Designers say you can save a sh*t load of money around your home with any of these genius tricks

Save money (and time!) with these smart tips.

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Having a nice home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg — you just have to know how to spend your money wisely. Small improvements, like a new coat of paint or fresh cabinet pulls, can make a world of difference for just a few dollars. But if you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry: I’ve reached out to a handful of designers who were more than happy to share their favorite tips when it comes to updating homes on a budget.

And since every space is unique, I’ve also made sure that their tips can be applied across a wide variety of home styles — in other words, not likely to clash with your personal tastes. Designers know what works best when it comes to decorating your home, so why not take their advice?

If you want to save a sh*t load of money while updating your home, keep scrolling for more.


Help lower your heating & cooling costs by sealing up drafts

Drafty rooms are one of the easiest ways to run up your energy bills. The solution? “Make sure to air seal and insulate the home to reduce energy costs,” Linden tells Mic — and this sealing tape is an affordable alternative to having a professional visit your home. While great for drafty windows, you can also use it on cracks, doorways, or practically anywhere else in your home that allows air to blow through. It also creates an airtight seal and won’t leave behind any sticky residue upon removal.


Save space in cramped living rooms with a sofa arm tray

Figuring out how to make your cramped living room functional can be challenging. Luckily, Linden has an easy tip: “Look for pieces of furniture and decor that can serve multiple purposes.” For example, this sofa arm tray gives you somewhere stable to rest drinks and snacks, eliminating the need for a coffee table. It’s designed to fit nearly any sofa and can even help protect upholstery from spills. You also have the choice of three finishes: black, natural, or white.


Move around decorative pieces for an easy refresh

Trying to be as cheap as possible when decorating? “Don’t buy any new wall hangings, take the framed art, decorative pieces or photos you already have, and re-imagine where you can place them,” Abbott tells Mic. “Move your framed photos from the living room to a hallway. Then, bring in two or three larger pieces from different rooms and place them in your living room. Your home probably has a consistent color scheme and style, so look around and repurpose some wall art, it will seem like a renovated space.”

But in order to hang up frames, you’re going to need the right tools — and this picture-hanging kit can help you get the job done. From hooks to nails, it comes with practically everything you’ll need to get your frames looking good, including a bubble level. And since each piece is made from carbon steel, there’s no need to worry about them warping under pressure.


Choose affordable pieces of decor that look lavish

If those bookends didn’t suit your style, this trio of thinker statues is available for under $25. They’re made from tough resin with a golden finish that makes them look way more expensive than they are — and many reviewers describe them as “super cute.” If gold isn’t your style, you also have the choice of four different finishes: gold, black, pearly white, or classic white.


Cut down on energy costs by hanging up curtains

If you’ve noticed your energy bills steadily creeping higher and higher, John Linden, an interior designer for MirrorCoop, recommends that you “utilize natural light whenever possible to save on energy costs.” With that in mind, these sheer curtains let just the right amount of light through while still giving your home some much-needed privacy. The rod-in-pocket top makes it easy to slide them back and forth on your curtain rod — and with more than 15 colors to choose from, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that suits your style.


Give old, damaged furniture a much-needed refresh

You don’t need to break your budget by buying new furniture — just repair the pieces you already have. “A great way to save money is by repurposing old furniture and giving it a new lease of life,” interior designer Rudolph Diesel tells Mic. If you’re set on spending money, he recommends “either buying something secondhand or upcycling something you no longer use.”

While repairing furniture may sound tricky, this kit makes it easier than ever. It’s made for nearly any type of upholstery, whether your couch is torn or your carpet has holes — and the included glue is stronger than sewing stitches with thread. Plus, the colors can be mixed and customized to match as needed.


Save money on your utility bill with a programmable thermostat

Constantly adjusting your thermostat is an easy way to wind up with a sky-high energy bill. Instead, Linden suggests that you “consider using a programmable thermostat to help regulate temperatures” — and this one, in particular, is available for less than $20. You can program it so that it runs for the entire week, with each day being broken up into four periods of time.


