Contractors say if your home doesn't have any of these things, it looks outdated

Here’s how the pros upgrade their homes.

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Have you ever visited a friend’s house for the first time and been absolutely blown away by their high-tech appliances and stunning decor? If those spaces sometimes seem too good to be true, a professional contractor may very well have helped them make those important updates to freshen up their home.

Contractors know a lot about homes and know when something can really date your living space. Not only can these specialists make your place look incredible, but they can help work out logistical kinks without your spending a fortune; keep scrolling to read their top tips for making sure your home stays cozy and current.


This keyless entry lock that lets you open your front door with the passcode of your choice

“Your house will never look outdated if you have a keyless entry lock,” advises Don Chambers, general contractor and owner of Double K Property Management. This device allows you to set the passcode of your choice for ease and safety when you're opening your front door, and it comes with an auto lock function for security you won't need to think twice about. You can install it with a screwdriver in a matter of minutes and it's compatible with all standard-size doors, so you can be certain that you're making a smart purchase.


This gorgeous retro toaster with 7 settings to give you the best possible breakfast each morning

“Swap out outdated stainless steel appliances for a fresh and modern look,” recommends Mansur; he shares that “white appliances [...] bring a clean and chic aesthetic to your kitchen.” This gorgeous retro toaster more than fits the bill; not only will you love its classic design, but you’ll be more than satisfied with its seven browning settings, which let you customize your toast to perfection each morning. Its two-slice design lets you conveniently toast multiple pieces of bread at once, and it comes with a defrosting function for bread you might've frozen to keep it fresh.


An efficient power strip you can mount under desks & countertops

“Don't let unsightly outlets ruin the aesthetic of your beautiful kitchen backsplash,” advises Drew Mansur, contractor and co-founder/director of TileCloud. So what should you do instead? Pick up an efficient power strip like this one, which you can conveniently mount under your desk or countertop to keep devices close at hand and charge them anytime.

“With outlets tucked away, your kitchen will look modern and streamlined, while still providing convenient power sources for your appliances,” says Mansur.


A smart thermostat that connects with your Alexa for easy temperature control

Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal and former professional landscaper, shares that “Homes without smart thermostats can look outdated. These devices offer energy efficiency and modern style.”

Not only does this particular device look super sleek on your wall, but it connects with Amazon Alexa, allowing you to change the temperature with just the sound of your voice. It's also a more budget-friendly choice; smart thermostats like these can help you save some money on your energy bills.


This microfiber blanket that’s lightweight, cuddly, & perfect for added decor

“A microfiber blanket tossed over the couch looks trendy,” says Chambers, and this king-size microfiber blanket will be a chic and functional living room addition that you’re sure to love. It's unbelievably fluffy and warm to keep you comfortable on colder days, and it's lightweight enough that you can use it in the warmer months without overheating. You can even pack it in your bag to take it to sports games, outdoor concerts, and even camping trips for coziness on the go.


A handheld showerhead that transforms your bathroom into a luxurious spa

Another fantastic option is this handheld showerhead, which is made of stainless steel and brass and reinforced with a commercial-grade finish for a shine that really lasts. “Not only does the upgraded showerhead elevate the visual aesthetics,” advises Cox, “but it also introduces a touch of luxury and indulgence to your daily routine.”

This particular model boasts a six-foot-long metal hose, so you're free to move it around to your heart's content, and if you start to see any mineral buildup, its soft silicone nozzles are incredibly easy to clean.


This coffee mug warmer that turns on & off automatically when it senses your cup

Owner of Bringer Appliance Repair and home expert Dave Bringer calls this coffee mug warmer “an interesting addition to your home gadgets collection,” noting that it’s a great way to ensure your beverage stays at the perfect temperature despite the busy list of tasks and chores ahead of you.

It'll sit atop your desk to keep hot drinks from getting cold, and its built-in gravity induction switch turns it on and off automatically when you set your mug down. Plus, it's safe to use with mugs of all materials, be they ceramic, enamel, or metal; you can tell when it's on because you'll see its bright indicator light.


These color-changing lightbulbs you can control with your voice or phone

“Still using incandescent bulbs? Time to upgrade to LEDS,” says Clayton, and these color-changing lightbulbs more than fit the bill. These bulbs burn bright at 810 lumens and last up to 20,000 hours, and you can connect them with smart assistants like Google Home and Alexa to change their colors and brightness with just the sound of your voice.

