Skip To Content

    49 Little Things That'll Improve Your Apartment For Under $20

    Sorry there's not an under-$20 air fryer in here.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Some may have been sent as samples, but all opinions and reviews are our own. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Wood polish and conditioner that'll totally revamp those worn-out wooden cabinets you have to live with, along with curbside finds and hand-me-down furniture that's seen better days but will have to make do 'til you move to a bigger place. Putting in a bit of elbow grease will leave you with some dramatic before and after pics.

    the bottle with the wax
    reviewer pic of part of the floor with the polish applied to totally transform and make the floor look drastically better

    Enhances the natural beauty and depth of grain on finished *and* unfinished wood. For use on antiques, dining tables, kitchen cabinets, wood doors and trim, etc.

    Promising review: "I'm not able to sand and stain my floors until spring but they are so dry and worn. I bought this hoping to keep them moisturized until we can refinish and I am amazed with this product." —nicole feather

    Get it from Amazon for $8.74.

    2. A faux-sheepskin rug you can throw on your ugliest arm chair and turn into your throne where you'll wield the most important of decisions, like which series to binge-watch this weekend.

    white faux fur rug thrown on a side chair
    Amazon

    Promising review: "It adds a feminine touch to my living room and keeps my 70-year-old chair clean when the dog gets on it." —Mimi

    Get it from Amazon for $19.89+ (available in 10 colors and 3 sizes).

    3. Lighted curtains for an ethereal look in your indoor oasis. While you're staying indoors more often, you might as well make it a little nicer to look at on the cheap.

    curtain of string lights layered with sheer curtain
    reviewer pic of lighted curtains on an A-frame ceiling in an attic bedroom

    Some reviewers note that they're way easier to hang up if you leave the strings tied, then untie them once you have the lights mounted where you want them. Also try layering them with some sheer curtains.

    Promising review: "It's been a couple of years since I've had these but THEY ARE GREAT. I bought the curtain and lights separately and used it to create an accent wall in my teeny tiny NYC apartment. I got tons of compliments on them and it was SO easy to set up. I just used thumbtacks to place it into the wall (probably not the best idea but hey, it worked)." —katrinaforreal

    Get them from Amazon: 300 LED light curtain for $17.99 and sheer curtains for $10.99+ (available in several colors and lengths)

    4. Or a fairy light photo display with lil' clips so you can easily swap out the photos as you please. It'll create a lovely feature and help add another light source (every room needs three!), which will be especially welcome if you live in a place that has no ceiling light!

    string lights with polaroid pics clipped onto them above a bed
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I love these! I bought them because I wanted a unique way to display some photos but it also served a dual purpose in giving us some beautiful extra lighting. I’m so happy with the way they look. They’re really well made. A lot of other string lights are very flimsy but the chords on this one are nice and sturdy and able to hold all of our photos with no problem. It’s also nice that you get so many clips in one pack! I totally recommend buying this product. I just loved it!" —Jessie

    Get them from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in three lengths and in warm white or yellow).

    5. A grout pen that's as simple to use as coloring in the lines so you don't have to stare at the stained grout and imagine what it used to look like. Grout takes up a teeny bit of space but, as you can see from the pics, makes a huge impact!

    A tiled bathroom floor with white grout from the pen and brown grout on parts not yet marked
    The same bathroom floor with completely white grout between the tiles

    I've used this on my own bathroom floor, which has a more complicated hexagon pattern so it took a bit of time. But I just listened to an episode or two of a podcast and got to work! I recommend doing two coats.

    Promising review: "We moved into our new home, and the shower had a really yellow grout. Cleaning didn’t do anything, and I saw this grout pen online. What a saver! Otherwise, I would have just hired someone to replace my shower. I used this grout pen, and my husband was so impressed :D The tip loses its shape fast, but just pull out the TIP AND FLIPPED IT OVER, and you’ll have a new tip." —jennifer

    Get it from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in two sizes and three colors).

    6. A no-scrub weekly shower cleaner you can simply just spray on after you shower, wait 8–12 hours while it tackles mold and mildew stains, soap scum, and just about any gross grime without YOU having to scrub. Talk about practical to the max. 

