Designers Say You're Making Your Home Look Bad If You Aren't Doing Any Of These Things

Living space feeling a little blah? These experts will tell you why.

Written by Claire Epting
Originally Published: 
Designers Say You're Making Your Home Look Bad If You Aren't Doing Any Of These Things
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There’s no such thing as a “finished” home. We’re all making little adjustments here and there. And, according to professional designers, there are plenty of wallet-friendly, clever upgrades you could be making that instantly elevate the appearance of your living space. From infusing your room with a pop of color to creating a stunning centerpiece for your coffee table, our trusted experts have plenty of suggestions for taking your home’s decor to the next level. These tricks can help your place look way more luxurious — all while staying within budget.


Switching Out Your Faucets With Updated Hardware

“Swap out dated faucets and hardware to easily give your home a refresh,” says Kristin Marino, interior designer and the owner of Austin-based KozyKasa Design. “Opt for matte black or gold, which are more modern and on trend.” Available in both those shades, this sleek stainless steel faucet has a minimalist, single-lever design that allows for effortless flow control. A built-in aerator on the spout creates a gentle stream of water that’s soft to the touch. Not to mention, the rust-resistant finish ensures your faucet will stay gleaming for years to come.

  • Available colors: Brushed Gold, Matte Black


Swapping Your Regular Cabinet Handles For These Sleek Metal Pulls

Following Marino’s previous advice, these lustrous, gold-brushed cabinet pulls instantly elevate the look of your home. Install them on your drawers in the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom — they’ll look lovely anywhere you put them. This set comes with five metal pulls, but there are multipacks with up to 50 handles for those who wish to revamp multiple rooms.

  • Available multipacks: 10


Customizing Your Lighting With A Smart Dimmer

Marino’s pro tip when installing new lighting? Add a smart dimmer. Once you set it up, you’ll be able to control the brightness of your lights with a simple voice command (if you have an Alexa or Google Assistant) or a tap of your smartphone. You can even set timers and schedules, so your lights gently dim over the course of the evening.


Rearranging Your Furniture From Time To Time

“Sometimes simply rearranging your furniture can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of your space,” Marino says. To keep your heavy couches and tables from damaging your floors while you do so, you can place these furniture sliders under the legs. The sliders with the plastic bottoms are designed to glide easily across carpeted floors, while the fuzzy bottoms are suited for hardwood floors. Each piece in this set measures 5 inches wide, but there are 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch options, as well.

  • Available sizes: 3


Decluttering To Give Your Home New Life

“Decluttering goes a long way to make your home feel fresh,” says Marino. One easy way to tidy up is by organizing your drawers with the help of these bamboo dividers. Extending from 17.5 inches to 22 inches in length, the dividers are designed to fit a variety of drawers — use them to separate kitchen utensils, folded clothes, or office supplies. Each end has a nonslip rubber pad that keeps the wood panels from scratching the insides of your drawer.

  • Available colors: Natural, White, Gray


Utilizing The Storage Space Underneath Your Bed

If, in the process of decluttering, you run out of room in your closet, try utilizing the space underneath your bed. These under-bed organizers keep your clothes, shoes, and spare blankets free of dust until you need to access them. A transparent window on top of each zippered unit allows you to view everything inside at a glance, while reinforced side handles make it easy to pull the organizer out.

  • Available colors: 3


Storing Your Pantry Items In These Airtight Canisters

When it comes to decluttering the kitchen, you can store your flour, rice, beans, and other dry goods in these airtight canisters to give your pantry a more organized look. They’re designed with locking lids that extend the freshness of your food items, plus they come with a set of reusable chalkboard labels and liquid chalk pen. Thanks to their streamlined, sleek look, they even look great sitting out on the counter.


Installing A Pair Of Floating Metal Caddies In Your Shower

Instead of cluttering up your shower with your shampoo and soap bottles, store them neatly in these stainless steel caddies. Mounting to your wall with self-adhesive hooks, each rust-resistant shelf can accommodate up to 40 pounds of weight. Four hooks at the bottom provide plenty of room for your shower loofahs, brushes, and washcloths.

