Home / News / Handymen Swear By These Cheap Tricks To Make Your Home Look Better & Save You Money

Handymen Swear By These Cheap Tricks To Make Your Home Look Better & Save You Money

Jan 31, 2024Jan 31, 2024


Take some advice from the pros.

They say home is where the heart is. But, it’s also where the down payment, mortgage, and general upkeep expenses dwell. Luckily, you don’t have to pray for a surprise visit from an HGTV team — there are a ton of affordable hacks listed here that will help your home look more updated, sophisticated, and better organized.

Take a tip (or two, or forty) from the experts. These smart, savvy, and generous industry professionals have spilled their insider tricks on how to make your home look better — and save money while doing it.

Allison Harrison, co-owner of Goodbee Plumbing says, “Swapping out old doorknobs or handles and even light switch covers can refresh your space at a very low cost, plus installation is easy!”

This black five-piece doorknob set offers easy installation and is ideal for spaces that require accessibility without a lock. The durable quality, sleek design, and reversible features make it a stylish and practical addition to both commercial and residential settings.

They say first impressions count. “Paint your front door something new to give yourself a refresh and enhance your home’s curb appeal,” says Harrison. “You can go for something neutral or go bold with something bright, but either way, it’ll give your home a revamp and more personality.”

This front door paint is a great option for both interior and exterior metal — or wood surfaces like doors and shutters. Its water-based formula ensures long-lasting durability with a smooth satin finish, plus it’s available in 15 colors. The quick-drying feature allows you to enjoy the beautifully painted surface in no time.

There are a ton of benefits to adding plants to your home. “Adding plants or greenery is an affordable way to add life to your space. You can opt for real or fake, whatever you prefer!” advises Harrison.

This indoor herb garden kit includes everything you need to grow your own herbs on your windowsill, countertop, balcony, etc. Use the herbs to make delicious homemade teas and cocktails; the kit comes with non-GMO peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender seeds. Besides the seed packets, you’ll also receive burlap grow bags, potting soil disks, bamboo plant markers, gardening shears, and a wood box that can be used as a planter.

Family members fighting over the thermostat is literally a power struggle, and it can be an expensive one. “Switching to a smart thermostat is easy. It will allow you to save on your energy bill, and the overall appearance of your thermostat will be sleeker than a traditional thermostat,” advises Harrison.

The Wyze thermostat is an easy-to-install, DIY smart thermostat that allows you to control the temperature from anywhere through the Wyze app. It works with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can create custom schedules for different times of the day. With usage tracking and insights, it helps you save energy and keep your home comfortable. The built-in motion sensor and phone location feature automatically turn it on and off to conserve energy.

Here’s a tip I can really get behind: Harrison points out, “Nothing is as relaxing as a nice shower, so be sure to have a high-quality showerhead that provides your desired pressure and stream.”

It’s not just about self-care: You can actually lower water usage and experience a more powerful shower using this spa-worthy rainfall showerhead. Its air intake system injects tiny air bubbles, providing a luxurious feel and higher water pressure. Made with a chrome-plated finish and stainless steel back, the showerhead includes a flow restrictor for water conservation and features an easily adjustable angle for a customizable shower experience.

Lawns can become patchy for various reasons — high foot traffic, pests, or uneven watering. “Instead of investing in expensive lawn treatments or professional landscaping services, homeowners can easily use grass seed patches to address these problem areas,” says Bryan Clayton, CEO and co-founder of GreenPal. Incorporating this small trick can drastically improve a home's curb appeal and make the whole property look well-maintained.”

He recommends Scotts EZ Seed Patch & Repair Sun and Shade. It combines mulch, seed, and fertilizer into a simple-to-use mixture, perfect for patching up those bald spots in the yard at a price that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

“If you're looking to have a big upgrade to your home, but want to stick to that budget, always remember to check out thrift shops!” suggests Kat Christie, a DIY expert, licensed contractor, and founder of She Fixed That. “A perfect project would be a gallery wall with thrifted frames. Paint them to coordinate and you've got something straight out of a magazine.”

This chalk-based paint creates a distressed, vintage-inspired look on various surfaces such as wood, metal, plastic, brick, stone, and plaster. It’s also nontoxic, water-based, and low odor. Plus, the paint comes in 30 shimmering colors, is safe and environmentally friendly, and is free from harsh chemicals and solvents.