    Before: a dirty shower floor; after: the clean shower floor
    Amazon

    Promising review: "This stuff is a lifesaver. Life is tremendously busy with kids and cleaning the shower is at the bottom of the list. I bought this due to pure frustration and disgust of my shower and it has turned it around in a weekend. You literally spray it and forget it and just with that little effort, I have a clean shower!! Also great for glass doors. It cleaned everything! Love it!" —Amanda Nichols

    Get it from Amazon for $17.97.

    7. A small wall mirror to hang right by your front door so you can give yourself a final check before you head out the door. No more walking outside like a mascara raccoon. 

    small mirror on wall above a shelf
    Urban Outfitters

    Get it from Urban Outfitters for $8 (available in four styles).

    8. A fresh new set of switch plates that'll help 'em blend into those (hopefully!) freshly painted walls, even if the landlord painted the switch plates to match (YOU CAN STILL TELL). Can you screw in a screw? Then you can handle this transformative swap.

    old mismatched switchplate being removed from the wall
    Elizabeth Lilly

    And if you're especially petty, you can copy my move of saving said switch plates with a piece of marked duct tape so you know where you put 'em when you leave. This was one of the first things I did in my current apartment, thus rendering the switch plates barely noticeable — which is how I like them!

    Get a 10-pack of wall plates for $10.19.

    9. A foaming garbage disposal cleaner you simply throw in your sink (the whole packet!), turn on the water, and watch fizz up as it does the tough work below on all the gunk that OTHER PEOPLE have let build up in your disposal. 

    blue foaming cleanser pushing its way out of the sink drain
    Amazon

    Promising review: "Saw on TikTok (don’t judge) and automatically added to cart. So easy to use, takes probably a minute to fully bubble up and clean, and you’re left with a clean sink! I use with other drain cleaning products, but would 100% recommend for weekly maintenance." —Jessica Hamilton

    Get a four-pack from Amazon for $6.99.

    10. A do-it-all toothbrush holder and dispenser might make it feel like you and your outside bones are living in the year 3022. 

    This game-changer includes a toothpaste dispenser, four cups and holders, and a place to store your toothbrushes.

    Promising review: "I love this item! I saw it originally on TikTok and thought it would be perfect for our bathroom! We have one bathroom upstairs and five people who use it. This cleared up so much counter space for us! There are ventilation holes where the cups go to help make sure they dry properly. The toothpaste dispenser has really been working to get every last drop out of the tube. Would definitely recommend for a family or kids bathroom. There is also a little storage compartment behind the toothpaste that is great for extra brushes, cotton swabs, or flossers." —Sariyah J

    Get it from Amazon for $18.97+ (available in three colors).

    11. A pack of stain-removing, nontoxic cleaning cups to clean out your Keurig's innards once your coffee starts tasting a bit funny. No more legit excuses to run out to the coffee shop when you have a perfectly good coffee machine at home. 

    A customer review photo of the dirty water coming out of their Keurig after running the cleaning cup through it
    A customer review photo of their Keurig with a cleaning cup in it

    Promising review: "Okay, so these cleaner pods are awesome! I didn't know how gross our Keurig was until today. The big mason jar on the left is when I actually ran the cleaner through plus one rinse cycle. The middle one is another rinse cycle and the last one, on the right, is the last one I did. So yes, I would suggest running two or three rinse cycles instead of the recommended one. But it's still an awesome product for the price! I have a Keurig 2.0 and I had no issues." —Mads0421

    Get a pack of six from Amazon for $9.95.

    12. A pack of cable clips so you can position all your power cords and chargers just as you need them. No more digging through a tangled mess under your desk or behind the TV.

    small circular cord organizers
    Amazon

    Promising review: "It was always a pain to reach down the side of my bed to reach my chargers, not to mention the wad of cables I’d have to sift through just to charge my phone. I finally searched for a solution and came across these. They’re great! They’re really easy to stick on and they stay in place. I haven’t had an issue of them falling off. Whenever I need to charge a device they’re right next to me, easy to reach and untangled. I definitely recommend!" —Nurse Nelis

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $5.95.

