Cheap Thrills: 16 Budget-Friendly Home Finds Our Editors Swear By

published Jul 21, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
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Even if you love the finer things in life, nothing sweetens a purchase quite like scoring a good deal on whatever it is you’ve been coveting. This could mean finally snagging that sleeper sofa you’ve been eyeing for more than half off, or perhaps needing a last-minute travel organizer and finding exactly what you’re looking for on Amazon for less than $20. Here at AT, our editors are always on the hunt for a bargain, and this isn’t only because we aim to continuously share the latest and greatest home sales with you. We love being bougie on a budget, even if that consists of delighting in life’s little luxuries, like a great sink sprayer attachment.

In short, if the product works effectively, it sparks joy, and you get excited to tell your friends about how little you spent on it, it’s fair game for Cheap Thrills. This is the series in which we bring you all of our editor-tested, affordable must-haves for the home. No category is off-limits — you’ll find bedding, tech, and things you never knew you needed below. We’re simply too enthusiastic about all of these finds to gatekeep! So without further delay, let’s get into all of the budget-friendly picks our staffers swear by.

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When looking at these fashionable makeup organizers, you'd never guess that you could buy two for just $25. "Makeup organizers are shockingly pricey, but I came across this deal where you get two for the price of one," said Morgan, AT's commerce editorial assistant. "They’ve majorly decluttered my makeup area and can hold a surprising amount! I’m not a huge fan of clear makeup organizers — because everything is still visible, I think it looks just as messy — but these solid ones conceal my things and look stylish on my dresser." Each organizer sports a couple of large caddies, which are perfect for skincare products, as well as smaller compartments that are great for lipsticks, nail polish, and similarly tiny cosmetics.

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If you love that fluffy hotel pillow feel, you might give Quince's premium down alternative pillow a try. Mark, AT's director of commerce, credits it with changing the way he sleeps for the better. "They’ve given me that same fancy hotel experience (without having to pay for a room!)," he wrote about his set. "They felt heavenly to rest my head upon, and I enjoyed uninterrupted sleep that night — and pretty much every night since." What's more, you can choose between two densities, meaning the hypoallergenic pillows are suitable for sleepers of all kinds.

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An easy way to elevate any meal or at-home happy hour is by sipping your drinks out of fun glassware. The best part is, you don't need to invest in anything fragile or expensive! Samantha, AT's social media manager, loves these ribbed cocktail glasses, which come in a set of two for under $30. "These flower-shaped coupe glasses are also a great display item if you have open shelving!" she noted. Although they're technically martini glasses, you can also use these to serve anything from champagne to dessert.

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was $12.99

There's nothing more annoying than a spray bottle that doesn't so much spray as it does spit. If your cleaning products are in need of some nicer packaging, Mark suggests picking up this foolproof mister, which has more than 77,000 five-star Amazon ratings. "I bought this a while ago, and I love it," he said. "I've used it for misting my plants and also for various cleaning tasks, using homemade cleaning solutions. It delivers a nice burst of a very fine mist with just one pump." And, of course, you can reuse the mister over and over again.

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was $6.95

There are several reasons why you might dread washing your face. If you wear makeup, for instance, scrubbing it off after a long day can feel needlessly tedious. Plus, the water always ends up running down your arms and getting the sink counter wet. Fortunately, there's an inexpensive solution that commerce SEO editor Sarah swears by. "I loathe getting water all over the bathroom sink when I wash my face, and nine times out of 10, it happens because of water dripping down my arms," she said. "I ALWAYS end up having to clean my sink. To help mitigate that extra chore, I started washing my face while wearing ... sweatbands." Now that she always keeps a pair from this 8-piece set on her counter, Sarah said her sink has been completely drip-free.

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We all developed new interests during the pandemic. Style shopping editor Blair, for example, got into collecting candles, and TikTok convinced her to invest in a wick trimmer to increase their longevity. Reflecting back, she does not regret purchasing this beautiful brass trimmer from Amazon. "Whenever I use this one — on an almost daily basis — it gets rid of all that icky black soot buildup and keeps the flame level low for a safer burn," she said. "Yes, scissors can do the exact same thing here, but I honestly mainly wanted this for decorative purposes. It looks so fancy styled on my coffee table!" Also, it's a total steal.

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This internet-famous diffuser never stays in stock for long, and the reason why is obvious. Not only will it make the vicinity smell pleasant, but it'll also light up your room (and your mood) with its dazzling disco ball aesthetic and sun spots. "It’s already great to enjoy some essential oils, but it's even better when you add a disco ball," Sam said of her beloved diffuser. "It’s a cute piece to include on a bedside table to fall asleep to." Plus, it rotates! Grab your own diffuser before it sells out again.

