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50 cheap ways to upgrade your home you'll wish you knew about sooner

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I’ve been doing small weekend projects on my house lately and they have transformed the place. I haven’t spent much time or money, but it’s easier to cook in my kitchen, my stairs are no longer dangerous, there is less clutter, and my once-crappy shower is suddenly amazing. I don’t have the money or patience at the moment for tearing out walls or upgrading appliances, but these little improvements have had a huge impact. And along the way, I discovered 50 cheap ways to upgrade your home you'll wish you knew about sooner.

Lighting is one of the first things I tackled and I’m super pleased with the results. I love it when the laundry room light turns on when I enter, since my hands are full carrying laundry baskets, and turns off again when I leave. It’s more convenient and it saves power. So I installed lights in my closets and on the stairs that do the same thing. I also found a quick and easy way to declutter my bathroom, installed an incredible shower head, and found a permanent home for my electric toothbrush. Each of these fixes took less than 10 minutes yet the results please me every day.

There are dozens like this and none of them cost much money or take much time. Check them out.

1. This draft stopper that keeps out bugs & noise

When noise and bugs come into your house because there’s a gap under the door, heat and air conditioning are getting out the same way. For an easy fix, just peel and stick this insulated and soundproofed silicone weather stripping to the bottom of the door to close up that gap. You cut it to fit with scissors, so installation just takes a few minutes.

2. This 8-pack of rubber pads that keep furniture from moving

When you want your couch, the ottoman, the bed, or even a small appliance to stay where you put it, cut these pre-scored furniture pads to size and set them under its feet. When you sit on your favorite chair, the double-sided, grippy rubber pads will grip both the furniture leg and the floor so your chair doesn’t slide out of place. And the felt center of the pads adds a sound-dampening cushion to the room.

3. This clear wall protector that cleans up easily

If you have a spot that tends to get dirty, like near a trash can, where people tend to kick off their shoes, or behind a workspace, this clear wall covering is a quick and simple solution. Cut it to fit your space and it sticks on firmly and wipes clean. Forevermore that spot will clean up easily.

4. These covers that catch hair before it goes down the drain

Drop one of these five hair-catching drain covers over your drain and it will let water through but stop hair and less fluid items that clog pipes. When it gets full or unsightly, pick it up, wipe it clean, and put it back. The cute colors look pretty in the shower and they are large enough — with a diameter over 5 inches — to cover most drains.

5. These bulbs for easy motion-triggered lighting

How great would it be if the garage light — or the laundry room, basement, or closet lights — only came on when you entered the room and turned off again when you left? These light bulbs will do just that and you don’t have to call an electrician. Just screw one into the bulb socket. It will turn off again 45 seconds after it stops sensing motion.

6. These clear covers that protect floors from chair legs

Do your chairs and small tables make a loud scraping sound every time you move them? Pull these clear, silicone leg covers over the bottom of each chair leg and the soft fabric on the bottom will stop the noise and protect your floors from scratches. There are 32 covers, which is probably enough to do all the furniture in your house.

7. The weird cloth that fixes water marks in wood

Not every scratch, water mark, or marker scrawl spells the end for your fine wood furniture. In fact, most of them can be wiped away easily with this water mark remover cloth. Just rub the cloth gently in the direction of the grain, and the water marks, clouding, latex paint, and most permanent marker will come right off like magic.

8. This reversible comforter for any season

Upgrade your sleep by putting this gorgeous, reversable down-alternative comforter on your bed. It will keep you warm in the winter and won’t make you overheat in the summer and changing the look of your bed is an easy matter of flipping it over. There are six color options and each one has a different, coordinating, color on each side. Flip it over or just fold it down to create an interesting bed. It comes in twin, Queen/Full or King/California King.

9. This beautiful set of solar-powered string lights

Hang these solar-powered string lights in a tree, on a patio, or anywhere your outdoor décor could use some illumination. The charging station pulls power from the sun all day so the lights come on automatically at dusk. You can choose from eight lighting modes for constant, flashing, twinkling, or fading light.

10. This genius fix for holes in the walls

The brilliant packaging on this primer-enhanced spackle makes fixing wall holes something you can easily do with this alone. Squeeze some spackle onto the wall, use the putty-knife-shaped butt end of the bottle to smooth it down, and sand it with the pad on the cap.

11. This cutting board organizer that keeps your countertop clear

Keep your countertop tidy with this sleek cutting board organizer. It can fit three standard-size cutting boards, and its stainless steel body is durable and easy to clean. There’s even space between the rack and surface to promote airflow and speed up drying.