  • Available colors: Bronze, Gold, Silver, White


Updating The Drapery Rods In Your Home

“Revitalize your window dressings with fashionable drapery rods and accessories,” says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of New York design studio Arsight. “Explore different finishes and styles to coordinate with your home's aesthetic and introduce a hint of refinement.” Boasting a stellar 4.8-star overall rating, this curtain rod comes in finishes like warm gold and understated black. Several reviewers have gone out of their way to rave over the gorgeous sheen and high-quality feel. You also get a pair of matching brackets, as well as all of the mounting hardware you’ll need — making installation as hassle-free as possible.

  • Available sizes: 5


Pulling Back Your Curtains With These Rustic Rope Tiebacks

Updating your drapery’s accessories can be as simple as swapping out your tiebacks. Made out of thick rope, these curtain tiebacks add rustic elegance to any room. Each one features a knotted ball at the end, keeping the loop closure fastened. Choose from a variety of shades such as beige, navy blue, and pink.

  • Available colors and styles: 19


Mounting These Suspended Shelves On Your Walls

“Mount suspended shelves to showcase your treasured books, plants, and artwork,” mentions Kropovinsky. “This not only infuses personality into your space but also offers a practical storage option.” Available in a variety of wood and metal finishes, these floating shelves seamlessly blend into any room. In addition to displaying your favorite knickknacks, the shelves can also hold toiletries in the bathroom or spice jars in the kitchen. Installation is straightforward and easy to execute with the included mounting hardware.

  • Available colors and styles: 9


Using Plants In Aesthetically Pleasing Pots For A Natural Vibe

“Integrate greenery into your surroundings with fashionable plant containers,” says Kropovinsky. “Choose a blend of ceramic, metal, or woven containers to exhibit your preferred indoor plants and infuse your home with a touch of nature.” For starters, this ceramic plant pot makes a lovely addition to your living space. Situated on a sleek wooden stand, the handcrafted vessel is perfect for holding a spider plant, succulent, or peace lily. The embossed dot-line pattern lends a unique texture to your room as well.

  • Available colors: 10


Storing Miscellaneous Items In These Stackable Fabric Bins

“Incorporate storage bins for organization,” instructs Kropovinsky. “Storage bins facilitate a tidy, clutter-free home, accommodating a variety of items, from toys and clothing to books and magazines.” These fabric cube organizers have the added benefit of being stackable, so they don’t take up much space in your room or closet. Each one has a pair of handles for easy carrying or removing from a shelf. Even better, they fold down flat when not in use.

  • Available colors: 8


Incorporating Bold, Unique Art Pieces Into Your Decor

“Display art to infuse character and appeal,” suggests Kropovinsky. “Art pieces contribute to a room's distinctiveness and allure, filling empty walls and achieving a more cohesive look.” If you don’t want to invest hours trying to hunt down one-of-a-kind pieces at an antique store or flea market, a vintage-inspired print will do just the trick. Available in a wide range of colorful, mid-century modern designs, this wallet-friendly art piece will give your room a unique, personalized touch. Don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a frame? Each print can be ordered pre-framed, with beige and black options available.

  • Available styles: 15


Switching Up The Look Of Your Cabinets With Stick-On Paper

“Cabinets are the focal point of the kitchen, so refreshing these can make a huge difference,” says Jen Nash, Senior Designer at Magnet Kitchen Designs. One way she recommends doing this is by investing in vinyl that covers your cabinets’ surfaces with a new color. This peel-and-stick vinyl paper is wallet-friendly and easy to use. The matte, waterproof material lays smooth against most flat surfaces, and can be removed or readjusted without causing any damage to your doors or drawers. There are dozens of shades to pick from, including retro green, light pink, and blue gray.

  • Available colors and styles: 41


Adding Some Extra Lighting Beneath Your Cabinets

According to Nash, “Fitting LED lighting strips underneath wall or base cabinets can completely transform the appearance of your kitchen, giving it more of an atmospheric feel.” Thanks to this battery-powered light bar, illuminating the space beneath your cabinet doesn’t have to be costly or labor-intensive. You can mount it with either adhesive tape or screws — both are included — and control it with a remote that allows you to adjust brightness and set timers.


