Contractors Say You Can Improve Your Home A Surprising Amount With Any Of These Genius, Cheap Tricks

Pro-level updates without the sticker shock.

Written by Veronika Kero
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Updating your home can seem like a pricey prospect, which is why we reached out to the pros on how to improve your home using products that are affordably priced and easy to install. Whether you’re hoping to update your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, or elsewhere, scroll on to upgrade your home, professional home experts including contractors, electricians, realtors, and professional organizers swear by these clever but cheap tips and tricks that can transform your house.


Brightening Your Kitchen (Or Elsewhere) With This LED Light Strip

To “brighten up your kitchen workspace,” according to Andrii Gurskyi, founder of Mr. Glazier, install under-cabinet light strip. This three-foot adhesive (and waterproof) piece offers pure white light that doesn’t require any messy wires or drilling. It has an oversize (and easy to find) power button and takes three AA batteries.


Lowering Your Electric Bill With This Damage-Free Draft Stopper

Gurskyi says draft stoppers are a “simple yet effective solution” that can be installed on most doors. He recommends them for improving your home’s energy use, and for reducing noise. This one is made of two-inch-thick memory foam that can be cut to fit doors ranging from 30 to 36 inches wide. Because it slides under the door and requires no adhesive or screws, it’s a damage-free option especially helpful for renters.


Painting Your Space With The Right Tools

Matt Teifke, founder & CEO of Teifke Real Estate, says that “painting is relatively easy to do yourself.” He recommends having the right supplies, including a drop cloth, on hand to make the job as mess-free as possible. The thick, absorbent canvas fabric can be used indoors or outdoors to protect furniture and flooring.


Elevating A Room With Linen Curtains

“Changing out your window treatments is another great way to improve a home on a budget,” says Teifke. This grommeted, room-darkening linen curtain panel comes in 14 colors and 15 sizes to fit any space. Note this listing is for one panel; you can get a pair for less than $40. One reviewer commented, “Very good quality, thick and heavy.”


Removing Blockages Yourself With A Drain Cleaner

Jake Romano, the general manager at John The Plumber, says that it’s “actually insane” how much stuff a drain cleaner can pull out. Romano says that they’re an extremely easy way to clear your pipes of build-up and hair. This pack comes with three 25-inch-long pieces costing just $2 each.


Making The Most Of Your Space With A Turntable

“Turntables are a great way to keep items on the back of the shelf accessible,” says Aaron Traub, the owner of My Professional Organizer. Before setting up this transparent turntable with removable dividers, he recommends getting rid of any excess or expired items to maximize space. Reviewers report using this one in spice cabinets, fridges, cupboards, and even in bathrooms to organize toiletries.


Preventing Pests By Tidying Up Your Landscaping — For Less Than $40

Mike Charles, the owner of Unified Pest Control, let us in on the secret that your landscaping can also impact how many pests you find in your home. That’s why he advises that you “trim back bushes and trees to prevent pests from using them as a pathway into your home.” This Black & Decker hedge trimmer has a 4.7-star overall rating and costs less than $40.


Streamlining Your Pantry With These Airtight Containers

Traub says that “pairing [turntables] with clear, stackable containers can maximize space and make your pantry look neater.” This seven-piece set of food containers comes in four different sizes, all of which have an airtight seal to lock in freshness. Plus, they come with chalkboard labels so you can quickly find what you need.


Patching Minor Leaks Yourself With Waterproof Tape

Charles says pests are attracted to moisture, making it critical to “check your faucets, pipes, and other plumbing fixtures for leaks and repair them promptly.” This patch and seal tape permanently bonds to seal minor leaks — even under water. And because it’s UV-resistant, it can be used outdoors as well.


Cleaning Up Pest-Attracting Crumbs With A Broom & Dustpan

“Pests are attracted to clutter and debris, so it's important to keep your home clean and tidy,” says Charles. This broom and dustpan set has self-cleaning teeth to scrape debris into the dustpan and it even comes with an optional extension rod (taking the handle from 39.76 to 51.18 inches), so you don’t have to bend over. It’s available in six colors to blend with your decor.


Organizing Your Food With Glass Canisters

Leslie Kilgour, a professional organizer and founder of Get It Straight, says that decanting items from their cardboard boxes and colorful packaging will “create a uniform, organized, and serene feel in your space.” This four-pack of glass canisters can upgrade the feel of your home, and because they have an airtight seal, your dry goods will stay fresh for longer as well.


Increasing Your Privacy With Window Film

"Add privacy and a touch of elegance to your windows with decorative window film,” says Gurskyi. This frosted option is a cost-effective way to bring new life into your home and it will protect your skin from 84% of UVA rays and 99% of UVB rays. And, when it’s time for a new look, it leaves no residue behind.


