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

    Sometimes some refreshed-looking kitchen cabinets can make all the difference.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. 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.


    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 $17.07.

    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

    I'll tell you what to watch next, What We Do in the Shadows. It's dark (uh, it's about vampires living on Staten Island) but gut-wrenchingly hilarious. Check it out on Amazon (seasons 1, 2) or Hulu.

    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 to layer with some sheer 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.


    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.

    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

    Promising review: "So I got mine and quickly fell in love with it. I clip my pics on them and hang these lights on my walls. I turn off all my lights and let these clip lights illuminate those memories I've had stored on paper. It felt warm, and the lights are just right that it doesn't saturate or desaturate my pics. Plus they look great! Pictures hold great. I'll be ordering more in the future since my picture collections are getting bigger ♡" —GoPackGo

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

    5. 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 variety of switch plates from Amazon.

    6. 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.

    reviewer's pic of rust around sink drain then it free of rust after using the product

    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.

    7. 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 $4.93+ (available in four colors).

    8. A scratch-off state map as a cool reminder to finally take that road trip out west on the rare occasion you'll actually want to leave your palace.


    I own a similar US map and posted it on my Instagram and everyone asked me about it! It's gorgeous, oh-so satisfying to scratch off once I've visited another state, and has started so many convos with friends who want to take trips to the same places I want to go.

    Get it from Amazon for $19.97.

    9. A roll of decorative window film that'll 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!

    reviewer's window with holographic geometric frosted covering

    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 $8.98+ (available in eight sizes).

    10. 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.

    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 $5.99.

    11. A slim cutlery organizer here to prove that you *do* have room for all your cutlery in your tiny kitchen drawer! Scoot over, forks. (Who even designs rental kitchens? Rats?!)

    pulled out kitchen drawer with slim cutlery organizer in it and lots of room for other items in the drawer

    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 4 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 $9.99.

    12. 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.)

    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).

    13. 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

    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).

    14. A plant-watering bird that'll 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

    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 $8.99.

    15. An adorable (but loud!) alarm clock with a glow-in-the-dark face because maybe it's time you graduated to something besides just setting five alarms on your phone.

    copper color alarm clock on night stand with person in bed reaching over to turn it off

    Promising review: "Being an old-fashioned guy, I was sick of all the electronic gadgets that I have to use. I have an alarm/radio clock that takes an electronic genius to operate. This Peakeep clock is exactly what I wanted, and I am very pleased with it." —Herbert C. Werner

    Get it from Amazon for $13.99 (available in three color combos).

    16. A glitzy bathroom set to bring some uniformity to your sink area instead of whatever OK-smelling hand soap was the cheapest at T.J.Maxx on your last haul.


    Get them from Amazon for $17.99 (available in 10 colors).

    17. A 3-D printed planter to let you display some tasteful nudes while taking care of all your plant bbs. (Though IMO you should go for the less "tasteful" stuff too.)

    three butt-shaped planters in gold, pink, and black
    Tropicverse / Etsy

    Get it from Tropicverse on Etsy for $13+ (available in four sizes and six colors).

    18. A hanging frame helper so you can finally get all your wall art up and make it feel like home. (You can only lean so many frames prints against the wall as a "look.")


    We all have that stack of leaning framed art we just haven't gotten around to hanging just yet. This tools helps you measure your wall art that needs hanging and then measure out the perfect place to install hardware.

    Promising review: "This makes picture-hanging a breeze. I would have paid twice what I paid for it. Look at what I was able to hang. The tops, bottoms, and sides align." —Scott Sheppard

    Get it from Amazon for $20+ (available in five sizes).

    19. Under-cabinet lights that'll make your kitchen look so much more expensive and help set a mood that'll actually make you wanna cook.

    kitchen with plain white cabinets and lights under the cabinets

    Promising review: "I had my doubts but I thought, what the heck, for the price I'd give them a try. I am in real estate and known as a lighting snob. The first thing I look at in a kitchen if there is under cabinet lighting. These are so nice (it helps if you have a lip at the bottom of your cabinets) They are a true white, very bright, and I was lucky they were just the length I needed. I just ordered a set and had them shipped to my mom's as her halogen transformer which is buried in a wall, fried and I drives me nuts that the workspace on the counter is dark. I can't wait until I make the 250-mile drive to install them. I may buy more just to use at our listings!" —pauly

    Get a 10-foot strand with 60 lights from Amazon for $17.86 (available in white or warm white).