Growing Your Own Herbs In Your Windowsill

“Growing your own herbs is not only a nice way to breathe new life into your kitchen — but also saves a little money on the weekly shop,” says Nash. Garden Republic’s indoor herb starter kit includes everything you need to grow basil, thyme, cilantro, and parsley right on your windowsill. The set includes four seed packets, soil discs, jute bags, and plant markers — you even get a mini pair of shears for trimming the plants back once they flourish.


Creating A Backsplash With These Peel-&-Stick Tiles

“Updating your backsplash is an effective and affordable way to update your kitchen, plus it not only reinvigorates the appearance of the kitchen but it also protects the surface underneath from stains or damage,” explains Nash. Available in a classic white hue — along with a few other color ways — these peel-and-stick tiles are perfect for refreshing your kitchen. Made from vinyl that’s resistant to heat and moisture, it has a subtle three-dimensional effect, giving it an authentic appearance without the mess of tiling and grout. Plus, when you’re ready to try something new, they come right off without any residue.

  • Available colors: 6


Infusing Your Kitchen With Splashes Of Vibrant Color

“Many kitchen spaces lack color or a coherent theme, so incorporating bold colors into your space can be another affordable way to refresh your kitchen whilst injecting style,” says Nash. For example, you can replace your current toaster with this one that comes in vibrant hues. Opt for rosy pink, mint green, or sunshine yellow — whichever shade makes you smile the most. Besides looking great, the toaster also excels in performance — the wide-slot design ensures your bagel or slice of bread is evenly browned.

  • Available colors: Pink, Green, Gray, Yellow


Creating A Textured Accent Wall With Natural-Looking Wallpaper

“Updating a wall by using grasscloth wallpaper or repainting a room with textured paint [...] are easy ways to add more personality to any home,” says Amber Shay, National Vice President of Design Studios at Meritage Homes. This peel-and-stick wallpaper has a grasscloth design, lending a natural look to your living space. It sticks to any smooth, flat surface — try using it to create an accent wall or redo the guest bathroom. Even better, when you’re ready to remove it, the paper pulls away cleanly, without any sticky residue.

  • Available colors: 5


Upgrading Your Sheets To A Set That Reminds You Of A Luxury Hotel

When it comes to giving your home a luxurious touch, Shay says, “It’s all about finding pieces that help you feel great about your space. Think of items like upscale hotel-style bedding, monogrammed towels, cozy throw pillows, or a stylish mirror.” Speaking of hotel-style bedding, this sheet set will make you feel like you’re on vacation year-round — and it boasts more than 100,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. The breathable, lightweight microfiber feels lovely against the skin, while also working to keep you cool during the warmer months. Opt for a crisp white shade, or go for dark gray, ice blue, or taupe.

  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Available colors: 7


Adding Personalized Touches To Your Bathroom

Following Shay’s advice, these soft and absorbent terry cotton hand towels give your bathroom a personalized feel, thanks to the monogrammed detail on the front. Subtle gray stripes and a fringed hem add to their inviting, elegant appearance. Hang them on a towel rack or lay them flat on your countertop — they’ll look dashing no matter where you put them.

  • Available styles: 27


Livening Up Your Couch With These Corduroy Pillow Covers

Shay says cozy throw pillows are a great upgrade, but if you don’t want to invest in full replacements, you can opt for these throw pillow covers with a soft corduroy texture. They come in a wide palette of colors, from subtle brown and gray to bright green and orange. Each one features a concealed zip closure for a streamlined appearance.

  • Available sizes: 8
  • Available colors: 18


Keeping A Stylish Mirror On Your Dresser Or Desk

Incorporating a mirror is another tip from Shay, and this groovy little number looks great leaning against the wall or hung up with the sawtooth hook on the back. The wavy frame adds a touch of movement to an otherwise static desk or dresser setup.


