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The 15 small upgrades that made a ‘huge difference’ in people's homes

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make big improvements.

home improvement, easy home improvement, affordable home improvement

A couple snuggling after a hard day working on the house.

When we consider ways to improve our homes, we often think big: new bathrooms, solar panels, or redoing the landscaping. These renovations can be costly and, in these economically challenging times, too much for many people’s budgets.

However, a series of minor tweaks, like mini-makeovers, can breathe new life into our homes. We can make countless small, affordable changes to our living spaces that make them cozier, more functional and energy efficient.

Some minor fixes can increase your property value, too.

Recently, a group of Redditors came together to share some small changes that have made an enormous difference in their homes. It all started when a user named Super_Dupa2 asked, “What small upgrade made a huge difference at your house?”


The prompt was a big viral hit, receiving over 8,300 responses in just one day. Here are 15 small upgrades that can make a huge difference in your house.

1. New shower head

"A better shower. If you can't redo the whole bathroom, just replace the head. This also works if you rent. Just keep the old one in a box, so you can bring the nice one to your next house." — Maartenvanheek

"And a curved shower curtain rod. You get so much more arm space." — Cripnite

2. More chargers

"Methodically buying phone chargers with long enough cables to not have to ever move one again." — ihadtowalkhere

3. Blackout curtains

"Blackout curtains for sleeping. Such a game changer." — blehbleh 1122

"And they keep my bedroom cooler." — BunjaminFrnklin

4. New lighting fixtures

"Fixtures are now properly grounded, the interior looks more updated, and there is more/better light." — SnooCaliflowers9981

"Lighting can absolutely make a huge difference in the way you feel in your room. Get some shoulder-height (when you are sitting) lamps for your living room. You will notice a shift in how much more relaxed you feel when you use those instead of the overheads." — ShoesAreTheWorst

5. Laundry room light

"Motion-activated light switch for the laundry room. Never have to worry about turning off the light when leaving with an arm full of clothing." — Amazing Asian

6. Attic fan

"Attic heat exhaust fan. Our attic used to get up to 140F on the hottest days; on those days, our ceilings were hot to the touch. The whole house was consequently uncomfortable. Now the attic fan is thermostatically controlled to 90 degrees, and the whole house is cooler." — jermleeds

"I added a passive whirlybird that does the same thing. Heat rises and escapes before it can accumulate to those extreme levels. It also happens to be clear acrylic, so now there's always light up there too which helps keep away any vermin." — cantwejustplaynice

7. Hanging artwork

"Spending a day mounting my artwork. It felt so much more like my home after that." — GinGimlet.

"Every time I've moved, I put that off for way too long, then finally break down and do it and the house feels so much better to be in." — Elegant-Nature-6620

8. New blankets

"My wife and I are getting separate blankets. No more fighting about who takes the covers while we’re sleeping. Highly recommend 10/10." — Akumamatata8080

9. Fake stained glass

"I had a window above the stairs the neighbors could see through, so I went on Amazon and spent 40 bucks on some plastic window film that makes it look like stained glass. It turned out AMAZING and lasted forever." — OathofFenanor

10. Bidet

"I get mad when I have to use a different toilet now. I’m truly converted." — Itwasmyshadow

"The worst part of owning a bidet is going on vacation." — TinyPieceofYarn

11. Rice cooker

"I save so much time and energy. Plus, there's less washing up to do since all I need to wash is the pot inside, instead of a saucepan, a wooden spoon, and a colander." — Molwalk

12. RoboRock

"Using a $150 GC my sister gave me for my birthday. I picked up a RoboRock Q5 robot vacuum ($70 out of pocket after the GC). I have it running on a daily schedule at 2 pm while I'm at work, and my hard floors are always immaculate." — Matt314159

13. Solar panels

"Fitted 4 solar panels to my shed roof attached to a lithium battery and inverter. Not the cheapest upgrade at about £1000. But unlimited free electricity in my shed. Can plug all my power-hungry man stuff in there and it’s guilt-free! And when there’s a power cut I just run an extension lead into the house, and I’m good! and way simpler than grid tie-in system."— Badger906

14. New windows

"After living here for 35 years. We had all the windows in the house replaced 5 months ago. The house is so much more comfortable and quiet. It was expensive but worth it. We replaced 11 windows of varying sizes with Renewal by Anderson. All had to be custom-made because of their outdated sizes. The largest was 5’X7’. They are composite materials with heat-reflecting glass. It is incredible to stand behind the window in direct sunlight and open and close them to feel the difference of the heat they block out. The house was definitely more comfortable during the hot summer, and the electricity bill was about 20% lower. They look beautiful, and the crew of 6 guys removed the old and installed the new in one day and did not leave a mess of any kind. We ordered them in the last week in March, and they were installed in the first week of June. Total cost was $23K." — Blizzard7788

15. Get a dishwasher

"It has changed our arguments over dishes." — xuknownx26

"No washing dishes! A handy place to hide all your dirty dishes! A handy place for your clean dishes to dry! And no dish rack on the draining board has freed up loads of space/made it look a lot less cluttered." — binglybleep

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As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.

