Cheap, clever things that make your home look 10x better than it usually does


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Nov 17, 2023

Cheap, clever things that make your home look 10x better than it usually does

Like a makeover for your living space. Discolored grout. Sagging sofa cushions.

Like a makeover for your living space.

Discolored grout. Sagging sofa cushions. Kitchen cupboard doors that look so tired and worn, it almost keeps you from going back for another Oreo. (Almost.) If it feels like all these eyesores would take considerable effort and a big budget to address, well, guess what — you’re wrong. (Sorry!) In fact, there are plenty of cheap home upgrades that can elevate your space, and they don't require a thick wallet or the know-how of an experienced DIYer.

From cleaning tools that’ll make every surface sparkle to foolproof hacks that’ll make it look like you’ve just completed a home renovation, these are the products you need if you want to seriously level up your home.

Crafted from a flax linen blend, these sheer curtains add tailored texture to any room, and can make your windows seem much more finished — even if you already have blinds. They come in soft shades, and the semi-sheer design allows light to filter through. The curtains stay wrinkle-free, even through a cleaning in your home washer and dryer.

Made with more than nine dozen bright white USB lights, this bias lighting strip illuminates the back of your TV or monitor to give you a real home theater experience right at home. Besides making the colors on your screen pop, they can also relieve eyestrain, whether you’re watching your favorite series or streaming a new blockbuster. They’re dimmable and plug right into a USB port for power.

Backed with super-strong adhesive, these rug grippers are designed to keep the corners of your area rugs from doing that annoying thing where they curl up. The adhesive attaches to the rug, not the floor, so you can use them even on your delicate hardwoods. And since they’re waterproof, you can use them either indoors or out.

Designed to make the most of your space — even in small showers — these corner caddies attach to your shower wall with adhesive-backed strips. The caddies are made from stainless steel, so they won't rust, and each can hold up to 15 pounds — that means they’ll accommodate all your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles. The included hooks are a helpful bonus for loofahs and razors.

Made from stainless steel with a fingerprint-resistant matte finish, this utensil holder is ultra-durable and looks great on your countertop. It has a weighted base to keep it firmly in place, and rotates 360 degrees, so you can quickly and easily reach what you need with just one hand. Use the included dividers to organize your utensils by type.

Get the tile and grout in your bathroom sparkling clean with this power scrubber that features a rotating head that spins 60 times per second. Also ideal for fixtures and even grill grates, it's battery-operated, cordless, and waterproof for ease of use in wet areas like the shower or in sinks.

Designed to hold your toothbrushes in a freestanding, upright position, these ceramic toothbrush holders could almost pass for small pieces of modern art. Available in neutrals as well as fun colors, they take up minimal space, so you can even use them on a pedestal sink. Besides toothbrushes, use them to hold razors, or — on your desk — pens and pencils.

Made from clear acrylic, this cosmetics organizer is ideal for holding all your makeup supplies. It's designed with compartments what are wide enough to accommodate compacts and eyeshadow palettes, as well as narrow compartments that hold tubes, pencils, and makeup brushes upright. This is an easy way to declutter any packed drawers, and makes everything clearly visible.

It used to be time-consuming and expensive to install indoor accent lighting, requiring lots of costly wiring. Now, with these battery-operated touch lights, you can illuminate dark areas without a lot of money or effort. The lights can be installed with either adhesive or the included screws — use them to light up your kitchen counter, bookshelves, closets, and more. They’re easy to control, too — all you have to do is press them and they turn on.

Covered in soft, plush fabric, this knot pillow adds such a fun design element to your couch or bed. It comes in low-key colors like blush, sage, and gray, as well as pop art shades like sunshine yellow and red. It's machine-washable and dryer-safe for easy care.

Keep your wood furniture, cabinets, and trim looking like new with this wood polish and conditioner. Made with a blend of carnauba wax, beeswax, and orange oil, this formula adds hydration to prevent cracking over time. Highly rated, it also brings out the natural grain of your wood, leaving behind a sheen that makes any piece look like it's just been restored.

Made from rust-resistant metal, this toilet paper organizer keeps up to three extra rolls conveniently at hand for you and your guests. Available in finishes like bronze, gold, and white, it's slim enough to squeeze between the toilet and the wall. This good-looking storage unit also has feet that keep it up and off the floor so that random water doesn't come into contact with the paper.

This hard water stain remover is a professional-strength formulation that does away with limescale, phosphorous, calcium, iron, and soap scum — and it's so much more effective than trying to use a scrub brush and some elbow grease. Ideal for your tub, shower door, and fixtures, it has a paste-like consistency that makes it easy to apply and use.

Don't leave your sponge in the bottom of the sink where it can get moldy and mildewy — get this sponge holder that elevates it for faster drying. Just as good, since the embossed ceramic holder gives your sponge a dedicated home, it helps clean up the area around your sink for a much more elegant look.

