Easy enhancements that won’t break the bank.
Sometimes, a small change in a high-traffic area of your house can have a massive impact — not only on the look of your space but also on its function and how much time you have to spend cleaning it. There is always one spot, for example, where the clutter is. Maybe it’s on the kitchen counter, the dining table, or the coffee table. And if you walk through your space, it’s easy to see why — people kick their shoes off here and drop the mail there. And when that spot is already messy, other people do the same.
There are so many simple ways to fix this problem. All you have to do is take the time to identify it. The same thing goes for a room that looks dingy or a bathroom that’s always cluttered. Creating a clean, attractive, minimalist space is a matter of examining each of these issues and sourcing a solution. You are not alone in this. Most homes have the same problems and that’s why so many people are making these home upgrades. Because they look damn good and are super cheap.
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If clutter tends to congregate at the first flat surface near your entryway, the solution is easy, fast, and looks good: this low-profile coat rack with retractable hooks. When you walk in the door, pop out one of the hooks and hang your jacket, bag, or keys there. Not only will your clutter become part of the decor but you will know where to find everything when you are leaving the house. You can choose the number of hooks, size, and color so it matches your vibe.
If the first thing everyone does when they walk in the door is kick off their shoes, you probably have a problem with shoe clutter. Reign that chaos in by providing an easy place to put them right at the entry. This two-tier bamboo shoe rack is an easy and affordable way to do that. It’s strong, just the right size to slide under a bench, or use as a bench. It comes in three colors and also makes a terrific plant stand or storage shelf.
Mail, keys, sunglasses, and the bags we carry into the world create a serious counter-clutter problem if you don’t give all of that stuff a place to live. This clever key holder makes that place so easy to use that it will likely eliminate your clutter problem altogether. There’s a bar for hanging sunglasses, hooks for keys and bags, and a shelf for mail or your pocket full of sundries.
When you want to focus on work, set the color of this smart lamp to “working.” It will choose a color scheme that induces focus. You can set it to wake you up in the morning, help you get to sleep at night, provide beautiful ambient light, or anything else you want. Just tap it, use the app to choose colors and modes, or connect it to your Amazon Alexa or Google Home and tell it what light you want using your voice.
Peel and stick this marble contact paper onto anything that’s dinged up, dated, or a color you don’t like without getting out tools or finding a workshop. Just cut this paper precisely and apply it carefully, and it will turn that piece of furniture, counter, or wall into something that looks surprisingly like marble. Once installed, that piece will be waterproof and easy to clean, too. “It looks like real marble!” said one reviewer. “It’s easy to cut and peel and it stays. It’s really thick which makes it so real.”
If your kitchen has dark places that make it hard to work or the closet is too dark to use, the solution is as simple as this two-pack of puck lights that costs just $10. Stick one under the cupboard and tap it to light your work area. Put one in the closet and touch it to light up that dark space. They are useful on the underside of shelves, in the garage, and anywhere the light switch is in the wrong place and you need light to find it.
Setting up a charging station that can handle all the phones and gadgets in the house, as well as the occasional visitor, can solve more problems than you think. Not only does it gather a lot of clutter — phones, tablets, wires, a power strip — into one compact footprint, but it offers significant convenience. When someone asks, “Can I plug in my phone?” You have only to point to the four slots — and the selection of included charging cables — rather than run around searching for the right cable and a place to plug it in.
Storage baskets — like this three-pack of linen storage bins with leather handles — are a great way to bring order to a closet, playroom, or office. Put like items in a bin so you can grab that bin and bring it out when you are looking for shirts, toys, power cords, or whatever is in that bin. When stored, your clutter looks neat and orderly. And you will be able to find what you need when you want it.
That little gap between the counters and your slide-in range is so difficult to clean, yet it is where spills always want to go. Prevent that cleanup nightmare by covering that space with this simple-to-install gap cover. Just cut it to fit your counter and slide the anchor into the gap. The underside is tacky so it grips to hold it in place. But the top is a matte finish that rejects dust and fingerprints so it’s easy to keep clean.
When you are cooking, it’s much easier if you have the right tools. And this silicone utensil set is every tool you are ever likely to need in a set that’s not only functional, but matches so you can put them all tidily in a utensil crock. The silicone business end is heat resistant and won’t damage cookware while the silicone-covered handles protect your hands from heat.
Get all your most-used cooking utensils out of drawers where they are hard to find and put them, instead, in this stainless steel utensil holder with a three-way divider inside. It’s large enough to hold your entire collection, spins to make finding what you want easy, and comes in seven colors. The divider is removable so it’s super versatile.
A big mortar and pestle are great for whipping up a quick guacamole, but a small set is better for grinding seeds, coffee, or even pills. But who has room for both? This reversible mortar and pestle set is both in one body. It’s a big, 2.1 cup capacity mortar, but flip it over and you’ll find a small grinding mortar in the bottom. Even the pestle flips around and can be used on both ends.
