Designers & Realtors Say These 45 Cheap Home Upgrades Give You The Most Bang For Your Buck

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Updating your home doesn’t have to put strain on your wallet. As long as you’re clever with your money, you can easily make it go as far as you need. What do I mean by “clever”? For starters, getting advice from experts is always a good idea — especially if you aren’t sure where to start. That’s why Bustle reached out to a handful of designers and realtors who were more than happy to share their best tips and tricks when it comes to finding the best cheap home upgrades.

Whether your style is bougie or casual, you’re sure to find something that suits you on this list. Case in point? This peel-and-stick backsplash that Rinal Patel, a licensed realtor and co-founder of We Buy Philly Home, wholeheartedly recommends. While it might seem a little pricy at first (yet still more affordable than hiring a contractor), Patel explains, “You can splurge on the material you use because it’s small square footage that you need to cover.” Or, if your walls could use a little updating, there are also removable wallpapers, DIY crown molding, and even a smart door lock — all recommended by professionals.

Upgrading your home doesn’t have to make your bank account hurt. And with so many helpful tips and tricks from professional designers and realtors, there’s sure to be at least a few in here that you can use. Keep scrolling for more.


These Stylish Pulls That Make Your Cabinets Pop

Looking for affordable ways to upgrade your kitchen? Martha McNamara, the head of design at Vevano Home, recommends installing new cabinet pulls. “A sleek modern matte black pull or a traditional, elegantly detailed bronze cabinet knob can elevate your kitchen’s style and create more visual interest,” she tells Bustle. Plus, this set is also made from rust-resistant stainless steel.


The Cabinet Knobs With An Oil-Rubbed Bronze Finish

If rectangular cabinet pulls aren’t your style, McNamara also suggests taking a look at bronze knobs. The oil-rubbed bronze finish gives them an elegant touch that’s almost guaranteed to impress your guests — and one reviewer wrote that they’re “a great value, as similar knobs at home improvement stores are ridiculously priced.”


A Matte Black Towel Bar That’s Completely Rustproof

McNamara also recommends switching out your bathroom hardware if it’s in need of an update. She says, “Along these same lines, consider switching out your bathroom hardware, such as updating your towel racks or toilet paper holder. It’s a simple change that can make a meaningful impact on the room’s aesthetic and functionality.” This towel bar is a great option. There’s no drilling required to hang it up, but it can still securely hold up to 11 pounds.


This Rack That Can Display Multiple Towels At Once

This towel rack is another great option if you’re hoping to store multiple towels at once. The rungs are large enough to hold towels of nearly any size, and the rust-resistant coating helps keep it looking great in humid bathrooms.


A Chic Toilet Paper Holder With Space For Spares

This toilet paper holder has space for three extra rolls and a little shelf for your phone. Plus, the raised base keeps those spare rolls safe from any water that might splash onto the floor — and while some assembly is necessary, zero tools are required to get it made.


The Crown Molding That You Can Easily Install Yourself

Rinal Patel, a licensed realtor and co-founder of the company We Buy Philly Home, tells Bustle that adding crown molding to your house “can elevate your home’s value.” But if you can’t afford a contractor, don’t worry: This DIY crown molding is easily installed using glue — and it’s even crack- as well as shrink-resistant, all for less than $45.


This Tile Backsplash That Goes On Like A Sticker

Kitchen makeovers can cost a pretty penny — but installing a new backsplash is an affordable alternative to a complete remodel. “You can splurge on the material you use because it’s small square footage that you need to cover,” explains Patel. Or, if you’re looking to save money, he also recommends using this peel-and-stick option by Art3d. It goes up just like a sticker, but it shouldn’t begin to peel when exposed to humid air or high temperatures.


A Trio Of Storage Bins To Help You De-Clutter Your Shelves

Sometimes the simplest tips are the most helpful. “This isn't a costly investment, but it requires time and effort,” explains Michels. “A cluttered house will make a large room appear small and cramped” — and these storage bins are a cute way to get organized. They come in five sizes, as well as dozens of colors to suit any style.


These Backsplash Tiles That Add A Pop Of Color To Your Kitchen

If those subway tiles were too plain for your tastes, you can take a look at these colorful tiles. They work great as decorative accents in plain kitchens — and since they’re heat- as well as moisture-resistant, they’re less likely to peel away over time.


