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Contractors Say You Can Make Your Home Look A Hell Of A Lot Better With Any Of These Genius Tricks

Polish, organize, and clean like a pro.

Contractors Say You Can Make Your Home Look A Hell Of A Lot Better With Any Of These Genius Tricks
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I’ve been a homeowner for a few years now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: Things seemingly fall apart a lot faster than they come together, though not for a lack of trying. It just feels like there’s always something to be done and my bank account can only get me so far. Luckily, thanks to the internet, there are plenty of hacks that’ll make your home look so much better — with significantly less time and money than you might think.

For this article, Bustle got in touch with more than a dozen different home experts. As per the title, that includes contractors — but it also includes professional organizers, cleaners, painters, interior designers, house flippers, and more. Below, they’ve given us their favorite tricks for making your home look newer, cleaner, and better, as well as the (shockingly affordable) products you’ll need to get the job done. That way, you can actually stay ahead of dirt, clutter, deterioration, and changing styles.

No matter the size of your home, these tips will come in handy. Some of these things allow you to maximize the storage space in your small apartment or make temporary, damage-free changes to your rental, all on the cheap. Keep reading to find your next affordable DIY project that makes a big impact with minimal effort.

1

Fix Wall Dents Or Holes With A $10 Patch Kit

Wall holes are inevitable, but according to Matt Stone (owner of Hometown Painting LLC), you don’t have to live with them. “Patch your walls with a patch kit to hide nail holes and dents that have accumulated over the years. If you have lived in your home for long you may not realize just how many holes are in your walls from pictures that used to be there,” Stone wrote. This Homax drywall repair kit “has everything you need to patch and fill nail holes or even larger holes.” It includes permanent vinyl spackling, a steel wall patch, a putty knife, and two sanding pads. You can use it on both drywall and plaster.

2

Utilize Doors For Extra Storage Space

Running low on organization space? “Think vertically,” wrote Michelle Urban, professional home organizer and owner of The Organized House. “If you've already decluttered and are still longing for more space, you can always take advantage of your vertical space and use your walls' upwards real estate — especially doors.” This over-the-door organizer comes with five height-adjustable shelves and is made from durable, rust-proof steel. It’s also easy to install without tools, but it comes with screws and hooks for additional security.

3

Hang The Essentials In Your Bathroom Or Entryway

While the last over-the-door organizer is great for pantries and crafting supplies, this hanging storage rack with hooks is ideal for bathrooms, bedrooms, and entryways. In addition to two wire baskets for toiletries and decor, it also has five sturdy hooks for keys, hats, scarves, or towels. It’s suitable for most doors less than 1.8 inches thick, and it’s made from metal with a PVC coating in your choice of six colors. Best of all, just slip it over your door and you’re done.

4

Combine Natural Materials With Warm, Soft Light

According to Teri Simone, Head of Design and Marketing at Nieu Cabinet Doors, the right accents go a long way. “Adding natural materials such as wood, wicker, and dried pampas grass in vases will give the room an inviting feel - especially with soft, warm lighting from candles and side lamps." This small table lamp combines several of Simone’s recommendations into one: Its light wood base ties in natural materials, while its textured, pleated lamp shade diffuses the light from the included LED bulb to create a soft ambiance. Wherever you place it (bedroom, living space, or even the kitchen as per TikTok’s kitchen lamp trend), its non-slip foam base prevents skidding and scratches.

5

Maximize Your Cleaning Routine With Power Drill Scrubber Attachments

Steven Ip, owner of Boston-based cleaning and maid service Cleanzen, recommends power drill scrubbers when it comes to maximizing your cleaning routine. “They can be more efficient than manual scrubbing. They also save a lot of time and effort as well as remove tough stains.” This set comes with three different attachments that fit most standard power drills (not included), plus an extender for hard-to-reach places. The medium-density nylon bristles on the yellow set are powerful enough to clean porcelain, tiles, and bathroom fixtures without scratching — but you can opt for another color for softer or harder bristles.

6

And If You Don’t Have A Drill, Consider This Compact All-In-One Scrubber

For smaller jobs or if you don’t have a power drill, there’s this Rubbermaid Reveal cordless scrubber kit. Each set includes the battery-operated base as well as several brush heads, scrubber pads, and microfiber pads. That way, you can effortlessly scrub away stubborn messes and hard-to-reach gunk (like the stuff that collects behind the faucet) with an affordable, handheld tool. You can even use it to remove discoloration from textiles. No wonder it’s earned an overall 4.6-star rating from more than 5,500 reviewers.