Customize picture frames for a stunning accent wall

With their smooth wood borders that are easy to paint, this set of picture frames can easily be customized however your heart desires. Mounting hooks on the back make it easy to hang them up, while their sleek glass faces put your favorite pictures on clear display.


Upgrade scuffed surfaces with sturdy, low-maintenance alternatives

Some materials are more prone to scuffs and scratches than others and can make your home look a little crummy if you don’t keep up with their maintenance. Instead, Linden tells Mic to “choose durable, low-maintenance materials like hardwood flooring, granite countertops, and ceramic tile.” But if those still sound a little pricey? This roll of contact paper is an affordable alternative. It looks just like white marble, even up close — and the adhesive backing makes it easy to press into place just like you would with a sticker. The vinyl material is also water-resistant, making it suitable for use in kitchens, bathrooms, and more.


Give tired kitchens a refresh with a brand-new backsplash

Not all homes come with a backsplash, so if you’d like to add one without breaking the bank, consider this peel-and-stick option. It’s heat- and moisture-resistant, so there’s no need to worry about installing it behind your stove. The adhesive backing also makes installation a total breeze, while the vinyl front allows you to wipe it clean with a damp cloth if it ever gets dirty. Choose from eight colors, ranging from classic white to a fun shade of teal.


Swap out incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs

If you can’t figure out why your energy bills are so high, try checking to make sure that you aren’t using incandescent bulbs. Instead, Linden suggests that you “invest in LED lighting to reduce electricity usage.” And while you could just grab a pair of regular LED bulbs, these smart ones only cost a little bit more and come with a slew of fun features. The free downloadable smartphone app lets you choose from more than 15 million colors when setting the mood — and you can even put them on schedules so that they’re on when you come home. The best part? Pair them with Google Home or Alexa, and you’ll be able to control them using convenient voice commands.


Spruce up furniture staples with new decorations

Large pieces of furniture — like bookshelves and couches — can be expensive to replace. Thankfully, Kathy Kuo, the CEO, founder, and interior designer of Kathy Kuo Home, has an affordable alternative. “I’ve had many of my anchor pieces for years,” she tells Mic, going on to say, “I still have a great time styling them in new ways with smaller items like throw blankets, decorative objects, and seasonal floral arrangements.”

Speaking of throw blankets, this one is made from plush sherpa, making it perfect for snuggling on the couch. You can also use it to add a pop of color to tired furniture, as it comes in 10 different colors — and the hearty fabric is resistant to pilling, fading, and shedding.


Add color to dull shelves with some decorative bookends

Speaking of decorations, consider using these geode bookends to give your room some color. They’re made from real stone, which means each set is completely unique on the inside — so there’s zero chance anyone will have the exact same pair as you. And at two to three pounds in size, there’s no need to wonder about whether or not they’ll hold your book collection safely upright. Choose from four colors: teal, black, natural, or pink.


Put some seasonal flowers on display inside a cute vase

Part of Kuo’s advice is to decorate with seasonal flowers, which you can put on display in a cute vase. Not only is this one made from high-quality porcelain, but the watertight base shouldn’t leak when filled with water. Choose from three colors: white, black, or a cute gradient pink.


Paint furniture to give it a modern makeover

Sometimes all that piece of outdated furniture needs is a makeover, but if you aren’t sure how to update them? According to Diesel, “I recommend looking for items like wooden tables, drawers or picture frames that can easily be painted or stained to fit with your aesthetic.” With that in mind, this accent table is made from unfinished wood that you can customize to match your home. It’s small enough to fit in cramped entryways or even to use as a nightstand — and many reviewers appreciated how it was “easy to assemble”.


Select thick, rich paint that delivers maximum coverage

This tub of chalk-style paint delivers thick, opaque coverage, making it unlikely that you’ll be forced to do multiple coats. And if you do need to add another layer? You won’t be stuck waiting around for hours, as it typically dries within about 30 minutes. You also have the choice of 50 colors, ranging from fresh mustard to a deep shade of cranberry.