It’s so easy to turn a bit of a blank wall or even a window into a place to set plants, or to show off a collection of toys or cameras with this three-tier hanging shelf. You can hang it from a single hook or from two hooks because the rope makes it super versatile and easy to level. It also gives it a rustic look that goes with lots of interiors.
These two stainless steel pet bowls with a base have a raised rim so that water and dropped kibble land in the tray rather than scattering all over the floor. Your kitchen will stay so much cleaner. Each bowl holds 12 ounces, which is the perfect size for small dogs and cats. The base keeps the bowls from sliding around, too, so your pet will be less frustrated. And it all cleans up super easily.
If your spices tend to get lost in the back or you forget about canned goods because you can’t see them, add this two-level bamboo lazy Susan to your cupboards so you can spin the goods and see what’s what. It’s easy to implement. Just put it in the cupboard and put things on it. And with two tiers that are each 10 inches in diameter, it holds way more than you’d think. A ridge on the edge keeps cans from flying off if you get spin-happy.
The art technique tromp l’oeil deceives the eye by making you believe you are seeing a window, path, or door that isn’t actually there. It is often used to make a space look bigger or better. These garage magnets work just like that. Stick them to your boring metal garage door and they instantly create the illusion that there are hinges and a handle, which gives your house a more complete, finished look. “This transformed my garage doors,” said one reviewer. “My neighbors can’t stop commenting and they have no clue they are magnets.”
If your shower door lets water out of the shower and into the room, this shower door bottom seal is a quick and easy fix. Just cut it to fit and slide it onto the bottom of the door. It creates a seal at the bottom so that water stays where it should. It works well and takes only minutes. “Total install time was four minutes: two minutes to cut to size, one minute to walk to the bathroom, and one minute to slip on,” said one reviewer.
Once you install this simple and inexpensive bidet attachment, which requires very little time and almost no expertise, you will wonder how you lived without it. Every time you go, you can take a back-end shower and go about your day spotless and fresh. Just turn the dial to set the speed of the jets. What you save in toilet paper will pay for this thing in just a couple of months.
Replacing light fixtures is one of the cheapest upgrades you can make and the effect can be a near-complete transformation. Dated fixtures don’t have to make your home look frumpy. This elegant and simple sconce light is modern, simple, and a great way to show off an Edison or other artsy lightbulb.
Plan out the big events of the week and stick them to the fridge or bulletin board with this dry-erase weekly planner. Not only can this strategy keep a group on the same page, but it can help you keep deadlines, big events, and other notable timelines in mind, which eases stress. It comes with four colored dry-erase markers and there is space under the weekly calendar for notes, lists, and reminders.
Keep a pad of sticky notes, some pens, and other essentials organized and handy with this mesh desk organizer. It even has a little drawer for small things such as paper clips or postage stamps. But it’s useful elsewhere in the house, too. Keep personal care items in it, set it at the entryway to unburden your pockets from your EDC, or keep the set of tools you use often always ready and easy to put away.
Create a fun backsplash, headboard, or decorative wall with nothing more than paint by taping these geometric wall stencils to the wall, painting a complementary or contrasting color on top of your base color through the cutaways, and removing the stencil. The effect is dramatic. And no talent is required since the stencils do all the precision work. There are eight designs and they wash easily so you can use them repeatedly.
If the cat is constantly moving the rugs or you have one that slides dangerously out from under people’s feet when they take a corner, this double-sided carpet tape is an easy fix. Just peel and stick it to the underside of the carpet and place it where you want the rug to be. That rug won’t move. It works on hard floors and carpets to keep all your rugs right where you want them.
Set this versatile little bookcase at your entry, in the closet, or in your home office to create handy storage for small items you want to keep within reach. It comes in great colors so you can design a modern and fun look that suits whatever room you are putting it in. And you can add more shelves as the need arises. The cubbies hold everything from storage baskets to books to backpacks.
These hanging wall baskets are the solution to many challenging storage problems. Mount them to a wall, cupboard, or in the pantry and they offer a handy place to drop everything from personal care items in the bathroom to apples and potatoes in the kitchen. They are roomy and have hooks for mounting to the wall.
This two-tiered fruit basket is everything you need when it comes to storing your fresh fruit so it ripens easily, provides a bit of colorful kitchen decor, and makes snacking on fruit tempting. The lower level is perfect for apples, oranges, and other large fruits. A hook hangs under the upper basket so bananas ripen evenly. And the top basket lets you keep smaller goods.
Storing water bottles can be a challenge. They aren’t sized like glassware or plates, which is what most kitchens are designed to handle. But this water bottle storage rack makes the standard cupboard work for this by storing bottles lying down and stacked. Each rack holds three bottles. You can stack the racks or lie them side by side, depending on the size of the cupboard you use for this.
Put a doormat at your entryway so people can wipe their feet as they come in the house and it will save you so much vacuuming time. This rubber-bottomed doormat is perfect for this. It won’t move from where you put it because of the grippy bottom. The looped mesh top is great for cleaning off feet and shoes. It will withstand the weather. It requires very little door clearance. And you can throw it in the wash to clean it.
