Of The Cheap Home Upgrades You Can Make, Designers Say These 36 Look The Most Impressive


I’ll admit it: I want my home to look like an aesthetic Instagram house. I see trendy interior design all day while I’m scrolling, and I spend a lot of time (maybe way too much time) researching how to make my house look like that without spending all of my paychecks at home decor stores. So, Bustle reached out to the experts — and I’ve put together a list of cheap home upgrades that designers say look seriously impressive.

Yes, I’ve finally found the answers — and all of these solutions will probably impress your guests (and yourself every day when you get home). What are these magical upgrades? Nichole Abbott, an interior designer at FLOOR360, fills us in on all the inexpensive ways to get that trendy neutral home of our dreams. Abbott suggests a set of cotton macrame wall hangings and plant holders for neutral texture. She also recommends the perfect trendy rattan accent with a three-pack of adorable rattan mini mirrors.

There are plenty of decor pieces on this list, but what about the finishing touches? Andra DelMonico, the lead interior designer for home design magazine Trendey, suggests upgrades for the small details such as baseboard paint for freshened-up trim and a stunning stick-on backsplash tile for the kitchen.

Go ahead and start looking through, because this list has all of the aesthetic and impressive upgrades you’ve been looking for (according to expert designers).

1

These Minimalist Glass Plant Holders That Sit Flat Against Your Wall

Noel Gatts, an HGTV host and designer as well as the owner of beam & bloom interiors, loves adding greenery as a “final touch for any space.” She recommends these heavy-duty, heat-resistant glass planter by Mkono, which are perfect to use as terrariums, pots, or vases to add greenery (even on your wall). Gatts says, “Think outside of traditional confines, and you could use these to organize legos, loft pencils, or desk accessories on a cluttered surface.“

2

A Set Of Faux Leather Pillow Covers That Work With Every Vibe

Gatts recommends these faux-leather pillow covers, which she says will give your space “added warm neutral color and a versatile vibe.” Plus, they’re designed with a spot to tuck away the zipper and are available in two sizes: 18 by 18 inches as well as 20 by 20 inches.

3

An Easy Kit To Make Hanging Pictures A Breeze

Another Bustle pick, this picture hanging kit contains a whopping 281 items so you can hang any frame that comes your way. Whether the frame is backed with D-rings, ring hooks, or sawtooth backs, this kit has you covered — with helpful instructions to let you know what to use, where. An included level helps make sure you get that perfect hang.

4

A Trendy Pendant Light That’s Doesn’t Require Hardwiring

Gatts also suggest the Globe Electric 15-foot plugin pendant, which is convenient if you can’t hardwire a decorative light (or if you just don’t feel like it). It’s complete with a trendy teal fabric cord that makes a retro statement and a gold-tone socket. If teal isn’t in your color scheme, it also comes in eight other options and designs.

5

A Pack Of Colorful & Dimmable Smart Lightbulbs

Devin Shaffer, the lead interior designer at Decorilla (an online interior design service), suggests new light bulbs — and these LED smart light bulbs are the ones to get. You can dim the lights and control the 16 million color options with your voice through Alexa and Google Home (or the phone app). Plus, they last for 15,000 hours.

6

This Alexa Compatible Lighbult With Vintage Style

For a well-designed smart lightbulb, Gatts recommends this one by Kasa Smart. This bulb in particular gives your home a warm glow while adding a touch of vintage style, and it has voice control through Alexa or Google Assistant. Plus, it’s dimmable, and there are over 1,000 five-star ratings with reviewers raving about it. One reviewer said it’s “great for giving that candlelight mood.”

7

This Neutral Throw Blanket To Add A “Soft Focal Point”

Gatts suggests this machine-washable cotton woven throw blanket with fringe that can add texture to your space. It comes in neutral colors, including black, gray, tan, and off-white. Plus, Gatts says it “drapes with enough texture to add a soft focal point to any space.”

8

The Minimalist Vase Set With Three Shapes & Sizes To Style

Priscilla Moiseoff, an interior designer and lead stylist at Walker Edison, suggests these neutral, minimalist ceramic vase by Abbittar. This set has three vases in varying sizes and shapes, which makes them simple to style. Moiseoff suggests using them as a centerpiece, or even as an addition to your sideboard or bookshelf.