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Home Depot

You don't need us to tell you that lighting can make or break the ambience of any room. But what we will tell you is that this color-changing light bulb is a total game-changer. April, AT's director of strategic partnerships, loves that she can change the bulb's settings without having to get up. "I can control which color I want from the app, and it sets the mood for when I'm working, trying to relax, or listening to music," she said. "I also like how you can schedule it; I use it in the morning as a wake-up light!" Sarah seconded this pick, adding, "These are amazing, especially during those moments when you get comfy in bed and realize you forgot to turn the light off."

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was $39.99

Culinary tools are by no means excluded from our lovely list of cheap thrills. Commerce coordinator Mila recently bought this vegetable chopper, and it has quickly become one of her favorite kitchen items. Instead of having to slice and dice veggies manually, this nifty tool will get the same job done in far less time. "It has saved me so many tears from chopping onions for my favorite cowboy caviar recipe," Mila said. And who doesn't love keeping their fingers safe?

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was $39.99

We're big fans of Joseph Joseph around here, and you'll frequently see us cover their ingenious kitchen storage solutions. After testing this compact (but spacious) makeup organizer from the brand, senior commerce editor Alicia is now also a fan of their bed and bath organizers. "I tested this Joseph Joseph makeup organizer for Best List, and it's become my favorite thing on my desk/vanity table," she said. "It holds everything I need for my daily makeup routine (and then some!). It makes getting ready feel more luxurious." The organizer also features a built-in mirror, which seamlessly glides up.

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Dress up any beverage with one of these dazzling reusable jewel-toned straws, which Sarah said she uses just about every day. "They’ve also become something a 'fan favorite' among friends and family — no matter what we’re drinking, more often than not, I get a request to use 'the pretty straws,' and I happily oblige," she wrote in her review. "I’d also be lying if I said they didn’t end up in a housewarming gift bag or two." For under $15, you can snag a pack of seven straws, plus an included cleaning brush.

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"For those who have a million candles, these aesthetically pleasing matchboxes are a great piece to accompany them all," Sam said about these adorable nightstand must-haves. The boxes are available in four colors, each one punctuated by a distinct vintage-style print. "They’re also safety matches, so they light easily!" Sam added. Each box includes 125 matches, so it'll be a while before you have to restock. No matter which color you opt for, your new tabletop addition will definitely make a statement.

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For just $6, you can be the owner of one of these sophisticated-looking cocktail glasses, which executive creative director Anna enjoys for daily use. "I love drinking a martini out of a coupe glass — it feels so fancy and fits so nicely in my hand," she said. "I have some gorgeous antique crystal ones that friends got us for our wedding, but for everyday, I like simple glass ones that won’t break my heart if they get chipped, like these pretty ones." The glasses also come in a set of six for under $40 and would make a wonderful gift.

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One of our contributors, who also happens to be an Airbnb superhost, wrote that she keeps dried lavender in her listed studio for guests to enjoy. "It adds some color, nice fragrance, and no one has to worry about it dying on their watch," Ariel wrote. After reading of this quaint idea, our shopping director, Jada, decided to pick up a dried lavender bouquet of her own and couldn't be happier with her fanciful purchase. "It’s indeed as lovely and delightful as promised!" she said. "I have it styled on a bookshelf between souvenirs, and it just brings some extra joy every time I walk by."

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Why settle for a boring desktop keyboard when you can buy something as snazzy as this wireless keyboard and mouse set instead? Although she says it's not the most ergonomic option out there, Alicia loves the look of hers. "As someone who has been obsessed with typewriters forever, this colorful, retro-inspired set is a serotonin booster whenever I use it," she said. What's more, the keyboard isn't too much of a hassle to set up, and it comes in three darling colors (blue, pink, and purple), which are all a fun departure from the standard black, gray, and white.

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West Elm

Faux plants are another visually appealing, low-maintenance piece of decor to incorporate. Commerce SEO writer Nic owns one similar to this West Elm faux potted agave plant and said it's one of his favorite home accessories. "It makes my office space look more welcoming and comfortable, and even though I know it's fake, the faux plant does a good job of tricking my brain into thinking it's real, so I feel like I get a lot of the benefits of real plants without any of the maintenance," he said. The plant's lifelike leaves and chic white pot will blend right in no matter your interior style.