Contractors say you're probably making these expensive mistakes inside your home

Pro tips to save you so much money around your home.

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Owning a home can be expensive, and I’m not talking about down payments, mortgage rates, or property taxes. Whether you’re renovating your home or simply living in it, there are tons of common (and costly) mistakes that you may be making as a homeowner. Fortunately, there are very simple fixes that can make a significant impact without breaking the bank.

Whether you're looking to protect your investment from water damage or use designer-approved tricks to spruce up your space, these recommendations by professional contractors will save you money. Read on for some valuable tips from the pros.


Mistake: Not using tools that ensure a pro-looking paint job

Solution: Line up your painter’s tape with this applicator

If used correctly, painter’s tape is a useful tool that helps keep paint off of doors, windows, and other no-fly zones, but if you place it at the wrong angle it will lead you astray. This painter’s tape applicator applies your painter’s tape in one continuous strip, making it the perfect tool for trim, baseboards, and door and window frames. It has a felt pad that smoothly glides across surfaces, and an easy-to-hold circular grip. The sharp blade provides a smooth cut every time.


Mistake: Flushing wipes down the toilet & clogging pipes

Solution: Install a bidet

I know those wet wipes say they’re flushable, but they’re not. Don’t believe me? Take it from expert John The Plumber who tells Mic: “An incredible amount of business in the plumbing industry comes from clogged drains. And, drain cleaning is surprisingly expensive. Flushable wipes, for example, should not go down your toilet.” His advice? “Get a bidet.”

This bidet can be installed in minutes and doesn’t require any electrical hookup or professional plumbing. It’s made of durable plastic (so it won’t rust), and it has an adjustable and retractable nozzle so you can get the right angle to properly clean your undercarriage.


Mistake: Pouring grease down the sink

Solution: Stash grease in a specialized container

When it comes to clogged drains racking up expensive repair bills, wet wipes aren’t the only culprit. “The same is true for grease,” says John The Plumber. “Pour your grease into a disposable cup, let it cool and solidify, and throw it out rather than pour it down the drain.”

Another (chic and practical) option is this grease container, which is made of stainless steel and has a curved handle so you can grasp the canister and pour greasy liquids into it without the risk of burning your hand. The container is dishwasher safe, so after you’ve thrown away the cooled and solidified grease, it’s a breeze to wash. It comes with an enamel lid and a stainless steel strainer, for those times you’d rather hold onto your bacon fat rather than throwing it out.


Mistake: Ignoring air leaks that run up your energy bill

Solution: Apply caulk around windows and doors

Air leaks can lead to energy waste, higher energy bills, and indoor air quality issues in your home. “Many homeowners don’t think twice about air leaks in their home, but they can be a major source of energy loss and discomfort,” says Alexakis. “To prevent air leaks, I recommend installing weatherstripping, caulking and other insulation products around windows and doors.”

This silicone sealant is waterproof and resistant to mold and mildew, so it can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. It’s available in both clear and white and is suitable for use in a variety of areas and in all weather conditions.


Mistake: A mediocre paint job makes your home look cheap

Solution: Use quality tools to get it right the first time

A mediocre paint job can really spoil your decor — and it will make you more likely to call in expensive painters down the road. “You see the results of poor paint choices on a daily basis, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.” says Alexakis.

This 17-piece paint roller set contains paint rollers, brushes, sandpaper, an extra deep paint tray, and more — everything you need for interior and exterior painting tasks. Made of durable and high-quality materials, these tools are designed to provide smooth and even application of paint, so everyone will think an expert did it.


Mistake: Neglecting to fix uneven or sloping floors

Solution: A premixed patching & leveling compound

If you find that dropped items roll away from you before you can pick them up, it may be a sign you have an uneven floor. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money to get your floors fixed. “Uneven or sloping floors can be caused by a variety of issues, including foundation settling, poor construction, or moisture damage.” says Alexakis. “[...] if you don’t want to call in a contractor and the problem is minor, you can use a leveling product such as the one from Henry Company that comes with everything you need for easy application.”

