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Here Are 12 Simple Upgrades to Update Your Home This Year

A rotating makeup caddy, a hanging closet organizer, and three hanging potted plants
Seinlife/Simple Houseware/Umbra

It’s easy to watch home makeover shows or your favorite Instagram bloggers and feel like it’s impossible to revamp your home without spending a lot more time and money than you actually have. The good news is, that’s not true at all!

If you’d like to give your home a refresh in 2021 but don’t know where to start, we’ve got a solution for you: a month-by-month checklist of small things that can make a big difference. Each month, pick one spot in your home to tweak, then see what our recommended picks are for organizing and redecorating in affordable, convenient ways.

Bedroom Closet

A closet with two hanging dresses and a hanging cubby organizer
Simple Houseware

Your bedroom closet is one of your most-used spaces, but that also makes it incredibly easy to undo all your hard organizing work. Because space is at a premium in most closets, your best bet is to invest in a few organizational tools that pull double duty, making organization simple and utilizing available space as effectively as possible.

Making the most of vertical space can help keep your closet organized and efficient. A hanging closet organizer, like this one from Simple Houseware, uses hanging vertical cubbies to maximize space with a minimal footprint. Not only are there five individual cubbies to separate your sweaters from your T-shirts, there are pockets along the sides for storing smaller items like scarves, belts, shoes, and more.

Another popular technique is switching from bulky, traditional plastic hangers to slim velvet hangers. Because the hangers themselves are slimmer, you can fit more of them—and thus more clothes—onto a rack. These MIZGI velvet hangers come in a pack of 50 and a variety of colors:


White open closet door with a white wire rack hanging over the door
Smart Design

Get your pantry under control, and cooking becomes so much less stressful. It’s tempting to just stack everything and hope for the best, but that technique can lead to cans falling out when you open the door or items expiring before you get around to them. Revamping the pantry can be a surprisingly simple process—it’s all about the tools that help you keep items organized and easy to grab.

Even the door of the pantry can be storage space, if you have the right tools. This Smart Design over-the-door rack provides tons of extra storage. You can hang it on the front or back of your pantry door, depending on the pantry’s design, and the individual levels of the rack are adjustable to fit cans, jars, and containers of any height.

For inside the pantry itself, vertical organization can be a big help. Consider a double-decker lazy Susan, like this turntable from Cellay, for storing some of your smaller items, such as baking supplies, spices, and similar items. The advantages are twofold. First, it saves space by easily stacking items two-high; second, the turntable makes it easy to access everything.

Bathroom Counter

White rotating multitier caddy with makeup and cosmetics in it

Keeping the bathroom organized can be a frustrating task. It’s a small space that nonetheless gets tons of use every day, but it’s also home to a lot of items that have a particular need to be stored in a clean, well-organized way. Take one month to make a few small changes to your bathroom for long-term benefits.

To deal with all your products—from soap, cologne, and perfume to makeup and even hair products—this multitiered caddy from Seinlife is a great solution. The offset tiers allow for several different segments, all varied in size and height, to safely store a number of products all in one, space-saving place.

Becaise space is pretty limited in many bathrooms, decor often goes by the wayside. If you have a window ledge, a vanity, or even just a bit of space on your counter, mini plants can add a touch of life and greenery to even the smallest bathrooms. We love these DeeCoo mini plant pots, which have built-in drainage and come in four beautiful marble patterns.


Three white pots hanging from a black window rod in front of a window

Whether you’re in a small apartment or a large house, there’s always space to add some beautiful plants to your home. A garden doesn’t have to mean a huge, outdoor plot with an elaborate setup—it can be as simple as creating a window garden or a tray of plants. This month, try adding some live plants to your living space for color and liveliness.

A hanging planter allows you to create a miniature hanging garden anywhere in your living space. This Umbra hanging planter has three individual pots, hanging at various heights, which can accommodate any number of small succulents, flowers, herbs, or other plants. Hang it in a well-lit spot, and watch your hanging gardens grow!

Another popular option for indoor gardens are window gardens: coordinated, organized sets of plants that sit comfortably in a kitchen window, on a windowsill, and so on. Saratoga Home’s windowsill planters offer both style and function. The galvanized steel tray is sleek and attractive, while the individual pots are perfectly sized for window gardens and have drainage holes to keep plants healthy. These are especially perfect for growing your own herb garden, right in your own kitchen!

Laundry Room

Gray laundry hamper, divided in two sides, with a mesh bag hanging out
Simple Houseware

Spend a little time one month revamping your laundry room! Organization is key here. Laundry rooms tend to be small spaces that need to accommodate a lot of use and movement, so finding items to keep the mess at bay is the best approach.

A partitioned laundry hamper, like this hamper from Simple Houseware, helps to keep laundry separated and hidden from view. With a two-cubby design and removable mesh bags, this style of hamper doesn’t just keep dirty laundry off the floors—it also makes it easy to divide up loads and pull them out when it’s time to actually wash them.

If your laundry room does double duty as a mudroom (or if you just need a bit of extra storage), an over-the-door shoe holder works wonders. Simple Houseware’s hanging organizer offers 24 individual spots with clear pockets—that’s enough room for a dozen pairs of shoes! It’s also a convenient storage option for other small items, with the bonus of being able to easily see what’s in each pocket.


Two patio chairs on either side of a round, glass-top bistro table on a stone patio

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the idea of revamping your patio, but you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy furniture to make your outdoor space more inviting and usable. As summer rolls around, focus on a few affordable upgrades that can improve your patio without breaking the bank.

Start with a cute, affordable bistro set like this one from Giantex. With two foldable chairs with neutral panels and a beautiful bistro table with a tempered glass top, the set adds a classy timeless touch to any patio without costing a fortune.