The expression is “everything but the kitchen sink”, but if you’re upgrading your home you don’t want to sleep on this fixture. “You can easily enhance the look, feel, and function of your kitchen or bathroom with a new faucet,” says Christie. “It will make the whole space feel cleaner, and if you choose a more stylized faucet, it will modernize the entire space too.”

For a modern, elegant vibe, look no further than this matte black faucet. It brings a soothing presence to your kitchen or bathroom, and is made with a rust-resistant stainless steel finish. Meanwhile, the interior pipe is forged with a copper and ceramic blend that’s resistant to abrasion and leaks.

Don’t let your money literally go down the drain: Dramatically reduce the amount of water your household uses with faucet aerators. Logan Cox, assistant general manager of Hamilton Drain Cleaning, says: “Adding aerators to your faucets can help reduce water flow while maintaining adequate pressure. These inexpensive devices mix air with the water, resulting in a more efficient use of water without compromising functionality.”

This faucet aerator comes with two water-flow designs: soft bubble stream and strong spray, providing anti-leakage and water-saving benefits. With a 360-degree swivel and a wide rotation range, it allows for easy washing and cleaning in every corner of the sink. Suitable for various faucets, the aerator is easy to install without tools and increases water pressure.

Frozen pipes are a problem you want to avoid at all costs. Cox says, “If you have exposed pipes in unheated areas, such as basements or crawlspaces, insulate them with foam pipe insulation. This helps prevent freezing and reduces heat loss, saving you money on energy bills.”

This foam insulation tape offers flexibility and ease of use, as it can be cut to any desired size and bent into the shape you need. A super-adhesive backing ensures a firm, durable bond after cleaning the surface. With resistance to various elements like moisture, sun, temperature, and chemicals, it effectively protects pipes from freezing and damage.

Sometimes elbow grease just doesn’t cut it. “Over time, grout between tiles can become dirty and stained,” says Cox. “Use a mixture of baking soda and water to create a paste and scrub it onto the grout lines. Rinse thoroughly for a refreshed and cleaner look.”

Pair that miracle paste with this brush attachment set, and your shower will never look cleaner. The set includes three brush shapes suitable for various surfaces, ensuring a scratch-free cleaning experience with its nylon bristles. The extended reach attachment helps tackle hard-to-reach areas and tight spaces effectively — just note that the cordless drill is not included.

“Instead of buying bottled water, consider installing an under-sink water filter,” Cox advises. “This can improve the taste and quality of your tap water, saving you money and reducing plastic waste.”

This water filtration system offers efficient filtration with coconut-shell-activated carbon, reducing chlorine, taste, odor, and contaminants. With a long service life of 12 months — or 5,000 gallons — it provides a cost-effective solution for clean and safe water. The simple installation and multiple uses make it suitable for the kitchen, bathroom, or office.

Unless you’re a graduating football player, no one likes a draft. “Seal gaps around windows, doors, and baseboards with caulk,” says Cox. “This helps prevent drafts and heat loss, leading to energy savings. It also gives a cleaner and more finished appearance to your home.”

This Alien Seal insulation tape provides a flexible, transparent, and moisture-proof solution to block cold air and keep warm air in around your doors and windows. These strong adhesive seals can be easily applied to various surfaces, securing your home against drafts and leaks. Made from premium-grade silicone, they remain flexible and effective throughout the cold months, offering a practical and efficient way to insulate doors and windows.

Sometimes it’s the little details that really bring pizzazz to your space. “Give your kitchen or bathroom a quick and affordable facelift by replacing outdated cabinet knobs and pulls,” suggests Cox. “Choose stylish options that complement your decor, and you'll be amazed at the difference it can make.”

These pretty ceramic knobs are made from high-quality ceramic and wood, and beautifully painted to perfection. These knobs add a glamorous and personalized touch to so many decor styles, from contemporary pieces to distressed vintage furniture. With a striking-yet-versatile print, they refresh and beautify your home decor with a simple addition.

Let there be light! “Replace outdated or inefficient light fixtures with energy-efficient LED options,” says Cox. “LEDs consume less electricity, have a longer lifespan, and can transform the look and ambiance of your home.”

This LED bar light is a convenient accent lighting solution for various rooms in your home. With a warm, white glow and easy installation, it's perfect for under kitchen cabinets or closet lighting. The remote control lets you control multiple lights, adjust brightness, set timers, and more, making it a budget-friendly option that meets your needs.

