10 Low-Lift, High-Impact Home Updates That Make All the Difference

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Morgan Goldberg

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Published on January 17, 2023

If the new year has you itching for change—but you don’t have the budget to match—we totally understand how you feel. New beginnings call for new surroundings, even if a full-scale home renovation isn’t in the cards at the moment. 

But, thanks to Havenly designer Kelsey Fischer, we have more than a few high-impact, low-lift design ideas up our sleeve to get you through. From purchasing new throw pillows to slapping on a fresh coat of paint to switching out your cabinet hardware, these design details are often skipped, but make all the difference.

Keep scrolling to find the easy home improvement checklist you can actually complete without breaking the bank. 

1. Upgrade your throw pillows

Easy home updates

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to update a living room or bedroom is to invest in new decorative pillows. Whether you want to add a sense of seasonality, a bold print (like leopard), or a must-feel texture to the space, throw pillows are up to the task.

2. Swap your lighting

Easy home updates

New light fixtures can transform a space, both with their presence and the ambiance they create. For the lowest lift (all you need to do is plug them in), buy a few stylish floor or table lamps. Unless you’re super handy, you’ll need professional help to switch out the stale pendants over your island or the dated hallway sconces you’ve ignored for too long, but in our opinion, it’s worth the extra effort.

3. Opt for a fresh coat of paint

Easy home updates

If you’re willing to dedicate a weekend to wearing coveralls and getting your hands dirty, then a fresh coat of paint is a budget-friendly way to achieve a dramatic upgrade. Brighten up a drab space with a light, bright shade or commit to a moody, intimate vibe with a deep, rich hue.

4. Refresh your hardware

Easy home updates

In kitchens and bathrooms, swapping out your cabinet hardware can substantially enhance the aesthetic. All you need to do is scour Etsy, where you can find pulls and knobs in any style at a reasonable price, and grab a screwdriver. This method also works well for updating old dressers and desks.

5. Wallpaper a small area

Easy home updates

Wallpaper for an entire dining room can be expensive, but choosing to wallpaper a small, often-forgotten space like the entryway or a reading nook can be affordable and impactful. Prints and patterns (which can also be applied skillfully with paint if you’re not into wallpaper) punch up a compact area without feeling overwhelming.

6. Incorporate greenery

Easy home updates

Breathe life into your home—literally—by peppering potted plants throughout. From towering fiddle leaf fig trees to small parlor palms and succulents, the leafy green accents will invigorate the space. If you don’t have a green thumb, faux plants still do the trick.

7. Add a throw

Easy home updates

It doesn’t get any lower-lift than ordering a throw blanket online—but sometimes that’s all your sofa or bed needs to feel brand-new. A throw can add coziness, texture, color, and pattern to a space in one fell swoop. 

8. Refresh your bedding

Easy home updates

Seasonal bedding is often a necessity if you live in a cold climate, but practicality aside, fresh linens change the whole look and feel of your bedroom. Ditch the monotony of your old bedding and buy an inviting new duvet cover that makes you excited to go to sleep.

9. Curate your coffee table

Easy home updates

Though a fully decked-out coffee table isn’t for everyone, a bit of curated decor can really improve a living room. Minimalists might prefer just a single arrangement of flowers, but even one full vase adds sophistication. Consider coffee table books, coasters, and ceramics, too.

10. Add ambiance

Easy home updates

For some quick and easy ambiance, utilize candles. Tall tapers in your favorite candle stick holders will instantly evoke a romantic vibe, while a big scented candle sets the tone for a warm, cozy night of self care.

Looking for a way to overcome your unique home dilemmas? Work one-on-one with our expert interior designers for just $129 per room. Get started today with our style quiz.

Words by Morgan Goldberg