Life·10 min read

Budget-Friendly Ways to Totally Upgrade Your Home

easy home upgrades
Design: the Skimm | Photo: Wayfair
Feb 9, 2023

Products you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Oh, and if something's out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate) at time of publication.

We’ve all been there: You just watched six hours of HGTV and now you’ve got the redecorating and redoing bug. Except you’re on a budget and need to DIY. We’ve got ya covered. To upgrade your space from drab to fab, we rounded up products (and services) that will make your home look Pinterest-level chic. From simple things like changing out drawer hardware to actually picking out brand-new paint colors, it’s time to zhuzh up each room of your home.

Peel-and-stick backsplash that’ll transform your kitchen…

It’s fully customizable and can be trimmed to fit around wall sockets and light switches. It’s also heat-, water-, and humidity-resistant, so it won’t curl up as you cook on your stovetop. Each panel is 10 inches by 10 inches with grout, but can be cut to fit the area you’re working with. Looking good. ($15.99+/5 sheets, Amazon)

Buy it

Constellation-themed removable wallpaper for renters who are tired of white walls…

It’s peel and stick, mess-free, and self-adhesive, so you won’t need any glues or pastes for installation. Consider it a weekend DIY project: You can reposition the paper as needed as you work to align the seams. Whether you’re going for an entire accent wall or bathroom (it’s moisture- and steam-resistant), or you want to jazz up a bookcase, this wallpaper will let you personalize your space in a way that doesn’t have to be permanent. Looking for more patterns? Check out Chasing Paper’s collection of wallpapers, from adorable florals to abstract prints. ($26.49+/roll, Amazon)

Buy it

And even more peel-and-stick options for those who wanna add texture…

From wooden paneling to distressed brick, The Home Depot has it all. Everything is DIY — so pick the color that you like best and start placing the panels where you want them. As a heads-up: Don’t place pieces over dirty or textured walls. Smooth, clean surfaces will produce the best outcome. And measure before you order. ($9.35+/sq. ft., The Home Depot)

Buy it

A grout pen to restore your bathroom floor to its original look…

Meet the adult version of coloring. This pen will tackle grout that won’t seem to brighten even with intense scrubbing. Now all you gotta do is stay within the lines. ($8.99+, Amazon)

Buy it

A bathroom accessory you never knew you needed…

With this bidet you’ll use less toilet paper (which we love for the environment) and leave the restroom with a cleaner rear. It takes less than 10 minutes to install, doesn’t require electricity or special plumbing, and is fully adjustable — plus it’s available in a handful of colors. That’s a win-win-win, if you ask us. ($99, Tushy)

Buy it

A new showerhead from Kohler to enhance your bathroom experience…

You can switch between full coverage, pulsating massage, and silk spray (ideal for rinsing). The showerhead itself can be attached to standard shower arms. Thanks to its finish, it’ll resist corrosion or tarnishing. ($87.14, Amazon)

Buy it

Plug-in sconces that are incredibly easy to install…

If you’re looking to upgrade from table lamps and give your bedside nightstands more room, sconces are a great choice. Since they can be plugged into wall outlets, you won’t have to foot the bill of dealing with electrical wiring. And thanks to the swing arm on this set, you’ll be able to direct the light where you want. Aka if you’re reading and don’t want light shining directly overhead, you can adjust the sconce. ($143.99/2 pack, Wayfair)

Buy it

Lots of paint colors that’ll take the stress out of picking the exact right one…

Choosing which color a room should be can be very daunting. Clare helps you narrow your search and has peel-and-stick swatches. Once you’re ready to start, the zero-VOC paint will be shipped to your door, along with all the necessary supplies to complete the job. Still struggling? Get expert advice after taking a quick quiz. (Prices vary, Clare

Buy it

Faux marble wallpaper so you can DIY at a fraction of the cost…

It works via peel and stick and looks best on flat surfaces, like smooth countertops, dresser drawers, and cabinets. You just have to measure the area you’re looking to cover and cut pieces that fit. Once you’re ready, peel off the adhesive backing and press down, working to get rid of any air bubbles along the way. Old desks and kitchen counters will look brand new in just a few hours. ($5.24+/roll, Amazon)

Buy it

Cabinet pulls that’ll instantly zhuzh up your kitchen…

It’s really a simple change when you think about it, but brand-new pulls can completely upgrade the look of your cabinets. Plus the job is easy to complete. These bronze ones are perfect to modernize your home and provide a nice minimal look. You can also add ’em to your bathroom if you want the whole house to be consistent. ($21.57+/10 pack, Wayfair)

Buy it

Wood polish that’ll restore dull floors and tables…

Whenever the wood in your home looks faded, use this polish and watch as things go from muted to vibrant. Antiques will look brand new; cabinets will look completely refreshed. And instead of paying a hunk of change for a professional job, all you’ll need is a cloth and some elbow grease. ($19.95, Amazon)

Buy it

A bottle of liquid stainless steel for appliances…

Let us preface these insane before-and-after pictures: Application is not easy. Customers rave about the final appearance, but suggest starting with the sides of an appliance to get the method down and carefully following the directions. They also advise using a brush to apply the liquid stainless steel, and then using a foam roller to avoid getting patchy spots. ($89.95, Amazon)

Buy it

Online interior design help if you’re not the most visual…

Not everyone can envision what their ideal furnished room should look like. Modsy makes things easy for you. All you’ve gotta do is take photos of your home and tell them about your project. You’ll get paired with an expert who will create 3D designs tailored to your style and budget. You’ll be able to give feedback, update your designs, and then shop the final versions. (Prices vary, Modsy)

Buy it

A tub and sink repair kit if you’ve got some cracks and nicks…

Yep, those things can be pretty unsightly in your bathroom. Now you’ll be able to fix chips, scratches, dents, and more. Everything you need to finish the project is included, along with instructions. The kit works on porcelain, acrylic, enamel, and fiberglass. If you want to refinish your tub, well, we’ve got a kit for that too. With the help of step-by-step videos, you’ll be able to reglaze your entire tub in a few hours. ($17.50, Amazon)

Buy it

A set of stair treads to liven up your staircase…

Just select how many steps you have and use the double-sided tape to apply each soft, nonslip piece of carpeting. It’s a fun design touch that’ll completely reimagine your staircase, not to mention cushion your morning walks up and down the stairs. Trust. ($60.90+, BERFINSHOME via Etsy)

Buy it

A shower filter with more than 7,000 five-star reviews…

Okay, so less about the design and more about truly upgrading your shower experience, but who doesn’t want that? We’ve tried it and swear this shower filter makes our hair softer and our skin less dry, so use it in places with hard water (like city apartments). It’s incredibly easy to install over your existing showerhead and even helps with problems like dandruff and eczema. You’re welcome. ($35.86, Amazon)

Buy it

Subscribe to Skimm Your Life

We're bringing you products, recs, and suggestions that'll make your life just a liiittle easier. It all starts with adding us to your inbox.