Contractors say these things in your home are eyesores & make your place look cheap

Pro tips for low-effort updates.

ByJenny White
Originally Published: 
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Maintaining your home takes a lot of work — there are always day-to-day tasks like cleaning or decluttering, but also longer-term projects like caring for the yard or tackling DIY upgrades. To figure out which projects are worth your time, I reached out to professional contractors to find out what are the biggest eyesores in homes (that are making your place look cheap as a result) and advice on how to fix them on a budget. Everything is less than $50 and items start at just $7.


Eyesore: Mismatched hardware finishes & styles

Fix: A 12-pack of modern cabinet pulls for less than $20

Babcock recommends using “a consistent hardware style and finish throughout your home for a cohesive look” when it comes to handles and knobs on your cabinets (like in your bathroom and kitchen). These cabinet handles come in a pack of 12 stainless steel pulls with a modern matte black finish, though other quantities and finishes are available in the listing.


Eyesore: Builder basic light switches in every room

Fix: A pair of modern light switch covers that come in lots of configurations

Andre Kazimierski, the CEO of Improovy Painters Naperville, explains that one of the biggest eyesores in many homes is old light switch plates. “These can be easy to overlook when you see them every day, but they're often years out of date and might not have had a good clean in as long,” he remarks. For less than $15, grab this pair of modern switch plate covers to replace your old ones. They have a matte black finish (white and light almond are also available), and there are numerous configurations in the listing based on your setup.


Eyesore: Cheap-looking blinds

Fix: These bamboo window shades that filter light & offer privacy

Another recommendation Babcock had for replacing outdated blinds are wooden versions like these bamboo shades. They’ll filter out light while also providing privacy. Take the measurements of your window when deciding on which size to go with; there are a variety of widths and lengths available in the listing, as well as seven colors.


Eyesore: Unfinished basement or garage flooring

Fix: This durable, moisture-resistant latex floor paint

“If you have unsightly concrete in the basement or the garage, try adding a coat of [gray] paint to make it look more finished without the investment of flooring,” suggests Wiseman. This latex paint is designed specifically for indoor or exterior flooring (making it a good pick for porches, too) and it boasts a moisture-resistant finish that won’t get scuffed, faded, or cracked over time. One can covers up to 400 square feet.


Eyesore: Cords dangling from your TV

Fix: This paintable cover to conceal up to 6 cords at once

Per DiBara’s recommendation, another set of cords that you should consider concealing is the ones running from your TV. This cord cover can hold up to six cables at once and it’ll easily adhere to any wall using the included adhesive tape. Available in four colors in the listing, it can even be painted to completely blend in.


Eyesore: Dusty or dirty baseboards

Fix: This extendable baseboard & molding cleaning tool with reusable pads

Babcock says that “even if your home is clutter-free and generally clean, grubby baseboards [...] can make your whole house look worse.” This extendable tool makes the task of cleaning your baseboards and molding easier — it features an aluminum handle that can extend up to 4 feet in length so you don’t have to bend down to achieve a thorough clean. The set comes with three reusable cleaning pads.


Eyesore: Plain fences

Fix: Some 16 solar-powered lights for custom lighting

“Adding decorative features like lights or planters can help to keep fences looking great,” notes Buskuhl. For less than $35, these 16 solar-powered lights put out a warm white light and can be easily installed using the included screws. Color changing lights are also available in the listing.


Eyesore: Torn window screens

Fix: A weatherproof tape that can repair holes fast

“Over time, window screens can become dirty, rusted, or broken,” explains Craig Ricks Jr., the president of Acadian Windows and Siding. This screen repair tape allows you to fix damaged window screens with ease — and for less than $10. Simply clean the area, cut off a piece of tape big enough to cover it, and stick it on. The tape is resistant to temperature fluctuations and it’s also waterproof.


Eyesore: Worn-out & stained area rugs

Fix: A machine-washable rug that comes in lots of patterns & sizes

DiBara notes that worn-out area rugs can detract from your home’s aesthetic appeal. “Consider replacing them with cost-efficient, elegant area rugs that complement your decor,” he suggests. This area rug is particularly desirable because in addition to its low price, soft material, and neutral design, it’s also machine washable. Choose from different sizes and patterns in the listing.


Eyesore: Discolored grout

Fix: A white pen that can refresh up to 150 feet of grout

This grout pen can make the grout in your bathroom, kitchen, or elsewhere look bright and clean. Drew Mansur, the co-founder of TileCloud, calls grout pens “an easy and fast way to update your home yourself!” The pen can cover up to 150 feet of grout — and there is a narrow- and wide-tip option in the listing, depending on the thickness of your grout.


Eyesore: Messy cabinets under sinks

Fix: This under-sink organizer that’s highly adjustable

Another way to declutter your home as DiBara recommends is this under-sink organizer. You can place 40 pounds of items on it without fear of it collapsing (like cleaning supplies, toiletries, and more). The organizer adjusts in height, width, and depth to work with nearly any plumbing situation.


