One lesson many young adults have learned to their dismay is the reality that a living space can be expensive. Rent and mortgages are one thing, but the “real world” truly hits home when one has to consider what vacuum cleaner to buy and whether the living room actually needs a new coat of paint.
So one netizen decided to ask the internet to give them the best changes people have made. People responded with a variety of smart tips and good ideas, so prepare to take some notes as you scroll through and upvote the best pieces of advice you encounter.
House plants. The amount of color and life simple and easy-to-care-for plants add when the days are dark is amazing.
Flowering trees. If you have a yard, plant some trees that add scent and color and encourage wildlife to visit. We get so many birds and our yard smells like heaven in June with our pink crab apple blossoms and lilac trees.
Reflective film for the windows. Especially the light facing windows. 10 degree drop in the house. Electrical bill dropped by half. Few hundred bucks and an afternoon of tedious but not hard work.
Premium mattress. Paying for a quality mattress that actually matches you and how you sleep will literally change your life. I wasn’t a believer and thought it was all a gimmick until I took the plunge.
Replacing the aerators in my bathroom faucets. We thought was had bad water pressure, but that didn’t make sense since other fixtures were fine. Turns out the aerator was just badly clogged with sediment. It was a night and day difference.
Best one by far in my opinion living in a noisier city area would be double or triple pane windows. Not cheap but essential when you want to shut out the noise of the world for a while.
When I bought my house (built in the mid-1950’s) the only thing that nagged at me were the old, rusty looking floor registers that lead to the duct work. I replaced them with new art deco style registers. They weren’t expensive and made such a difference. Took minutes to replace the old ones.
> Roomba Avg cost ~$150-650
I just spent $1200 on an auto map, mop, vaccum, auto-refill, auto empty robot vaccuum cleaner and this SOB is worth twice what I paid for it, it runs 3x a week and I f’ing love it.
A washer and dryer.
I lived in a small place that didn’t have a washer and dryer. Added a small apartment sized WD. Not having to go to the laundromat was a life changer.
I made automatic curtains for my bedroom, and it was a shocking quality of life difference for me. Rather than wake up with an alarm, I just set my curtains to open in the morning, and I wake up softly a few minutes later. Add to that the not-depressed feeling that open windows add (but I’m somehow too lazy to consistently do manually) and it’s a solid addition to my life.
I made my as a diy project, so it was shockingly cheap (like maybe 30$). You can get commercial ones but I believe they are much more expensive
Silicone and felt pads for every cabinet and bedroom door. That quiet little voice as they close is so nice. Makes even the cr*ppiest cabinets feel better.
Probably not the cheapest upgrade at $30-50 each, but I changed all of our doorknobs to lever-style handles. Huge quality of life improvement, especially if you’re carrying something with both hands. Plus, our dog can let herself in from the back yard (unless we deadbolt it to purposely keep her out for a bit). She still hasn’t figured out how to pull open the door from the inside though.
So many great ideas here! I’ll say additional insulation as we recently bought a house that I felt attic did not have enough and… what a difference! Temperature stays consistent, I can’t hear planes overhead and road noise better. I feel like not only am I saving money immediately, but my qualify of life improved too.
Ceiling fans in all rooms. I’m in FL, it cuts down the AC use significantly. Cost varies by fan chosen, able to DIY since the house came wired for them (but only boob lights installed).
Not in the “cheap” category, but soooo worth it:
Covered porches / porticos. No, really. No fumbling for keys while you are being rained on. Leaving? Deploy your umbrella outside but before you are in the rain.
No snow piled up against your door.
So worth it. I could never go back.
Kitchen trash can in a drawer equipped with push to open. Just tap it and it opens itself. No more opening the trash with grimy hands.
Best thing ever is my undersink Reverse Osmosis water tap with re-mineralization. I stopped using bottled water altogether and it only took 30 mins to install ourselves. We used the existing 3rd hole for soap as the new dedicated tap.
Keypad lock for the front door, roughly $200, an hour to install.
Allows the kids to come home and unlock the door without having to worry about them being responsible with keys. Also allows us to lock/unlock the door remotely and to get into the house without fumbling with keys. The big improvement here was once we had a car with keyless entry and start. We no longer have to handle keys at all.
* **Tools**. I’m able to fix a suprising number of things without having to hire someone using a small set of basic tools (and YouTube). Fix furniture, fix plumbing, car repairs, fix appliances.
* **Organizers**: Shelves, storage bins, racks, tool chest and other organizers. All my tools, electronics, documents and random things have their place
* **Easy Connectivity**: Power strips, extension cords and usb hubs. All my devices have a convenient place to be plugged into in each room (it’s an old house which doesn’t have outlets everywhere).
A motion sensing front porch bulb $5. It’s great I never have to worry about leaving the light on. Anytime I come home or someone enters the front porch the light comes on. The only thing is your fixture can’t block the line of sight between the bulb and the area below for the motion sensor to work.
Quiet exhaust fans in the kitchen and bath.
People don’t use the exhaust fans enough because they’re noisy and annoying. Leading to black mold problems because of the humidity. Also add motion detector switches to the bathroom fans. People never run the bathroom fans long enough.
Heated bathroom flooring. We redid the bathroom and in the process put in a ditra heated floor system. My wife and our cat love it. I am happy about it as well.
I’m converting most of my kitchen cabinet shelves to pull-outs. It’s absolute heaven having a place for everything and really being able to use the entire depth of the cabinet. My cabs are always neat now and putting away dishes takes about one minute. No more teetering stacks of cookware, it’s life-changing. Also made a two-tier silverware drawer organizer and hung the measuring cups on hooks inside a cab door, one cup per hook. So tidy. And built an under sink organizer with more slide-outs.
Upgraded skinny, deep box style kitchen cabinets by building in rollout shelves. Turned our deep cabinets that we always lost food in the back of into high volume; quick access storage.
Time: 3 hours, mostly sanding and painting.
Cost: $50, mostly splurging on nicer wood.
This is house specific, but having storage that functions smoothly, not just as a box, has felt like serious luxury. We also added fancy slides to the big wooden drawers on our built-in bedroom closets. Felt amazing to not heave a screeching drawer every day. I can access my stuff without disturbing everyone in the house.
New curtains was such a game changer for me, brought the room to life and only cost €30 from Argos – makes such a difference to any room & doesn’t cost an arm.
I did the hack where you hammer a very slight bend in the middle hinge pin of a door to our bathroom. Nothing in our house is hung straight and it kept closing on its own and hitting my back while I’m brushing my teeth. Cost $0. Time, 30 seconds. Life changing.
A little dehumidifier in the bathroom. $20 – $40 on Amazon Never touching a wet towel or stepping on a wet bath mat – priceless.
Sunrise alarm clock. $14
I get up at 4:30 and work at 6. That sunrise alarm clock helps me wake up in the morning and makes the drowsiness go away.
If you have lumps/rolls showing up in your carpet, you can get it stretched and it looks 1000x times better. Blew my mind when my realtor told me about it when I was selling my house. I don’t even think it was 200 bucks.
If you have cats, automatic litterbox. Only having to change out the bag every week or so and add litter every so often is a game changer compared to scooping multiple times a day.
The best home upgrade, for the price, is fresh paint on walls and trim. If you paint youself, the paint and materials are relatively inexpensive.
Note: this post originally had 81 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.