Use the right tools to make sure your DIY goes smoothly

It’s never a bad idea to keep a good paintbrush around the house, and this one is versatile enough to tackle nearly any job. The slanted bristles make it easy to cut clean lines as you paint, as well as paint deep into tight corners. And since the vegan bristles are packed tightly together, there’s no need to worry about them shedding into your DIY project.


Revamp old furniture into something completely new

When a makeover isn’t enough to revamp old furniture, consider transforming it into something completely new. “For items already in your home, see if you can repurpose items you no longer use to better suit your needs,” Diesel tells Mic. He goes on to explain that “[...]an old ladder can be turned into a stylish bookcase with a few pieces of MDF and brackets, whereas an old trunk can be turned into a coffee table — top with a sheet of thick plastic or glass if you want to protect it from stains or wear and tear.”

If you aren’t confident in your DIY skills, this ladder shelf is an affordable alternative to making your own. The pickled oak finish makes it look way more expensive than it is — and its 15-inch footprint makes it suitable for tight spaces. Installation is also a total breeze, as many reviewers wrote about how it was “easy to assemble.”


Create a unique coffee table with help from this vinyl cloth

While creating a ladder shelf may seem intimidating, you shouldn’t have any issue draping this vinyl tablecloth over an old trunk. It’s waterproof as well as oilproof, helping protect the top of your trunk from water rings, spills, and more. Or, if you don’t have a trunk to repurpose, simply drape it over your dining table to help prevent scratches.


Choose neutral colors to give your home a timeless look

Design trends are always changing — and sometimes whatever is popular in the summer is considered out of style by fall. “Switching things up between seasons can easily become costly, especially when trends move so quickly,” explains Diesel. “To make staying on trend cheap and easy, stick with a neutral base, such as beige or white walls, light wood floors and cream or grey sofas.”

The only catch is that painting walls can be a bit of a pain — this peel-and-stick wallpaper, on the other hand, is a total breeze when it comes to installation. The grasscloth texture keeps your walls visually interesting while still remaining relatively neutral. If you rent instead of owning your home, when it’s time to move out, simply peel it off like you would a regular sticker.


Transform outdated couches with a stylish slipcover

Now that your walls are beautifully neutral, it’s time to use this slipcover to refresh that old, tired couch. It comes in a variety of shades, from classic ivory to earth-toned camel, and it’s large enough to cover sofas up to 90 inches wide. Plus, the elastic around the bottom delivers a clean, crisp look with minimal bulging.


Incorporate colorful throw pillows to spice up monochromatic rooms

Now that you’ve incorporated neutrals into your home? Diesel says, “You can then add pops of trendy colours, prints and textures through more affordable decor items [...]” Smaller pieces can even deliver the most bang for your buck, as the designer recommends “[...] items like throw pillows or area rugs which can be easily swapped out for the next season.”

Speaking of smaller pieces, these throw pillow covers come in more than 35 colors, making it easy to add pops of color to your sofa, bed, and more. They’re made from soft polyester velvet, making them great for taking naps on lazy days.


Place a colorful rug on barren floors

Now that you’ve incorporated neutrals into your home? Diesel says, “You can then add pops of trendy colours, prints and textures through more affordable decor items [...]” Smaller pieces can even deliver the most bang for your buck, as the designer recommends “[...] items like throw pillows or area rugs which can be easily swapped out for the next season.”

Speaking of smaller pieces, these throw pillow covers come in more than 35 colors, making it easy to add pops of color to your sofa, bed, and more. They’re made from soft polyester velvet, making them great for taking naps on lazy days.


Opt for peel & stick wallpaper instead of painting

Even if you have the funds to chase design trends, you’ll still want to make your home makeover as easy as possible — especially when it comes to your walls. If you’re hoping to decorate in a bold way, Diesel says you can “use removable wallpaper or wall decals instead of painting or wallpapering an entire room.” He continues, saying to “simply remove them when you’re finished for an easy way to experiment without the commitment.”

