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Interior decorators swear by these cheap tricks to make your home look better & save you money

Jul 02, 2023

Affordable ways to transform your place.

Refreshing an outdated home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes the most affordable tweaks — like swapping out light fixtures or adding a new coat of paint — can make a world of difference. But if you aren’t sure where to start, that’s not a problem, as I’ve reached out to a handful of interior decorators who were more than happy to share their favorite cheap tricks on how to make any home look better.

From installing floating shelves to adding rugs to bare floors, there’s a little something in here for every home.

If your home feels a little stale, the fix might be as simple as adding some new lamps to your nightstand, desk, or side table. According to Devin Shaffer, the lead interior designer at Decorilla, “It's incredible to see how an addition of a lamp or two can instantly make a space look more luxurious and sophisticated.” This pair of elegant geometric lamps is available in four finishes within the listing, including black, gold, rose gold, and white.

If the ambiance in your home is a little stuffy, Shaffer tells Mic that there’s an easy fix: “Smart bulbs [...] [allow] you to control the ambiance of each room in your home.” These smart bulbs feature more than 15 million adjustable colors and you can even control them via voice using Alexa or Google Home. Thanks to their lifetime of up to 20,000 hours and energy efficiency, they’ll save you money, too.

To make your home stand out, Nicholle Abbott, an interior designer for FLOOR360 suggests adding “vintage-looking cabinet pulls to your bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinets.” She says choosing shiny, detailed pulls “like your grandma used to have” can create a fresh yet nostalgic vibe. These vintage-inspired cabinet pulls are made from durable zinc alloy and they’re also available in double- as well as single-hole versions in the listing.

If the colors in your kitchen aren’t quite meshing, the solution could be as easy as adding a rug that ties everything together. According to Abbott, a runner can bring together “your floor, wall, cabinets, and backsplash.” This decorative rug contains a variety of blues, reds, oranges, and yellows, making it great for warm-toned kitchens. It’s available in six other shades (and several shapes and sizes) within the listing to suit any decor.

Abbott recommends that you “organize and declutter your bedroom nightstand or entryway table with a tabletop organizer that has a built-in cell phone charger.” Luckily, this charging station features USB ports for up to six devices, making it easy to charge everything. It also has an LED light that indicates when each device is fully charged. And it comes with seven short charging cables to keep things tidy: three lightning, three micro-USB, as well as one USB-C.

To freshen grout easily and cheaply, Abbott recommends that you “paint [it] a different color than it is now to give your room an upgrade.” And because this water-based narrow-point grout pen is available for less than $10, you can easily revamp your home for less than the price of lunch. The pen can cover up to 150 feet of grout and a wide-tip version is available in the listing.

If you want to change up your furniture that sits flat on the floor (like your bedroom dresser), Abbott suggests attaching “a set of legs to open up the look and feel of your bedroom.” These furniture legs are made from solid ash wood with a stylish gold cap at the bottom for a modern look; they’re also available in plain ash in the listing. Choose from six different lengths ranging from 4 inches to 16 inches to suit different pieces.

“Neglected door hardware with scuffs and residue from past paint jobs can make an entire room past its prime,” explains Beth R. Martin, the founder and designer at She suggests choosing the closest color Rub’ n Buff to your hinges and knobs. It costs less than $20 — and since a little goes a long way, it might just be the most cost-effective trick on this list. You can also mix the colors together as needed to match your metal.

Consider transferring your dry goods into stylish glass jars to transform your pantry and prevent food waste. Martin says, “I love using mason jars because they are inexpensive, come in tons of sizes, are easy to clean, and you can buy bamboo lids if you want them to look more aesthetic.” This four-pack of 16-ounce wide-mouth jars features airtight lids to keep everything inside fresh, making them great for dry goods, canning, or even just whipping up some overnight oats.

Another option for streamlining your pantry as suggested by Martin is this stackable three-pack of glass canisters. The lids are made from durable and stylish bamboo with an airtight silicone seal. The borosilicate glass base is durable and lead-free. Several different sizes are available in the listing to hold a variety of foods.