This ready-to-use patching compound can be used to repair and level floors, walls, and other surfaces. It is designed to dry quickly and can be sanded and painted once it has cured. This product comes in a 1-gallon container and can cover up to 5 square feet per gallon.


Mistake: Using inefficient incandescent lightbulbs

Solution: Long-lasting LED bulbs with a vintage feel

You may not be aware of the high energy costs associated with using incandescent light bulbs, but you can save a ton of money around the home switching them out for more budget-friendly options. “The use of energy-efficient bulbs can greatly reduce energy bills.” says Davin Eberhardt, founder of Nature of Home. “[...]It is essential to minimize the usage of electricity, which is why this replacement is crucial. By investing in LED bulbs or CFLs, homeowners can ensure savings.”

This six-pack of LED Edison Bulbs come in dimmable and non-dimmable versions, are suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and have a lifespan of 20,000 hours. They emit a warm, soft glow and are perfect for setting the mood in a variety of settings, giving a lovely vintage-inspired aesthetic without any of the humming, buzzing or flickering.


Mistake: Forgetting to clean your gutters

Solution: A telescoping hose attachment that makes this chore a breeze

Even if you’re afraid of heights or you hate touching decomposing leaves, you can’t afford not to clean out your gutters on a regular basis. “Homeowners often neglect their gutters and downspouts, which can lead to clogs, leaks, and water damage to their homes,” says Gurskyi. “Regularly clean and maintain your gutters and downspouts to prevent these issues.”

There’s no need for a ladder with this gutter cleaning wand; It has a four-position ratcheting head and a rotating nozzle so you can position the spray in whatever direction you need. Plus, it telescopes up to 70 inches, so hard-to-reach gutters are easy to reach. It also features a nonslip grip and a shut-off valve to control water flow.


Mistake: Ruining glass shower doors with harsh chemicals

Solution: Clean with a gentle squeegee instead

Keeping your shower sparkly and streak-free can be a real pane. “Many homeowners use harsh chemicals to clean their glass shower doors, which can cause damage to the glass over time,” says Gurskyi. “Instead, try using a squeegee and a natural cleaning solution, like vinegar and water, to keep your shower doors sparkling clean.”

This Good Grips squeegee works well on tiles, mirrors, shower doors, and windows. Its strong, flexible blade works even on rippled surfaces, allowing for fast and streak-free drying. It has a sleek, stainless steel design and a contoured, nonslip grip, with a slim profile and an included suction cup that allows for neat storage.


Mistake: Not insulating your pipes

Solution: Wrap pipes in insulation tape to keep them from freezing

Frozen pipes are a jackpot for a professional plumber: “If I had a dollar every time a homeowner’s pipes froze and burst in their home due to non-insulation, I'd have many dollars every winter,” John The Plumber notes. Fortunately, he says, prevention is simple: “Insulation isn't expensive and it can save you a ton of money. This is a big one. Make sure your pipes are insulated.”

This heat-retaining insulation tape is an easy and affordable option. Made of EVA foam insulation, it offers freeze protection for exposed pipes and is waterproof and resistant to mold and mildew.


Mistake: Improperly insulating your home

Solution: Install weather stripping around doors & windows

Working to keep your home warm in winter or cool in the summer can be a serious drain on your finances. “I have seen firsthand the negative effects of inadequate insulation, including higher energy bills, moisture buildup and potentially hazardous condensation” says Chris Alexakis, a Florida-certified building contractor and co-founder of “Even if you live in a mild climate, improperly insulated homes are prone to cold drafts and uncomfortable temperatures.”

Prevent precious heat (or air conditioning) from leaking out of your home with this insulating weather stripping. It’s flexible and multi-functional, so it can be used for preventing wind, dust, and sound from escaping your home. Waterproof and windproof, it comes with its own strong backing adhesive, so it’s easy to install.


Mistake: Confusing a closed window with an insulated one

Solution: A window insulating film that costs less than $20

Just because you closed a window, doesn’t mean it’s keeping all the cold air out. “Many homeowners underestimate the importance of properly insulating their windows,” says Andrii Gurskyi, founder of Mr. Glazier. “This can lead to drafts, cold spots, and higher energy bills. One easy and affordable solution is to use window insulating film, which can be applied in just a few minutes and can save you money on your heating bills.”