An Affordable Wall Paint That’ll Help You Revamp Your Space

Chase Michels, a real estate consultant for The Michels Group - COMPASS, tells Bustle that “painting is the cheapest way to add value to your home.” He says, “On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, tape, drop cloths and brushes.” With that being said, you can totally revamp your space with some paint and choose the colors that match your decor best. Once you choose the color of your paint, snag this super inexpensive set of brushes to complete the job.


The Rope Basket That’s Perfect For Blankets & Pillows

This rope basket is another decorative way to avoid clutter — and since it’s large and roomy, it would definitely work great for stashing all those throw blankets you’ve got laying around. The best part? It’s sturdy enough to stand up on its own, yet soft enough that you can fold it down when you’re not using it.


An Ottoman With Hidden Storage Space Inside

Whether you need somewhere to rest your feet or hide some knick-knacks, this ottoman cube is a total game changer (especially when it comes to tidying up your home). Tons of reviewers awarded it either four or five stars, with one raving, “Don't think twice: buy the ottoman, you won't regret it.”


These Floating Shelves That Add Storage To Corners

While decluttering your space, these floating shelves are great to display. They work particularly well if you need a little extra storage space and don’t have any more flat wall space to work with. Not only do they fit into the corners of your room, but they’re also so sturdy that they can hold up to 11 pounds.


These Sheer Curtains That Let Natural Light Through

Michels explains, “Proper lighting can make a small room feel larger and more inviting.” He continues, “Natural light is always best, so consider adding windows or doors if lighting is an issue.” If you’re seeking natural light without sacrificing privacy, these sheer curtains let through just enough light to keep your room inviting and bright. You can choose from more than 15 colors, as well as 19 sizes.


A Smart Door Lock To Upgrade Your Home

Stephen Keighery, CEO and Founder of Home Buyer Louisiana, recommends installing a smart door lock if you’re looking for easy ways to add value to your home. He tells Bustle, “This intelligent feature can be a selling point when marketing the property, especially if you also include other smart technology on thermostats, sprinklers, and motion-sensor lighting.” Plus, this model lets you lock your door remotely, as well as give access to friends and family — all using the downloadable smartphone app.


An Affordable Faucet Made From Sleek Stainless Steel

Donald Olhausen Jr, a full-time real estate agent, suggests replacing your kitchen faucet while upgrading your home. This faucet in particular is an affordable pick at less than $45 — and since it’s made from stainless steel, it’s also resistant to rust.


This Waterfall Bathroom Faucet That Comes In 4 Different Finishes

Olhausen also recommends swapping out your current bathroom faucet — and this waterfall version is a stylish pick. He says, “Try adding brand new stainless steel faucets and your bathroom will look much newer and desirable for under $100.” The handles is made with stainless steel, and you even have the choice of four finishes: brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, matte black, or brushed gold.


The Decorative Ceiling Light That Packs A Big Punch

Real estate professional Ron Leffler tells Bustle that “Amazon is an excellent source for fun home upgrades that pack a big punch and are light on cost. They have an extensive selection of lighting to match your preference for shapes, sizes, brightness, and color.” Case in point? This ceiling light fixture with a trendy industrial touch. Choose from three finishes: black, gold, or black and gold.


These Smart Bulbs That Put Millions Of Colors At Your Fingertips

If you’re looking for a good set of color-changing light bulbs, these smart ones are available for $30. With more than 15 million colors to choose from, they make it easier than ever to set a relaxing mood. Plus, you can even control them using voice commands if paired with an Alexa or Google Home.


A Ceiling Light That Only Turns On When You’re Around

Leffler tells Bustle, “There are a number of lights built for a very specific purpose like this motion-activated ceiling light that is perfect for a dark closet or laundry area or to replace your simple pull chain light bulb.” Unlike some lights, this hardwired, 15-watt LED option from Youtob also features a sensor that prevents it from turning on when the space is already bright.


The LED Bars That You Can Install Nearly Anywhere

These battery-powered LED light bars are also great picks for motion-activated lighting. The built-in motion sensors help prevent them from turning on when no one is around, and the adhesive backing makes it easy to stick them wherever you need.


