7 easy home upgrades you can make to improve your space

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Contrary to most home improvement shows, you don’t need to knock down a wall or paint every room to upgrade your home. There are smaller and less expensive options to give your space a significant makeover.

For example, you can change out the throw pillows on your bed or sofa to mix up a room’s color palette or spring for new customizable dishes and flatware for a swankier table setting. While these actions are small, the results will prove to be huge.

Right now, in the midst of spring cleaning season, stores like Wayfair, Kohl’s, West Elm, Sur la Table and more are having huge sales on home goods. So, our advice is to take advantage of the deals while they last.

Find seven more ways to upgrade your home below, whether you want it to feel cozier, safer, more elegant, more inviting or just more organized.

Add more lighting to a room

Lighting plays a big role in setting the mood of a room. Think about it — the lighting in a gym, cocktail bar, office and grocery store are all starkly different.

“Light is a powerful thing,” Theo Richardson, the director of development at Rich Brilliant Willing, a design studio known for its LED fixtures, told the New York Times. “The right light lifts the mood, inspires productivity and motivates us. At home, light enlivens the little things — our morning routines, or the moments we spend with friends.”

To upgrade any room, create contrast with your lighting: start with a light at the center (like a pendant or other ceiling fixture), then light the perimeter to highlight curtains and art and brighten dark corners (with floor lamps or sconces) and then add a little extra for an accent, like a bedside table lamp, string lights or even flameless candles.

Two of our In The Know editors use this simple, yet stylish Mercury Glass Stacked Ball Floor Lamp Brass from Target for adding additional light in their apartments. There’s a matching table lamp to go with it as well!

Shop: Mercury Glass Stacked Ball Floor Lamp Brass, $119.99

Credit: Target

Get a plant to add some greenery and color

Plants can add color to a room, as well as help to purify the air and destress your mind. Skincare brand St. Ives conducted a survey last year on the effects of being in nature, and found that 61 percent of respondents said that just having plants in their daily environment helped them to feel calm.

Online plant retailer The Sill has plant options for everyone. Live plants start at just $19, but one of the best deals is the monthly subscription service. We love the Plants for Beginners Monthly Subscription — choose between four colors for your planter (planters are 5 inches) and each month, The Sill will send you a new live plant. The plant variety changes month to month, but costs only $35.

You can pause or cancel your subscription anytime after three months. (If you prefer bigger plants, there’s also a beginner subscription for that, costing $55 per month).

Shop: Plants for Beginners Monthly Subscription, $35

Credit: The Sill

Update the hardware on your cabinets or drawers

If you’ve been looking at the same old cabinets and dresser drawers for too long, give them an update by changing out the knobs or pulls. All you need is a screwdriver and a little bit of time.

Anthropologie has an amazing selection of handles, pulls and knobs for spicing up any furniture. Mix and match for a more eclectic look, or choose a single metal style for a more classic vibe.

You can also use knobs to add a splash of color to a rather dull dresser or chest, like these Kiki Knobs from Anthro.

Shop: Kiki Knobs (Set of 2), $24

Credit: Anthropologie

Make your home “smart”

Smart home products can do everything from make tedious tasks easier to keeping your home safe. For example, a smart outlet can help you turn on lights by using your voice (through Google Home or Amazon Alexa) or turn them on when you’re not home through an app (to make it look like someone is there).

Shop: WEMO Mini Smart Outlet Plug Wi-Fi Enabled, $19.99

Credit: Target

If you forget or lose your keys quite often, a smart lock can get you into your home using your phone. If you can’t remember if you locked your door, it can also lock it for you remotely.

Shop: August Smart Lock Dark Gray Deadbolts, $119.99

Credit: Home Depot

Organize your pantry with clear and labeled containers

One of the easiest ways to contribute to food waste is forgetting what’s in your pantry. By organizing all of your goods into clear and labeled containers, not only will it help you better see what you have, but will keep your food fresh for longer.

Start your re-organization by throwing out any food past its prime. Then, any food that doesn’t need a box (like pasta, rice, flour or sugar) can be put into clear containers.

Shop: OXO Good Grips POP 5-Piece Canisters, $39.99 (Orig. $49.99)

Credit: The Container Store

Anything you want to keep in its original container can be organized on added shelves within the pantry, so you can still see everything you have in stock.

Shop: The Home Edit 3-Tier Shelf, $23.99 (Orig. $29.99)

Credit: The Container Store

Taking a note from Chrissy Teigen’s organized pantry that she posted about in February on Instagram, you can also use small lazy Susans to organize condiments.

Shop: The Home Edit 9″ Lazy Susan, $12.79 (Orig. $15.99)

Credit: The Container Store

Use peel-and-stick wallpaper to spruce up walls and other furniture

This isn’t your grandmother’s wallpaper! Peel-and-stick wallpaper, also called self-adhesive wallpaper, allows you to temporarily transform a room by covering one or more walls with different colors, patterns or textures. Like it says in the name, all you have to do is peel and stick — no glue or heat required.

Home Depot suggests gently cleaning the wall first to remove dirt and dust and allowing it to completely dry. Then, using a ruler, a level and a pencil, lightly draw a mark where you want your first strip of paper to line up. Start sticking the paper first to the top of the wall, and use a smoother to glide it down to the floor or other desired area.

You can use peel-and-stick wall paper for other areas besides walls too, like on the risers in a staircase, the back lining of a bookshelf, the kitchen island and for sprucing up other pieces of furniture.

Places like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wayfair have tons of options for a good price, but we specifically love this palm leaf, tropical look for adding some fresh flair to any room.

Shop: Green/Pink Clarksdale Bunaken Peel and Stick Wallpaper Roll, $1.73 per square feet

Credit: Wayfair

Add an area rug to a room

The right rug can help better define an area, add color or depth to a room, and also provide a bit of warmth and sound proofing. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be durable if it will experience a lot of foot traffic.

Ruggable makes rugs that are machine-washable, waterproof and spill-proof — perfect for a busy home. In fact, the rugs are made up of two pieces: the decorative and washable rug cover and the rug pad.

One of Ruggable’s best-sellers is the Soraya Trellis Ash Grey Rug, starting at $139 (price depends on size). We love its classic pattern and muted gray color.

Shop: Soraya Trellis Ash Grey Rug 6×9, $299

Credit: Ruggable

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy reading the ultimate spring cleaning checklist.

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