Eyesore: Gaps between your baseboards & the wall

Fix: This heavy-duty double-sided tape for repairs

Mansur says a “misfit baseboard” that isn’t totally snug against the wall “can disrupt your room's entire flow and be quite noticeable.” This waterproof 3M double-sided foam tape can fix the issue, as well as other similar problems in your home. The roll contains 15.6 feet of tape.


Eyesore: Stained & dirty grout

Fix: Mold- & mildew-resistant silicone sealant

To ensure mold or mildew doesn’t return, Mansur says to use “a good sealant” after using a mold removal gel. This silicone sealant is mold- and mildew-resistant and designed to not crack, yellow, or shrink over time. It can be used on laminate, stainless steel, porcelain, and more and it’s safe to be exposed to water in just 30 minutes.


Eyesore: Trash cans out in the open

Fix: This 2.6-gallon in-cabinet can with a lid

Glenn Wiseman, a certified Residential Air System Design Technician, Residential Hydronics Design Technician, and a sales manager at Top Hat Home Comfort Services, recommends hiding your trash can in a cabinet, saying it can also “help with the smell and better prevent pests from being attracted to it.” This 2.6-gallon trash can has a stainless steel hook at the top to secure it onto a cabinet door and it has a lid to keep pests (and curious pets) out.


Eyesore: Chipped cabinets in the kitchen & bathroom

Fix: A paint & primer combo for easy touch-ups

Wiseman says chipped cabinets are a simple fix. “An easy way to do a full sweep of upgrades [is] in investing a few cans of paint and giving the whole home an extra spruce up,” he explains. This primer and paint combo will get the job done in fewer coats, saving you time and money. It’s available in the listing in various shades with gloss, satin, or matte finishes.


Eyesore: A sickly, compacted lawn

Fix: These lawn-improving aerator shoes that are less than $20

Mark Buskuhl, the founder and CEO of Ninebird Properties, stresses the importance of caring for your outdoor space by aerating your lawn. These wearable aerator shoes feature 13 heavy-duty spikes (per shoe) to dig into the soil. This ensures “that water and nutrients can reach the grass roots [...] to keep your lawn looking lush and green,” says Buskuhl.


Eyesore: Out-of-style outdoor light fixtures

Fix: A modern wall sconce with a weather-resistant design

“Adding some stylish outdoor lighting can also be a great way to liven up a property and make it look more attractive,” commented Buskuhl. This wall sconce is made from aluminum with a rustproof and weather-resistant design to last for years, even when subjected to snow or high heat. The matte black finish, clear glass, and visible lightbulb contribute to the modern look. Choose from three finishes in the listing.


Eyesore: Overgrown shrubs & hedges

Fix: These highly rated pruning shears to get your yard in shape

Buskuhl warns, “An overgrown landscape can make any property look unkempt and chaotic.” To get everything in shape, pick up these highly rated pruning shears. They feature carbon steel blades to cut through stalks and branches with ease. And the nonslip, ergonomic handles are comfortable to maneuver.


Eyesore: Undecorated outdoor spaces

Fix: A round acacia wood planter with built-in drainage

Another idea from Buskuhl to spruce up your outdoor space is using “decorative features like planter boxes or potted plants can add a touch of style while also helping to conceal any unsightly messes.” This 11-inch round planter is made from acacia wood with variegated coloring. Built-in drainage holes in the bottom prevent your plants from being overwatered.


Eyesore: Piles of yard waste

Fix: These hand rakes for quicker & more effortless yard cleanups

“Getting rid of debris like leaves, branches, and broken items can help to keep the driveway looking neat and tidy,” explains Buskuhl. This pair of hand rakes makes cleaning up the outdoors quicker and easier; they’re lightweight with supportive wrist guards for comfortable wearing. And they can be hung up for storage when not in use.


Eyesore: Lifeless fences

Fix: A 3-pack of durable metal baskets for holding plants

Another way to follow Buskuhl’s recommendation to liven up your fence, this three-pack of hanging baskets feature dual hooks that’ll allow you to hang them directly from the fence’s rails. They’re constructed from stainless steel to not bend or warp over time, and they can hold various flower and plant pots (they have a 6.5-inch base).


Eyesore: Outdoor garbage cans visible against the house

Fix: These tall metal trellises that conceal them with vining plants

Buskuhl indicates outdoor garbage cans are another easy-to-hide eyesore. “Utilizing creative solutions like trellises, pergolas, or lattice walls can help to keep garbage bins hidden away while also adding visual appeal to the property,” he notes. These two trellises stand four feet tall to block a garbage can with ease and they’re made from welded iron for stability.


Eyesore: Dirty, streaky windows

Fix: A glass cleaner kit with a reusable bottle & dissolvable cleaning pods

Buskuhl says “cleaning window fixtures regularly [...] will help to keep them looking great.” This glass cleaner kit comes with a reusable spray bottle and concentrated cleaning pods to make three 26-ounce bottles of cleaner for just $13. The cleaner will leave behind no streaks and it features a fresh scent.