9

A Set Of Cute Ceramic Bowls For Plants Or Crafts

A favorite of Bustle, this set of six sand marble ceramic bowls are versatile and easy on the eyes. Perfect for housing a family of succulents or herbs, they can also be used as candle containers (you can even pour your own wax right in them). They also make snazzy storage for candy or other little bits.

10

A Set Of Neutral & Abstract Wall Art With Waterproof Frames

Moiseoff also recommends the ArtbyHannah abstract wall art that’s seriously inexpensive for a framed set. At $36, this wall art has four unique prints and is complete with moisture-proof and waterproof light wood frames measuring 12 by 12 inches. Plus, they have 4.9-star rating on Amazon.

11

This Geometric Outdoor Wall Sconce With An Automatic Light

Kelly Marohl is the designer and owner of The Greenspring Home, and she recommends this rust-proof geometric outdoor wall sconce by SHINE HAI. It’s complete with glass panels and an automatic light, and Marohl says a new exterior light fixture is a “cheap home upgrade that will impress your guests.”

12

A Pair Of Pretty Decorative Wall Sconces For Inside

If you like the vintage vibes of a wall sconce and want to bring that feel indoors, this pair of mason jar sconces is a sweet Bustle-recommended option. Each is made with a traditional mason jar complete with silk flowers set on a wood backboard with rustic rope hanging. All you need to do is put a hook or nail into the wall and hang these right up.

13

The Bold Geometric Wallpaper That’s Still Easy To Install & Style

Michelle Madison, event designer, award-winning journalist, and lifestyle expert, suggests the NextWall peel-and-stick vinyl wallpaper which can act as a bold and impressive wall accent. This damage-free wallpaper has a 2-D geometric design that looks like it’s 3-D, and the neutral white and gray makes it easy to style.

14

A Statement Pendant Light With An Adjustable Cord

Andra DelMonico, the lead interior designer for home design magazine Trendey, suggests AXILAND’s antique-style pendant light. It has an adjustable cord length, so you can hang it over your kitchen island at the perfect height, and it comes in two colors. DelMonico says it’s especially impressive for your entryway. “A statement pendant on your front step can provide plenty of light, helping to make your home look more welcoming,” she says.

15

This 2-Step Floor Paint That’s Built To Handle Shoes & Spills

DelMonico also recommends this two-step floor paint and says, “Painting the floor can brighten the room by using a lighter color.” This pack comes with navy paint and a clear semi-gloss. The duo aims to hold up against shoes and spills. Plus, DelMonica lets us in on a second-floor painting tip: “Consider painting a pattern that can create the illusion of the room being larger or longer,” she says.

16

The Peel & Stick Tile In Granite & Gold-Tone Metallic Styles

DelMonico recommends applying this peel-and-stick backsplash all the way up “to the ceiling above the stove.” It’ll have a luxurious impact, but it’s only $40 for 10 large sheets. It also comes in seven colors, including granite tones and options with gold-tone metallic accents.

17

This Chip-Resistant Baseboard Paint That’s Available In Over 30 Colors

DelMonico suggests this quick-drying baseboard paint and says, “Simply repainting the baseboards and other trim can make a big impact.” This indoor-outdoor chip-resistant shade comes in 29 additional colors — and over 23,000 customers have painted with it, giving it a collective 4.5-star rating.

18

A Vintage-Style Frame That Comes In Super Chic Colors

Stefan Bucur, the founder of Rhythm of the Home, as well as Maegan Bucur, the interior designer, writer, and editor in chief of the company, recommend this vintage-style frame. It comes in six colors — including a retro green — and you can hang it or place it on a tabletop. “This affordable frame can add a chic vibe to any room,” the duo says.

19

This Rug For High-Traffic Areas & Vintage Vibes

The Bucurs also suggest this area rug by Artistic Weavers as an inexpensive and vintage-style accent piece. It’s designed to hold up in high traffic areas without any worries, and it comes in 16 colors. One reviewer raved, “This rug is great! Colors are bold and beautiful, and the quality is amazing, especially considering the price.”