With its adhesive backing that lets you press it into place like a sticker, this roll of removable wallpaper is a solid choice if you’re looking for an easy makeover. The geometric pattern won’t go out of style anytime soon — and when it does, simply peel it off your walls to replace it with something new. Choose from two colors: black or navy blue.


Decorate boring walls with beautiful decals

Not only are these decals easy to apply to walls, but you can also peel them off and reposition them without having to worry about any leftover sticky residue. The floral design is delightfully neutral, making it suitable for bathrooms, bedrooms, or nearly any other room in your home — and reviewers have described it as both “elegant” and like “getting a tattoo for your bland walls”.


Brighten up dark homes with some stylish lighting options

All the design changes in the world won’t make a difference if your home is too dark — and some homes don’t even have ceiling lights. Luckily, Diesel says there’s a better alternative. “While ceiling lights are great for making a statement, sometimes they can be expensive, especially more impactful art-style pieces,” he explains. “Instead, get creative and layer up different forms of lighting such as floor lamps, candles and string lamps to create depth and layers of lighting that can instantly make your home look more chic without a huge price tag.”

With that in mind, this floor lamp is a stylish choice that won’t break the bank. It comes with two LED bulbs: one warm yellow and a second that casts cool white. And with a wide, sturdy base, there’s no need to worry about it tipping over.


Use candles to create a warm, cozy vibe

Made from 100% natural soy wax, this candle delivers a clean burn that can last for up to 35 hours. Gentle notes of bergamot and jasmine give it an uplifting aroma, while hints of sandalwood make it stand out from other candles. The best part? If you’d like it to burn longer, it’s also available in large and extra-large sizes.


Hang up string lights to create a gorgeous outdoor space

Whether you decide to hang these string lights inside or outside is up to you. Either way, they’ll cast a warm, inviting glow that instantly makes any space look chic. Unlike some string lights, these ones are compatible with dimmer switches, as well as completely shatterproof. “I purchased these lights for my backyard and let me say, I love these lights,” raved one of many happy reviewers.


Arrange bottles & glassware in a decorative way

While artwork can be expensive, sometimes you can arrange everyday items in your home to create cute decorations. “Buy a bar cart or small shelving unit,” Nichole Abbott, an interior designer for FLOOR360, explains to Mic. “Don’t buy anything to put on it, style it with the wine and liquor you already have in your home. Add different size glasses to give some visual interest [such as] highball glasses, wine glasses, stemless wine glasses, champagne glasses, and martini glasses.”

With three spacious shelves to work with, this bar cart is perfect for tall bottles of champagne, wine, and more. Castor wheels on the bottom make it easy to push from room to room, and the gold finish is a cute way to add a metallic pop of color wherever you keep it. “Don’t forget the ice bucket if you have one,” Abbott suggests.


Replace old cups in favor of some highball glasses

Still sipping from plastic cups? These highball glasses are a sleek upgrade that’ll only set you back $22. Their sleek silhouettes are attractive to look at, making them perfect for displaying on that bar cart — and each one is made from Italian-crafted glass without even a hint of lead.


Choose sleek wine glassware over cheap plastic alternatives

Now that you’ve upgraded your everyday drinking cups, it’s time to take a look at your wine glasses. These ones are 100% lead-free, made from hand-blown glass, and feature long stems for a noticeably luxurious touch. Plus, the high-quality packaging helps ensure that they won’t arrive with any chips or cracks.


Use champagne flutes to bring life to empty bar carts

Whether you’re in the mood for some bubbly or mimosas, the smooth, rounded rims on these champagne flutes make them perfect for sipping. They’re completely shatterproof, as well as BPA-free, and the stemless body makes it easy to balance them on a bar cart or tray without having to worry about them tipping over.