Incorporating Beige-Pink Shades Into Your Home

According to Shay, pink is back in — and you can incorporate the color into your bathroom by hanging this blush-colored shower curtain. “A beige-pink tone typically evokes comfort and warmth, which appeals to today’s buyers who are spending more time at home,” explains Shay. Made of a lightweight polyester-cotton blend with a waffle texture, the shower curtain instantly makes your bathroom feel more inviting. Thanks to a row of rust-proof metal grommets at the top, the curtain is also easy to hang on your shower rod hooks.

  • Available sizes: 4
  • Available colors: 17


Infusing Your Home With Brighter Shades Of Pink

“Other shades of pink, from raspberry to magenta, are fun colors that make people smile,” says Shay. One unconventional way to add a pop of pink to your decor? These colorful faux pampas grass stems. Featuring three different rosy shades ranging from light to dark, this collection of stems looks gorgeous arranged inside a ceramic vase. And, unlike real pampas grass, these pieces won’t shed all over your coffee table.


Minimizing Clutter & Storing Keepsakes In A Safe Place

Shay advises avoiding “cluttercore” and opting for “mid-imalism.” She continues, “If you have a lot of clutter, it may feel good to get organized and pare down items by only keeping the ones that have a strong meaning or some sentimental value for you.” For those keepsakes and mementos you want to hold on to, there are these chic and simple fabric storage boxes. Perfectly sized for photos, letters, souvenirs, and trophies, they feature lids to protect against dust and faux leather handles for portability. You can stow them away on the top shelf of a closet, but — if you want easier access — they look good enough to store on a bookshelf in the living room.


Jazzing Up Your Walls With Self-Adhesive Molding

“To jazz up a plain entry or dining room, create picture frame molding using self adhesive moulding,” says Lori Shaw, Principal Designer at Lori Shaw Interiors in Charlotte, North Carolina. Using this peel-and-stick molding strip, cut individual pieces and create large, symmetrical rectangles along your wall to achieve the picture frame look. With a little bit of patience, you’ll have subtly stunning wall accents that give your living space a classic, elegant feel. Choose from three different shades: white, black, or silver.

  • Available colors: 3


Placing Ceiling Medallions At The Base Of Your Light Fixtures

Ceiling medallions add a feeling of grandness to a space,” says Shaw. Made from durable yet lightweight plastic, these medallions look just like crown molding, and are easily installed with your preferred type of adhesive. Not to mention, a ceiling medallion also serves the purpose of covering up any cracks or holes around your lighting fixture. The crisp, clean design effortlessly blends into any room.

  • Available sizes: 4


Making Use Of Oversized Pendant Lighting In Your Home

“The use of oversized pendant lighting is very fresh and on trend,” says Shaw. “It sends a loud and clear message that you don't take yourself too seriously.” Designed with a tiered fabric shade, this pendant light creates a warm, cozy ambience wherever you hang it. The 14.7-foot-long power cord is covered in jute rope, further contributing to the fixture’s laid-back feel. An in-line dimmer switch makes it easy to adjust the lamp’s brightness to your liking.

  • Available styles: 4


Using These Art Lights To Create A Mini Gallery In Your Home

“Experiment with different types of lighting, like floor lamps, table lamps, and art lights, to create a cozy and inviting space,” says Emily Yeates, CEO and Principal Designer of Phoenix-based Urban Revival. These wall-mounted picture lights can even be used to create a mini gallery in your home. The wireless LED fixture has three white light settings — warm, natural, and cool — as well as two brightness modes, which can be adjusted using the included remote. The battery-operated light has a flexible gooseneck that can be bent to the left or right as needed.

  • Available colors: Gold, Black, Silver


Setting Up A Striking Table Lamp For Ambient Lighting

Another way to play with lighting? This table lamp that features a stunning cut-glass shade with a nature-inspired pattern. Since it’s conveniently cordless, you can even carry it from your living room to your outdoor patio to your kitchen. The battery-operated light emits a warm amber glow, creating a cozy vibe. Plus, a built-in automatic timer shuts the light off after six hours of use — so you can set it and forget it.