Martin recommends using rug grippers for two reasons, explaining, “A messed-up carpet can damage your floors over time and is also a tripping hazard.” Not only does this four-pack of rug gripper corners make it easy to keep your rugs lying flat, but it is also weatherproof so the set can be used indoors or out. Plus, the L-shaped pieces make it easy to apply them to rug corners.

Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and the founder of Arsight, recommends organizing and decluttering, saying, “You'll find your home feels more spacious and welcoming immediately.” He suggests using plastic organizers like this durable, translucent pack of four that features handles for moving things from room to room with ease. Use them to store cleaning supplies, clothes, and more.

Declutter your closet by storing out-of-season clothing, shoes, and bedding inside this two-pack of under-bed storage bags. Their low profiles allow you to slide them underneath your bed, keeping them out of sight until you need something — and the clear window on top lets you see what’s inside without needing to unpack everything.

Little tweaks throughout your home — like adding a fresh coat of paint to your walls — can make a world of difference in making your space look better. But if you need some confirmation? “Applying a new layer of paint can transform a room, serving as an affordable method to refresh your decor,” Kropovinsky tells Mic. “If you're on a tight budget, you could take on the painting task yourself.”

With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure you have all the right tools on hand to get the job done — and this paint roller set is a good place to start. It comes with four roller covers, three brushes, as well as a small paint tray that’s easy to move around your worksite. The best part? At less than $20, it costs way less than hiring a professional to paint your walls for you.

When in doubt, adding a few plants to your home is rarely ever a bad idea in terms of design. According to Kropovinsky, “Houseplants not only bring vitality and color into any room but also help to purify the air in your home.” And if you don’t want to grow them from seeds? He goes on to say that “local nurseries or garden centers are excellent sources of a variety of reasonably priced plants.”

Or, you could just grab this set of six plants from Amazon for less than $40. They arrive fully rooted so that they’re easy to transfer into a more stylish pot if you like — and the small size makes them great for shelves, desks, or any other tight space in your home.

Speaking of stylish pots, these planters don’t just look good — they also feature a built-in water reservoir that keeps your plants hydrated for more than a week. Their air circulation system also helps prevent root rot, and each one is made from thick plastic so that they’re unlikely to break if dropped.

Though it may seem obvious, it still needs to be said that adding art to your home is a great way to make it look better. “Art is an effective means of introducing style and character into your living space,” explains Kropovinsky. “Artwork is available at a broad range of prices, with pieces to suit any preference.”

And while store-bought artwork can be on the pricy side, this set of four prints is currently available for less than $35. Each order comes with frames included, which means they’re ready to hang up right out of the delivery box — and you even have the choice of four frame colors: black, walnut, white, or natural wood.

The only catch to decorating your home with artwork is the price. The solution? “If your budget is tight, you can even produce your own art,” says Kropovinsky — but you’ll need these stretched canvases to ensure that your art looks amazing. The frames are made from real pine wood, while the canvas is 100% cotton fabric. And since the canvas fabric is acid-free, you can rest assured that your artwork will last.

If your home features an open floor plan, putting down rugs is a stylish way to separate your living from dining spaces. “Floor coverings play a role in demarcating different spaces in your home while adding color and texture to your interior design,” explains Kropovinsky. “Rugs are available at various price points, offering a vast selection of styles.” Made from 100% Turkish jute, this area rug is a gorgeous addition to any floor, while the natural fibers give it a soft feeling underfoot. Choose from more than 10 sizes as well as two colors: natural or black.

If creating or buying your own art simply isn’t an option, you can still decorate your walls by installing floating shelves. “Floating shelving is the perfect way to fill your walls without forking out on expensive artwork,” explains Laura Price, owner of The Home Organisation. “Install three or four floating shelves to a wall or alcove and create an interesting display that your guests will instantly become drawn to.”

With that in mind, these floating shelves are one of the most affordable items on this list at less than $25 for three of them. They’re made from water-resistant MDF wood, making them suitable for humid bathrooms — and each one is so sturdy that it can support up to 17 pounds.

