Designers & contractors say your home could be so much better if you tried any of these 40 clever things

Upgrade your space with these expert-approved tips.

ByLauren Moison
Originally Published: 
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If you’ve ever walked into someone’s home and wondered how they got it to look so nice, chances are they’ve implemented a few designer-approved tricks and tips that make a huge difference in the look and feel of a home. In the list below, I’ve rounded up some advice from the experts and some clever home upgrades that’ll help you create a dreamier space. Plus, they’re all quick and easy projects that don’t cost a ton of cash.


This handy cabinet shelf to maximize your storage space

Additionally, Murray suggests organizing the inside of your cabinets with shelving racks. This coated metal shelf is a great way to maximize your storage and has nonslip feet to help it stay in place. Plus, there are two sizes and five colors to suit your space.


This adhesive LED strip for extra light under cabinets

Dylan Murray, owner of Murray Craft Builders, says, “You can add flexible LED strip lights under upper kitchen cabinets for more light.” Not only will it help you see better during food prep, but it’ll also add an ambient glow to your kitchen. This adhesive LED strip lighting doesn’t require any tools to install, has an easy on/off button, and provides warm white light.


A woven rattan tray to add some natural texture

Keely Smith, lead interior designer at JD Elite Interiors, tells Mic, “One of the simplest ways to transform your space is by adding texture,” recommending “natural fibers like rattan, jute, or woven fabrics.” This beautiful rattan tray is great for serving snacks, storing fruit, or placing on a table with a few decorative accents, and it comes in two sizes.


A set of sheer linen curtains with a light, airy feel

Stephany Smith, an interior designer and home improvement expert at Fantastic Services, says, “Dressing up your windows is an easy and affordable solution to give a whole new lavish appearance to a room.” These light-filtering linen-blend curtains create an airy effect and offer both rod pocket or back tab hanging options to create your desired look. Choose from 19 colors and eight sizes.


A set of under-cabinet mug holders for a coffee shop look

Murray also suggests “hanging cup holders under kitchen cabinetry to add a pop of color against your backsplash.” This two-pack of sturdy metal mug hangers can be installed right under your cabinet with the included screws, and each rack includes four hooks. Choose from five finishes, including champagne, rose gold, and white.


A set of velvet pillow covers in fun colors

“Another cost-effective way to make your home look better is by adding some pops of color,” Smith says. “It's an easy way to add personality and interest to a neutral space.” One way to do that is with these colorful velvet throw pillow covers featuring a double-sided design and contrasting piping around the edges. They’re available in multiple colors and a variety of sizes to fit your pillow inserts.


These darling bird statues for decorative accents

Federo also emphasizes the importance of accessorizing, and notes that “knick-knacks can add color and personality to any room.” Measuring 2.5 and 3 inches tall, these adorable gold birds can be placed on a shelf, windowsill, or tray for a decorative touch and are made of coated ceramic for a weighted feel.


A modern light fixture to update your space

Murray recommends swapping your light fixtures with something “bold and colorful,” and this modern light fixture might fit the bill. It features a beautiful brushed gold finish (silver and black are also available), has a standard-size E 26 light bulb base, and comes with the hardware needed for installation. Four E 26 bulbs are required.


A pack of decorative outlet covers to enhance your walls

Ana Ro, founder and chief editor of Design Ideas Guide, recommends swapping out old outlets and light switches because “this simple upgrade will improve the look of your walls.” This pack of decorative wall plates is made out of a durable zinc alloy, fits most standard light switches, and has a beaded design around the edges for an elevated look. Choose from three colors to suit your style.


These hinges to freshen up the look of your doors

“Changing your door knobs and hinges will instantly transform the look of your doors,” says Ro, and this two-pack of door hinges is an inexpensive way to give your home an update. Each one is designed to fit most interior doors, measuring 3.5 inches tall, and comes with matching wood screws for an easy install. Choose from six finishes, including oil-rubbed bronze and satin nickel.


A beautiful wooden planter made of acacia wood

Lori Evans, an American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)-licensed interior designer in Florida, suggests sprucing up your entryway with some plants — and this wooden planter box is a great way to present them. The box is crafted from sturdy acacia wood and measures 13 inches long, and it can also be used for planting herbs and succulents.


This decorative tray to neatly stash your things

To make your home look a little neater, Evans notes that it’s important to “clear all of your horizontal surfaces in the main areas of your home,” such as countertops and tabletops. Then, you can “purchase a large tray and place it on the coffee table” to keep everything tidy. This 13-inch tray comes in eight vibrant colors and has handles to it’s easy to move, too.