Shlomo Cherniak, owner at Cherniak Home Services, says, “I would recommend everyone with hardwood flooring use a product against termites and other wood-eating insects. There are amazing preventative sprays that cost hundreds of times less than what you would need to spend if your house got infested with termites.”

This Termite Detection & Stakes kit is a two-in-one solution for termite control. The product includes pop-up indicators that detect termite activity and stakes that get rid of foraging termites. It’s easy to use, with 15 replacement stakes included, and the pop-up indicators provide visual confirmation of the dreaded termite activity. “You never know when these annoying bugs can appear, so it's better to be safe than sorry,” Cherniak adds.

Nothing like a new coat of paint to freshen up a space. “Another affordable DIY project that can make your house look better is painting” Cherniak points out. “Whether that’s damaged tiles, old cabinets, sinks, a bathtub, or chairs, the paint for small surfaces isn’t expensive and painting is relatively easy if you follow the tutorials carefully.”

These paint sponges offer a flawless, smooth finish without leaving behind brush strokes. They allow for fast application of thin paint coats, saving time and effort. The reusable and easy-to-grip sponge is perfect for tackling tricky areas and inconvenient surface shapes, ensuring precise and efficient painting.

Make any room look more sophisticated by adding a little texture. Jorge Santos, operations director of Fantastic Services in the UK says: “Adding molding or paneling to plain walls adds a lot of interest and depth to a living space. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. A simple Victorian-style molding or paneling can help elevate the looks of a room.”

This flexible trim with a nontoxic adhesive strip is easy to apply to your walls, instantly transforming their look. Made of durable PVC, the trim is low-maintenance, moisture-proof, anti-corrosion, and easy to clean. Use it in your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, or on mirror frames; the package includes just over 16 feet of molding trim and a glue refill pack for convenient use.

“A piece of statement art can greatly upscale the looks of a room with plain walls,” suggests Santos. “However, before you hang something on, make sure the artwork you choose is the right size for the wall you’re decorating.”

This gorgeous set of six minimalist wall decor prints effortlessly enhances any bedroom or interior. Made with giclée printing on archival linen paper, these unframed art prints are made to last and look soothing on walls.

Ever dream of turning your spare bedroom into a fancy office? “Built-in structures look expensive, but they’re not actually hard to install,” advises Santos. “Invest in a floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall bookcase, and you can achieve the same results.”

This standing shelf is a classic piece of furniture with an industrial design and rustic features. It offers ample storage space for books, trinkets, and keepsakes, with a wood hue that blends in well with your home or office. With its solid construction, included strengthened screws, and a tool to help prevent tip-overs, this bookshelf stays put while mimicking the look of a built-in piece.

Sometimes all it takes is one strong statement piece to elevate a room. “In addition to kitchens, you can elevate the looks of every room by replacing cheap fixtures with high-end ceramic or metal fixtures,” says Santos.

Elevate your space with a vintage-inspired touch using this attractive mini pendant. Its versatile design seamlessly blends with lots of interior styles, whether an industrial loft or a contemporary kitchen. With an adjustable hanging height and included LED bulb, this pendant offers so many possibilities for personalized lighting.

“An ordinary look can be transformed into a more luxurious one by simply placing a large rug as an anchor,” notes Santos. “It can help tie the room together and group different furniture pieces as well as create sections in a large room. [...] The appropriate size of a rug should fit under all your furniture pieces or, at the very least, under the front legs of the pieces.”

This gorgeous ocean-blue rug has a low-pile thickness of 0.2 inches, so it works well for busy areas, entryways, and underneath furniture without obstructing doorways. Crafted from 80% cotton and 20% polyester, this rug offers a soft touch that keeps you cozy and comfortable on cold floors.

“If you have good-looking cabinets, replacing the countertops can enhance them and the overall appearance of the kitchen,” Santos suggests.

But if a full remodel is too costly, try this faux granite contact paper. It has the luxury look of granite without the cost. You can effortlessly apply this peel-and-stick waterproof paper to countertops, furniture, and more for an elevated look. With its realistic marble-like texture and easy-to-clean surface, this DIY-friendly contact paper is perfect for transforming your space with a quick, stunning change.

Mirrors aren’t just useful for checking that your ‘fit is on point. “Using mirrors strategically can make a room appear bigger,” says Santos. “Besides doubling a room's space, mirrors can also act as focal points and increase its lighting. Just make sure they don't reflect any clutter or the effect will be amplified.”