Freeing Up Counter Space With A Wall-Mounted Paper Towel Holder

A cheap trick, according to Kilgour, to improve your living space is “simply declutter and make sure there is a place for everything!” By moving your paper towels to the wall or underneath your cabinet with this sleek paper towel holder, you’ll instantly free up counter space. It is available in various finishes to seamlessly blend in with the rest of your kitchen.


Freshening Up Your Walls With New Switch Plates

Bill Nishanian, the owner of Nash Painting, says that “switch plate covers tend to yellow, crack and collect years of paint along the edges,” Replace yours with this fresh-looking three-pack of wall plates that comes with the screws you need for easy installation. Nishanian promises it only requires a “small time investment.”


Swapping Out Your Showerheads For A Spa-Like Bathroom

Martz suggests swapping out your old showerhead to improve the look and value of a home with a model like this rainfall showerhead that costs less than $30. It features chrome-plated stainless steel and — thanks to its air intake system — it’s able to deliver higher water pressure while using less water. “Product was affordable, easy to install and feels great. This is the best feeling shower I’ve taken in years,” wrote one reviewer.


Monitoring Your Home With A Smart Doorbell

For advanced security features such as video monitoring and motion detection, Josh Wilson, licensed realtor and the co-founder of That Florida Life, recommends grabbing a smart doorbell. He says that it’s “one product that can make a big difference in a home's appeal.” And because it works with Alexa, you can check on who’s visiting completely hands-free. It’s also available in white in the listing.


Upgrading A Room By Switching Out Door Hinges

Door hinges are the most overlooked hardware item in the house,” says Nishanian. It’s understandable if you’ve let yours tarnish or they’ve been poorly painted over, as Nishanian often says they are. Replacing them can instantly update the feel of your rooms (without the need for a professional). This 18-pack comes in five finishes and two shapes within the listing.


Saving Energy By Using This Smart Plug That Has 444,000+ 5-Star Reviews

Smart plugs are a convenient and affordable way to make your home smarter and more automated,” according to Jeff Brandlin, the owner of Assurance Electrical Services. They’re also a great way to save energy. With this plug that has more than 444,000 five-star reviews, you can turn off lamps and devices via the Alexa app and set them on a timer as well.


Using A Essential Oil Diffuser To Repel Insects

In addition to sprays, Charles recommends using oils that pests dislike, such as peppermint, lavender, and citrus, in an aromatherapy diffuser. This chic diffuser has a wood-look finish and it includes 10 essential oils, several of which are the kinds Charles recommends.


Having All The Tools You Need When You Start Painting

Other supplies Teifke recommends having on hand for painting include a paintbrush and roller. This 11-piece set includes a four- and 11-inch roller frame and two covers for each, as well as a tray, a bristle brush, and a foam brush — all for just $16. One reviewer wrote, “Rollers and brush are well made. Whole kit is surprisingly nice.”


Deterring Pests With A Peppermint Oil Spray

According to Charles, “Many natural ingredients, such as peppermint oil, lavender, and citrus, can help to repel pests.” This peppermint-based insect and pest control spray is loved by reviewers — it has over 16,000 five-star reviews. It is concentrated for long-lasting protection and it features a kid- and pet-friendly 100% plant-based formula.


Maintaining Your Home’s Siding With A Soft Scrubbing Brush

According to Craig Ricks Jr., the president of Acadian Windows and Siding, a siding brush will help your siding “maintain its color and prevent stains, dirt, or mildew from building up.” Just extend the handle up to 63 inches. The soft bristles won’t leave behind any scratches and can even be used on glass.


Maximizing Storage In Your Cabinets With An Adjustable Shelf

“In your kitchen cabinets, add adjustable shelves for specific food needs,” says Christina Giaquinto, professional organizer and brand ambassador of Modular Closets. She goes on to explain that once your food is grouped by type or size, you can use the shelf to make everything easier to find. This heavy-duty metal shelf can hold up to 50 pounds.


Creating More Space With Shelf Risers

To increase the amount of room you have in your kitchen cabinets, Giaquinto recommends placing shelf risers inside to “instantly create an extra shelf and maximize space.” This two-pack is similar to the previous product but includes non-adjustable risers that come in four wood finishes that would look nice on a countertop as well. Each riser can hold up to 33 pounds.


Modernizing Your Home With A New Light Fixture

According to Teifke, “you don't have to spend too much money on an expensive light fixture.” Changing out a builder-basic fixture for one with a new modern style can transform the entire look of a room. This highly rated pendant light features durable metal construction and three cables with adjustable lengths for any ceiling height.


Sealing Drafts To Save On Energy Bills

To seal out drafts and prevent energy loss, Chris Alexakis, co-founder of and a Florida-certified building contractor, recommends using caulk. This 100% silicone caulk is easy to apply and will dry in just 30 minutes. Alexakis says it’s a “quick and easy improvement that can save you money in the long run.”