A colorful coffee table book that’s filled with works of art

Evans also suggests styling your tray with a stack of aesthetically pleasing books, and this colorful coffee table book would make a great addition. It’s filled with 592 pages of interesting art from more than 600 artists throughout history, so it’s a great read as well.


This set of modern ceramic vases for a decorative touch

Next, Evans suggests placing some flowers on your coffee table — and while you can use any vessel, these ceramic vases add a modern touch. The set includes one 9.3-inch vase and one 11.8-inch vase that can be used to hold flowers and greenery, or can even be displayed alone as a decorative focal point. Choose from white, black, navy, and bronze to suit your decor.


A set of frames to create an upscale gallery wall

Evans recommends creating a gallery area, and this set of matching gold frames makes it easy to display your favorite artwork and photos. Each order includes three frame sizes (5 by 7, 8 by 10, and 11 by 14 inches) that can be arranged in a variety of ways on a focal wall. They’re made of sturdy aluminum and come in three finishes to choose from.


This floating corner shelf with a space-saving design

Another tip from Murray: Add shelving to display cookbooks, spices, plants, and more. This floating corner shelf has earned rave reviews from over 41,000 Amazon shoppers and provides five tiers of storage with a space-saving design. Installation hardware is included and there are eight colors to choose from.


A set of drawer pulls to update your kitchen cabinets

When it comes to your kitchen, Murray says, “Update your hardware on kitchen cabinetry for an easy DIY project with a lot of visual impact.” And it doesn’t have to cost a lot — this pack of 25 drawer pulls is less than $40. Each 5-inch piece has a beautiful, brushed brass finish and comes with all of the hardware needed for installation.


A set of bold prints for a pop of color

It’s pretty common to add wall art to your living room or bedroom, but Murray suggests, “Add an unexpected work of art in the bathroom.” These retro-style prints will add some interest to your bathroom and can be placed in any 8 by 10 frames of your choosing. And if pink isn’t in your color palette, they’re also available in some other cool colors and designs.


This fun bathmat for a “whimsical” touch

In addition to adding some wall art to your bathroom, consider adding a “fun whimsical bath mat or shower curtain” to the mix, says Murray. This soft microfiber bath mat features a cool, abstract design and comes in six colors and two sizes to choose from. It also has a nonslip backing to keep it in place and dries quickly to reduce odors.


This soft & fluffy faux fur rug

Don Chambers, owner and renovator at Double K Property Management in Georgia, says, “A quick way to make your home look better is to add a rug that complements your decor,” and this plush faux sheepskin rug is sure to add a touch of luxe to your room. It’s available in a variety of sizes and 12 colors, including gray, beige, and white.


A mirror to make your space look bigger

“Adding a few mirrors can make a room appear larger and brighter,” notes Chambers, and this asymmetrical mirror with soft curves is a nice departure from the standard rectangular designs. It boasts a large 26 by 38-inch size that’s great for use in an entryway, bathroom, or living room, and has a thin frame to define the look.


This chic curtain panel with a velvety texture

Kamil Kowalski, president of LimakWay Remodeling, tells Mic, “A new set of curtains, blinds, or shades can instantly make a room feel brighter and more inviting.” Each of these crushed velvet panels adds a soft touch to the room and boasts a tie-top design that’s ultra-chic. Choose from two sizes and four colors.


A set of colorful frames with gold edges

“If you want your home to look better, consider adding some fresh artwork or prints,” notes Kowalski — and these colorful frames are a vibrant touch. Sold in a set of four, they’re rimmed in gold, can be wall-mounted or placed on a tabletop, and come in three sizes and four colors to choose from.


This clever doormat for your entryway

Kowalski also says, “A new doormat is an easy way to make a positive first impression.” This clever doormat is made with durable coconut coir bristles and, in addition to looking good, also helps trap dirt and moisture. The mat has a nonslip backing to help keep it in place and comes in 13 designs.


A mid-century modern plant stand that comes in 3 colors

“Your entryway will look much livelier with some greenery,” says Eli Pasternak, interior designer and founder of Liberty House Buying Group. For an elevated look, Pasternak suggests placing your plant pots in this modern plant stand that’s “made by hand from natural beech wood and includes floor pads to safeguard your wooden floors.” The stand holds up to a 10-inch pot and comes in three wood shades.


This set of metal wall planters for faux flowers or greenery

Pasternak also recommends these galvanized metal wall planters, which “lend a subtly rustic accent to your entryway.” Each planter has a flat, round bottom for tabletop use if desired, comes in at just under 12 inches tall, and is best used with dried or faux flowers and greenery as they don’t have completely sealed bottoms to contain water.


This peel & stick wallpaper to create stunning accent walls

Smith also says that peel-and-stick wallpaper is “a great way to create an accent wall or add interest to a small space, such as a bathroom or closet.” This highly rated option adheres easily to surfaces, comes in five colors, and won’t leave a sticky residue behind if you ever decide to remove it.