12. A toilet bowl cleaner that looks stylish in the bathroom

No one wants to look at a toilet brush and contemplate where it’s just been while brushing their teeth. That’s why this toilet brush hiding in a bronze canister is such a great — and easy — upgrade for the bathroom. The brush is right there when you want it but you never have to look at it when you aren’t using it. It fits neatly into the attractive storage canister, dripping dry where it won’t mess up the floors.

13. This shelf that puts your gadget near an outlet

Now, if all you need is a convenient shelf, check out this slightly different pick. Your new Amazon Echo, Google Home, or electric toothbrush (and many other things) all have one need in common: a surface that’s near an outlet. You don’t have to rearrange the furniture to achieve this. Just replace the outlet cover with this one that has a shelf on top. It even has a channel to run the cords through so everything looks tidy.

14. This coffee canister that keeps the beans fresh

Store your coffee beans right out in plain sight without worrying that you will lose flavor by the time you brew your coffee. This attractive canister seals out air while venting Co2 for the freshest possible beans. It also has a holster for the included scoop and a quick close clasp that makes it easy to open and close. It comes in four colors that will look great on the counter.

15. The cord organizers that solve so many wire hassles

This three-pack of cable organizers will turn your bedside table cable chaos into an orderly solution and your in-car cable hassles into something that makes sense. Just peel-and-stick the organizer to your desk, the back of your bedside table, the dash, or the kitchen wall, and snap cords into the slots. No more cord chasing.

16. This shower head that boosts pressure & pleasure

Switching out a boring shower head for this AquaStar hand-held model with six luxurious settings is the huge bathroom upgrade your daily ritual needs. There are six water modes so you can get a pulsing massage, heavy rain, a soothing mist, and more. And the anti-microbial and anti-clog jets keep the water pressure coming because they won’t clog up like the old one did.

17. These silicone oven rack protectors that prevent burns

If you tend to burn yourself getting cookies and other just-baked treats out of the oven, these silicone protectors will prevent that. They wrap around the edge of the oven rack and don’t get burning hot, so if do come in contact with the rack, you will be warned but not scorched. Just cut them to size and snap them on.

18. A bamboo bath mat that makes your bathroom feel like a spa

Add some zen vibes to your bathroom with this bamboo bath mat. The sturdy slats are elevated and separated to promote air flow and inhibit mildew growth. The mat also has nonslip grips and a water-resistant finish, making it as functional as it is stylish.

19. The battery tester that saves you so much hassle

It is so irritating to load the remote — or the flashlights or kid toys — with batteries only discover it still doesn’t work because you used dead batteries. Keep this battery tester in your battery drawer and test the batteries before you use them. A quick glance at the dial will tell you how much power is left in just about any battery.

20. A divided bamboo hamper with a removable liner

This bamboo hamper is cute enough to keep out in the bedroom but it’s so functional it makes laundry day much easier. Sort your clothes into the two compartments of the inner liner bag so that task is done when you hit the laundry room. Just pull the removable and washable inner liner out and haul your clothes to the washers. The lid pops off to make this easy and the entire hamper folds up if you move or want to store it.

21. The stick-on bumpers that silence doors & drawers

If the sound of people slamming cupboards and drawers has you on edge, run through the house with this package of sound-dampening bumpers — there are 100 of them — and put a permanent end to it. Just stick them on where the door or drawer meets the frame when slammed, and the jelly-like button on them will soften the landing and stop the noise.

22. These glass dispensers that keep your oil and vinegar within easy reach

These sleek glass oil dispensers eliminate the need to fuss with a clunky jug of olive oil (or any other liquid ingredient.) There’s one pair in a set and they come with four caps (two sealed and two with flip-tops) for effortless pouring. A stainless steel funnel makes them easy to fill, and markers on the bottles are convenient for anyone keeping track of measurements.

23. This little light that helps you get in the door

Life is too full of irritants and dangers to struggle at the front door trying to fit a key into a lock in the dark, especially when the solution is $10 and takes two minutes to install. Just stick this battery-powered light to the door above the lock and it will light up if it’s dark when you reach with your key, making that daily task much easier. It turns off when you get in the house, so the batteries last for ages.

24. These felt pads that keep your furniture level and secure

Keep sofas, bedframes, or any other furnishings from sliding around the floor with these clever furniture pads. A thick felt core provides a cushion and prevents dents, while rubber grips keep them in place without the need for glue or nails. They also great for leveling uneven tables or chairs.