This window insulator kit is designed to keep cold air out during the winter and reduce the transfer of heat during summer. It includes a film sheet and a roll of double-sided mounting tape for easy installation. The insulation film is transparent, providing visibility through the window while still allowing natural light to pass through.


Mistake: Constantly adjusting a manual thermostat

Solution: A programmable thermostat that can save money

If you’re constantly temp-ted to fiddle with the thermostat, you could be wasting money. “Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperatures for different times of day, so you don't have to remember to manually adjust the temperature when you're away or asleep,” Keith Sant, head of property acquisitions at Texas Cash House Buyer, tells Bustle. “They also prevent you from wasting energy by keeping your home at an optimal temperature all day.”

This programmable thermostat has precise temperature control of +/- 1 degree Fahrenheit, and an easy-to-read digital display for easy programming. It remembers settings even during power outages and it offers display options of Fahrenheit or Celsius and 12 or 24-hour clock. It comes with simple step-by-step instructions to make installation a breeze.


Mistake: Not replacing your air filters frequently enough

Solution: Stock up on quality filters

Be honest — when was the last time you changed your air filter? “Air filters should be changed regularly in order to keep your HVAC system running efficiently,” says Sant. “Neglecting to replace your air filter can result in dust and dirt buildup, which can reduce the system's efficiency and even cause it to break down completely. Make sure you change your filters every few months for optimal performance.”

These air filters are designed to fit most standard AC and furnace units, and come in a convenient pack of four. They can help improve the air quality in your home or office, protecting against 90% of airborne particles without impacting airflow. The filters feature a pleated design that captures everything from pollen to dust mites and pet dander.


Mistake: Installing new outlets to fit appliances & devices

Solution: An outlet extender with 6 outlets & 2 charging ports

So many appliances, so few outlets. If you’re fighting to find a spot to charge your phone in your own house, this tip will resonate with you. “I've seen people change their entire outlet units to get bigger ones or install new ones on their walls,” says Bailey Moran, a real estate agent and the COO of Austin TX Realty. “All of this is needless work when you can get an outlet extender. This will enable you to put more plugs in the same outlet.”

This USB outlet extender provides two USB ports and six AC outlets, with large spacing between the outlets that makes it easier to use with various devices. It has smart voltage-sensing circuitry and built-in surge protection and also features a smart night light with touch-activated brightness levels.


Mistake: Painting walls without prepping them first

Solution: A rotating mop with a handle that has reach

DIY is a wonderful way to save money — if you DIY correctly. “Many homeowners attempt DIY painting projects without proper preparation, leading to subpar results and even damage to their home's interior,” says Phi Dang, owner of Newline Painting. “Properly preparing surfaces before painting is crucial. Clean the walls, fix any cracks or holes, and apply a primer if necessary. If you're unsure about the process, consider hiring a professional painter.”

No need to hire a pro because this mop and bucket wringer set is ideal for cleaning walls: its long handle provides reach, and the flat microfiber mop head is effective in picking up and trapping dust, dirt, and grime. The head is also designed with 360-degree rotation, making it great for all angles, and the self-wringing mechanism ensures that the mop head is not too wet, preventing streaks and watermarks.


Mistake: Painting over dings and holes in walls

Solution: Patch holes with a $12 repair kit

Cleaning your walls before a new coat of paint won’t do diddly-squat if the walls in question are riddled with holes. Thankfully, this small hole repair kit contains all the necessary tools for you to repair any dings, pits, or divots in your drywall up to 3 inches in diameter. The kit includes an angled sanding sponge, primer-enhanced spackling compound, a self-adhesive patch, a putty knife, and a sanding pad; everything you need to make repairs three times faster than traditional spackling.


Mistake: Ignoring water leaks

Solution: A water leak alarm that alerts you to the first sign of moisture

So there’s a damp patch coming out from under the washing machine — a little water never hurt anybody, right? Wrong. “Ignoring small water leaks can lead to costly repairs down the road, such as mold and structural damage,” says Dang. “Regularly inspect your home for leaks and address them immediately.”