If you need a place for your razor and other bathroom sundries or a there is a wall that looks empty and you haven’t found a piece of art that works, this set of floating cube shelves is a terrific solution. Choose a color that compliments the room, mount it to the wall, and turn everyday objects into art.
Bags and backpacks present a confounding storage challenge. This hanging purse organizer rises to that challenge and conquers it. Hang it in your closet and it will hold eight bags in an easy-to-access solution that makes choosing a bag easy. Just slide them into the open slots where your bags are protected from dust while being displayed behind clear plastic.
Chuck all the weak and irritating clothes hangers you accumulated by going to the cleaners and hang your clothes on this elegant and super functional set of 20 wooden hangers. They are easier on your clothes because they are thick and gently sloped. There is a notch to keep slippery things from sliding off. And the hook rotates 360 degrees to make hanging everything easy. There are four colors to choose from.
If you lack a place to keep shoes, hats, or folded sweaters in your closet, this hanging closet organizer will solve that problem fast. Just hang it from the clothing bar and it delivers six roomy shelves in a space that once held only a few hanging garments.
When you need a place to let dishes drip dry, this folding bamboo drying rack will be ready. Keep it stored for the occasional overflow situation or always out on the counter to manage a continuous stream of washed glasses and mugs. It looks good, holds lots of dishes, and stores flat.
These floating bookshelves are the slickest way to display a collection of books, keep your to-be-read pile handy but off the bedside table, or turn your massive book collection into wall art. Mount the shelves to the wall and install one book on the bottom to form a base. Then stack things on top of that book. You can create a literary art statement or use a few books as a shelf to hold a plant or candle.
Get all your cotton swabs, toothpicks, and cotton balls out of the original packaging and put them, instead, into these clear apothecary jars so they create a cozy atmosphere in the bathroom while making it easier to find these small items. These unbreakable jars come with lids and clear, preprinted labels so no one will know you buy in bulk.
Get all the clutter up off your bathroom vanity and that room will look better and be much easier to clean. This wall-mounted toothbrush holder does much of the heavy lifting. The cups hold on, upside down, with magnets. There’s a toothpaste dispenser built-in. It has sanitary storage for up to six toothbrushes, and there is a shelf on top and a small drawer for sundries.
Light your garden path, porch, or yard easily with this set of six solar garden lights. All you do is stick them in the ground and let the sun do the rest. It charges them during the day and when the sun goes down, darkness triggers the light sensors to turn on the lights. They glow brightly until they run out of power — sometime in the wee hours if they spent the day in a sunny spot — and do it all again the next day. No wiring, electricity, or switches are needed.
You can deceive the eye with an old artistic trick — the art of making a space look larger — without any clever techniques. Simply peel and stick this arch wall decal to the wall. It not only adds a pop of color but also makes it look as if your space is larger than it is by creating the look of an open doorway. It’s easy to install, looks great on Zoom, and comes in three colors.
Instantly upgrade your house’s exterior with this big collection of floating address numbers. Each 5-inch high number comes with a stencil and guide to accurately install it onto your entryway, by the garage, or on the mailbox post making it easy for visitors and package delivery people to locate your house. Buy just the numbers you need.
These weatherproof LED string lights are an ideal solution for your outdoor lighting quandaries. They throw lots of romantic lighting from 25 feet of lights that run on a heavy-duty rubber wire so they will last for ages. Since they are LEDs, they draw very little power, and the filament, Edison style bulb looks great.
Finding a place to store long-handled tools, brooms, and mops is a challenge in most homes but this wall-mounted tool organizer handles the job neatly. Mount it to the inside of a closet door or a mud-room wall and it will hold five brooms or rakes as well as six items that can hang from the hooks.
Mirrors make terrific wall art because they give a room a sense of space — and you can use them to quickly check your hat. This inexpensive set of three gold mirrors is a great way to decorate a bare wall. Group them cleverly and they do the rest, reflecting light, offering a reflection, and looking awesome.
When you run out of space on the window sill for your growing collection of plants, this three-tiered plant stand is ready to take over. There are seven ledges for your greenery so you can pack every one of your green buddies in front of the light where they will all be happy and work together to create a beautiful wall of nature. The stand is easy to assemble and made from natural wood. The slats let light through so that even the lower-level plants get all the UV they need.
This little bottle of touch-up paint will save your walls and furniture from a complete do-over when they get little dings, stripped paint patches, and other signs of wear. Choose the color that matches your walls best and paint over the damage with the little brush that’s already in the bottle. It’s fast, easy, and super effective.
Make the morning easier by filling this sugar dispenser with your favorite sweetener. You can sweeten your coffee or tea simply by pulling the trigger to start the bottom dispenser pouring and releasing it to stop. No more dipping a wet spoon into the sugar bowl. The beehive-shaped dispenser sits in a bowl that holds it upright and catches any spills. And it works just as well with liquids like honey or maple syrup.
This article was originally published on 6.20.2022 12:00 AM