7

File Plates, Cutting Boards & Platters Vertically For Easy Access

Christina Giaquinto, Professional Organizer and Brand Ambassador of Modular Closets, wrote “magazine and file holders are one of my favorite tools to organize, because they have a built-in slot system which easily allows you to organize many different items!” (This wire organizer features 11 divider sections and comes in your choice of white or black for under $10.) According to Giaquinto, they’re great for “cutting boards, plates, serving dishes, baking tins, and platters” because they keep everything separate to avoid chips and damage, but still allow you to effortlessly “see everything when looking for your item.”

8

Replace Old Electrical Plates With USB-Compatible Ones

Joel Kruse, owner of Hometown Handyman in Minnesota, recommends that you replace old, outdated electric outlets with new ones that contain USB ports. That way, there’s no need for clunky blocks or adapters; you can charge your modern electronics straight from the plate. TOPGREENER’s two-pack of duplex receptacles plugs features your standard double outlets, but also includes two USB ports for fast, direct charging. Each one has IntelliChip technology to recognize and adapt to your tech, and is tamper-resistant and back- and side-wired for easier installation. Get these in white, black, brown, gray, or light almond.

9

Switch Out Your Switchplates For More Decorative Alternatives

On a similar note, Stone recommends that you also update your switch and plug plates, while you’re at it. They’re an “easy way to update a room” and “if you can use a screwdriver,” you can do this job yourself. Stone wrote, “There are so many decorative options available besides the regular boring plastic ones,” like this oak wood wallplate “that you can paint to match the color of the wall (or any color you want)." That said, some reviewers loved the natural finish so much, they left it as-is. Get it in a range of different cut-outs for various outlet and switch types.

10

Or Use This Outlet Extender If That Lets You Skip The Wiring

If you don’t want to mess with electrical wiring, there’s a much easier alternative: You can opt for one of these outlet extenders. They plug right in and cover your existing outlets perfectly, but they still create nine new plugs — including three USB-A ports and one USB-C port. They’re also surge-protected and suitable for larger plugs. Currently, they’ve earned an amazing 4.8 overall stars from almost 35,000 reviewers, who have called them “easy,” “brilliant,” and “a must-buy.”

11

Organize Drawers With Modular Dividers

“These bamboo drawer dividers are magic!” wrote Melissa Gugni, a professional organizer from the San Francisco Bay area. “They can turn a silverware, utensil, or even junk drawer into a beautiful and orderly little oasis. Because they are modular, they can be used in any size drawer. I have heard many clients squeal with glee when opening one that I have organized!" The recommended set comes with five pieces in all different sizes, all made from stylish, eco-friendly bamboo wood. They’re also pretty enough to be used on top of counters, art desks, and vanities.

12

Consider A Stylish, Modular System That Changes With Your Needs

Gugni also recommends this modular wooden pegboard, since it’s “where form and function come together. So many folks are overwhelmed by their entryways/landing areas, and hanging one of these by the door for hanging bags, keys and other essentials can be a life changer.” According to Gugni, the two available colors work “seamlessly with most home decor styles,” and “they are quite easy to install,” too. Each set includes both pegs and shelves, which you can arrange as needed to suit your specific items.

13

Collect Clutter, Toys & Supplies In A Rolling Cart

Finally, Gugni asked, "Is there anyone who couldn't benefit from one of these carts?” They’re made from metal (in your choice of three colors) and have three tiers with a push handle, so they’re extremely versatile. “I have used them for everything from kids' art supplies, extra storage in the pantry, tool storage, and even as a plant stand,” Gugni wrote. “Because they have wheels, they are perfect for collecting supplies for easy clean up (and can be rolled into a closet when guests arrive). I love using them to hold cleaning supplies that can be rolled around the house as needed. They hold so much and are cute to boot."

14

Install Recessed Lighting To Create A Bright, Inviting Sanctuary

“Installing recessed lights is an easy way to tremendously improve the lighting in any space,” wrote Jordan Fulmer, owner of Momentum Property Solutions (a house flipping company in Huntsville, AL). “They can transform a dark, drab room into a bright and inviting sanctuary. And the great part is, they are simple to install! The entire process should only take a few hours.” Take this recessed ceiling lights set, for example. There is “electricity involved, but the manufacturers have made the connection process as simple as possible so anyone that is even somewhat handy can figure it out.” In fact, there are just six steps, and the overall 4.8-star rating from reviewers proves their ease of installation. They’re also dimmable and come in two sizes and ample warmth options.

15

Or Use Battery-Operated Ceiling Lights To Avoid Wiring

According to Fulmer, “if you don't want to deal with electricity, there are battery-powered options as well. Most recessed lights have multiple size, intensity, and color temperature options to suit your needs." This two-pack is powered by 3C-cell batteries (not included) and mounts to your ceiling using the included screws. Best of all, there’s a remote control that allows you to change the color, brightness, and mode, not to mention set automatic timers to save power.