If you’re looking for a unique decoration piece that will serve as a conversation-starter in any room, this moon phase garland is the perfect choice. The hanging charms are made from hand-hammered metal and depict the phases of the celestial body. Available in gold and silver finishes, the moons are strung on a matching chain so that the whole thing has a warm, galactic glow.

These extra-thick magic cleaning pads are ideal for removing difficult stains and messes all over the house, whether you’re dealing with grease on your kitchen stove or scuffs on your living room walls. The secret "ingredient" is melamine, which lifts grimes and stains like magic, without being harsh on surfaces. Each pack comes with 20 sponges, so you can go on a cleaning spree around the house.

Textured pieces like this fleece blanket are an easy way to add dimension to your sofa, easy chair, or bed. Of course, the more obvious benefit is that it keeps you cozy and warm while you’re curled up taking a nap. Super soft, it features one side made with ribbed microfiber and another made from fuzzy sherpa fleece.

With their exposed filaments and classic shape, these Edison bulbs add a designer-grade element to any room you put them in. Available in a cool and warm white options, the LED bulbs manage to be energy-saving as well. They’re ideal for exposed light fixtures, including pendant lights and sconces.

Glass stovetops look great when they’re clean but they show dirt like crazy and can be very challenging to scrub. This cleaning kit makes it quick and easy to remove stains and polish your glass cooktop. The kit includes a non-abrasive cleaning solution, plus a scraper, three sponges, and a tool that gives lots of scrubbing leverage.

Candles add so much ambience, whether you’re hosting guests for a nice evening or simply having takeout at the kitchen table. These pillar candles are hand-poured, long-burning, and unscented, so they work for a variety of occasions. The set includes three candles in different sizes — group them together or scatter them around the room.

Doing away with store packaging — and opting for upgraded storage solutions — is an easy way to make your pantry look more streamlined. Made from shatterproof glass, these storage canisters are crystal clear so you can see your stock levels as you use up your staples. They’re topped with airtight stainless steel lids that keep pasta, rice, and snacks as fresh as the day you took them out of the bag.

Nothing will make your home look better than floors that sparkle, but mopping can be hard work that's hard on your back. With this mop and bucket set, though, you’ll be dancing as you clean your floors. The mop features thirsty microfiber threads and an angular head that reaches into corners for thorough cleaning. Then, the bucket features a foot pedal on the side that wrings your mop after you soak it — there's no stooping whatsoever.

Made from sturdy wire, this basket is a versatile storage piece that adds a farmhouse-industrial element to your space. It works well for everything from snack storage on your countertop to office supplies in your home office to cleaning tools in your laundry room. It comes in finishes like gray, copper, and satin nickel.

This frameless shower door seal is for anyone who opens the shower door after sudsing up only to find a puddle of water on the bathroom floor. Designed for frameless doors, it's crafted from a combination of hard and soft PVC to create a water-tight seal. It can be trimmed to size and installs just by sliding it onto the bottom of the door.

Made from real white marble, this cutting board looks so elegant on your countertop and is finished with rubber feet so it won't slip around while you’re using it. It's the perfect surface for working with pastry since you can just throw it in the fridge and chill it, but also works great as a display for cheese, charcuterie, and hors d’oeuvres.

Nothing can downgrade the look of your floors like random flakes of cat litter here and there. Keep the litter contained with this clever litter trapper mat. The two-layer mat has a perforated top surface — litter will fall through as your cat steps across it, and the bottom layer will trap it until you’re ready to shake it back into the box.

Stainless steel appliances aren't magnetic — unless you count the fact that they seem to attract fingerprints like magnets. This cleaner kit keeps your stainless steel appliances and surfaces shiny and free of dirt, oil, smudges, and those aforementioned fingerprints. The kit includes a cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth for application and buffing, as well as a can of wipes for quick cleanups.

Boasting a traditional French bistro design, these kitchen towels have timeless, understated appeal. Made from 100% cotton, they’re super absorbent, so they’re perfect for drying dishes and drying hands. In fact, you’ll also love them as oversized napkins for casual dinners.

If you have an array of sticky note reminders covering every surface, it might be time to streamline things with this dry-erase board. It consolidates tasks and reminders in a neat and tidy way, and the adhesive magnets let you hang it on the fridge or a filing cabinet. It comes with colored markers, so you can get started with it right away.

For a more finished look in your bathroom, get this woven fabric shower curtain. The linen-textured curtain has a more dressed-up aesthetic than plastic, replete with fabric-covered grommets and a weighted hem to keep it in place. Designed to dry quickly, it's fade-resistant and machine-washable for ease of care.

