44 hacks to make your home MUCH nicer for under $30

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

I would love to remodel my bathroom, tear up the rugs in my bedroom, pull out some walls, and replace my kitchen cabinets, but I don’t have that kind of money. And, even if I did, I don’t want to live amongst the dust and chaos those projects would create. So, until I’m ready to remodel, I am doing some simple upgrades that make my place reflect who I am, function better, and stop reminding me of every bad design idea from the 90s. I have been looking for high-impact, low-effort (and low cost) changes everywhere in my home, and I found 44 hacks to make your home much nicer for under $30.

My favorite home upgrades use the rule: Look for things you touch often and replace them with something nicer. So changing the cabinet handles was one of the first things; in 10 minutes, it changed the look of my kitchen. The next huge impact upgrade is lighting. Installing the right lighting immediately changes the look of a room and makes everything more functional at the same time. And when I don’t have art to hang but I do have storage problems, I like to combine my solutions and turn my stuff into art. That’s a hack that requires only a few shelves, frames, and inspiration. Read on and discover all the clever, cheap, and high-impact hacks I discovered — your place is about to look so good.

1. This sticky tape that creates terrific cabinet lighting

Peel and stick this strip light under your kitchen cabinets, on display shelves, on the shelf above your desk, or anywhere else that would benefit from some additional lighting with no footprint, shadows, or hassles. The LED light is bright and warm and the four 20-inch light strips are practically invisible once installed.

2. A wireless charger so you never have to fumble with cords

Plug this wireless charger in once and set it down somewhere handy. Now, you never have to look for the right charger cable, struggle to plug your phone in when it’s dark, or find your desperate guest the right phone cable. Just set whatever gadgets you own — earbuds, phones, or anything that is Qi compatible — down on this inexpensive disk and let them drink down a charge.

3. The fabric shaver that spruces up sweaters & the couch

Keep this fabric shaver handy in your closet or sweater drawer so it’s ready when you put on a sweater that has started to look weary. Choose one of the three settings and shave pills, ratty strings, and lint off your fabrics and they will quickly look brand new. It’s so fun and effective that 54,000 people give it five stars.

4. A lazy Susan so you can easily reach the item you want

Set this 14-inch lazy Susan down on your breakfast table, next to the stove where you keep oils and spices, or on a counter so you can display what you need and easily reach it. Nothing gets lost in the back, you don’t have to dig around searching for what you want, and the bamboo looks nice in your room.

5. This trash can that looks good & stays closed

If your pets dig in the trash or you just don’t like to look at an open trash can, this soft-close option is an easy and inexpensive upgrade to what you have. Step on the pedal to open the lid so you never have to touch it to toss something. It closes quietly and stays that way so the pets can’t get in.

6. A stain remover that’s powerful but not poisonous

When your shower door is cloudy with hard water buildup and your fixtures are stained, it seems like your only options include a harsh cleaner or remodeling. In that case, you need to check out this Bio-clean hard water stain remover. It cuts through stains you never thought would come off and is gentle on your glass, appliances, tile without creating super stinky fumes.

7. This bathroom organizer for a cleaner vanity

Instead of letting the toothbrushes, razors, and other necessary bathroom tools proliferate all over the vanity, corral them together into one tidy and organized holder by sitting this compact stand — complete with a water glass — down in one corner. It even holds electric toothbrushes. If you have a place for everything, it’s easier to keep everything in its place.

8. These hooks that create more space in your cupboards

Install these sturdy cast-iron hooks inside cabinets and hang mugs, utensils, or other items from them in order to increase your storage space. The set totals 12 hooks and comes in four colors to match your décor. They install easily with screws and are strong enough to house your entire mug collection.

9. The leather trays that organize your vanity or coffee table

Empty your pockets at the end of the day into one of these vanity trays, so your dresser doesn’t look messy and you can find what you need in the morning. It’s are also great for organizing your vanity, coffee table, or dresser top or for serving a couple of drinks. Choose from 12 colors and are crafted from sturdy wood and covered in fabrics and leathers.

10. This towel rack that’s versatile & decorative

This towel rack is actually two pieces that can be used together or separately, hung vertically or horizontally. When separate, the top one has hooks on the bottom that are the perfect place for a towel or facecloth. The racks hold towels rolled up, as shown, or wine bottles so you can hang this set in the bathroom, dining room, or kitchen for instant, decorative wall storage.

11. A spice rack you can expand & use anywhere

This three-tiered bamboo spice rack is pretty enough to sit upright on your counter, but it can also be set at an angle or lie flat so you can store it in a drawer or cupboard if you need to. It stores your spice jars in an orderly fashion, making access to your favorite options easy.

12. These decorative coasters that look like marble

These six coasters in a metal rack will solve all your drinking-glass-on-the-furniture problems. They look tidy when stacked and the ceramic top absorbs the condensation that runs off your glasses and insulates against hot mugs before any of that can destroy your wood finish. The cork bottom won’t scratch the furniture and makes the coasters quiet.