This compact and easy-to-use water leak alarm emits a loud, 85-decibel alarm when it detects water, allowing you to quickly respond and prevent further damage in your home. It is battery-powered and capable of detecting water only 1/16th of an inch deep, and can be placed anywhere water leaks may occur, such as near water heaters, sinks, and dishwashers.


Mistake: Using the wrong cleaners on the wrong surfaces

Solution: Cleaning products designed to maintain the integrity of surfaces

Homeowners often use harsh chemicals on surfaces, which can cause damage and reduce the lifespan of their materials, according to Dang. “Opt for gentle cleaning products designed specifically for the surface you're cleaning,” Dang says. “For example, use a pH-neutral cleaner for natural stone countertops.”

This all-purpose, professional-grade cleaning solution has a pH-neutral formula that is safe to use on any natural stone surface. It also works great on stainless steel and windows, effectively removing dirt, grime, and stains while leaving surfaces with a streak-free shine. The formula is non-toxic and biodegradable.


Mistake: Blowing your budget on crown molding

Solution: An elegant wall trim you can install yourself

Ceilings need real crown molding like cakes need real icing, right? Not necessarily. “A mistake I often see is people installing expensive crown molding as a way to make their home look more luxurious,” says Joel Comino, founder & CEO of Next Modular. This crown molding trim is an easy and affordable way to achieve a professional-looking finish in your home. Made of high-quality polyvinyl chloride material that is both flexible and durable, it is ideal for curved or uneven surfaces. It is easy to install, can be painted or stained to match your existing decor, and is waterproof, making it suitable for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas where moisture is present.


Mistake: Installing expensive flooring everywhere in your home

Solution: Saving money with vinyl tiles

Adorning your home with hand-made Moroccan tiles and beautiful hardwood floors is a lovely — but cost-prohibitive — fantasy. “While these materials are beautiful and can make a home look great, they can be very expensive,” says Comino. “A very cost-effective solution that I recommend to homeowners is the installation of vinyl flooring. Aside from looking like hardwood, they are much easier to maintain and a lot more affordable.”

These self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles are a quick and easy way to update the look of any room. With a durable and water-resistant surface, they are perfect for high-traffic areas and can be easily cut and trimmed to fit any space. The tiles come in a variety of colors and styles to match any decor and are easy to install without any special tools or adhesives.


Mistake: Hanging your curtains too low

Solution: Position longer curtains higher up to create an illusion of space

High ceilings can make even the smallest rooms feel more spacious. You may not be able to insert a couple extra feet of headspace into your home, but you can give the illusion of higher ceilings. “One common mistake is hanging curtains too low, making the room appear smaller and cramped [...],” Alex Federo, the co-owner of FTW Concrete Contractors, tells Bustle. “The solution? Hang your curtains higher to create the illusion of taller ceilings and larger windows.”

These blackout curtains are made of a triple-weave technology that provides maximum insulation, noise reduction, and privacy protection (they can help save money on energy bills, too). They come in 24 gorgeous colors, and 14 different sizes, so there is a length to fit your room. Hang them from the ceiling nice and high using an easy-to-install track roller like this one.


Mistake: Relying only on overhead lighting

Solution: Whimsical mason jar sconces with money-saving LED lights

Let there be light, sure, but let it be affordable light. “Many people make the mistake of relying solely on overhead lighting instead of layering different types of lighting throughout a room for ambiance and functionality,” says Federo. For a beautiful, functional, and money-saving decorative addition to any room, you need this pair of mason jar wall lights. Made of wood with a rustic finish, each sconce features a mason jar filled with faux flowers and an LED strip light for a warm and inviting glow. They’re incredibly easy to install and perfect for creating a cozy and charming atmosphere in your home.


Mistake: Keeping lights turned on at all hours

Solution: Illuminating unexpected spaces with motion-activated lights

This motion-activated under-bed light is a flexible LED strip that casts a warm, soft glow, perfect for providing gentle illumination during the night — but only when you need it. The motion sensor technology detects movement and turns the light on, and it features an automatic shut-off timer to help save money. The strip can be easily installed under the bed frame, making it a lovely mood setter, or great solution for anyone who needs a little extra light to navigate during the night without disturbing others.