The Fresh Outlet Plates With Built-In Lights

Haley Jones, a real estate agent with eXp Realty, tells Bustle, “New wall plates for light switches and electrical outlets will help to make a room upgraded without a seller having to renovate an entire space.” These outlet plates are simple to install, and they even have built-in lights that’ll shine when it’s dark. And since they’re also energy-efficient, each one costs less than 10 cents per year to power.


A Similar Version For Your Light Switch

With thousands of positive reviews from satisfied customers, it’s no wonder why this outlet light is so popular. Unlike the previous light, this one fits over your lights switch and lets you adjust the brightness. Plus, one reviewer wrote that it’s “exceptionally easy to install.”


The Entryway Organizer For Your Must-Have Items

Need somewhere to stash your keys? Jones tells Bustle, “A great idea for common entry points where space allows (such as from the garage or front door) is to create (or stage) a simple drop zone with shelving, a bench, and/or coat hooks.” This organizer is a great place to store necessities like your, wallet, keys, and sunglasses. Plus, it can also has space to hold your mail.


A Shoe Rack With Hidden Storage On Top

Another option for keeping your things together in your entryway is this bamboo shoe rack. Lift up the top, and it’ll open to reveal some extra storage space where you can stash small items (like gloves and scarves). Plus, assembly only takes about 10 minutes.


These Brush Heads That Turn Drills Into High-Powered Scrubbers

Jones also tells Bustle that “a very deep clean will work wonders” when it comes to making your home look nicer. Simply pop one of brush heads into your handheld drill, and you’ll instantly have a high-powered scrubber that can tackle all sorts of messy jobs around the house.


A Microfiber Duster That Traps & Holds Onto Dirt

Ever pick up a cleaning rag, only to have puffs of dirt and lint fall off? That’s why this duster is made with a fluffy microfiber head. This microfiber latches onto and traps dust so that it doesn’t shake off — and the nonslip handle also helps you maintain a firm grip when cleaning.


The Spin Mop That You Can Wring Without Touching

Not a fan when it comes to wringing out dirty mop water? Then take a closer look at this spin mop. The bucket features a hands-free wringer that’s activated with a few easy pumps on the foot pedal — and since the mop is shaped like a triangle, it’s easier than ever to clean into corners.


A Set Of Exterior House Numbers That Look Like They’re Floating

“New exterior house numbers that standout rather than something that is plastic and cheap looking is a very easy upgrade that creates a great first impression,” explains Jones — and these floating numbers are even made from sleek aluminum. They’re also resistant to rust, as well as easy to install.


This Coconut Coir Doormat That Sets A Good First Impression

First impressions aren’t everything. But when it comes to upgrading your home? Jones tells Bustle, “Adding a nice, sleek welcome mat and potted plants or a wreath will do wonders for how the buyer sees the home even before stepping inside.” This mat in particular is not only welcoming, but also made from 100% pure, durable coconut coir.


A Pair Of Flower Pots To Display By Your Front Door

These rustic flower pots can help if you’re hoping to follow Jones’ advice and display potted plants by the door. The drainage holes on the bottom help prevent over-watering, and they come in four colors: gray, black, marble, or terra-cotta.


The Wreath That’ll Add Warmth To Your Home Entrance

Need ideas when it comes to dressing up your front door? Jones suggests adding a wreath — and since this one’s seasonally neutral, you can keep it up all year round if you want. The best part? One reviewer even wrote that “wreaths like this go for double the price at other places,” with another raving that it “looks much more expensive than it is.”


A Pair Of Blackout Curtains With Chic Gold Accents

Richard Petrie, a home expert for Thomas-Sanderson, tells Bustle, “Blinds and curtains can completely change the look and feel of a room without the cost of updating the entire space.” He continues, “Pick a striking new pattern for a bold look or for a more relaxing ambience hang some voiles.” If you’re looking to make an impact, these blackout curtains can help. Not only cant they help dim the room, but they also feature gold accents running throughout the weave for an ultra-chic look.


The Cordless Window Blinds That Are Easy To Install

As Petrie mentions, blinds are another way of upgrading your space (in addition to curtains) — and these cordless window blinds are great options. The tools you’ll need to install them are included, and they’re available in five sizes. This 64-inch option is available for less than $20.