If you’ve already got a patio furniture set you love, consider giving it a refresh with some new patio cushions! There’s no need for expensive upholstery when there are gorgeous DIY options out there. Neutral black-and-white stripes, like these Pillow Perfect cushions, have the sleek, stylish, and summery vibes that can freshen up any patio set.

Storage on the patio is also important, and the best kind of storage also can pull double duty as a piece of furniture. A deck box is ideal for all the stuff that you might use on your patio and don’t want to have to carry back and forth to the garage or other storage areas each time you want to use it. Try this Keter Borneo deck box, which looks like a large woven basket but actually is a sturdy storage container with a 110-gallon capacity.

Coffee Table

Gray tray sitting on a wood coffee table, with a book and a small plant in the tray
Montecito Home

Your coffee table is one of the smallest spots in your home to address, and yet its central location in most homes makes it a perfect candidate for a stylish refresh. Try starting with a sleek simple tray, like this one from Montecito Home. It breaks up the space on your coffee table, comes in several different colors, and is just the right size to put a couple of books, a plant, a candle, or another piece of decor to style your coffee table how you like it.

To add some personality to your coffee table, consider a coffee table book on a topic that interests you. There are tons of photography books out there, but if generic travel photography isn’t your thing, you can easily find beautiful, large, hardcover books on any number of subjects—you can even use the colors of the book cover to coordinate the complementary items on the table.

Living Room Wall

White wall in a dining room with several black-and-white photos in neutral-colored frames
Kate and Laurel

For this month, turn your attention to your living room wall, which you probably spend a lot of time looking at! Gallery walls have popular for a few years now, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. The trick to creating an appealing, affordable gallery wall? Mix and match different sizes and shapes of frames with other hanging wall art items.

Start out with a coordinated (but not matchy-matchy!) set of frames, like this set from Kate and Laurel. The frames come in a few different sizes, shapes, and colors, but they all complement each other. By choosing frames that go together, you can vary the pictures and artwork in each one, while still maintaining a relatively unified look for the wall.

A truly great gallery wall won’t just use photos and artwork, though—it incorporates other pieces, too. One option? This Stonebriar sunburst mirror: a round wall mirror that doubles as a statement piece, with its radiating metal “sunbeams” to give it some artistic flair.

Stonebriar Sunburst Wall mirror, 24 Inch, Gold

Round wall mirror with artsy wire sunbeams.


Wood and metal bench with hat hooks above and shoe shelves below

Because the entryway is the first thing you see when you—or your guests—walk into your home, it’s definitely a spot that deserves your attention. Entryway decor is all about function and style in a small space; you’ll want items that look nice but also serve a purpose, particularly for the moments when you walk in the door and need to drop something off right away.

To save space and address storage needs, consider a multipurpose shoe bench, like this one from Mr IRONSTONE. The bench provides an easy place to sit down and take your shoes off, but that’s not all it does. There are shelves underneath for storing shoes (even tall shoes and boots), plus hooks for hats, coats, purses, and more. It’s an easy way to keep all your out-the-door needs together in one place.

For a simpler version—or if you simply can’t spare the floor space—this stylish diamond-shaped hat hanger by Homode is a wall-based hook solution. The diamond accordion shape makes it more aesthetically pleasing than just some hooks slapped on the wall, while also providing several individual pegs to hang hats, bags, coats, keys, and more in one convenient spot.


Three jars, filled with and labeled (left to right) brown sugar, sugar, and powdered sugar

Food storage in the kitchen is an easy task to address for this month’s quick revamp. While your pantry likely serves as long-term storage, your kitchen counter and your refrigerator are where your day-to-day items probably live. It’s surprisingly easy to upgrade your kitchen storage so that the items you use most are organized and even part of your decor.

Your most-used baking ingredients, such as flour, sugar, and oats, can become part of your kitchen decor when you store them in these Le’raze glass jars. The jars come in several different sizes and have a cute chalkboard label on the front, where you can hand label them for a crafty, farmhouse look.

For your fridge, consider a set of stackable plastic bins, like this set from Seseno. They’re made from clear plastic, so you can easily see what’s in them, and they’re easy to take out and wash to keep your fridge clean and fresh. By using these bins, it’s easier to keep your groceries organized and even save space by stacking them without crushing whatever items are on the bottom.


Bed with a blue striped/patterned quilt and two pillows
Great Bay Home

One of the easiest ways to update your bedroom is simply to swap out your bedspread for something new! For a beautiful patterned look, we love this quilt and sham set from Great Bay Home. The set comes in three different sizes and six different pattern and color combinations, so nearly any style and color palette will work. The lightweight quilt can be used all year round, plus it’s made from durable material that can be easily washed.

On the other hand, you might prefer a solid color bedspread, and if that’s the case, the Lavish solid color quilt might be the affordable option you’re looking for! There are a total of 10 different color options, and the quilt’s detailed stitching produces a simple but effective “pattern” on the solid color. It’s incredibly versatile and goes with any decor style you like!

Attic and Deep Storage

Flat storage tub partially visible under a bed

We’ve all got that place in our house where things go to hide for months or years at a time. It’s often an unappealing prospect to reorganize those storage spaces, but it doesn’t have to be! Take a little time this month to re-evaluate your storage solutions—you might find that a bit of reorganization is in order.

To save space, under-the-bed (or even under-the-couch) storage may work for you. Try some Rubbermaid flat storage tubs, which are slim enough to fit under most furniture but big enough to actually be effective storage. Use them to tuck away out-of-season clothes, decor, old documents, and more.

On the other hand, sometimes you need to bring in the cavalry: heavy-duty, large storage containers, for all the stuff that can’t fit into smaller, sleeker tubs. That’s where the HOMZ storage totes come in! With 27 gallon capacities and hefty, sturdy construction, these totes can handle any and all storage that you need.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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