  • Available colors: Light Green, Green, Yellow


Tossing A Chunky Knit Throw Blanket Over Your Furniture

“Incorporating different textures, like chunky knit blankets, fluffy pillows, and woven rugs, can make your home feel more luxurious and layered,” says Yeates. Made of jumbo chenille yarn, this knit blanket is oh-so cozy and inviting. It comes in neutral shades such as lilac gray and cream, but there’s also a warm yellow option for those who want to infuse their space with a pop of color. The chunky throw is also machine-washable, so regular maintenance is a breeze.

  • Available colors: 7


Introducing A Woven Texture Into Your Room

Made from 100% natural jute, this handwoven rug is a great way to incorporate a new texture into your living space. This particular option has a rounded shape that’s well-suited under a small dining table or easy chair, but there are rectangular styles to pick from, as well. And although it adds a soft, natural element to any space, the durable material is sturdy enough to stand up to wear and tear.

  • Available sizes: 7


Styling Your Coffee Table With A Hardcover Book

“My favorite way to instantly make my home look better without spending much money is to refresh the styling on my coffee table,” says Kathy Kuo, founder and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home. “I use stacks of coffee table books — usually some I’ve had forever and some new— and arrange them artfully with seasonal scented candles, vases of flowers, and my favorite trinkets.” This particular coffee table book, Made for Living, is an excellent decor piece — it has a clean, aesthetically pleasing cover and tons of gorgeous photographs inside. Place it alongside your favorite items to create an artful display. You may even get some decor inspiration from its pages.


Filling Your Home With A Seasonal Scent

Following Kuo’s previous recommendation, you can make any coffee table look better by coupling it with a candle in a pretty glass vessel. No to mention, it’s a great way to fill your home with a seasonal scent. This one comes in four gorgeous fragrances — try woodsy jasmine during the spring, passionfruit peony for summer, eucalyptus and rosemary for autumn, and fir and cedarwood for winter. Plus, once the soy wax candle has burned all the way through, you can reuse the jar as a bud vase or trinket holder.

  • Available scents: 4


Adding A Bud Vase To Your Living Room Decor

Whether you opt for fresh blooms or a couple of curated dry stems, adding flowers to your living room can instantly liven the space up. And what better way to display them than in this bubble vase? With a matte finish and unique spherical shape, this ceramic vase lends a hint of character to your home. It even has an extra bit of hidden functionality — a set of small pads on the base prevent the piece from damaging your tabletop.

  • Available colors: Black, Blue, Pink, White


Creating A Coffee Table Centerpiece With A Decorative Tray

“I also love to place a decorative tray in the center of the table and use that both as a backdrop for a styled vignette, but also, on a practical level, for corralling things like remotes, phone chargers, and my kids’ toys that are inevitably floating around,” says Kuo. This spacious tray costs less than $30 and comes in dozens of expensive-looking colors, textures, and finishes to suit any decor style. What you place on top is up to you — perhaps a scented candle, a reed diffuser, or a set of drink coasters.

  • Available colors: 27


Using A Statement End Table To Accent Your Room

“One of the simplest tricks is adding anything ‘accent’ to the room,” says Mariya Snisar, Head of Interior Design at Renowell in Toronto “It can be a patterned armchair, a statement coffee table, a lamp, a carpet, and so on.” For example, this streamlined metal table can make a big splash in a room filled with neutral tones. It comes in over a dozen eye-catching hues, including brick red, sage green, and mint blue — there’s even a lustrous gold option. The rounded table top is supported by four sturdy legs, reinforced by a set of X-shaped rods for added stability.

  • Available colors: 15


Filling Your Vase With Some Gorgeous Faux Flowers

“I have also found that keeping flowers in the house can elevate the interior,” says Snisar. “Of course, fresh flowers can be quite pricey, but there are plenty of artificial options on Amazon that don’t have that fake vibe.” This lovely bouquet features a combination of faux peonies and hydrangeas, accented by faux eucalyptus stems and leaves. The warm palette of pinks and oranges makes any space feel more inviting, but there are also cooler-toned options to choose from. You can display the arrangement all together, or pull out individual stems for smaller bud vases.

  • Available colors: 9

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