10 Designer-Recommended Upgrades That Are Less Than $50

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

tablescape layout

Alieta Casey

We're all about revamping our homes while being budget conscious, and in the world of home improvement, $50 (or much less, in many cases), can actually allow you to make major upgrades to your abode! We've polled design experts on their favorite under-$50 hacks that never fail to make a world of difference (and look way more luxe than their price tag suggests).

Change Out Furniture Knobs

A simple hardware swap can work wonders and revive a piece of furniture that has seen better days. As designer Lexi Brandfon of Lex & Hudson notes, "I bought an inexpensive desk for my six year old during the pandemic (hello, Zoom school) and changed the knobs. Looks way better!"

Anthropologie Seed Pod Knobs Set

seed pod knob


Add a Vase of Flowers

As designer Jess Green notes, "A vase with seasonal flowers is the perfect way to freshen up your space....The most affordable, accessible, and beautiful way to improve your decor!" Simply purchase a vase that you'll be able to use from season to season and fill it with tulips in the spring, evergreen branches in the winter, you name it.

West Elm Half-Dipped Stoneware Vases


West Elm

Repaint the Walls

Repaint all four walls or just one—note that one gallon of paint goes a long way. "Never underestimate the power of paint," designer Gladys Tay urges. "It’s one of the easiest, fastest, and inexpensive way to create impact in any space."

Clare Wall Paint

Wall Paint

Courtesy of Clare

Switch Out Basic Accessories

"Changing out pillow covers and lamp shades are a great way to make easy and affordable changes to a space," designer Cortney McClure says. "Elevate the room by adding in a texture, a vibrant color or a bold pattern in the elements. Layer in some throw blankets, light a candle and you’re good to go!"

H&M Washed Linen Cushion Cover

pillow cover


Revamp Your Light Fixtures

"One thing I love doing that makes a big difference is changing builder grade lighting to designer lighting (ie ceiling mount or pendant lights)," home Instagrammer Krishna Shah says. "Lighting can elevate a room and adds visual interest." Switching out your lighting doesn't have to be ultra pricy—there are plenty of gorgeous fixtures on the market for $50 or less.

Love sconces? "Skip the hardwiring or unsightly cords of a plug in sconce and use a battery operated light bulb or puck light instead," designer Elizabeth Burch suggests. No hefty electrician bill required!

VONLUCE Small Glass Pendant Light

pendant light


Elevate Your Tablescape

Make your kitchen table look ultra chic with a few accent pieces. "I love to add chargers under my dishes to bring some texture and dimension to my dining room table," home Instagrammer Alieta Casey shares. "These hyacinth chargers from Target are only $6 each, but they really elevate the tablescape!"

Target Threshold Water Hyacinth Charger Placemat

hyacinth chargers

via Target

Transform a Picture Frame

Home Instagrammer Marie Taylor has some tips for giving a picture frame from the thrift store a little bit of a glowup. "Rub'n Buff is an easy way to upgrade picture frames," she comments. "I sometimes layer with a matte paint to tone down the metallic finish."

AMACO Rub'n Buff Wax With Metallic Finish

rub n buff


Revamp Those Heating Vents

Taylor has a hack for this, too—spray paint! "Our basic white heating vents in our wood floors stuck out like a sore thumb," she shares. "I used a spray paint in antique gold and now they blend in and look custom."

Rust-Oleum Metallic Finish Gold Spray Paint 11oz.

rust oleum


Address Your Window Treatments

Window treatments have a reputation for being pricy, but that isn't always the case, according to designer Camila Pavone. "Instead of paper blinds, go for my favorite Ikea Ritva curtains," she advise. "They come in a set of two for $34.99! They are a nice weight but can easily be lined at your local dry cleaners if you want more of a blackout curtain." Feel free to get even more creative with the curtains if you wish. "You can leave them white or dye them a color, paint stripes on them with fabric paint, add trim or pom poms to the borders," Pavone adds. "There are so many ways to dress them up!"

IKEA RITVA Curtains With Tie-Backs

Shop Your Own House

shop your house

@dommdotcom / Instagram

That's right, this is an upgrade that's absolutely free. Simply go from room to room and see what inspires you—a little switch could make a major difference. "A lot of clients often forget they have things boxed up that could be great showcase pieces," designer Kelsey Haywood shares. "Family heirlooms, pretty vases, it all works!"

Continue to 9 of 10 below.