13. A fleece flannel blanket for curling up on the couch

Pour a hot chocolate and curl up under this brushed flannel blanket. The fabric is impossibly soft, and there are 29 colors and nine sizes to choose from. Plus, reviewers have given it well over 33,000 five-star ratings.

14. This peel-and-stick backsplash that’s fast & easy

Peel the backing off, cut the pieces to fit your space with a pair of scissors or a box cutter, and press these vinyl subway tiles to the wall. You will have a stunning, water-resistant backsplash in minutes. Five 12-by-12-inch pieces cover quite a large area, and the adhesive on the back is all you need to mount them to your walls.

15. A slim bathroom cabinet to tidy TP & other things

With a footprint that’s not much bigger than a roll of toilet paper, you can easily find a corner to sneak this little cabinet into and it will hold your spare rolls, cleaning tools, or whatever you need to store underneath. At the top, it dispenses toilet paper and provides a shelf for your phone or a cute plant.

16. A pair of bookends that turn book piles into beauty

Organize the cookbooks in the kitchen or your to-be-read pile on the bedside table quickly and easily by adding these wooden book ends. They have non-skid bottoms and the minimal design fits in with any style. There are seven colors of wood to choose from.

17. This bit of greenery that doesn’t require a green thumb

A few plants make your house looked welcoming and lived in — unless the plants are in rough shape. But this 16-inch tall bit of greenery requires no care because it’s made of plastic, and the pot is made of paper pulp. It won’t make a wet mess, wilt when you go out of town, or develop an ailment you can’t figure out. But it will look fresh and homey.

18. A shoe rack that will hold your entire collection

This tall shoe rack is sturdy and roomy enough to hold all your shoes. There are 10 tiers and each one is 17 inches wide and 11 inches deep, so it will hold lots of shoes, including larger ones. If you have boots, leave out a shelf to create a taller space. It comes in grey or black.

19. This reed diffuser that looks sophisticated & smells amazing

This oil-and-reed diffuser is so much easier than candles and sprays because it looks decorative, requires no maintenance, won’t cause a fire, and smells terrific for as long as you like. Just fill the jar with oil, set the reeds into it, and wait a couple of days for the scent to infuse the reeds. There are 10 available scents and refills are totally affordable, too.

20. The window cleaning set that gets amazing results

Clean your windows, shower, and mirrors like a pro with this window cleaning toolset. The microfiber sponge holds window cleaner to make it easier to scrub away dirt and handprints, while the squeegee removes the liquid from surfaces without leaving streaks. It’s fast (and almost fun) to clean windows and other glass surfaces this way.

21. This tray that clips to the arm of the couch

When you are lounging on the couch or in your favorite armchair, you need a place to set your coffee or cocktail that’s easy to reach. This tray is perfect for that. It clips onto just about any arm, holds steady, and lets you set your drink down right on the arm of your favorite seat.

22. These faux leather pillows for an elevated living room

These two faux leather pillow covers are a great match for leather furniture and give fabric furniture a visual upgrade with almost no effort. Just stuff a pillow insert into them and zip them closed. They are easy to wipe clean, water-resistant, and soft to the touch.

23. A set of shelves to organize your desk

Get all your books, desk accessories, and other clutter off your desk and into this bamboo shelf that you can set up in five ways to get exactly the storage solution you want. Create a shelf that fits a corner, has lots of small cubbies, or is just straightforward shelves. It’s great for kitchens and bedrooms, too.

24. These linen storage boxes so you can put everything away

Organize your closets, put toys and clothes away onto shelves, and bring order to your home with this three-pack of linen-covered boxes with lids. A clear sleeve on the front makes labeling what’s in your boxes easy. They are sturdy enough to stack, the big handles on the sides and ends make them easy to move, and they fold up if you want to store them.

25. The grout pen that makes the bathroom look new again

After you have cleaned and scrubbed and tried to make the grout on your tile clean again, try this pen. It makes your grout white simply by coloring it in with a bright white tile paint in pen form. It’s non-toxic, easy to use, and over 6,000 people give it five stars.

26. A stackable wine rack that folds for storage

This clever folding wine rack holds 10 bottles of wine and looks attractive on your counters and can stack to fill an entire wine cellar. The racks store your wines horizontally so they age well, look great, and fit in a minimum of space. When all the wine is gone, the racks fold up small for storage.

27. These markers & crayons that repair damaged wood

When the dog scratches your wood floor, a guest sets a wet glass down on your antique side table, or a random accident dings your wood cupboards, you might assume your are in for an expensive repair. But these markers and crayons will fix a surprising amount of wood damage. The markers color right over scratches and water marks while the crayons fill in and recolor deeper dings and gouges. Almost 12,000 people give this kit five stars.

28. A wall-mounted entry shelf for your mail & keys

Bring order to your entryway by hanging this rack so you can stash your keys, set down the mail, and pick up any messages your housemates have left for you as you walk in the door. Not only does this shelf look welcoming but creating the habit will end the search for lost keys and misplaced bills.

29. This versatile basket that looks amazing two ways

This seagrass basket is a beautiful place to put a potted plant when the basket is opened up to its full height. Or push the top portion into the bottom for a double layer that’s a great storage basket or cat bed. These are hand woven from seagrass and come in three sizes and two colors.