You'll also have the ability to download an app that lets you control them remotely from any distance, so if you've left the house and you're not sure if they're still on, you can double-check.


This wooden end table with 2 sturdy tiers that fits perfectly into smaller spaces

Todd Saunders, CEO of FlooringStores, shares that “If your home doesn't feature a wide array of natural materials, it likely looks outdated. Today's interior design trends have moved away from synthetics and embraced materials such as wood, stone, and even leather.”

You can embrace the trend with this wooden end table, which displays essentials like books, jewelry, and even desktop lamps on its two sturdy tiers. You'll especially appreciate its rounded and smooth corners, which minimize the possibility of a painful run-in or a stubbed toe.


This chic twisted curtain rod with an extendable design to better fit your windows

“Pair extra long drapes with these curtain rods and hang them near the ceiling,” advises Chambers, saying “it will create the illusion of a higher ceiling.” If you’d like to try it for yourself, pick up this chic twisted curtain rod, which boasts an extendable design to best fit your windows and complement the rest of your decor.

When you buy, you'll receive all the mounting hardware you need for an easy installation, including four adjustable brackets and simple instructions anyone can follow, and you’ll be astonished by how high your ceilings look.


This brushed nickel bathroom faucet with a built-in aerator that saves water

According to Clayton, “Water-saving fixtures WILL pay for themselves,” and this brushed nickel bathroom faucet is no exception. Its single handle makes it super easy to use and lets you change water temperatures with ease, and its built-in aerator makes for a less forceful flow, which saves you water (and money) in the long run. Made of solid brass, it's lead-free for maximum safety, and it resists scratches and corrosion, which ensures it'll look great and work beautifully for years to come.


This polished chrome shower head that saves water & makes your bathroom feel like a spa

Another great bathroom addition is this water-saving polished chrome shower head, which proves that you don't have to sacrifice water pressure for efficiency; it'll give you a relaxing shower experience every time. With a water flow rate of almost two gallons per minute, its pressure-compensating flow device evenly distributes water over a wide range, and its gorgeous metallic finish is scratch and tarnish-resistant. Plus, its nozzles are extremely easy to clean, so if lime and calcium build-up at all, you'll be able to get rid of them quickly and easily without any additional hassle.


This powerful electric lawn mower that weighs less than 21 pounds

“A lawn mower that mulches clippings can make a lawn look more presentable and is more sustainable,” says Clayton. Pick up this powerful lawn mower if you’re looking for an effective tool you can store without taking up too much room in the garage. Its durable 14-inch cutting deck trims grass faster than many of its competitors, and its two-in-one capabilities allow you to mulch the lawn, so you can get more done with just one machine. The handles fold for storage, too.


This water-based matte paint to touch up any interior surface with minimal prep

Use this water-based matte paint to touch up any surfaces in your space that need a revamp; its nontoxic and low VOC formula makes it a safer choice to use indoors, and it comes with a dry time of approximately 30 minutes for a gorgeous finish. Because it’s water-based, you can clean it up quickly and easily with just soap and water to keep the rest of your space looking just as good as ever. When you’re finished, you can “Say goodbye to outdated wood paneling and hello to a fresh, modern look,” in Mansur’s words.


This PVC tile backsplash you can peel & stick into place to quickly revamp any room

“Wall tiles are not only aesthetically pleasing but also durable and low-maintenance, saving you time and money in the long run,” Mansur says. Commitment-phobes will love this PVC tile backsplash since it gives you a quick way to change up your space without a permanent renovation. Because they're waterproof and heat resistant, they'll make a great addition to your kitchen or bathroom, and you can simply trim them with scissors to better fit your home.


This sleek white coffee maker with a 12-cup capacity to keep you & your loved ones caffeinated

This sleek white coffee maker makes another gorgeous addition to your ever-expanding collection of kitchen appliances, and it’s just as effective as it is stylish. It'll brew up to 12 cups at a time, so you'll have more than enough coffee for yourself and your loved ones, and its digital display tells you the time for maximum convenience. You'll also appreciate its freshness timer, which lets you keep your coffee warm after brewing for an amount of time that you can specify.


A white electric can opener that makes the cooking process a little easier on your arms

Instead of pulling a muscle trying to access the ingredients you need, invest in this electric can opener to make the cooking process that much easier. It's equipped with a press-and-release lever that enables you to open any standard-size can with ease, and its extra wide base keeps it from tipping over or sliding out of place. Simply pop it into place, and its magnetic lid holder will hold it up while it opens as many cans as you need; it’ll stop automatically when it’s finished.