Out of all human inventions, books might just be the greatest. That may be a bold statement in the face of computers, the internet and the international space station, but none of those things would be possible without books. The written recording of human knowledge has allowed our advancements in learning to be passed on through generations, not to mention the capturing of human creativity in the form of longform storytelling.

Books have the power to change our lives on a fundamental level, shift our thinking, influence our beliefs, put us in touch with our feelings and help us understand ourselves and one another better.

That's why we asked Upworthy's audience to share a book that changed their life. Thousands of responses later, we have a list of inspiring reads that rose to the top.

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Woman shares the powerful impact of a 'hardcore' gym bro's words of encouragement

Previous experience had her feeling nervous when the man approached her at the gym, but what he said brought her to tears.

Steph shares how a few simple words made all the difference.

Going to the gym can be a daunting prospect for a lot of people. It shouldn't be—the whole point of going to the gym is to exercise, which is something that should universally be applauded—but sometimes it can feel like there's pressure to be at a certain fitness level or have a certain physique before stepping foot in the door.

For people who are heavier, gym culture can be especially intimidating. Unfortunately, not everyone remembers to practice kindness and fatphobia appears to remain a fairly tolerated prejudice. That shouldn't stop people with big bodies from enjoying all that fitness centers have to offer, but all too often, it does.

It hasn't stopped a woman named Steph from working out regularly at her gym, albeit with some trepidation. As she shared in a hugely viral TikTok, she's experienced some unkind behavior at the gym that made her nervous when a man approached her recently. But her description of the encounter ultimately demonstrated how powerful a few positive words can be.

In a video made from her car just after leaving the gym, Steph explained that a "hardcore" gym-goer who is "super tough" and covered in tattoos had came up to talk to her. Her initial response was to be afraid of what he was going to say to her, based on previous experience. She shared in the video how hard it's been to stay steady with her workouts, especially with medications she's on making her body hold onto weight, but she's been working hard to be consistent. She steeled herself for whatever he might say.

She didn't expect it to be this: "I've seen you in here every week, almost every day. I've seen you in here every week—and I'm proud of you." Nor did she expect that such simple words of encouragement could make such a huge impact.

Watch her tell the story:

@steph5468

#gymprogress #workputjourney #keepgoing #healingjourney

People had a lot to say about the interchange and Steph's emotional response to it.

"People do not realize, how one person can change everything," wrote one commenter.

"Girl you are CRUSHING IT," wrote another. "That man you encountered is what real men do. Encourage. Support. Be human! It isn’t hard! ❤️"

"No one knows your story, your struggles. You're doing the dang thing and that takes courage and strength. You. Keep. Going. I'm proud of you too!" shared another.

More and more words of encouragement flooded Steph's comment section, and people on Upworthy's Instagram page weighed in as well.

"I'm a fitness coach and this made me cry 😢 just having someone say they are proud of you can move mountains for so many of us who didn’t/ don’t get the praise growing up," wrote one person.

"Who knows? He may be going through something too and saw a determined, consistent, fellow traveler," wrote another. "You share your Truth so powerfully. You may not know how many people will see this and be encouraged by your honesty. I’m in awe that you show up for YOURSELF every day. And as for the rude and ill-mannered? Well they struggle too—just to be decent kind human beings. Some people have not been shown Empathy and therefore do not know how to use that muscle. You are beautiful, smart, articulate, wise and a woman who knows where she’s headed. Keep walking, head up knowing there are many many more who do empathize, who see you and are on your side❤️"

"It’s amazing to think about how this man’s single act of kindness, spread through you to affect us all in a positive way," shared another. "This made all of our days, and I’m crying tears of joy while I write this. Please thank him from all of us the next time you see him, if you’re comfortable with that. And thank you for sharing! ❤️"

Indeed, thanks to both Steph and the hardcore, tattooed gym bro for being wonderful examples for us all. We never know what a small act of kindness or a few words of encouragement will do to make someone's life significantly better, but it's always worth trying.


This article originally appeared on 9.5.23

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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