    20. A celestial hanging garland – it'll pair nicely with other wall art or can hang solo as a way to fill up some empty wall space.,

    Promising review: "This piece of decor is exactly what I was looking for in my new apartment. It is definitely good quality. I did not use the hanging materials that came with the product. Instead, I used command hooks so that they were apartment-friendly. So far, it has worked well and I have no complaints!" —Bri

    Get it from Amazon for $18.99 (available in three finishes).

    Also check out a similar vertical garland for $19.99.

    21. And couple of cute macrame wall hangings that'll add some texture in a sea of framed art.

    two small macrame tapestries on gallery wall

    Get them from Amazon for $16.98+ (available in two sizes).

    22. A shower curtain liner with storage pockets and double-hook curtain hooks for a streamlined bathing experience. Whether you live solo and hoard products (like me) or live with three other people, this will bring some organization to your shower and help you tell the different between your face wash and shampoo at the crack of dawn.

    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    Hello and welcome to my shower! Yes, this is my bathroom and I've been using both of the products for coming up on two years. I love them both SO MUCH that I've bought two replacement liners since this inaugural one. Now, I'm not the best at keeping things clean so if you're one of those people, you can def get more than eight months' use out of one of these beauts. The hooks are still going strong though, so no need for replacing those. The liner is an excellent storage alternative to a regular old shower caddy. Want more deets? Read my full review for the storage shower curtain liner.

    Get them from Amazon: liner for $15 and 12 hooks for $6.21+ (available in several finishes)

    23. A marble lookalike of self-adhesive film because a bath remodel is not in the stars but you can fake a new countertop on the cheap. All ya' need is this and a bit of patience.

    on top a reviewer's plain bathroom counter, on the bottom the same counter covered in marble film

    Promising review: "I used this adhesive film to turn two cheap IKEA tables into less cheap looking IKEA tables because I'm not made of money, but I would like others to believe I am. Super simple to use and you get a ton of it for the price. I was really pleased overall. The pattern actually looks like marble, not a weird pixel-y repetitive pattern so that's great as well. Also it was delivered same day which was miraculous as my DIY initiative tends to fade approximately 48 hours after I discover a project I want to do." —Spencer House

    Get it from Amazon for $10.50+ (available in seven size rolls).

    24. A lil' neon light in six fun shapes if you wanna add a bit of personality to your living room., Amazon

    Promising review: "Such a good little neon light, pretty bright & it’s the perfect size! Just what I was looking for." —jeannette

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in six shapes).

    25. A tea bag organizer so you can finally reclaim your cabinet space because your roommate (or maybe you?!) has taken over the spice cabinet with boxes on boxes on boxes. It's time for a very neat change.

    reviewer pic of tea organizer mounted on inside of kitchen cabinet door

    Promising review: "This is the perfect addition to my new kitchen to get my many teas off the counter and out of sight, yet easily accessible. It’s sturdy plastic and fit exactly between the two trims on the inside of my cabinet. The back is flat so I purchased the 3M doubled sided tape and, voila! The description says it holds 90 tea packets but it’s more suitable to 72, 12 in each of the 6 bins. My cabinet doors are 'self closing' so there is no worry of the bins not staying in place." —2Bounders

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in three colors).

    26. Fridge bin liners that'll absorb extra moisture in an effort to keep your produce fresher for longer. PLUS, they'll catch the brunt of messy spills and will be so much easier to clean than taking a drawer out of the fridge and awkwardly scrubbing it down in your sink. I've done that before and it's not great!

    the liners in a produce drawer in an open fridge

    Promising review: "I love these! I really didn’t know how well they would work until this morning. My grandson tipped over a large takeout drink and didn’t tell me. It absorbed so much and saved me so much cleanup. I would have had puddles on all my shelves and under the bottom bin. Thanks to these liners there was very little I had to do to clean up. I didn’t wash them because I had some liner leftover from purchase. If it were just an everyday mess I will have washed them. I am ordering more..what a blessing!!!" —Amazon Customer

    Get a three-pack from Amazon for $10.99.

    27. Eucalyptus leaves to hang up in your shower to provide some luxe-feeling aromatherapy when it teams up with your shower steam. Also it just LOOKS nice. (I currently have some in my shower.)