Help prevent spills by sipping from short martini glasses

The wide rim and tall stem on traditional martini glasses can make it easy to spill your drink, making these stemless glasses a savvy investment. The lack of a stem makes it easier for you to palm them in your hand, helping prevent spills when you lift them up — and the crystal-clear glass makes them look way more expensive than they are.


Paint floating shelves the same color as your walls for a seamless look

If painting or hanging up wallpaper doesn’t appeal to your tastes, consider adding some floating shelves to help spice up blank walls. “Free up wall space and open up your room with floating shelves,” suggests Abbott. “Paint them the same color as your walls if you still have that can of paint, to get the color drenched look. Then accessorize with the décor you already have in the room.”

Not only do these floating shelves come with all the anchors and screws you’ll need for mounting, but their varying lengths mean they’re already styled to look good. Each one is made from durable MDF wood. And if you don’t want to paint them? You have the choice of nine different finishes, ranging from classic white to rustic blue.


Opt for down pillow inserts that are so, *so* fluffy

A comfortable throw pillow is worth its weight in gold — the only trick is finding an insert that’s oh-so-fluffy. The solution? According to Robin DeCapua, a decor and home staging specialist at Madison Modern Home, “If you like a pillow cover, but hate its polyfill insert, as long as it has a zipper, you can swap it for a feather insert for greater comfort and ‘karate-chopability.”

These inserts are filled with soft down, making them perfect for relaxing, napping, or even giving yourself some extra lumbar support when sitting upright. And since the stitching is down-proof, you shouldn’t wind up with feathers poking through. But if you still need a little help making your couch or bed look lounge-worthy? DeCapua has another piece of advice: “Pro tip: To ensure your pillow has maximum fluffiness, go about two inches larger on the insert...”


Add new hardware to give old furniture a timely refresh

“Do you have a pair of nightstands that you love — but just don't love the drawer pulls?” asks DeCapua. “You can update hardware provided it has the same dimensions. Try half-moon or large disk shaped handles in burnished metal to replace existing brushed chrome. Measure (and then measure again) to be certain the new ones will fit.”

Available in nickel and bronze finishes, these drawer pulls are perfect for updating that tired nightstand or dresser you’ve been using. Installation is as easy as screwing them right into place — and each pull is packaged individually to help keep them scratch-free while in transit.


Use sleek knobs to breathe new life into tired cabinets

If those pulls didn’t suit your style, consider taking a look at these knobs. They come in four finishes to suit nearly any piece of furniture: satin nickel, soft iron, matte black, and champagne bronze. The best part? If your bedroom furniture is already looking good, you can also use them on your kitchen or bathroom cabinets.


Choose stylish pieces that serve more than one purpose

Not that you’d ever intentionally waste money — but according to Michal Rubin, interior designer for MR Interiors, “You can save a shitload of money around your home by making smart purchases. I love presenting my clients with furniture that's multi-purposeful, like ottomans with a lid for storage, or a tufted/ upholstered coffee table that doubles as extra seating.”

A good example would be this ottoman. Not only does its velvety cover help vary the textures in any room, but the top also lifts off to reveal hidden storage space on the inside. The sturdy metal legs can support up to 300 pounds — and assembly only takes a few quick minutes.


Stash clutter inside of storage furniture

From blankets to board games, the storage space inside of this ottoman gives you ample room to hide all sorts of clutter. The walls are made from sturdy MDF wood, allowing them to support up to 660 pounds. You also have the choice of three colors: brown, black, or white.


When in doubt, hide clutter underneath your bed

Though it can be tempting to hide clutter inside bins, they can quickly cause clutter if you have too many. The solution? “You can save on bins and storage containers by choosing furniture that has built-in storage, like a bed with storage drawers,” Rubin tells Mic. He goes on to say that you can “save on chairs by choosing upholstered stools and coffee tables, and more!”

But if you don’t have space for storage furniture? These organizers have a low profile, allowing you to easily slide them underneath your bed. Dividers on the inside let you fit up to 12 pairs of shoes, while reinforced handles make it easy to drag them back and forth on top of the carpet. Choose from two colors: beige or black.