25. A shoe organizer that maximizes closet space

This over-the-door shoe organizer is a great way to keep your favorite footwear in order. Simply install the stainless steel hooks over your door and attach the body. The sturdy slots can hold up to 12 pairs of shoes, and they’re made of breathable mesh to maintain certain materials like leather. You can also use it to store accessories like belts, scarves, and hats.

26. The oven liners that keep spills from wreaking havoc

Before you put that lasagna or casserole that’s likely to bubble over and spill onto the bottom of oven, put one of these two non-stick oven liners on the rack below to catch those spills. That way, you can just toss the food-safe, BPA-free liner into the dishwasher to clean up instead of scrubbing the oven. You can also set foods like kabobs and pizza on the liner when you grill to keep the grates clean.

27. A cable box to clean up that mess of wires

When you have a snarl of plugs, power strips, and cords creating an ugly — and dangerous to pets and small children — mess near your desk or entertainment center, this cable management box is the right tool to rein that in. Just drop it all in the box, run the cords out the back, and pop on the lid to keep out curious paws and hands.

28. The fabric shower curtain liner with a cult following

This fabric shower curtain liner has hordes of fans because it does the job of a shower curtain liner without smelling or feeling like plastic, collecting a disgusting hem of soap scum and weirdness, or billowing up onto you when you shower. The hem is weighted perfectly and the fabric has a protective coating so water rolls off, giving yucky buildup no purchase or room to grow.

29. This mesh curtain that keeps bugs out of the house

Want to let some air into the house without inviting every bug that’s flying by to live with you? Hang this mesh screen door, and the breeze will come in without the bugs. You can also walk easily through this curtain, even with your hands full, and it will close behind you due to a panel of magnets down the center seam. Well over 40,000 people love this solution and give it five stars.

30. A coloring pen so you can restore the grout

If you have been struggling to get the grout in your tile floors or shower clean, it might be hopeless. Try this white grout pen instead. It colors right over the grey grout and turns it back into its original bright white to make your room look clean and fresh. Reviewers love the results and give this solution 6,600 five-star ratings.

31. These two wall dispensers for easy-to-access soap

For a tidy and convenient bathroom, mount these two soap dispensers right to the wall over the sink or in the shower and fill them with hand soap, body wash, shampoo, or conditioner. They come with adhesive for mounting, the lids lift up for filling with product, and a push on the front button dispenses product into your hand.

32. A lazy Susan that keeps pantry items in order

Keep items in your cabinet or on your countertop within easy reach with this handy two-tier turntable. The lazy Susan rotates 360 degrees for easy access from any angle, and brushed stainless steel construction makes it resistant to chips and rust.

33. These shelf liners that decorate & organize the fridge

Color code your fridge while hardening it against spills with this five-pack of shelf mats that slide in easily. They soften the landing for glass jars and produce, and they wipe up easily if something spills. They also work well in drawers and for lining cabinet shelves.

34. This cooling memory foam pillow that supports your neck

Hot sleepers may find relief with this popular cooling memory foam pillow. Shredded foam provides support for your neck while a trademarked Kool-Flow cover is made with a bamboo blend for softness and breathability. The pillow is also GreenGuard Gold Certified, which means that it’s been screened for 10,000 chemicals and is deemed a low-VOC product.

35. The vacuum for everything from floors to counters

This clever stick vacuum converts easily from a floor vacuum to a dust buster, so you can use it to clean the floors, couch, stairs, and counters as you whip through the house. Pop off the swiveling floor head when you encounter a big spill or crumbs on the couch to use the precise capture nozzle. It weights only four pounds, so it won’t wear you out, and it plugs in so it won’t run out of power when you are on a roll.

36. These straps that keep the sheets on the mattress

Clip these BedBands to your sheets and loop the elastic band under the corner of the mattress, and those sheets will finally stay put. You can loosen the sliders for a deep mattress or pull them tight if you use a top sheet as a bottom sheet. Best part, though? Because of the clever way they are designed, you don’t have to lift the mattress to get them on.

37. These cooling microfiber sheets in gorgeous colors

If you are looking for soft, delicious, luxurious sheets for your bed but hate to pay hundreds of dollars for them, these cooling microfiber sheets are it. The breathable and deliciously soft microfiber fabric gives your bed a luxuriously soft feel that is also cool, wrinkle-resistant, and more durable than cotton. You can throw them in the washer and dryer without a problem. And the color choices — there are 13 of them — are gorgeous.