With a handle that extends from 10 inches all the way out to 29 inches, this duster is perfect for cleaning areas you couldn't otherwise reach (unless you’re willing to haul out the ladder). The duster head is packed with microfiber loops that pick up dust and grime and trap it until you shake it off over the trash. Great for both wet and dry cleaning, it comes with a backup head, and both are machine-washable for easy cleaning.

Add a homey touch indoors or out with this buffalo plaid rug that's equal parts modern and cozy. You can use it as an area rug under a coffee table or in the front entryway, or place it under a coir doormat on your front stoop. Crafted from a durable poly-cotton blend, it's comfy underneath your feet and machine washes like a charm.

If — no matter how hard you scrub your toilet — you’re still left with rings and rust stains, you’ll be happy to know this pumice cleaner exists. Safe to use on porcelain and ceramic, it powers through mineral stains with ease. The best part? It's non-toxic, unscented, and eco-friendly.

Give your bathroom a glamorous twist with these stick-on vanity lights. Installation is a cinch: Just peel away the adhesive backing, stick on, then plug the cord into a wall outlet. Besides upgrading the look of your bathroom, the brightness-adjustable lights are also practical, helping to illuminate your face whether you’re plucking hairs or applying eyeliner.

This paper towel holder somehow manages to be charming, thanks to its vintage farmhouse design. It's powder-coated with hand-painted accents for an aesthetic that looks like it came straight from an antique market. Along with a nonslip base, it has an internal rod for a paper towel roll and a cutout in front that lets you tear off a sheet with just one hand.

When it comes to housecleaning, this gap-cleaning brush makes it easy to tackle the details. The narrow profile reaches into tight spaces — think: window tracks, air vents, stovetops, and other little corners that have been collecting dust and grime. The ergonomically designed handle is well out of the way of the bristles, giving you plenty of clearance to clean spots where your hands could never fit.

If you’re looking for a space-efficient way to store bottles of wine, these stackable organizers are it. Each organizer holds up to two bottles sideways (which keeps the corks from drying out), so you can maximize vertical space. You can also separate the organizers and use them on their own — whatever works for you. The organizers are equally great if you have a collection of water bottles you need to store.

A kitchen cupboard that's jam-packed with K-cups can be an unnecessary frustration when you’re making your morning coffee. Streamline things with this K-cup storage drawer that makes it easy to see all your coffee pods. Set it up on your kitchen counter, then place your single-serve machine on top and notice how much more streamlined your morning coffee routine is.

One foolproof way to keep your home looking nice? Make sure dirt doesn't get tracked into your entryway. This universal doormat is made with a tough material that traps moisture and grime before it makes its way inside, and the nonslip bottom keeps it firmly in place on your floor or front stoop. It's a breeze to clean: Vacuum it, hose it down, or throw it in your washing machine.

If you’ve had your sofa for a while, there's a decent chance the seat cushions are starting to sag. Instead of investing in an entirely new piece of furniture, give this cushion insert a shot. Made from sturdy (but comfortable) foam, it props up your existing couch cushion so that it no longer looks lumpy or indented. Just unzip the cushion cover and slip inside.

A showerhead is just a showerhead — until you realize a nice one can make all the difference in the way your bathroom looks. This showerhead comes in upmarket finishes like antique brass and matte black, and although it's relatively budget-friendly, it’ll add a luxe touch to your space. To boot, the rainfall design offers a spa-like feel, but won't waste water.

The Pink Stuff is a versatile cleaning paste that can make just about any surface clean as a whistle; use it on your stove, sink, kitchen floors, oven, bathtub, glass shower door, and even wood cabinets. Just apply, rub in with a sponge, and wipe or rinse clean. Rely on this little tub, and you can ditch your big (and expensive) collection of cleaning supplies.

Whether you use it for toiletries or cleaning supplies, this under-sink organizer is an ingenious way to get a little extra space back, thanks to its double-decker design. The narrow profile means it can fit into tight spaces — helpful when a pipe is usually in the way — and the removable dividers and hanging storage cup means you can configure it to your needs, whatever they are.

With these wooden wall hooks, it's easy to get a little extra hanging space just about anywhere. Made from solid beech wood, they install with the included hardware and feature a slanted design that keeps items from slipping off. Place them in the entryway for jackets and umbrellas, in the bedroom for pajamas and a robe, or in the bathroom for extra towels.

The key to an instant, cheap renovation? This marble contact paper. Trim it to size, peel away the backing, then place it anywhere you want the elegant look of marble — try your bathroom counter, kitchen backsplash, or work-from-home desk. It's waterproof and can be wiped clean, so you can treat is as any other hard surface. One reviewer wrote, "I got this for the bathroom vanity top. Looks like real marble. Shiny surface. Water resistant. Made the countertop look like new." Just a note — buyers recommend having a tool on hand to smooth out any air bubbles.