A modern-industrial floor lamp to add a stylish glow

When it comes to lighting, Smith says, “You can add some table lamps or floor lamps to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.” This minimalist floor lamp has a cool shade-less design and can be used with a variety of bulb shapes and colors to create a customized look. Choose from four finishes: gold, white, black, and silver.


These natural rope baskets for instant organization

“Invest in some stylish storage containers or baskets to keep your belongings in order,” Smith says. “This will not only improve the look of your space but will also make it easier to maintain and keep clean.” These 100% cotton rope baskets are a nice size for storing items such as linens, toys, or books. Plus, they come in several sizes and colors to choose from.


This paint & primer combo for a fresh new look

According to Smith, the color ivory “adds the most value to a room and elevates its appearance.” Along those lines, this interior paint comes in several off-white shades and has a built-in primer so you won’t need as many coats for full coverage and a fresh look. Choose from semi-gloss, eggshell, and flat finishes.


A velvet footstool with a retro vibe

After you’ve added a fresh coat of paint, Smith advises that “furniture in rich, jewel-like shades will anchor the ivory paint and add more character to the space.” This velvet ottoman comes in several vibrant colors, including peacock blue and matcha green, and boasts a mid-century modern vibe thanks to its gold legs and pleated sides. Use it as a vanity stool, accent chair, or footstool.


This acrylic paint to spruce up your front door

Eric Bramlett, realtor and owner of Bramlett Residential, explains, “Front doors naturally experience wear and tear due to regular use,” adding, “A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in restoring the door's appearance, making it look new again.” This best-selling paint on Amazon is great for front doors and boasts a semi-gloss finish, indoor/outdoor durability, and a low-odor formulation. Choose from a variety of colors and sheens.


A set of furniture wheels with an antique brass finish

Alex Federo, co-owner of FTW Concrete Contractors, says rearranging your furniture can give a room a new look, adding, “Play around with different configurations until you find one that feels right.” To easily move your furniture around whenever you see fit, add these vintage-style casters to your coffee table, bookcases, or other pieces. They feature a non-marking, rotating wheel and an antique brass finish for a classic look.


A set of under-bed shoe organizers to neatly store your collection

Jen Dallas, an interior designer, tells Mic, “There is nothing like a clean house to make a home feel like new” — and tidying up your footwear collection with these under-bed shoe organizers can help. They can accommodate up to 16 pairs of shoes and four pairs of boots, measure just 6 inches tall, and are also great for storing clothing and other gear.


This 3-tier shoe rack that doubles as a bench

On the same note, Dallas advises, “Keeping coats and shoes organized at the door is key to making a home feel good.” This three-tier bench and shoe rack combo is made of a sturdy, 100% natural bamboo, can hold up to 12 pairs of shoes, and measures just under 28 inches long. Choose from three finishes.


A set of matte black doorknobs for an upgraded look

“Changing your interior doorknobs to matching matte black will modernize your space and give it attractive design punctuation,” explains Nichole Abbott, interior designer at FLOOR360. This pack of smooth matte black doorknobs is great for most bedroom, bathroom, and closet doors and has interior turn locks for privacy.


This stylish room divider to make large spaces feel more intimate

If you have a large room or an open-concept layout, “Define your space with a strategically placed folding room divider,” suggests Abbott. This stylish room divider is about 6 feet tall and has a sturdy pine wood frame and a foldable four-panel design that can be easily stored when not in use. Choose from gold and silver.


A set of storage cubes for organizing & decluttering

“Cube storage shelves with colorful canvas containers help declutter any room you place them in,” says Abbott, and recommends keeping “toys, shoes, electronics, clothes, and anything else out of sight.” These storage cubes come in 10 colors and are made of a soft yet sturdy fabric. They also have handles for easy carrying and measure 11 inches wide and 10.5 inches tall — ideal for fitting into cube organizers.


A pack of cable concealers to hide unsightly cords

According to Octavio Estrada, senior architectural designer at Block Renovation, cords and cables “can add to the overall clutter of a space and minimize the impact of well-curated design.” These cable concealers include a variety of straight and angled pieces for a customized track, feature adhesive backing for easy installation, and can fit up to three wires inside. Choose from four colors.


These LED bulbs for a matching glow throughout your home

Estrada also recommends “replacing light bulbs to match the same warmth throughout the home,” as it “can make rooms feel cohesive and brighten existing finishes/furnishings.” Featuring a soft white glow, these 60-watt LED light bulbs cast a bright, neutral glow, provide 10,000 hours of light per bulb, and come in at just over $1 per bulb — making it a steal for your home.