This 30-pack of brushed nickel cabinet knobs that’ll give you an instant upgrade

This 30-pack of brushed nickel cabinet knobs makes for a chic upgrade that’s inexpensive and hassle-free, especially considering that they go with practically everything; Chambers calls them “a low-cost way to give your kitchen an updated look.”

Each pack comes with 30 knobs and 60 mounting screws of various sizes, which you can install on cabinets, closets, and dressers all over your house for a uniform look that's sure to impress. All you have to do is drill a hole through any flat surface, pass the screw through the back, and tighten it from the other side, and you can be sure it'll stay in place.


This sturdy wooden fruit bowl that’ll quickly become your new favorite centerpiece

“Incorporating pieces made of these materials will help give your home a more modern appearance, especially if they are in neutral colors,” says Saunders, and this sturdy wooden fruit bowl is a functional choice that goes with just about everything.

It's made of a light Paulownia wood with a solid construction and stable base that keep it firmly in place, and it's seven inches tall, making it the perfect height to display fruits and flowers alike. With its versatile design, you'll have trouble deciding whether to place it in the middle of your dinner table at your latest party or your coffee table to polish up your living room.


This smart light switch with a durable design for longevity & safety

“Any items that turn your home into a ‘smart home’ help give the home a modern and updated feel,” shares Jay Sanders, the owner of Castle Dream Basement Waterproofing; that’s where this smart light switch comes in. With its voice control capabilities and its long-range coverage, it enables you to control your lights at a distance with an app on your phone (or with a word or two).

If you'd like to save a little extra energy, you can even program it to turn off your lights automatically after a set amount of time or set a lighting schedule for ease and peace of mind.


A high-tech doorknob with a fingerprint feature that makes it easier than ever to protect your home

Sanders is a big fan of adding technological gadgets to your home, calling it “[...] a sure way to help people view your home as new and updated.” One such gadget? This high-tech doorknob, which comes with a futuristic fingerprint feature. When you purchase and install, you'll be able to download an app that lets you add your fingerprints, lock at a distance, and even check its unlock history to make sure your home has remained secure while you've been away. When you get back home after a long day, you can unlock it in one of three ways: through the app, with your fingerprint, or, of course, with a key.


An adjustable desk lamp that emits bright & natural light to reduce eye strain

Mark McShane, certified contractor and owner/manager at Skills Training Group, recommends this adjustable desk lamp if you’d like to illuminate your space with a gadget that’s just as cheap as it is chic. Simply turn it on and off with the conveniently located switch below the lightbulb and move its neck into the position that makes it easiest for you to work, study, and read.

According to McShane, “It’s a great way to add a modern touch to any room. This way you can get a bright workspace without the need for overhead lighting."


This 8-drawer dresser with a sturdy steel frame that's strong enough to hold all your belongings

McShane calls this eight-drawer dresser “a great storage solution for any bedroom” and “would suggest this item for anyone who needs extra storage but doesn’t want to spend a fortune on it.” It’s designed with a sturdy steel frame that’s built to last, no matter how many clothes, books, or toys you need to store, and its adjustable plastic legs provide stability on uneven ground and protect your floors from scratches.

Plus, it comes with all the instructions you need to put it together, and the assembly process is easy as pie, whether you're an amateur builder or a seasoned pro. It’s available in 13 colors.


These RFID cabinet locks that can help protect kids & pets from anything that's off limits

Not only are these RFID cabinet locks incredibly easy to install, but they’ll help protect your kids and pets from anything that’s off limits, from alcoholic beverages to cleaning solutions and everything in between. Sarah Jameson, the marketing director of construction consultancy firm Green Building Elements, calls them “ideal for wooden cabinets, lockers, and safes,” since they'll fit doors up to about an inch thick with absolutely no drilling required.

You can power them with two AA batteries or a USB power adapter; whichever you choose, you can feel confident in your decision to make your home that much safer. They also give your home a more professional edge.


These blackout curtains that effectively block heat, light, & UV rays from entering your room

“Modern houses are energy-efficient, and blackout curtains are good to block off light and heat, therefore reducing energy consumption,” says Jameson; this set more than fits the bill. Their design is simple but effective: they're made with a black liner backing that's sewn in, so they're thick enough to completely block out heat, light, and UV rays, keeping your space at a comfortable brightness level and temperature. They're strong enough to withstand years of use; you can even iron them at low temperatures to keep them wrinkle-free, so they'll look just as good as the rest of your gorgeous decor.