Visible clutter can make even the most beautiful homes feel a little crummy. According to Price, “Creating more storage can be a useful step in making your home look and feel more organized however buying a new cabinet or wardrobe can be expensive and unnecessary.” Luckily, she also has an easy fix: “Instead, invest in baskets you can place in under-used spaces such as above kitchen cupboards or at the top of a wardrobe.”

Not only are these baskets made from 100% cotton rope, but they’re also the perfect size for cabinets, shelves, and more. They fold flat for easy storage when not in use — and with nine different colors to choose from, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that suits your home’s color scheme.

Installing traditional wallpaper, only to realize that you don’t like the way it looks can cost hundreds of dollars. Thankfully, Heather Fujikawa, the co-CEO & principal designer at House Sprucing, has a cost-effective alternative — “For those wanting to give wallpaper a shot without the long-term commitment, peel & stick wallpaper is a great way to give it a try and Amazon has some great budget-friendly options,” she tells Mic.

With five different colors to choose from, this peel-and-stick wallpaper is a solid choice for anyone looking to change up their walls without the commitment of traditional wallpaper. There’s no glue required — just peel off the adhesive backing, then press it right into place. And if you’re a renter? You can just as easily peel it off without having to worry about damaging the wall underneath.

Decorating with fresh flowers is always a good idea — unless it’s outside your budget. “While it's ideal to have fresh florals on display at all times, it's not always practical which is why faux stems make for a great alternative,” explains Fujikawa. “We love placing oversized stems in a vase on an entryway console, kitchen island or formal dining or living space as it adds an editorial touch.”

These faux cherry blossom branches in particular are sure to look great just about anywhere you put them. They come in a variety of colors — from fresh white to deep pink — and the long branches make it easy to display them inside tall vases.

From bland coffee tables to empty shelves, books are a versatile way to decorate all sorts of empty surfaces. “When it comes to styling, books are a must!” says Fujikawa. “No matter what you're styling whether it's shelves, a coffee table, console, or cabinet, books are essential for curating a layered look.”

A large book with tons of pictures inside, like this one, is the sort of book you’re looking for. It’s filled with photos of more than 30 gorgeous southern homes, making it great for starting conversations, or even just flipping through for decor inspiration. And unlike some coffee table books, this one is available for a more-than-reasonable $25.

When in doubt, swapping out the fixtures in your home for newer versions may be the affordable makeover your home needs. “One of my favorite tips is to update the covers on your light switches!” Dana Feagles, the founder and principal interior designer at Revelry Interior Design, tells Mic. “If you have old, white plastic covers, they have probably yellowed or chipped over time, and swapping them out for metal covers or something more decorative can have a huge impact.”

With more than 10 finishes to choose from, these light switch covers are sure to look good no matter how you’ve styled your home. They’re made from tough thermoplastic that’s resistant to fading — and since they’re designed for single-pole operations, you can easily use them with lighting fixtures up to 15 amps.

While mixing metals can look good in some cases, your bathroom isn’t one of them. “Purchase towel bars and toilet paper holders in the same metal finish and design line,” says Feagles. “It’s a subtle change that makes a big difference to the cohesiveness of your bathroom. If you have the space, a double towel bar can add a bit of hotel-quality luxury to your bathroom.”

With that in mind, this double towel bar comes in five different finishes, making it easy to match your bathroom fixtures. It’s also made from tough stainless steel — so there’s no need to worry about it rusting — and the extra-large gap between the two bars gives you more than enough room to store particularly fluffy towels.

If the art in your home feels a little lackluster, Feagles suggests elevating it with a picture light. She tells Mic, “A wall-mounted picture light with a rechargeable bulb or battery can elevate any wall space, picture, or tall bookshelf” — and this one is currently available for less than $35. Its brightness is adjustable up to two levels, making it suitable for sunny rooms as well as dark ones. And since you can adjust its head up to 180 degrees, you can easily point the light in nearly any direction.

