25 Easy Home Upgrades So You Can Pretend You’re Not in the Same Place Every Single Freaking Day

easy home upgrades easy home upgrades

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. Literally, there’s no place. In the past year and a half, we’ve spent a lot of time there, and if you’re sick of staring at your same four walls, you are not alone. Luckily there are so many surprisingly easy — and often affordable — ways to upgrade your space and change up the look and feel. Here are 25 low effort/ high impact ways to spruce things up.

Add plants.

Indoor plants help us feel grounded, calm, and connected to nature. Plus they add a pop of color and (actual) life so they really transform the look of a space. Since you can’t throw a rock on Instagram without hitting a plantfluencer, find one you like and get influenced. That 1970s-style hanging creeper is calling your name…

Add texture into your space.

We could all use some extra warmth right now. And nothing increases the snug factor of a room more than an added throw blanket or decorative pillows. No need to get matchy-matchy here, a contrast of colors and fabrics can actually work well. World Market is a good place to start for affordable options.

Embrace lighting.

Lighting can be so transformative to the look and feel of a room. Adding a new lamp for ambient lighting, installing recessed lights in a ceiling or bookshelf, or having under-cabinet lights added to a task area can make a huge difference in the way you experience a space.


The cousins of lighting! A few strategically-placed ones will make the room seem much bigger than it is. A big statement mirror is one way to go; designing a collection of smaller ones, gallery-style, also works.

Think in color.

It’s a scientific fact that color makes you happy, so throw in colors and patterns for instant mood boosts. If you’re afraid of turning your house into clown town, take a nod from Pantone’s colors of the year and mix in just a few new hues with your old neutrals. Or make it a project to paint or stain a piece of furniture — say, a dresser or chest or desk — to make your eyes happy with colorful “new” pieces.

Upgrade hardware.

Swap out knobs or handles in the kitchen, bathroom or any piece of furniture with pull knobs. Total makeover look with minimal effort and low expense via a hardware store.

Start making scents.

The great thing about scented candles is they appeal to two senses: smell and sight. Perfect for your hibernation station. If you have young kids, maybe opt for an oil diffuser instead. Wouldn’t you like to smell California golden hour year round?

Paper the walls with removable wallpaper.

This is a super fun way to give a room a facelift. The change in look can be dramatic, but it’s less of a commitment than actual wallpaper. Start small by covering a closet or pantry.

Put holes in the walls and hang all the things.

They’re just holes! Don’t want to or can’t? Then use a bunch of command strips. Related to that…

Frame a piece of kid art.

I can’t tell you how delightful it is to walk into our house and see my son’s “Home Sweet Home” picture. Not only does kid art add color, but framing a piece will make your kids feel extra special. And that’s all they really need right now.

Actually commit to your home work-space.

You may have a home office. You may have just a desk. You may be parked at the dining room table. But whatever it is, it still needs to work for you. Is your chair truly comfortable? Do you even like your desk? Is your computer set at the right angle for calls? Follow RoomRater for entertaining office decor tips, then set to work personalizing your office — or your “office.”

Create an outdoor space for yourself.

Weather-permitting, of course. But: table, chair, plant, done. You just need somewhere different where you can take a quick solo break to drink your coffee or wine while you read your book or scroll your phone.

Treat your wanderlust.

Fine, travel is still off the books. But take a page from one of your favorite hotels by emulating their headboards, or hang some palm print curtains if you’re craving the laid-back tropical lifestyle.

Try a different soundtrack.

Our homes are pretty noisy these days, no? But piping music you love through your home totally changes the vibe. And those of us who are stuck indoors during the winter can find zen by listening to tree.fm to reconnect with peaceful nature sounds. Maybe it’s not as good as the real deal but it will at least drown out the fighting in the next room.

Coordinate your hangers.

I moved into a new house recently and went totally Joan Crawford on my closet, replacing all the mismatched wire hangers with uniform whites. Seems like a small thing, but matching slim hangers will create more space, plus they’re easy on the eyes.

Join your local Buy Nothing group.

These Facebook groups are handy not just for scoring previously owned items but also for borrowing tools and supplies for projects. Like, who actually owns shellac?

Get extra cozy with a handcrafted nightlight.

Not just for kids, nightlights can set a dreamy mood in your bedroom, too. And, well, they could help you avoid stumbling into that one piece of furniture you always bump into on your way to the bathroom.

Switch up your family pics.

You don’t need to throw all your efforts into creating a grand gallery wall. The measuring alone involved in that is enough to make me want to crawl into bed. But just singling out one photograph and displaying it in an unexpected place is enough to brighten anyone’s day.

Dip your toe in a trend.

Rustic Vogue, Cottagecore, Granny Chic… Whatever wave you want to ride, an easy way to try it on for size and inject new life into your space is to start by springing for one accessory, like a pillow or vintage print.

Create a video conferencing nook.

Sure, Zoom has backgrounds you can upload. But nothing beats the real deal. Claim a space in your home as your own then take a nod from Jordan Firstman and use this area as a place to express your individuality.

Line kitchen drawers with your favorite print.

Liners add a whimsical flair when you go to open your kitchen drawer to take out the can opener for the 100th time this month.

Install a new backsplash.

OK, this is more of a weekend project. But maybe it’s time to switch out your subway tile for some handcrafted ceramics?

Go to an estate sale.

Buying vintage is simply good for the planet. Plus it helps you stand out in a Target and Pottery Barn world. Find an estate sale close to you and hit the road.

Add more seating.

If we’ve learned anything from Goldilocks, it’s that everyone has their own seat in a properly functioning house. Adding new multipurpose seating areas for games, reading and relaxing, allows the family to still be together in the same room no matter what activities you’re doing. Ottomans, plush stools and beanbag chairs count, FYI.

Dance, baby, dance.

Using a disco ball light bulb turns any room into an instant dance party for your whole crew. Add a cocktail and you’re good to go. It’s almost as good as going out.

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Toby Lowenfels is a writer and mom of three in Nashville. Follow her daily musings at @tobyfels.