This high-performance mirror offers a clear reflection with its high-definition glass and shatterproof design. Its minimalist shape suits any decor, and you can use the standing holder to prop it up anywhere, lean it against a wall, or hang it vertically to save floor space.

“There are many ways to upscale your lighting fixtures to positively influence the whole look of a room,” says Santos. “One of the easiest ways is to spray paint them. You may like the fixtures but not the color itself. In that case, this is the perfect solution because you can find spray paint inexpensively in pretty much every color.”

Rustoleum Universal Paint and Primer is a versatile, all-surface spray paint suitable for both interior and exterior use. Its comfort-grip trigger and any-angle spray feature help ensure even application without tiring your hands too much. This oil-based formula provides excellent adhesion, rust protection, and a metallic finish, making it ideal for assorted surfaces such as wood, metal, plastic, concrete, and more.

It’s not just the curtain itself, it’s how you hang it. “Dressing up your windows is an easy and affordable solution to give a whole new lavish appearance to a room,” says Santos, pointing out, “If you want to expand a small room visually, fix the curtain rod 10 to 15 centimeters above the window frame to make the windows visually taller. If you enjoy sunlight, select a rod wider than the window frame to make your windows look more prominent and let more sunlight in when the curtains aren’t closed.”

These thermal-insulated curtains come in a wide range of color options and are energy-efficient, helping to lower heating and cooling costs by preventing drafts and sunlight from entering the room. They are a great choice for those looking for blackout options for better sleep or to reduce glare, and they can be paired with blackout valance and sheer curtains from the same store for a complete window-dressing solution.

It might be time to switch things up. “Switches always get dirty and faulty because of regular use. To fix that, switch them,” says Santos. “Replacing them with decorative or simply new ones adds an aesthetic touch to a home design concept.”

These white switch plates are made from bamboo fiber with a natural gloss finish that matches any wall color. Their simple design and dust-resistant properties make them easy to clean. Crafted with care using a steel mold under high temperatures, this wall plate offers insulating properties, providing an eco-friendly addition to your home.

“Incorporating textures and patterns into your decor is an easy way to add visual interest to any room,” Santos points out. “Mix and match different fabrics, materials, and patterns, but make sure to not overdo it so you can stick to a cohesive and stylish look.”

These textured corduroy cushion covers come in a set of two, measuring 18 by 18 inches each. They are perfect for adding comfort and visual interest to your bed, sofa, bench, or outdoor furniture. With a dozen rich colors available, these soft, resilient covers are easy to care for with machine washing.

You can utilize mirrors in your decor without having to dedicate space to a full-length wall. Gavin MacRae, owner of GJ MacRae Foundation Repair, says, “Adding mirrors to smaller rooms can create an illusion of more space and reflect natural light, making the area appear brighter.”

This trio of hanging mirrors comes in a selection of chic, neutral colors from silver to rose gold, making them a unique and modern accessory for your home’s walls. The mirrors feature edged glass and crystal ball rivets, giving an extra pop of glam. A black velvet backing helps prevent them from scratching your walls.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts...but it doesn’t hurt for the outside to look good too. Matthew DiBara, founder of The Undercover Contractor and CEO of The Contractor Consultants, suggests, “If the property's exterior is looking dull, a power wash can remove dirt and grime, making it look fresh and well-maintained.”

The Leebein Electric Spin Scrubber is a versatile cleaning tool that comes with eight replaceable brush heads for various cleaning tasks. It features fast charging and a battery-level display for convenient usage. The mop is detachable and adjustable, allowing you to clean hard-to-reach places without bending or kneeling, and its waterproof design allows for safe and easy cleaning.

Want to get gadget-savvy and bring your house into the 21st century? “Consider investing in some low-cost smart home gear, such as smart plugs, smart lamps, or a smart thermostat,” suggests DiBara. “These not only serve a useful purpose, but they may also give the home a more modern appearance.”

The Kasa smart plug is a voice-controlled, easy-to-use smart home device compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. It allows you to control your electronic appliances from anywhere through an app, set schedules, and enjoy hands-free convenience with voice commands. They come in a pack of four and have a two-year warranty.

“Improve your property's curb appeal by trimming bushes, adding fresh mulch, and planting vibrant flowers,” says DiBara. “A well-maintained garden can significantly improve the appeal of an older home.”

These lawn shears are ideal for trimming and manicuring the borders along sidewalks or shaping hedges. With rotating handles and strong steel blades, the tool allows for precise cutting and reaching corners without straining your wrist. The comfortable design and compact size make it a reliable and efficient tool for exacting lawn care.