Just in case it needs to be emphasized again, clutter is one of the biggest culprits in making any home feel a little crummy — especially when it comes to electronics. “Keep cords and wires out of view.” says Feagles. But if that cable clutter is unavoidable? She goes on to say, “There are tons of products on the market today, from hidden desktop cord managers to wall-mount and even decorative boxes to hide power strips.”

This cable box in particular features multiple openings in the back, making it easy to thread wires through as needed. Ventilation holes on the top also help keep chunky power bricks from overheating — and you even have the choice of two colors: black or white.

Loose wires hanging down from your television is rarely ever a good look, so why not hide them inside of this cable channel? It’s large enough to fit nearly any wire and comes with screws so that you can mount it directly to your walls for a clean look. You can also paint the outside so that they blend seamlessly into your walls, or simply choose from one of five colors: white, beige, black, brown, or grey.

When no amount of scrubbing seems to get rid of those scuff marks, Feagles recommends using a magic eraser to refresh your walls. “Magic Erasers are my little secret when it comes to making something old look new again,” she explains. “It’s amazing how easy it is to get scuff marks off of your walls and painted furniture without having to invest in a new paint job or professional furniture restoration.”

Not only are these Magic Erasers made with strong dura-foam that helps them last up to four times longer than comparable erasers, but they’re also safe to use on a variety of surfaces — from grimy tile to dirty shoes. Just get one damp with water and it’s ready to start cleaning.

If the only lights in your home are overhead, consider adding some wall- or floor-based lights to elevate its look. “Layers of lighting make a room instantly feel more luxurious, and of course functional,” explains Chrissy Arsenault, owner and designer for Live Original Design. “Start with ambient lighting, which can be a ceiling fixture or pot lights to light the overall space; then task lighting such as pendants over an island or table/floor lamps for reading; then accent lighting such as wall sconces or a picture light over a frame.”

But if you aren’t sure where to start? These wall sconces have a rustic vibe that’s sure to look good in your entryway, bedroom, or even your living room. There’s also no complicated wiring required during installation, as each one provides hours’ worth of light using just two AA batteries — and the backboard is even made from real wood rather than plastic.

Speaking of floor lamps, this one features a second lamp head that can be adjusted into nearly any position, making it great for reading. The plastic shades are also more durable than glass, helping them hold up against frequent use — and you even have the choice of four finishes: black, brushed nickel, silver, or white.

You don’t necessarily need a ton of storage space in your home in order to get rid of clutter. According to Arsenault, you can “get rid of all that unnecessary visual clutter by stashing toys, magazines, or random collections of items that pile up around the home in uniform baskets or boxes.”

She goes on to say that “Amazon has some lovely Jute tote bags that line up nicely on an open shelf” — and these ones in particular feature a lined interior to give them a little extra durability. They’re also waterproof as well as dirt-resistant, and feature wide bottoms to help them keep their shape when filled with items. Choose from two orientations: horizontal or vertical.

Couch looking a little worse for wear? Arsenault recommends that you “refresh any tired-looking cushions with a new cover.” Or, if your couch is simply outdated, she goes on to say that you can “mix and match patterns in a unified tone or neutrals to add a little variety and instantly change the look of your decor.”

With more than 15 colors to choose from, these cushion covers make it easy to mix and match tones however you please. They’re made from. soft jacquard fabric — and since one size fits any cushion between 58 and 88 inches, you can rest assured that they’ll look good regardless of how large or small your cushions are.

There’s no way to fix short ceilings without massive renovations. Luckily, Arsenault has another tip: “To give the illusion of height, hang your curtain rod closer to the ceiling (as opposed to just over the window opening) and allow the fabric to hang to just above the floor.”

But if your windows don’t have curtains? Now’s your chance to give them a makeover with this curtain rod. It extends from 48 out to 88 inches, making it suitable for windows of nearly any size. Plus, the curved ends let you wrap your curtains around the window to help block out light. Choose from three finishes: black, bronze, or nickel.