Saving Energy With Adhesive Weatherstrips

Like caulk, Alexakis says that “weatherstripping can seal air leaks around windows, preventing energy loss and drafts.” Made with strong adhesive backing, this 16.5-foot trimmable roll of weatherstripping can provide year-round protection against weather, light, and noise. It’s available in nine sizes and three colors within the listing.


Doubling Your Closet Space With A Hanging Rod

Giaquinto says “just by changing your single rod closet to double hanging, you instantly double the space.” This double chrome rod can hold up to 25 pounds and will transform your space so that you feel like you’re shopping in a high-end boutique every time you get dressed.


Organizing Your Tools With A Wall Mount

Traub believes that utilizing a tool mount is a “clever and affordable solution to improve your garage organization.” He says that by making use of vertical space, you’ll be creating more room. This organizer with six hooks and five slots has over 40,000 five-star reviews and comes with the screws and anchors needed for a fast and easy installation.


Using A Tiered Spice Rack To Making Cooking Easier

Giaquinto says that “three-tiered spice racks allow you to easily organize your spices or pantry products.” This expandable model can be adjusted to be between 14.5 and 26 inches wide and it has a non-skid base. One reviewer wrote, “It's very sturdy and I like the rubber to keep the cans and jars from slipping. I'm going to buy another one!”


Saving Space With A Foldable Laundry Basket

Giaquinto says that her favorite kind of laundry basket is a foldable one. She says, “They function just as a regular laundry basket, but the added convenience of folding it up is amazing!” This highly rated hamper is made with durable canvas fabric and has built-in handles for easy carrying.


Using Glass Dispensers So You Can Buy In Bulk

While glass dispensers will certainly upgrade the vibe of your kitchen or bathroom, Kilgour says that they can also “help you save money in the long run, because you can buy soap in bulk at big box stores and decant into the bottles!” This 13-ounce bottle will blend with any bathroom decor and one reviewer wrote that the “perfect amount of soap comes out each time.”


Removing Stains With This Gentle & Effective Siding Cleaner

To properly (and gently) clean your siding per Ricks Jr.’s recommendation, this siding cleaner can be used with a pressure washer or paired with a brush. It’s powerful enough to remove stains and discoloring from algae, moss, and mildew on surfaces such as vinyl, aluminum, stucco, wood, and brick. Reviewers report its environmentally-friendly formula doesn’t harm their plants.


Switching To Smart Bulbs So You Never Forget To Turn Off The Lights

In addition to being beneficial for the environment, Alexakis says that upgrading to efficient LED bulbs can be a great way to reduce your energy bill. They can be controlled from anywhere via a mobile app or set on a timer. Just make sure to “look for bulbs with a high lumens-to-watts ratio to get the most light while using less energy,” Alexakis recommends.


Bringing New Life To Your Wood Floors With Polish

Michael Bordes, certified general contractor and the president of AA Jedson Company, LLC, says, “If you [use wood polish] on a regular basis you will see your old wood scratched floors turn into new beautiful floors with the finish of your choice.” This low-VOC formula fills out micro-scratches and adds a protective layer.


Organizing Your Garage With A Tiered Shelving Unit

Traub says that “one cost-effective way to improve and organize your garage is by investing in tall metal five-tier standing shelving units.” Each of the shelves on this specific model can hold up to 133 pounds, giving you the strength and durability you need to store all your tools, cleaning supplies, and sports equipment. Plus, the height of each shelf can be adjusted to accommodate items of all shapes and sizes.


Applying Peel-And-Stick Wallpaper For Instant Style

Not only is peel-and-stick wallpaper easy to apply but, according to Gurskyi, it’s also a great way to add an “instant touch of style and personality to any room.” This geometric roll can modernize your bedroom or be placed in a kitchen or bathroom (because it’s waterproof). It’s available in five neutral colors within the listing.


Replacing Your Faucets For A Surprisingly Affordable Upgrade

Sean Martz, assistant manager at John the Plumber, believes that replacing the faucet in your bathroom and kitchen may be the “most important and most visible easy plumbing change you can make.” This eye-catching stainless steel model is less than $50 but is packed with high-end features: It has a 360-degree spout and a pull-out sprayer.


Replacing Outdated Hardware On Your Cabinets

To “refresh the look of your kitchen or bathroom cabinets,” Gurskyi recommends swapping out existing cabinet pulls with new and more stylish options. This stainless steel pack of 30 comes in brushed brass, satin nickel, or matte black finishes. These popular pulls have over 24,000 five-star reviews.


Monitoring Your Air Quality With This Stylish Meter

Davin Eberhardt, the founder of Nature of Home, LLC, believes that “an indoor air quality monitor is the most overlooked way to improve a home.” He explains that gas ovens can give off an enormous amount of CO2 and other gases that should be vented to the exterior. One reviewer wrote, “I tested it side by side with a MUCH more expensive unit and readings were identical (I returned the expensive one).”