Eyesore: A dim, unwelcoming porch

Fix: These solar-powered lanterns that can run up to 8 hours per charge

“Adding some strategically placed lighting can help to make the porch look more inviting in the evening hours,” notes Buskuhl. These weather-resistant solar-powered lanterns feature a flickering flame design for a bit of romantic ambiance. They can be hung from their top loops or set on porch stairs and tables.


Eyesore: A cluttered porch

Fix: This weather-resistant storage box that doubles as a seat

Another porch must from Buskuhl is “keeping the area free of debris and clutter.” This 30-gallon storage box is ideal for holding tools, beach towels, gardening supplies, or anything else that you want to keep outside. It’s made from weather-resistant resin with a wood-like texture and it can also be used as seating with a max weight capacity of 220 pounds.


Eyesore: Tangled, messy cords

Fix: Some slotted silicone organizers that are self-adhesive & flexible

Cords and wires haphazardly running through your home can be a visual nuisance. Matt DiBara, CEO of DiBara Masonry, the founder of The Undercover Contractor, and CEO of The Contractor Consultants, recommends cable organizers, which can aid in “making your area look neater and more visually attractive.” The set comes with two flexible silicone organizers — one can hold five cords, while the other has three slots — and they can attach to nearly any smooth, clean surface using the included 3M adhesive.


Eyesore: Surfaces covered in clutter

Fix: A pair of plastic storage bins to declutter any room

“Cluttered counters can make your property appear disorganized and low-quality,” explains DiBara. To tidy up these areas, grab these storage bins. They’re made from shatter-resistant plastic with built-in handles for easy grabbing. Use them to stow things in closets, cabinets, under sinks, and even in plain sight. The bins even stack to maximize your available storage space.


Eyesore: Outdated door handles

Fix: A matte black door knob to modernize any space

“To improve the look and feel of your doors and create a more polished appearance, replace your door handles or knobs with more durable and fashionable ones,” explains DiBara. This round door knob has clean lines and a matte black finish for a modern vibe. It installs in just minutes using a screwdriver, making this a straightforward yet impactful DIY.


Eyesore: Harsh or insufficient lighting

Fix: These budget-friendly Edison bulbs that put out a warm white glow

Quinn Babcock, the construction and design operations lead at Block Renovation, says that “inconsistent or harsh lighting can make a space feel uncomfortable and unwelcoming.” She suggests using warm LED bulbs throughout the home. These Edison bulbs are a 60-watt pick that puts out a 2200K warm white glow. The set comes with six bulbs, which end up costing only about $5 each.


Eyesore: Broken or yellowing blinds

Fix: Some velvet curtains that block out light & unwanted noise to replace them

Instead of leaving up yellowed or broken blinds, Babcock suggests “invest[ing] in quality [...] wooden blinds or drapery for a more polished appearance.” These velvet curtains feature a unique woven technology that can block out sunlight, reduce unwanted noise, and provide insulation against extreme temperatures. The brushed nickel grommets at the top make for easy opening and closing. Choose from various colors and lengths in the listing.


Eyesore: Old & peeling wallpaper

Fix: A budget-friendly peel-and-stick wallpaper that gives major impact

Get rid of old or peeling wallpaper that can “make walls look dated,” says Babcock, and replace it with peel-and-stick wallpaper like this for a fresh look. It’s straightforward to install on your own — no paste or water needed — and the grid on the back ensures it goes up straight. Should you eventually remove it, it can easily be taken down without causing any damage.


Eyesore: Moss, mildew, or algae on siding

Fix: This cleaning solution for outdoor surfaces including siding and concrete

Another issue that Ricks Jr. warns of is that “without regular maintenance, many houses will eventually grow mold, moss, mildew, or algae on their [...] siding.” Ricks Jr. suggests regularly cleaning these outdoor surfaces with a multi-purpose cleaner. This formula lifts dirt, grime, and debris, and it’s safe to use around plants and your lawn, plus it won’t damage outdoor fabrics.


Eyesore: Dirty siding

Fix: This soft-bristled brush with an extendable handle to clean high-up outdoor surfaces

Ricks Jr. suggests pairing the above multi-purpose cleaner with a soft-bristled brush for a better end result. This cleaning brush comes with four separate pieces that you can attach together to customize the length — it can extend to 60 inches in total. The brush head won’t cause scratches or other damage to surfaces.


Eyesore: Stained tiles

Fix: A 7-pack of cleaning brushes for tile & beyond

“Stains, particularly in high-traffic areas, can be a drag. [...] Maintain them regularly with a brush and cleaner,” says Mansur. This seven-piece set of bristle brushes offer lots of options for cleaning tiled areas (and other parts of your home, too). One brush can flex to conform to curved surfaces, several are small enough for tights spaces, and they’re all designed to be gentle enough to prevent scratches.


Eyesore: Visible mold & mildew

Fix: This bleach-free gel that can get rid of mold & mildew without scrubbing

To get rid of mold or mildew in your home, Mansur suggests a mold remover gel. It’s simple to use — apply it on the moldy area, wait three to five hours, then wipe it away with a towel or rinse it off. It’s a bleach-free and low-odor formula.