Storage can be chic. “A tidy home always appears nicer,” points out DiBara. “Spend time organizing and cleaning up the space. Install shelves, hooks, or other storage solutions to keep everything neat and organized.”

These clear drawer divider trays are perfect for organizing jumbled items in your home. The set includes 25 storage bins in four different sizes, allowing you to customize combinations for different-sized drawers and spaces. With nonslip silicone pads and durable, clear plastic, they help keep everything neat, visible, and easily accessible.

If you want an accent wall but can’t commit to a paint color, there are other options. “Peel-and-stick wallpaper can add patterns or textures to an accent wall or update the backs of bookcases and cabinets,” says DiBara. “It's a simple and removable technique for achieving a distinct appearance.”

This peel-and-stick wallpaper is available in 14 rich colors, bringing a mysterious and calming atmosphere to any space. It's easy to apply and can be used for various purposes, from bedroom and living room decor to furniture renovation DIY. The best part is, it's removable without damaging the walls, making it perfect for renters, and it’s easy to change whenever you want.

Buying furniture secondhand, whether from social media, yard sales, or thrift stores, can save a lot of money. “Sand and refinish or stain old furniture to give it a new, contemporary appearance,” suggests DiBara.

This sandpaper set is perfect for handling all kinds of odd jobs and comes with an assortment of 12 grits. The sandpaper pieces are easily cut to any size, and the soft-backed design ensures a good grip and smooth polishing with moderate effort. Suitable for both wet and dry sanding, it’s ideal for various jobs, from woodworking to refinishing furniture and removing scuffs and stains.

“Don't be afraid to hang DIY art on the walls,” suggests DiBara. “One can frame family photos, paint canvases, or make collages. It adds a personal touch to the property.”

Add a touch of vintage charm to your home with these elegant photo frames. The brass and gold trim exude an antique vibe, while the cute golden-colored chains make hanging them easy. This set includes two styles, perfect for 5x7 pictures, to accent your photo display with a nostalgic feel.

Having good lighting in your home is crucial when it comes to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. “A cost-effective and straightforward way to elevate your home's ambiance is by replacing outdated and inefficient light bulbs with smart alternatives,” says Mike Norton, Trade and Projects Director at Magnet Trade.

Mike recommends this two-pack of smart light bulbs that offer a staggering amount of color choices — according to the brand, up to 16 million. Once you sync the bulbs with the Vont app, you can schedule the timing, color, and dimming options anywhere using your phone, along with using Alexa or Google Assistant for hands-free voice control. Another perk: These bulbs help reduce energy bills with their low wattage.

Besides being practical, a backsplash can actually be a focal design point in your kitchen. “Simply updating them therefore, is an easy way to add a splash of on-trend color and transform the feel of the room,” says Norton. “This doesn’t call for a big expense either. From vinyl, glass, and even metal, there are plenty of peel-and-stick backsplash tile styles to choose from.”

With an adhesive backing that sticks to most hard surfaces, the application of these PVC mixed metal tiles is quick and simple. Their waterproof and heat-resistant nature makes them perfect for kitchen backsplashes, bathroom walls, and more, plus they come in over 10 different color combos.

Knick-knacks always get the decor spotlight, but pay attention to what you set them on. “Alongside providing more storage, floating shelves are the perfect way to fill any empty wall space without having to spend on expensive artwork or cabinetry,” says Norton. “Install two to three floating shelves to a wall or alcove, and create an interesting display of personal items that instantly add a cozy feel and character to the space.”

These floating shelves are capable of holding up to 25 pounds each while adding a charming farmhouse vibe to any space. Perfect for displaying succulent plants, collectibles, or other small items, they come in four neutral finishes. The easy assembly process comes with detailed instructions for a quick setup.

Clutter can be the enemy of a polished and cohesive decor scheme, especially when it comes to electronics and messy wires. “One of my favorite tricks to avoid these wire eyesores is to use cable boxes to keep them organized and out of view,” says Norton. “Make use of them in kitchens, home offices, behind TV consoles and gaming stations.”

This small plastic cord organizer box is designed to conceal power cords and chargers, keeping your space tidy and free from cord clutter. It fits a four-outlet power strip, and there’s no assembly required. With a simple, discreet design, it helps prevent tangles and offers a varied surface height to your workspace.

Bimini Wright