38. A paper towel holder that saves counter space

If you’re tight on counter space, this stainless steel paper towel holder is a great option for your kitchen or bathroom. It can be installed under a cabinet or against a wall using an adhesive backing on the mounting plate; there’s also a separate option to use screws for extra security. Just note that it’s not compatible with wallpaper or painted walls — stick to tiled surfaces or wood cabinets for the best results.

39. These stones that keep whiskey cold without diluting it

If you like your whiskey cold but without the slow dilution that comes with pouring it over ice, drop these whiskey stones into your glass and pour that tasty beverage over them instead. The six cubes are made of polished granite and look gorgeous in your glass and, cold from your freezer, will chill your drink as you sip it.

40. This big assortment of cedar closet fresheners

This handy mix of 10 cedar balls and 30 rings is everything you need to freshen the scent of your closet and drawers while keeping moths away. Toss a few balls into drawers and shoes and hang the rings from hangers and your closets will smell woodsy like cedar, which is a scent we humans love but that many bugs — especially the moths that eat fabrics — can’t stand.

41. The odor eliminator that gets rid of pet smells

When your fur baby has been naughty on the carpet, that can create a lingering smell that will encourage future misdeeds. Fortunately, this Angry Orange odor eliminator gets rid of the smell — and the stain — completely. Just spray it on and let it work its magic. All that will be left is the delightful smell of citrus.

42. This weird fix for your sagging couch

When the seat of your favorite couch or loveseat begins to sag, you don’t have to say goodbye to that piece of furniture. Just pull out the cushions and install this supportive insert under them. Then put the couch cushions back. Your couch will have stamina and firmness again because the support redistributes weight over the springs so the couch no longer sags. Almost 7,000 people say, “Five stars!”

43. This splatter screen so you don’t have to clean the stove

Tired of cleaning the stove every time you fry eggs, chicken, or bacon? There is no need to do that if you set this splatter screen over the pan while your food spits and splatters. It won’t change anything about the cooking process — and you can still see into the pan — but the grease will stay in the pan and your stovetop will stay clean. Over 25,000 people give it five stars.

44. The motion-sensing strip lights you can stick anywhere

It’s super easy to add lighting to places that need it with these stick-on strip lights that are battery-operated. Peel and stick them right where you need light in your dark closet, under the cabinets, or along the edge of a dark flight of stairs. You set them to turn on automatically when they sense motion or by touching the on switch.

45. These self-watering bulbs so plants survive your vacation

Fill these watering bulbs and insert them into the soil of your potted plants before you go away — or if you can’t remember to water often — and they will keep your plants watered for up to two weeks. They feed water into the soil as it dries to give plants a steady diet of water.

46. A vacuum attachment that does dryer maintenance

Every time you dry a load, your clothes and towels leave lint behind in the dryer. You remove some of it when you clean the lint trap but, over time, what isn’t trapped accumulates in hard-to-reach places in the dryer and its vents. This vacuum cleaner attachment gets deep into the dryer and vents to clean them thoroughly, which can save money on repairs, make your dryer run more efficiently, and prevent fires.

47. These under-bed storage bins that keep clutter stowed away

Optimize an oft-neglected space with these under-bed storage bins. They are perfect for stashing unused linens, off-season clothes, and other assorted items. Transparent tops let you identify their contents, and reinforced straps make them a breeze to pull out from under the bed. When they’re not in use, they fold down flat for easy storage.

48. This drying rack that fits in the corner of your sink

This triangle-shaped dish drying rack sits on the corner of your kitchen sink to provide extra space during cleaning and prep. Stainless steel bars provide a sturdy base while silicone edges prevent slipping on a wet surface. Use it to dry just-rinsed produce and dishware, or let it work as a sponge and bar soap holder.

49. This pack of portable, motion-sensing lights

These stick-on lights are so versatile you will want to stick them everywhere — under the kitchen cabinets, in the closet, in a scary corner of the attic, in the bathroom, and on the stairs. They cling magnetically to a mount that sticks to your surface so you can pull them off anytime you want a portable light or to recharge them. An easy three-way switch determines if they are on, off, or motion-sensing.

50. The insect trap that looks like sci-fi décor

When you experience an invasion of fruit flies, gnats, or flies, you want an effective solution quickly. Katchy is here for you. The glowing light tempts the flying devils close, a fan encourages them to enter, and a sticky pad ends them. All you do is replace the pad when it’s full. No one will suspect that the device glowing on the counter has evil intentions toward bugs. But nearly 26,000 people give it five stars for how well it works.

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