16

Wash Years Of Grime Off Of Your Home With A Pressure Washer

According to Tory Jon, founder of Camper FAQs and expert in RV/mobile home maintenance, a pressure washer will take years off of the appearance of your home: “One of the cheapest, easiest ways to improve your living space, whether you live in an RV or a bungalow, is to wash the years of dirt and grime off the exterior of your home. It isn't glamorous and it might take the whole weekend but your home will look like it has a fresh coat of paint — it’s really satisfying!" This upright pressure washer is significantly more affordable than most, but still has 1600 PSI and includes multiple accessories (including a 20-foot hose and a soap applicator) to blast through grime.

17

Or Try A Garden Hose Adapter For A More Affordable Alternative

It’s not as powerful as a real pressure washer, but this spray nozzle kit boosts the power of your standard garden hose tenfold. It includes two brass nozzles for a jet stream and a fan spray, plus it has a padded handle for comfortable use. “It’s like having a mini fire truck hose coming out of your spigot,” wrote one impressed reviewer. “Works incredibly well and the major pieces being made of metal are key in with this lasting longer. Such a great purchase for the price!”

18

Use Trisodium Phosphate For Especially Stubborn Discoloration

“Usually some trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner or regular dishsoap will work wonders,” Jon continued. Trisodium phosphate can be used to clean grime off of paint and varnish, as well as to remove smoke and soot stains from indoor walls. Before using it, however, “just consult the washer manual first. If you are concerned about runoff reaching your garden or the environmental impact of your cleaner, you can use plain water or an environmentally friendly cleaning solution."

19

Make A More Functional Closet With Shelf Dividers

Urban wrote, "A functional closet will make daily routines and habits more efficient, practical, and easy to maintain. Plus, a well-planned and designed closet can make your home more appealing to a buyer.” While closet rods are straightforward, closet shelves can be tricker — especially when it comes to clothing. Organize, divide, and stack your clothing with these clear shelf dividers, made from durable acrylic. They clip onto shelves without damage and allow you to create customized sections for your things.

20

Or Create A Closet Where There Wasn’t One

Closets are one of those things that you either have enough of or you don’t — and building one can be expensive and messy. These pipe garment racks give you a new place to hang your clothes, and most importantly, their industrial, heavy-duty aesthetic makes them look intentional. You get two rods in each order, both of which are strong enough to support over 130 pounds, and according to reviewers, they’re “very easy to install.”

21

Optimize Your Closet Space With Vertical Hangers

And when it comes to more spacious, intentional closets, don’t forget these waterfall hangers. Their slip-resistant, horizontal bars are designed for pants, but you can also use them for skirts, scarves, and other accessories. Best of all, they have two hooks for easy loading on laundry day, but when you’re done, one of the hooks comes off for vertical hanging that optimizes your closet space. Get them in your choice of four colors, all of which aim to elevate the aesthetic.

22

Cover Damaged Drywall With Shiplap

According to Ryan Meagher, business development manager for BVM Contracting, when you’re dealing with “damaged drywall,” you can “add wallpaper or shiplap” instead of “meticulously fixing it with tape and mud.” Since “shiplap (or similar products) is easier to install than wallpaper,” this reclaimed barn wood bundle has been a go-to for many Amazon customers who are looking to make a rustic statement. Some have used it to make backsplashes, refurbish furniture, or build wall hangers, while others have created gorgeous accent walls in their home. You can choose between white wash or natural weathered gray, and the planks come in various measurement options.

23

Or Use A Modern Wallpaper To Cover Old Walls

“If you pick the right type of wallpaper it is definitely possible for a first-timer to achieve a good look (with a bit of patience and help),” wrote Meagher. This black silk adhesive wallpaper has a peel-and-stick design and a layer of PVC lamination, so it’s waterproof and easy to clean. While the grid on the back and the bubble-resistant material make it “super easy to install,” according to reviewers, it’s also supposedly removable so it “doesn’t peel the paint off.” If the moody, modern black with metallic streaks isn’t for you, you can opt for 13 other color options.

24

Choose Lighting That Doubles As A Statement Piece

Alexandra Kushner, interior design expert for the Decorio app, also believes in the power of a proper lighting setup, “which is essential for creating a cozy atmosphere.” Kushner likes “using animal-shaped bronze or brass candleholders in my home decor,” which make a statement and provide illumination at the same time. If natural materials are more your vibe, consider this unique bedside table lamp. It doubles as decor, but is equally as functional thanks to its warm, adjustable light that you can direct any which way with its posable wooden limbs.