    13. An automatic bleach toilet cleaning system, because Rosey the Robot isn't available for bathroom cleaning, but this gadget will send cleaner into your bowl with each flush. It's a start!

    It's super quick to install, and one cartridge can last up to three months!

    Promising review: "I've installed these in all six toilets in my home and they are a great idea. I've been using this for about four to five years. This device circulates bleach product into the toilet bowl after every flush, where it is needed to prevent staining such as water lines from calcium buildup. The chlorine water is restricted to the bowl, not the tank. If chlorine is in the tank it will erode away the flapper and foam seal which separates the tank from the bowl, requiring more expensive repairs. This product solves that problem with no drawbacks and don't look unsightly like the clamp-on bars of chlorine that are permanently inside the bowl." —Dr. D123

    Get it from Amazon for $9.97.

    14. An Angry Orange pet odor eliminator for erasing all the visual (and smelly) evidence of pet accidents on flooring and furniture. You don't need a new chair. You just need this. 

    Beige carpet with a brownish-gray stain in the middle of the image
    Beige carpet after using the spray, showing how the stain is now gone

    Promising review: "This product is amazing!!!! We have a Rottweiler pup and a bichon pup and our house was feeling the PAIN! I tried everything and use to tell my wife, 'with all the science and technology in the world we still can’t come up with something that gets rid of the dog mark smell!'

    This product does everything and more. Just ordered another round. We were about to throw away some furniture due to the smell and now after use we can keep it. Saved me hundreds. Well worth the money." —clayton s tonkin

    Get it from Amazon for $19.97.

    15. A rust stain-removing gel to remove rusty stains and discolorations from the previous tenant that bleach hasn't cut through just yet. It's time to feel like you're ACTUALLY clean after a shower.

    Promising review: "I. AM. Shook! The previous tenant kept this apartment NASTY. I moved in the day he moved out and was scrubbing this nasty drain for months to no avail. I let this sit for an hour and came back just to peek and wow. The difference is crazy. Now I feel better about taking baths in my own home. Amazing. 9/10 because the instructions says rub lightly. I tried that way first and almost thought it was a dub (Meaning it wouldn’t work lol) But it definitely worked after letting it sit." —Julia R.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.97.

    16. A power scrubber brush you can attach to your drill/driver to help get at all those messes left over from past tenants. Work smarter, not harder. 

    Reviewer using the brush to clean grime out of a tub
    one of the brushes attached to a drill next to a shower pane with half still fogged up and the other super clear

    Promising review: "So I kept seeing this item on TikTok and thought, 'heck, why not?' I love this item for deep cleaning, whether it's car mats, shoes, or the shower." —A. Givens

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in six colors).

    17. A minimalist tissue box cover that'll help you address your sniffles without messing up your interior aesthetic. You may be residing in an apartment rn but who said you'd never own a house?

    house-shaped white square tissue box cover on a stack of books
    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    That is my nightstand. I love this thing! Plus I've been known to hide a tissue box because, let's be honest, they're all ugly. I've been on the receiving end of some snotty payback as a result. No more! Also I know it's a very small thing but it makes me very happy.

    Promising review: "Since I am a broke 31-year-old this was the only house I can afford. Plus it helps hide the tissues I use to cry in every night." —Lizbanta

    Get it from Amazon for $5.95+ (available in four colors).

    18. A roll of decorative window film can give ya' some privacy without taking up the space of curtains or blocking out natural light! I put up some of this on my own bathroom window and it's FLOODED with beautiful natural light but no one can see that I'm flossing my teeth while naked. The freedom!

    Promising review: "I have a weird skinny window in my house where no normal window covering works. People walking on our community trail can see up into our upstairs bathroom when the light is on and it's dark outside. Not a good plan at all. So I used this window film and cut different sized circles and placed then on this window to interrupt the view into the house. Worked perfectly! Very easy to use." —Marsgard

    Get it from Amazon for $9.98+ (available in eight sizes).

