Homeowners Are Revealing The Minimal-Cost Projects Around The House That Were Life-Changing In Every Way

Recently, u/Fordged asked homeowners of the r/HomeImprovement community to share their most “life-changing” home improvements and upgrades according to the amount of money they spent, and people came through with some seriously helpful (and very cheap!) solutions to the everyday annoyances that most homeowners face. These are some of the most doable projects of the bunch.

1.“We bought a house where the previous owner had replaced all the door hardware except for the hinges. Replacing all of those super-old brass hinges with matte black to match the doorknobs has given me peace.”

Old silver door hinge next to the new matte black one

2.“Felt or silicone bumpers for every cabinet and bedroom door. That quiet little voice as they close is so nice. Makes even the crappiest cabinets feel better.”


3.“Installing a curved shower rod. I did it five years ago after a $10,000 remodel, and it made more of a difference than the remodel.”

Curved shower rod in bathroom

4.“Retractable extension cord reel mounted to the ceiling of the garage, right next to the garage opener motor, so it can share the outlet. Game changer. I always have a cord anywhere I need it in the garage, and zero cleanup time taking it out and putting it away. I paid about $100 for one at Home Depot.”


5.“Touch-activated kitchen faucet. I put one in when I remodeled my old house, and it was so nice that it was one of the first things I changed when I moved to a new spot. It’s so much easier, and you don’t have to touch anything with raw chicken juice on your hands anymore. Only $100, too!”

Touch-activated stainless steel kitchen faucet

6.“Soft-close toilet seat — $25 and five minutes to install. No more clanking in the middle of the night.”


7.“Under-cabinet kitchen lighting was $100. It made it so much brighter, and it removed a bunch of shadows caused by the overhead lighting too.”

Under-cabinet lighting in kitchen

8.“A motion-sensing front porch bulb, less than $20. I never have to worry about leaving the light on. Whenever I come home or someone enters the front porch, the light comes on.”


9.“Range hood that vents to the exterior of the house. Spent $600 on mine, but it was well worth it. Already had a vent installed, but the hood was a recirculating one. Previously, I couldn’t boil a pot of water without steam everywhere. Now I can sear steaks without setting off my smoke alarm. It’s loud but functional.”

Large stainless steel range hood over a stove in the kitchen

10.“Ceiling fans in all rooms. I’m in Florida, and it cuts down on AC use significantly. Costs vary by the fan chosen, but we were able to DIY the install, since the house came wired for them already; previously, there were boob lights installed.”


11.“Wall-mounting a wireless switch for our living room lights, since the room lacks a hardwired light fixture: $15. It’s a stopgap until we get around to wiring in a light, but it’s a huge improvement over fumbling in the dark.”

Adding a wireless light switch to a brick wall

12.“My winner: Take off ’80s fireplace-insert flaking, fake-brass fixtures; sand; spray with high-temperature silver or steel paint; and reinstall. It only takes 30 minutes and costs $10, and it makes the whole living room look 30 years more up-to-date.”


13.“For $30, we installed a programmable thermostat. Not even a fancy ‘smart’ one, just one that lets you set heating and cooling times by day of the week. It’s not rocket science to turn the heat lower from 7 to 4, Monday through Friday and overnight!”

Programmable on-wall thermostat

14.“Dusk-to-dawn light bulbs for my outdoor fixtures for only $10. The lights are always on at night for security purposes but never on during the day, and they’re not programmed to be a smart house or anything.”


“As a new home owner, I did not know this was a thing! I usually just flipped the lights on and off manually.”


15.“The best thing ever is my under-sink reverse osmosis water filter. I stopped using bottled water altogether, and it only took 30 minutes to install myself. We used the existing third hole for soap as the new dedicated tap, so we didn’t even have to make adjustments to the sink itself.”

Water filtration system underneath kitchen sink

16.“When I bought my house that was built in the ’50s, the only thing that nagged at me was the old, rusty-looking floor vent covers that led to the heating ductwork. I replaced them with new art deco–style covers. They weren’t expensive and made such a difference. It took minutes to replace the old ones.”


17.“Investing in a keypad lock for the front door. It was $200 and took about an hour to install. It allows the kids to come home and unlock the door without us having to worry about them being responsible with the keys. And it also allows us to lock or unlock remotely without having to fumble with anything.”

A keypad lock on front door

18.“For those of us in cold climates where we need to drip water to avoid freezing pipes, install a water bypass. It means no extra water bill from running faucets because the water cycles through the pipes — but it dumps back into the house’s supply.”


19.“Whole-house fan. It cools the entire house down in 15 minutes on a summer evening. I love it way more than my AC. I’m in the Bay Area, so results will vary by region.”

Control knob for whole-house fan with off, high, and low modes

20.“Depending on how they are when you move in, replacing bulbs. The house we bought last May had all old incandescent bulbs of mismatching tones. We replaced them with bright LEDs of a neutral tone, not the standard blue white, and it made the home feel a lot more modern with very little effort.”


21.“I LOVE the glass rinser I installed when I switched out my sink. I use it for everything from shot glasses to my coffee machine filter.”

A glass rinser rinsing a blender cup on top of a stainless steel sink

22.“Probably not the cheapest upgrade at $30–$50 each, but I changed all of our doorknobs to lever-style handles. Massive quality-of-life improvement, especially if you’re carrying something with both hands. Plus, our dog can let himself in from the backyard (unless we dead-bolt it to keep her out for a bit purposely). She still hasn’t figured out how to pull open the door from the inside, though.”


23.“Timer switches on bathroom exhaust fans. Game changer for controlling moisture and odor without having to remember to turn it off. Saves energy, too, because you aren’t creating negative air pressure for longer than you have to.”

A timer switch being installed in a room

24.“I did the hack where you hammer a very slight bend in the middle hinge pin of a door to our bathroom. Nothing in our house is hung straight, and it kept closing on its own and hitting me back while I brushed my teeth. Cost $0 and took 30 seconds. Seriously changed my life in this crooked-ass house.”


25.“The carpet in our house had some lumps and rolls, and then we realized you could get it stretched, and now it looks a thousand times better. It blew my mind when my Realtor told me about it when I was selling my house. I didn’t even think it was $200.”

Carpet stretched up to the walls and cut to fit

Homeowners: In the comments below, tell me about the budget-friendly home upgrade you did that made all the difference in the world. Or, if you’d rather stay anonymous, you can submit using this form.

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