25

Add Shelves That Elevate Your Aesthetic

“Depending on your aesthetics, adding shelves can maximize your space for storage or displaying decorations that match the feel of your home,” wrote Stephen Keighery, CEO and Founder of Home Buyer Louisiana. Since they have a faux-marble surface (which is actually made from solid cedar wood) and gold-brass railings (with a built-in towel holder on one), these white floating shelves seriously elevate your kitchen or bathroom aesthetic — all while adding storage. If you love the design but not the color, they come in seven other options, too.

26

Or Add A More Rustic Touch For Plants & Decor

These floating shelves are similar in that they’re wall-mounted, easy to install, and a fan favorite on Amazon. That said, their country-rustic wood and black brackets give them an earthier touch that reviewers love for displaying their plants and cozy decor. “Very good value for the money,” one wrote. “The design and brackets look great. I used them in my small cabin in the woods to help get things off the countertop.” Get them in your choice of two sizes and 10 different colors.

27

Or Add A Shelf Above Your Stove

Shelves don’t have to be wall-mounted in order to be practical. Take the StoveShelf, for example. This sturdy, stainless steel shelf magnetically attaches to the top of your stove (without damage, tools, or installation), so you can get those condiments and spices off of the counter. What’s more, they’ll always be visible and within reach while you’re cooking. It comes in three different sizes to fit most flat and curved stove designs, and so far, it’s earned an overall 4.7-star rating from more than 15,000 reviewers.

28

Organize Your Garage With Sturdy Wall Hooks

“Hooks are a huge help for organizing garages!” wrote Giaquinto. “They allow you to organize most garage tools and items,” including brooms, shovels, extension cords, and (in the case of these top-rated garage hooks) even ladders and bikes. Most importantly, since they’re easy to mount on just about any type of wall, they get clutter off of the floor and out of the way — but still display it in a way that you can view and access it. This set of 10 comes in five different sizes and is made from alloy steel with a load-bearing design, so the biggest of them can support up to 77 pounds.

29

Install Weather Stripping To Keep Your Home Cozy

"Keeping your home temperate during the winter is the first step in creating a cozy atmosphere,” Glenn Wiseman (RASDT, RHDT, and sales manager at Top Hat Home Comfort Services) wrote, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jack up the heat. Instead, “prevent the warm air from escaping” by “installing extra weather stripping, insulation, and caulking around windows.” This sealing strip has an extremely strong adhesive on one side and a soft, thick brush on the other; that way, it’s easy to install on almost any window or doorframe (without the need for messy glue), but it still effectively keeps out drafts, weather, dust, and even sound.

30

Or Caulk Without The Mess

Alternatively, there’s this replaceable caulking cord. Like its in-tube counterpart, it creates a flexible, paintable seal around cracks, windows, and doorframes — inside or out. Unlike traditional caulk, however, the peel-and-use design allows you to choose the width you need and install it without any tacky mess. “This stuff is awesome. I wish I had known about it years ago!” one reviewer wrote. “My husband and I started caulking our old drafty windows, but it was a real pain and was making quite a mess, which was stressing me out. Then I found this stuff online! I’ve been putting it on the windows now and it has stopped the drafts! Amazing!”

31

Neaten Up Your Workspace With A Mini Drawer Organizer

Joel Phillips, home remodeler for over 15 years and the founder of HomeGuideCorner, wrote "You can get a mini drawer organizer for your reading/work table,” which is a “quick fix” if you often “misplace your small objects.” This three-tier organizer has stacked mesh drawers that are great for notebooks, pens, glasses, small tools, and other supplies. Its black metal exterior still allows you to see what’s inside, but effectively organizes and neatens up your desktop clutter. According to reviewers, it’s “great for smaller desks” and holds “all sorts of miscellaneous stuff.”

32

Or Get A Compartment Organizer So You Can See & Grab Your Essentials

As an alternative to stacked drawers, this nine-compartment organizer holds and displays your items, so you can see what you need at a glance and grab it with ease. While your notebooks, pens, scissors, and sticky notes will be out in the open, they’ll still be neatly contained in a stylish acrylic unit with a white-gray marble pattern. (It also comes in black, gray, or clear.) Other noteworthy features include non-slip rubber grips, a small drawer to hold tiny items like keys and paperclips, and the fact that it comes fully assembled.

33

Replace Your Air Filter At Least Once Every 3 Months

Finally, while this isn’t the most luxurious upgrade, it’s an essential one according to Wiseman: "Replacing the air filter is a super quick and inexpensive fix to help improve HVAC health. You should do this regularly” — roughly “every once every one to three months” — in order to “prevent the buildup of particles in the filter,” which will reduce “airflow and air quality in the home.” This air filter has an electrostatically charged, pleated design that aims to trap 90% of airborne particles (like dust and pollen) without disrupting airflow. It measures 16 by 25 inches, but the brand sells plenty of other sizes here. Be sure to measure your vent size before purchasing.