20

Another Option For A Rug With Vintage Flair

Made in Turkey, this low-pile rug is a Bustle favorite inspired by the Bucur’s suggestion. Ideal for any space that wants a little sprucing up, the durable rug is patterned with a centuries-old motif crafted from easy-to-care for modern materials. They’re simple to clean and built to last. Choose from 10 colors and 28 sizes.

21

These Glass Terrariums That Multiple Reviewers Swear By For Air Plants

The Bucurs recommend these mini glass terrariums, which can help add some stylish greenery around your space. Each one has a unique geometric shape, and you can even fill them with live plants. One reviewer raved, “Adds such a beautiful detail to my indoor plant shelf. Looks great with my air plants and some pebbles!”

22

This Perfectly Neutral Macrame Wall Hanging Pack

Nichole Abbott, an interior designer at FLOOR360, suggests this three-pack the Mkono macrame wall hangings that are only $16. They’re made of 100% cotton, each one is complete with a trendy woven pattern. Abbott says, “The color is neutral with an organic feel that introduces an element of texture.”

23

These Handmade & Beaded Macrame Plant Holders

Abbott also recommends the Mkono macrame plant hangers. If tassels aren’t your thing, these are perfect because they’re tassel-free but still give you that woven-macrame look. They also have beaded accents and over 11,000 five-star ratings. One reviewer raved, “Very simple but sturdy. Love these hangers and may order more for my other windows.”

24

A Variety Pack Of Sunshine-Shaped Rattan Mini Mirrors

Abbott recommends these mini rattan mirrors by OYPIEP because they “will complete the look of a room that’s following the popular trend of incorporating rattan furniture and decor.” Plus, if you’re new to the trend, this variety pack is small and neutral. Plus, each one has a unique design, so you can test one out in every room.

25

This Removable Wallpaper With A Vintage Feather Design

Annie Elliott, the product and design manager at New Again Houses, suggests the Tempaper peel and stick wallpaper with a feather design. Elliott says, “You can change an entire space by adding an affordable peel-and-stick wallpaper to a small wall, nook, or bookshelf.” Plus, this wallpaper comes in six shades so that you can buy a few colors for different rooms or furniture.

26

These Throw Pillow Covers With Delicate Fringe & Over 12,500 Five-Star Ratings

Elliott says adding a new throw pillow cover is a “simple but exciting change” and recommends this set of machine-washable throw pillow covers with delicate fringe details. They come in 25 colors as well as nine sizes, and one reviewer raved, “They really brighten to my room, and I love that I can simply unzip and toss in the washer or change it up when I get bored!”

27

A Runner Rug With A Distressed Pattern & Stain-Resistant Design

Elliott also suggests this stain- and fade-resistant runner rug that comes in 19 colors and is complete with a distressed style. It even comes in sizes for small spaces — and one reviewer raved, “Just like the photo. Great rug! Unrolled easy and without and crinkles or bends. Big enough for my large room.”

28

Another Option For A Pretty Runner Rug

This resilient runner rug is a Bustle pick made in Turkey, and is ideal for high-traffic areas of the home — think entryways and hallways. It even makes a perfect accent piece under a piece of furniture. Reviewers described it as “beautiful,” “great quality,” and “really easy to clean!”

29

This Pack Of Gold-Tone Picture Frames That Are “Affordable & Incredibly Striking”

To grab all the frames you’ll need at once, Elliott also recommends this pack of gold-tone picture frames by upsimples. “All together, they’ll be simple, affordable, and incredibly striking,” Elliott says. Plus, they come in 16 colors, including wood tones if metallic doesn’t match your color scheme.

30

A Trendy Balloon Dog Decoration To Complete A Stack Of Books

Oshri Adri and Jillian Dahlman Bhatia, the co-founders and lead designers of Adri Dahlman Interiors, say this MingHaoyu balloon dog sculpture is “the perfect accessory to add on a stack of books.” It’s made of durable ceramic, and it’s super chic with its high-contrast white-and-gold-tone design. One reviewer raved, “I was pleasantly surprised with how sturdy this product is, I was expecting something very lightweight and it exceeded my expectations, especially for the price.”