This metal firepit set that has a 4.5-star overall rating

Host the outdoor bonfire of your dreams with this metal firepit, which you can effortlessly carry around your yard whenever you're craving s’mores. One reviewer wrote, “This was so easy to put together. I did it by myself in 10 minutes.”

No matter how you use it, it’ll be a beautiful addition to your backyard. According to Jameson, “A unique firepit will create a nice ambiance and extension of your living space, allowing for enjoyable outdoor gatherings."


This self-adhesive weather-sealing strip to keep you cool or warm, depending on the season

“Apply weather stripping and seal gaps around windows and doors to prevent drafts and air leaks,” recommends Jameson; it’s a super simple fix that “helps maintain indoor temperatures and reduces heating and cooling costs.” This self-adhesive weather sealing strip is one such product since it’s made of a flexible material that won't freeze or crack; you can stick it anywhere there's a gap, from car trunks and hatches to windows and doors.

Each roll is 18 feet long, and considering its wallet-friendly price point, you may want to pick up more than one, so you can weatherproof your whole house.


This high-pressure rainfall showerhead with a unique color scheme & design you’ll love

“An upgraded showerhead possesses the remarkable ability to rejuvenate the appearance of your home, instilling it with a fresh, modern vibe,” advises Logan Cox, assistant general manager of John the Plumber Mississauga. This high-pressure rainfall showerhead is made of durable stainless steel to resist rust and damage, and its adjustable ball joint means you can rotate it to spray at any angle. Each of its eight spray modes will provide an amazing shower experience at a fraction of the cost. Plus, according to Cox, “Black is a less-seen option for bathroom fixtures,” so this piece will help your decor stand out from the crowd.


These wireless LED light strips to illuminate the area below any cabinet for better visibility

Thomas Borcherding, owner of Homestar Design Remodel, shares that “Under-cabinet lighting is all the rage right now, with almost every client I meet with having it on their wishlist.” He calls it “a phenomenal way to improve both the aesthetics and functionality of your living space.” If you’re interested in testing out the trend for yourself, pick up these wireless LED light strips, and you just might find that it’s a popular design choice for good reason. When you buy, you'll receive three feet of bright lights that'll help you navigate your kitchen, bathroom, and entryway without bumps and bruises, especially when you're trying not to wake up family members or roommates.


This multifunctional wall outlet that'll simultaneously accommodate 4 devices for an easy charge

“Charging cable-friendly outlets allow you to ditch the unsightly power block,” reports Borcherding, so that “you can plug your cables directly into the power source.” Not only does this multifunctional wall outlet accommodate four devices at once, but it works fast; for instance, it'll charge an iPhone 12 to 59% in just half an hour, which is three times faster than the original 5W charger. You won't need to sweat the installation process, since the screws on the back are color-coded and clearly labeled, and it's designed with a fire-retardant casing for maximum safety.


This USB surge protector that proves good things really do come in small packages

This USB surge protector is another option worth checking out. It’s designed with just enough space between its five AC outlets and four USB ports, so you can charge all the devices you need at once without having to play technological Tetris.

It's incredibly easy to install over duplex outlets; all you have to do is pop it into place and secure it with the included screw, and you (and your phone, your laptop, and your Kindle) will be ready for a full charge. Plus, it's made with a fire-resistant shell to minimize the chance of potential accidents, and it’ll absorb up to 1680 joules of energy to protect from electrical surges.


This fast-drying paint pen that's nontoxic & refreshes the grout in your house

“By using grout colorant, you can dramatically improve the aesthetic of your living space,” says Borcherding; this fast-drying grout pen freshens up any room in your house fast, whether it’s the kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else with tile. Each pen comes with enough long-lasting ink to cover up to 150 feet of thin grout, so just one purchase will be sufficient to tidy up your space for months to come; all you need to do is press the tip on a piece of paper to activate and start drawing in between your tiles. You'll also appreciate its nontoxic formula.


