glass bottles for soap, shampoo & conditioner

Add your favorite soap, shampoo, or conditioner to these elegant refillable glass soap dispensers. The set includes two 16-ounce bottles and four labels — hand wash, dish soap, shampoo, and conditioner — so you can use the bottles for the sink or the shower. Color options include amber and cobalt blue.

33. This stylish waffle-weave shower curtain

Made from heavy-duty polyester fabric, this waffle-weave shower curtain will make your bathroom feel more luxurious. The shower curtain is water-resistant and machine-washable, and you can choose from four sizes and six colors, including crisp white, gray, and cream.

34. This wood polish & conditioner that keeps tables & cabinets looking like new

Prevent your wood furniture from looking dry and faded with this wood polish and conditioner. The formula contains a blend of beeswax, carnauba wax, orange oil, and mineral oil to create a soft luster and enhance the look of finished and unfinished wood. You can use it on cabinets, dining tables, wood trim, antiques, and more.

35. These outlet covers with built-in LED lights

Sold in a two-pack, these easy-to-install outlet cover plates have built-in night lights that turn on when it gets dark, creating a soft glow in hallways and other dim areas. Each cover plate snaps on quickly, and since the LED lights are built-in, both of your outlets will remain free to power other things.

36. These address numbers that look so modern

Give your front door a makeover with these modern address numbers. Made from zinc alloy with a black coating, the large numbers are waterproof, rustproof, and made to last. You can install them flush or floating and the numbers come with hardware and an easy-to-use installation template.

37. A set of stencils for DIY tile floor designs

You can do a DIY floor upgrade with this mosaic tile stencil set, which includes four unique patterns. The reusable stencils are made from translucent mylar so you can easily position them before painting. You can also use them on wood furniture, walls, and more. Choose from Moroccan and Mexican stencil styles.

38. These stylish & sturdy wooden wall hooks

Not only are these wooden wall hooks stylish, but they're also sturdy enough to hold up to 30 pounds each. Available in wood beech or black walnut, each set comes with two solid wood hooks that are easy to install with the included hardware.

39. These shoe slots that save lots of storage space

These shoe slots allow you to stack your footwear, saving major storage space. Sold in a 10-pack, each shoe slot features a nonslip surface and can be adjusted to three different heights to fit various shoes. The slots are available in blue and black.

40. A faux-leather mat that protects your desk

Spruce up your workspace with this faux-leather desk mat. The durable, water-resistant mat protects your desk from spills and scratches and it's a different color on each side, so you can flip it over when you want to refresh your work area. Plus, the mat is large enough for a laptop, mouse, and other office essentials. Choose from six colors and three sizes.

41. This wall-mounted organizer for mops, brooms & more

Keep cleaning supplies and other items organized with this mop and broom holder. The wall-mounted organizer has five slots that automatically adjust to hold and grip various handles, and there are also six storage hooks. The holder is temperature-resistant, so you can use it indoors or outdoors.