    19. Dishwasher-cleaning tablets because YES! you scored a place with one! But it also seems ancient and barely works. Run one of these through it for a transformative cleaning experience.

    reviewer's before pic of inside of dishwasher with residue on it
    same reviewer's after pic of same spot inside the dishwasher clean and without residue

    Promising review: "After using this product, I am happy to report that my $5 investment saved me over $500. I was ready to replace my dishwasher due to super cloudy glasses, residue, and dishes just not getting clean. Then, I became aware that the water softener was no longer doing its job so I had the rental company replace it. Dishwasher performance improved somewhat. I decided to do two more loads before deciding to purchase a new one. Then I saw a product test review for Affresh. I was ordering some stuff from Amazon anyway so I added that to my order. When it came, I tossed one of the tablets into the bottom of the full machine per the instructions and ran the regular cycle. I did not expect the results I got! The glassware that I thought was permanently etched and ruined came out like new. Same with cutlery. The difference is unbelievable. I will use this faithfully every month, as recommended. I can even put it on my subscribe and save order so I will get a new pack every six months. I am amazed!" —Sheila

    Get them from Amazon for $8.99.

    20. A slim cutlery organizer here to prove that you do have room for all your cutlery in your tiny kitchen drawer! Scoot over, forks. I FINALLY bought this for my only kitchen drawer and it's made a huge difference.

    slim kitchen drawer with large utensil organizer and jumble of kitchen tools
    the same kitchen drawer with silverware filed into a slim organizer taking up less than half the room of the previous organizer and with plenty of room to see other tools inside
    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    Promising review: "Yes, this little utensil tray is really that good! I went from using 12 inches of horizontal space in a lovely but huge wooden utensil tray to about using about four inches (whatever the width of this godsend is). It stores my butter knives, steak knives, spoons, forks, and a slew of little teaspoons. I'd guess that the max capacity for each slot is about 10 pieces. For example, I fit four butter knives and four steak knives into the first/knife slot easily, with good wiggle room. This is such a great design. Using this tray opened up about half of my 18-inch wide drawer, which allowed me to decompress the other drawers in my kitchen a bit. I highly recommend this item. It's worth every penny." —Kathleen Cooke

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

    21. A Tubshroom that'll catch an ALARMING amount of hair that'd otherwise go down your drain and eventually lead to a messy clog. (FYI: once you see a drain snaked, you can't unsee it.)

    reviewer pic of tubshroom that caught a bunch of dog fur in a bath
    another reviewer's pic of top view of the tubshroom with hair caught around it

    It's scary how well this works.

    Promising review: "I have long hair and always lose a lot of hair in the shower. I moved into a new house and the drain cover they had clogged every single time I showered. It was annoying and gross. I use a thick conditioner and that mixed with hair left a nasty hair ball that was visible the entire time. Since I got the shroom I haven't clogged the shower yet. It catches my hair but I don't have to look at it until I clean it off. Also I think the design allows the conditioner to pass or at least dissolve so it's not assisting in clogging my drain. Overall very happy. Wish it came in pink, but that's my own problem. I got the gray color." —Cassidy rill

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in six colors).

    22. Velvet throw pillow covers for cozying up your spot on the couch AND distracting from how, TBH, you could really use a new sofa.

    couch with several velvet throw pillows on it
    Amazon

    Promising review: "Simple and elegant cushion covers! They feel so soft. I purchased the jam color which is like a rose gold and black. Worth every penny. I’m going to order more for my bedroom. Great buy!" —Janelle

    Get two from Amazon for $11.99+ (available in seven sizes and styles, and 31 colors; also available in single pillow covers).

    23. A plant-watering bird will keep your plant babes hydrated and looking like their best selves, even if you currently can't be described in that way. You already invested in that plant, let's keep it looking great.

    potted plant with bird shape watering bulb stuck in the soil
    Amazon

    It holds enough water for 1–2 weeks depending on soil and plant type so you should be set for your long weekend getaway.

    Get it from Amazon for $12.98.

    24. Or a faux plant that comes with a hanging planter in case you can't keep a plant alive to save your own life. (ME.) 

    small fake plant in hanging planter
    Wayfair
    <