Mistake: Buying the wrong-sized rug only to have to replace it

Solution: An area rug that comes in a number of sizes

One common mistake that could be costing you money is purchasing the wrong size rug for a room, Will Copp, owner of Knox Concrete Contractors, tells Bustle. “Homeowners often think bigger is better and end up with a rug that doesn't fit or overwhelms the space,” Copp says. “Instead of guessing, measure your room and choose a rug size based on those dimensions.”

This fluffy area rug boasts an elegant design and comes in six sizes and nine colors. It’s durable, easy to clean, and resistant to stains, shedding, and fading. It adds warmth and sophistication to any room with its soft and comfortable texture, making it a great choice for your home or office décor.


Mistake: Wasting money on trendy organizing solutions

Solution: Use under-utilized spaces like beneath your bed

Before you spend spend hundreds of dollars on the latest organizational trend, work with what you’ve already got. “Many people spend unnecessary amounts on trendy organizers instead of utilizing already-existing spaces like closets or under-bed storage boxes,” says Copp.

These storage containers are designed to fit under a bed, making them perfect for bedroom, dorm, or closet organization. They’re made of durable, breathable fabric with a clear window for easy identification of contents, and they also feature handles for easy transport. The containers can be used for storing clothes, shoes, stuffed toys, and more, and are available in black, gray, or java.


Mistake: Cluttering up your walls with too much art

Solution: Decorating with intention to save money

Decorating your space more intentionally can save you a ton of money. Even though a piece of statement art can greatly upscale the looks of a room with plain walls, you don’t need artworks hanging on every wall or the look can become cluttered (not to mention cost a fortune), advises Stephany Smith, an interior designer and home improvement expert at Fantastic Services.“However, before you hang something on, make sure the artwork you choose is the right size for the wall you’re decorating,” Smith adds.

This minimalist wall art is crafted using handmade metal frames and precision laser cutting technology. The simple, modern design uses female faces and bodies as patterns, with the thickened frame giving added dimension. With two hooks on the back, this is a versatile piece that can be hung in a living room, bedroom, or bathroom to add a touch of sophistication to your decor.


Mistake: Assuming a kitchen reno is the only solution for an outdated space

Solution: Modern, sleek knobs & pulls to give kitchens a facelift

A full kitchen renovation can cost a fortune, but it’s not the only way forward if you want to improve your space. “Swapping cheap fixtures, such as knobs, drawer pulls or handles for more high-end looking finishes like ceramic or metal material can elevate the looks of every room, not only the kitchen,” Smith says.

A great example is this square door knob that adds a stylish, modern touch to any room. It’s easy to install and comes with an adjustable latch to fit all standard door sizes. It’s available in matte black, satin nickel, or polished chrome finishes.


Mistake: Knocking down walls to open up a space

Solution: Strategically place a mirror or two to make a room feel bigger

Before you start knocking down walls to create a larger space, consider the simplest decor decision: add a mirror. “Mirrors can create the illusion of more space if placed strategically,” says Smith. “Besides doubling the space of a room, mirrors can also serve as a focal point and introduce more light. Just be mindful that they don’t reflect any clutter in the room or they’ll intensify the effect.”

This full-length mirror is a versatile piece that can be hung on the wall vertically or horizontally, or used as a standing mirror. Its elegant and simple design creates a modern feel, while it’s shatterproof glass makes a full-length distortion-free reflection. The mirror is easy to install and comes with all the necessary hardware.


Mistake: Replacing countertops

Solution: Accessorize with a beautiful butcher’s block

You can upscale your countertops without having to pay an arm and a leg to completely replace them by accessorizing them with a butcher block. “They’re very affordable and can be a lot less expensive than [replacing/laminating your countertops],” Smith says. “Butcher blocks can look beautiful in any kitchen, especially if you paint your cabinets in a contrasting color.”

This heavy-duty bamboo cutting board is durable, scratch-resistant, and sustainably made. The board's flat surface is perfect for preparing meats and vegetables, and it even features a built-in juice groove to prevent any mess while cutting. The board is easy to clean, and the occasional use of mineral oil can help maintain its beautiful appearance.