Homeowners Are Revealing The Budget-Friendly Upgrade That Made The Biggest Difference In Their Everyday Lives

    "Had we not had it, our utility bill would've easily been $700 before we noticed the issue."

    A little while back, I wrote about the cheap home improvement projects that were totally game-changing for the homeowners who completed them. Well, y'all were so passionate (and knowledgeable!) that we ended up with a whole lot more. These are some of the most cost-effective and worthwhile home projects you could do in your own home, according to the BuzzFeed Community members who swear by them.

    1. "We moved into a new-build townhouse that was super sleek and modern, but the ceiling lights throughout the house were horrifyingly bright and so cool-toned they were almost blue. It was like living in a hospital. Not sure why it took us so long, but we eventually bought kits to turn them into warmer-hued fixtures, and I finally feel comfortable in my own home. It's so relaxing!"

    ceiling lights in a white room illuminating the walls

    2. "Our old house with sloping floors has so many doors that are out of plumb, and as a result, most of our doors won't stay open on their own. But recently, we installed a bunch of $10 "doorstop hinge pins" on each door to keep them open without the use of ugly traditional doorstops. Game-changer."

    —Anonymous, 42, Ohio

    3. "Our house was built in 1988, and all the light switches and outlet plates were faded beige. We changed all of them to white — except in the kitchen since those plates are bronze — and it made it look so much more modern immediately."

    installing a new light switch cover on the wall

    4. "Even though my stove is positioned next to an exterior wall, it took us years to realize that it wasn't vented to the outside. ... I'd always assumed that was a given, but I was wrong. We hired a guy to effectively cut a hole in the wall and install a vented range hood, and oh my god, I could light a steak on fire and burn it to a crisp and there would be no smoke in my kitchen. Highly recommend!"

    —Asher, 31, Florida

    5. "When we renovated our kitchen, adding a between-the-studs pantry was an absolute life-changer for a small house with limited storage space."

    between the studs pantry in a kitchen storing various non-perishables

    6. "Wi-Fi plugs are amazing, and I am not normally an advocate for gadgety things. You can set lamps on timers for when you're away, which is also super convenient for holiday lights, and I especially love the timer for my winter electric blanket. It turns on 20 minutes before I go to bed and auto shuts off 30 minutes after I've fallen asleep so that I don't wake up all sweaty and agitated."


    7. "The minute I bought and installed a $50 rain shower head — with a renter-friendly handheld spray attachment, no tools required — was the minute my life changed for the better. I'm no plumber, and all it took was about 30 minutes of work and a few YouTube videos, though I'm pretty sure I could do it in 10 minutes now with any new shower head."

    installing a new showerhead in a bathroom

    8. "My townhome doesn’t have air conditioning. It’s absolutely brutal in the summer; I hate it so much. Portable air conditioners are noisy and have to have buckets of water emptied frequently, so they're not an option for me...but recently, I was gifted a couple of ceiling fans and had them installed. I had no idea the difference they would make! Absolutely transforms the space, and makes it livable, especially with the temperatures climbing this week!"


    9. "Installing roll-out lower cabinets in the kitchen instead of traditional cabinets will change your life. Roll-out trash and recycling is unmatched."


    10. "We DIY-ed a storm door on the outside of the entry into our kitchen. In the summer, our kitchen gets shockingly hot due to poor airflow, so we're always choosing between opening that door and letting our house become infested with bugs and mosquitos, or keeping it closed and sweating through all of our clothes. Not anymore! For just about $200 and an afternoon of work, cooking in the summer is enjoyable again."


    11. "Doing something as simple as installing a dimmer switch in my bathroom changed my life, so I don't have to deal with bright light first thing in the morning anymore!"

    A hand adjusting a dimmer switch

    12. "Having motion sensor lights in your hallway is awesome. Best of all, they don't blind you when you're stumbling around at 3:00 a.m. to pee."


    13. "Installing an outdoor-rated smart light for my porch light. It's programmed to turn on at sunset (and even changes as days get shorter or longer) and turn off at 2 a.m., and I never have to mess with that schedule myself."

    outdoor porch light illuminated

    14. "When we moved into our house, we slowly realized that every door looked dull and ugly. Turns out they were all painted with matte white ceiling paint (🙄), which I didn't realize was a big no-no when it comes to doors and trim! (For what it's worth, semi-gloss or even gloss if what you want.) We took one Saturday to re-paint the doors with the correct $35 gallon of paint, and it made a difference instantly."

    —Anonymous, 26, Colorado

    15. "We installed a pair of motion-sensing 75-watt bulbs in the carport and just leave the power on in there all the time. If it's dark and you pull in or walk out, they pop on and stay on until 30 seconds go by without motion."

    garage lights on

    16. "Switching out the '90s brass hardware on all of the interior doors in my house for the black matte finish ones cost less than $100 and makes it look 100 times better. Also, it's very easy to do; takes about 5–10 minutes per door once you get the hang of it (pun slightly intended)."


    17. "My kid will draw on the walls in marker until she gets tired, goes to bed, and does it all again in the morning. I spent an hour painting one of the walls in her bedroom with chalkboard paint for $40, invested in some liquid chalk (she doesn't like the 'feeling' of regular chalk), and it's become her favorite thing in the entire world."

    chalkboard wall in a kitchen

    18. "Bidets are literally life-changing. Like, the two eras of my life are pre-bidet and post-bidet. I love it so much I bring it up in conversations way more than is appropriate. I try to avoid using the restroom anywhere but at home. I gift them to my friends and family, too."


    19. "Adding a keypad lock to my front door. No more keys, plus I can have codes for any friends or family who visit and stay over, along with notifications on my phone every time the door unlocks."

    smart lock installed on an exterior door

    20. "It's not the cheapest project in the world and does require a licensed electrician, but we added an energy monitor (with a smartphone app) to our electric panel, and it's equal parts fascinating, helpful, and shocking. It's wild how much electricity some appliances can use — like hair dryers! Who knew?!"

    "It actually helped us realize that our hot water heater was severely malfunctioning and drawing in twice as much power as it should have. Had we not had this, our utility bill would've easily been $700 before we noticed the issue."

    —Charlie, Massachussetts

    21. "I picked up a trio of motion-sensing LED lights with magnetic backs and metal mounts. They run on four AAA batteries so I picked up enough rechargeable batteries to fill them. They went into the closet, the bathroom over the toilet, and the laundry room where we usually enter the house. They are great and give off about 30 watts of light, which is enough to see by when you don't want to turn on the main lights (which might wake someone up). Little things like that make a difference."

    woman opening closet door with illuminated interior

    22. "If you live in an area with lots of brownouts or short power outages, get a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for your Wi-Fi router and modem. It'll save you a lot of headaches for just about $50."


    23. "We have kids who, I swear to god, would leave the bathroom fan on 24 hours a day if they could. We took out the traditional 'on or off' switch that was hooked up to the bathroom fan and installed a timer switch in its place. Now, they shower and press the '30 minutes' button, and it shuts off automatically 30 minutes later."

    installing a timer switch in the wall

    What's the cheap home improvement project you completed that changed your life (and space) for the better? Tell us about it in the comments below.

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.