31

This Chic Reed Essential Oil Diffuser With A Jasmine & Mint Scent

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia also recommend the NEVAEHEART reed diffuser set that comes in nine scents. Plus, the packaging is super sleek with cream and black accents, and it even comes in a chic box. The duo says, “It makes the perfect decor on a bathroom vanity.” Some available scents include jasmine and mint, gardenia, and even Parisian garden.

32

The Handmade Wooden Decor Set That Adds An “Organic Touch”

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia say, “Wood chains and beads offer an organic touch and texture to a space.” This handmade wood bead and sculpture set is made of natural pine wood, and the wood garland is complete with tassels. Plus, the sculpture has a super minimalist knot design, so it fits anywhere.

33

This Waterproof Resin Tray With A Marble Pattern

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia also suggest this marble-style resin tray that’s waterproof and super easy to clean. “This marble tray is not only beautiful but is great for storing several other items and accessories on a nightstand or bathroom vanity,” says Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia. It’s available in five colors and four different sizes and shapes.

34

This Miniature Classic Sculpture That Adds Fun Color

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia also recommend this classic love sculpture made of durable resin. It’s small enough to stack on other decor pieces or books — and they say, “We used this decor in a very colorfully styled console table in a neutral foyer.” Plus, this little piece is weighted, so it’s sturdy and shouldn’t fall over easily.

35

A Glossy & Ceramic Decor Piece That’s Shaped Like An Elephant

Oshri Adri and Jillian Bhatia recommend this ceramic elephant sculpture by Quoowiit. They say, “This accessory works really well when paired with taller items. We used it in an Indian family’s house as elephants are a symbol of royalty in their culture.” You can even choose your favorite animal, because it also comes in bird and rabbit options. It has a glossy black-and-gold-tone finish, and it’s even complete with nonslip pads on the bottom.

36

These Extendable Curtain Rods With Sleek End Caps & A Warm Gold Finish

Chanel, an interior decorator and Latina lifestyle blogger of Coco on Fifth, suggests this curtain rod in a warm gold tone. It’s complete with sleek and modern end caps, and it comes in five sizes. One reviewer raved, “I’m not a fan of bright brassy gold, this is an aged gold color that fits right in with my vintage-loving heart.”

37

These Curtain Rings With Clips & Eight Finishes To Choose From

To pair with your sleek gold-tone curtain rod, Chanel recommends these curtain rings with handy little clips. They come in eight colors and come in a pack of 14. One reviewer raved, “I bought these to hold up my very heavy velvet curtains with blackout lining. They work really well and are still holding strong!”

38

These Stainless Steel Drawer Pulls In Over 20 Styles & Sizes

Shaffer also recommends these super durable stainless steel drawer handle by goldenwarm, which have a brushed brass finish. They’ll help add a trendy metallic touch to your bathroom or kitchen and have over 1,500 five-star ratings. There are also over 20 sizes and styles, so they perfectly fit your cabinet.

39

These Dimmable Pendant Lights With An Industrial Vibe

Shaffer also recommends the DLLT pendant lights that have an industrial vibe. (They also come in a two-pack for only $40.) The fixtures are dimmable, work with a bunch of different light bulb styles, and have a gold-tone finish on the inside. One reviewer raved, “It is beautiful in the kitchen. Provides a warm glow, projecting a welcoming atmosphere. Installation was easy.”

40

A Trendy & Neutral Terracotta Pot With An Organic Shape

The founder, and CEO of DecorMatters virtual interior design Farris Wu, recommends Creative Co-Op’s small terracotta planter that has a trendy organic shape. Plus, this little pot features a neutral and matte finish to work with plenty of styles. One reviewer raved, “The perfect dupe for similar high-end pieces. I am so happy with mine and get compliments constantly.”

41

The Glass Storage Container With A Unique & Airtight Cork Top

Wu also suggests this glass container by MOLFUJ, which has a unique, sphere-shape cork top that fits perfectly to keep out air. It comes in three sizes and is BPA-free. Plus, it’s designed to store food and is way more aesthetic than a standard plastic food container.

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