This versatile grout colorant with 14 color options to best fit your kitchen & bathroom

That said, there’s more than one way to cover up the grout in your home, and Borcherding has a preference: “I, personally, have only used bottled grout colorant and a paintbrush,” he shares. This versatile grout colorant is an excellent option, especially considering its 14 color options, which allow you to choose the best match for every room and trust it’ll blend right in. Simply spread it over any grout or sanded/unsanded cement; each bottle provides a first coat of up to 350 square feet, and you'll be able to walk on your floors again in just three to four hours.


This chic bronze doorknob with a SmartKey lock that provides extra protection against break-ins

Craig Ricks Jr., the president of Acadian Windows and Siding, advises, “If your door knobs, hinges, locks, or other hardware look old, rusted, damaged, or outdated, it can have a negative impact on your home’s appearance,” adding, “This is especially important for your front door but can apply to interior doors and other exterior doors as well.”

This chic bronze doorknob makes for a great solution. It provides a gorgeous look that complements your front door and a durable design that resists bumps, kicks, saws, and drills to help keep you and your family safe. Plus, it comes with convenient re-key technology, which allows you to change up your locks on your own in seconds without the help of a locksmith whenever you need to take your security into your own hands.


This 30-pack of matte black door hinges that come with screws of all sizes for easy installation

“Make sure door hardware matches your home’s style, and consider modern finishes like matte black, satin nickel, or aged bronze,” advises Ricks; one excellent option would be this 30-pack of matte black door hinges. Each pack comes with 210 screws of all shapes and sizes that make installation a breeze, especially when you're replacing your preexisting hardware, and they're made of durable iron, which is thick and solid enough to last for years to come. You can mount them pretty much anywhere, including shutters, skylights, and flower boxes; it all depends on where you want a sleek finishing touch.


This modern ceiling light fixture that actually saves energy & reduces your electricity bill

“One easy way to upgrade your home without spending thousands of bucks is by getting modern lighting fixtures,” advises Jeff Brandlin, owner of Assurance Electrical Services. This modern ceiling light fixture is made of durable aluminum for longevity and soft silicone for better light transmission, and its cool spiral design gives your home an exciting ambiance that's sure to start a conversation. Not only that, but it’ll actually help you cut down on your electricity bill: “Most modern lighting uses LED bulbs which consume less energy compared to traditional incandescent bulbs,” Brandlin states.


This color-changing ceiling light that double as a nightlight for maximum safety in the darkness

According to Brandlin, “[...] most modern lighting fixtures also come with advanced features and controls, such as dimmers, motion sensors, and programmable settings. These features allow you to customize the lighting ambiance, save energy, and automate lighting based on your needs and preferences.”

This color-changing ceiling light gives your household a fun and exciting way to customize the vibe of any room; you can choose from seven colors and select the cycle mode when you want to feel like you're somewhere over the rainbow. With four lighting modes, a dimming function, and the opportunity to have it double as a nightlight, this easy-to-install piece will absolutely help update your home.


These solar-powered string lights that'll make your patio feel like a fairytale palace

“If you have a patio or a decking area, look at installing some festoon lighting also known as string lights. There are great solar options available that automatically come on at night,” says Andrew Hill, an electrician at Your Electrician Mackay.

These lights do just that: they'll charge all day long, turn on automatically at night, and turn back off at dawn for another full day of sun. They're made of a flexible copper material that's malleable enough to let you wrap around furniture and fixtures for a customizable glow and durable enough to last through every season without overheating or freezing.


These solar garden LED lights that couldn’t be easier to install

“If you need to light a path, instead of using flood lights, use garden lights directed across the path,” recommends Hill, since “they will throw light down and across rather than into your eyes and look great.”

These solar garden LED lights make an excellent option that won’t break the bank — since they're powered by the sun, they won't cost a dime on your electricity bill, and they're wireless, so they're unbelievably easy to install without any unnecessary hassle. Plus, their rugged plastic construction means they're weather resistant, so no matter what Mother Nature sends your way, your garden and driveway will keep glowing.


These landscape spotlights with adjustable heads you can rotate to illuminate your outdoor space

“If you have a hedge, a great option is to place an uplight at the base of the trees. This will light up the trunks and into the tree,” says Hill. “If you have five trees in a row, light every second tree. It looks fantastic and lets you enjoy your garden at night.”

Since these landscape spotlights are made with adjustable heads up to 270 degrees, you can rotate them to just about any angle, and they’ll illuminate your outdoor space better than you could have imagined; they’re also rust and weatherproof, so you can use them all year long without worrying about the cold or the heat.