    Etsy / Botanica Fleur

    Promising review: "So lovely! It arrived very quickly and the aroma in my bathroom during and after a shower is so amazing." —Bridgett

    Get them from Botanica Fleur on Etsy for $8+ (available in bunch sizes ranging from extra small to large).

    28. 3D mirrored butterflies you can stick on your wall as you please and make your place feel like YOU — even if your lease says you can't paint!

    mirror 3D butterfly decorations on the wall

    Promising review: "I can say, you’ll need lots of patience with applying them. If you have the time, it can be very fun and time consuming. They go on and come off very easily and they look stunning." —Mak M

    Get a 36-pack from Amazon for $8.99+ (also available in pink or gold; also available in rainbow).

    29. A nice lil' sticker that'll double as an affirmation on your bathroom mirror for those days when you're feeling pretty meh.

    circular mirror with sticker that reads "you look amazing"
    Amazon Handmade

    Get it from Amazon Handmade for $9.90.

    30. Stove burner covers to help you catch the mess right away on gas stovetops. As a person who has one in my own rental apartment, I can say that it gets dirty SO fast there. And you can even run them through the dishwasher!

    reviewer pic of burner cover that's barely noticeable

    Promising review: "Safe and easy. It will go under the fire that will not block your cooking fire. Even some edge touches the fire, it will be burned to white color but not fired up. I also put it inside the dishwasher to wash it. Those are very thin cover but no deformation after running through the regular circle inside my dishwasher. All those are already good enough for me." —buyer

    Get an 8-pack from Amazon for $11.99 (also available in gray).

    31. An outlet-charging shelf that'll give ya a spot to park your phone or a speaker. It's more or less just creating a shelf out of thin air!

    reviewer pic of the shelf with an Alexa speaker on it

    Promising review: "Has a nice port to allow wires and has a small lip to keep items in place. Very easy and fast to install. Requires only a small flat head screwdriver to remove existing outlet cover and install this. Comes with two face plates to fit different outlet types." —Janet A

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99 (also available in black).

    32. Flameless candles in case you tend to forget a candle is lit, have a roommate who has a history of that forgetful behavior, or live with some destructive kids. Here's to setting a ~mood~ you won't worry about.


    Promising review: "Really pretty and very realistic. Such a great alternative to open flames (especially when you've got kids!) In the photos shown, the clear protective plastic wrapper is still on the candles, so they look shiny. Without the wrapper, the wax is a deep matte red. The remote control is a nice feature. A little pricey, so I'm hoping the quality lives up to the price in terms of longevity." —longevity

    Get them from Amazon for $15.99+ (available in seven styles).

    33. A nightlight for your bed that'll make you feel like you're staying at a fancy hotel as you step around that pile of clothes that fell off "the chair" in the middle of the night.

    person on bed with light shining faintly out from underneath it

    Promising review: "Great light strip. The motion sensor has a good range and then controls for time on and brightness are wonderful. The 3M tape on the back could be stronger, but for the price and motion sensor it is a great buy. Also we have this plugged into a smart outlet so that it only turns on during certain hours of the day. That plus the feature that is there is enough ambient light, the motion sensor doesn't trigger makes this on par with systems that are far more expensive. Works great with Google home as well because of the linked smart plug. Very happy with the purchase. Would be 4.5 stars just because of the tape not being sticky enough, but they do provide a second roll in the box, which helps." —AC

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

    34. A cheery lil' welcome mat made of tough material that'll actually help clean off your shoes and stand the test of time... as long as some meddling kids from down the hall don't steal it.

    exterior door with natural color welcome mat that says "hey there" when entering the house, "take care" when leaving

    Promising review: "I love this! I moved into a new upscale apartment in January and noticed during the tour of the facilities that a lot of the doors had these doormats even though the doors are down hallways instead of outside. I knew immediately I needed a cute doormat so neighbors knew I was there and was a fun person to make friends with. I'm also going to school for psychology and take mental health seriously. I saw this and thought it was cute with a touch of empathy. And not near as expensive as a lot of other doormats I saw." —Brittany

    Get it from Amazon for $18.98.

    35. And a washable indoor mat because, really, let's leave the dirt at the door, OK?!

    inside door with gray geometric print mat

    Promising review: "I placed this right inside my front door since I live in an apartment complex. I love the style of it. It is very durable and does a great job of cleaning off shoes and even my dog's feet." —Debbie Bennett

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99+ (available in four colors).

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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