An Area Rug With A Striking, Unique Pattern

New floors aren’t cheap. “If you don’t have the budget for new flooring, laying a new rug can add an extra layer of cosiness and style without breaking the bank,” says Petrie. “If you want to some style to your room pick a rug with a striking pattern to transform the space” — like this Turkish rug made with polyester. Choose from six sizes, as well as more than 10 patterns.


The Sleek Curtain Rod That Can Help “Raise The Curtains Up”

Katie Kochelek, an interior designer and the CEO and owner of Ten Key Home & Kitchen Remodels, recommends this sleek curtain rod for hanging up your curtains. Here’s what she tells Bustle: “Another trick I love is to raise the curtains up below the ceiling line a few inches, all you need is a rod and curtains.” This one’s able to hold up to 20 pounds, making it perfect for heavy blackout curtains — and each order comes with mounting hardware included.


A Chunky Knit Throw Blanket That Adds Texture To The Room

“I also love to add texture to the bedroom or living room with a hand-knit or faux fur blanket and/or fluffy pillows,” explains Kochelek. “It makes the room feel cozier and also gives it a cool 1970s vibe.” And since this knit blanket is extra-chunky, it’s great for adding texture as well as snuggling under — a must-have in any room.


A Different Throw Blanket Made From Plush Faux Fur

If you aren’t a fan of knit blankets, this polyester faux fur throw is a different option — and it’s seriously soft. Not only the faux fur on both sides, but it also comes in eight different shades to suit any style. It can also be cleaned in the wash and has over 16,000 positive ratings on Amazon.


These Soft Throw Pillowcases Lined With Faux Fur

Now that you’ve upgraded the blankets in your home, you can switch out your old throw pillowcases with these luxurious faux fur ones to get the “fluffy pillows” aesthetic that Kochelek recommends. They come in more than 20 shades, as well as five different sizes. Plus, they look just as good sitting your bed as they do tossed on your couch.


A Pillowcase For Your Bed That’s Made From Mongolian Faux Fur

With its hidden zipper closure and shed-resistant lining, this polyester pillowcase is a great addition to your bed. It’s made from Mongolian faux fur, and it comes in 12 different colors as well as three sizes. It’s even machine washable — and One reviewer wrote, “Seriously, I just want to cuddle with it all the time.”


The Magnets That Can Help Upgrade Your Garage Door

If the exterior of your house could use some fine-tuning, Realtor Ashley Melton suggests putting decals on your garage door. “One of my favorite cheap upgrades is garage door magnet hardware,” she tells Bustle. “It's an instant update, making a plain garage door look custom and amazing” — all for less than $25 per set.


A Peel & Stick Wallpaper That’s Perfect For Renters

Dorrie Sauerzopf, the lead listing manager and real estate agent for Homie, has more than a few tips when it comes to updating plain spaces. “Add an accent wall with a bold paint color such as navy or black, or add shiplap to a wall,” she tells Bustle. “Wallpaper is also a great option” — and this peel-and-stick roll in particular is even great for renters. The adhesive backing lets you put it up and take it down with ease, while the durable vinyl material helps keep it looking great over time.


This Rustic Wallpaper That Looks Like Shiplap

Not a fan of the previous wallpaper? Sauerzopf also recommends a shiplap-style one. Not only does it look like real wood, but the peel-and-stick style also makes it easy to install — no glue required. “It does a great job covering up my countertops and does look like real wood,” wrote one reviewer. “I have several people ask if I painted it.”


A Shrink Film That Helps Insulate Your Windows

Kate Diaz, interior designer and co-founder of Swanky Den, recommends that you should “insulate your doors, windows, and roof.” Not only can this shrink film help reduce your energy costs, but each order comes with more than 150 feet of film — or enough for about 10 windows.


These Kitchen Runners That Also Help Reduce Fatigue

Think your floors could use a little refresh? Megan Nelson, the co-owner and founder of Nest with the Nelsons, suggests adding runners to your kitchen. In particular, she says, “Most recently, we've helped several clients source the final selections for their kitchens.” Nelson continues, “Amazon has been a resource in selecting cabinet pulls and hardware, lighting, runners, and furniture.” These runners are cushioned to help keep your legs from growing sore when you’re stuck standing for an extended period of time, and the waterproof tops easily wipe clean if dirtied.

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