30. These honeycomb organizers for socks & underwear

Install these clever honeycomb shaped organizers into your sock and underwear drawers and discover a new order. Each pair gets its own compartment, so you can find what you want easily, and putting clean laundry away becomes fast and simple. Just cut the separators to fit your drawers and slide them in.

31. A collection of elegant drawer pulls for a quick remodel

If you long to update your kitchen or bath but don’t have the funds, you might be astonished by how big a change you can create by simply changing the hardware. These modern and elegant drawer pulls will change the look and feel of your cabinets and installing them is a matter of unscrewing the old ones and screwing these in. They’re a consistent favorite with nearly 13,000 five-star ratings, and they’re also available in brushed brass or satin nickel.

32. These 100% cotton hand towels

Maybe you can’t tear out the floors, vanity, and fixtures today, but you can quickly and easily update your bathroom’s look and feel by hanging these luxurious 100% cotton hand towels near the sink. Each of the 14 color options will spice up your room, and your hands will enjoy the soft absorbency.

33. These glass jars with bamboo lids for beautiful storage

Get your rice, pasta, and grains out of the bags they came in and into these clear glass jars. They’ll look great on an open shelf or in your pantry, and the airtight seal on the bamboo lids will keep food fresh for longer, too.

34. The under-$10 alternative to soft-close cabinets

No one will ever see these sound-dampening bumpers once you install them in your cupboards but they will make the room feel richer and quieter because opening and closing cupboards will no longer make a bang. They are rubber with a raised nipple in the center that does an outstanding job of stopping noise. Install them on cabinets, the toilet lid, chair legs, closet doors, or anywhere that scrapes or clatters.

35. This mega popular bathroom spray that stops the stink

Is there anything worse than going into a bathroom right after someone has, uh, been in there a while? Prevention — in the form of this genius toilet spray — is your best friend here. Keep a bottle of this citrus scented spray on hand so that anyone with air-destroying intent can spray the bowl first, so the scent never escapes into the atmosphere. All you’ll experience in the aftermath is a light, citrus scent. Over 100,000 shoppers swear by it.

36. A slender cart to corral small items basically anywhere

This slim storage cart on wheels is sized perfectly to slide between the washer and dryer or to tuck under your desk, and it glides out on casters that rotate 360 degrees so you can access the items stored on it easily. Take the clutter off of counters and organize your small items into these three levels instead. Two hooks clip on wherever you want them to keep important gear handy, the shelves drain, and it comes in three colors.

37. The clever organizer for the kitchen sink

This stainless steel sink caddy takes all the clutter around the kitchen sink and organizes it with a small footprint. Suddenly, everything looks orderly and the counters are dry. It will instantly streamline your dishwashing station.

38. Give your sofa new life with this easy-to-install slipcover

It’s so easy to refresh your tired couch with this slipcover. Just throw it over the couch, tuck it in, and the stains, ugly pattern, and frays are gone. For $20, you’ll get a fresh, clean look in a soft stretchy fabric that you can toss in the wash when the kids and pets do their thing again. You can choose from 21 colors for an entirely new look.

39. These decorative magnets for dressing up a garage

Stick these magnets to your garage door to quickly transform it from a blank palette to a garage door with personality, handles, windows, and cool hinges. You won’t be able to see through the windows or use the handle, but it will look like a brand new kind of garage door. The strong magnets hold on through all kinds of weather.

40. This tiered shelf to neatly store your shoes

This shoe rack can hold several pairs of shoes yet fits neatly into a corner of your mud room or hall. You could also use it in a bathroom to store towels and other accessories because it’s waterproof. It comes in light bamboo color, mocha brown, and black finishes, as well as a more compact two-tiered version.

41. A wall sconce you can install without an electrician

Wish there was a light in the hall, at the back door, or next to your bed, but don’t want to pay to have one permanently installed? This plug-in wall sconce is your quick, easy, and aesthetically-pleasing solution. Just mount it to the wall and plug it in. The switch on the cord turns it on and off, and the vintage industrial look is awesome.

42. These floating shelves that turn random stuff into art

Maybe original art is out of your budget but you have stuff — plants, collections, small framed photos, spices, even shells — that can be quickly turned into art by mounting this set of wooden, floating shelves into a clever arrangement on the wall. Arrange your stuff on the shelves and your storage problem is now a visual art element.

43. A raised pet food station for less mess

This elevated pet feeding station looks like a Scandinavian puzzle in your kitchen but it’s more than cute. The height, which adjusts from 2 to 7 inches, makes it easier for your pet to eat so they digest their food better, don’t get neck pain, and make less mess. Two stainless steel bowls that fit it perfectly are included.

44. These modern house numbers with a dropped shadow

You can create a slick look on your front door or mail box with these raised house numbers that create instant curb appeal. The address numbers throw a shadow on the surface below them. Let the sun throw a natural shadow during the day and install some lighting to create the precise shadow effect you want at night. They come in six colors and are made from durable stainless steel.

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