The Under-$10 Item You Should Always Buy for Your Home, According to a Real Estate Agent

updated Jun 10, 2021
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Whether you’re preparing your house for sale or to be the backdrop for your next Zoom call, you’re not alone in wanting your space to make the best impression possible. Your home is an expression of you — but it’s also an expression of your budget.

So, we asked a real estate agent how to elevate the look and feel of the home for under $10. Kristi Ambrosetti, a senior global real estate advisor with Sotheby’s International Realty, recommends bringing the outdoors in. Studies have shown that plants can energize us, and let’s face it, they’re just plain nice to look at.

“People are nesting right now. And they’re trying to figure out how to give their homes a new feeling,” Ambrosetti says. At a time when many people are spending a lot of time at home, plants are a cost-effective way to add a sense of freshness, and a space-effective way to add visual flair.

Add a pop of color 

Ambrosetti refers to succulents as her “secret little weapon” when she’s preparing a home to list. Succulents require less water and sunlight than your traditional houseplant, so you have more latitude as to where to put them. 

When staging a surface, such as a coffee table or countertop, Ambrosetti likes to incorporate succulents. Aesthetically, their unique, angular shapes lend themselves well to modern home decor, and they can be a source of vibrancy and color. “You could have a really simple palette of neutral tones in your kitchen and your bathroom, and a succulent will add a pop of color,” she says. “They’re a really inexpensive item that gives the bathroom a spa-like feel. And they can lend color, warmth, and a homeyness to the kitchen.”

A few go a long way

Though they can be purchased at varying price points, plants are widely regarded as affordable home decor. When shopping for plants, Ambrosetti recommends thinking in odd numbers

“Things in three are always aesthetically pleasing. So you could do three really small individual succulents — and they are two or three dollars a pop — or you could do a $10 succulent that is potted and would be larger,” she says. “That $10 budget can go a long way.”

Your thumb doesn’t have to be green.

“Succulents are little secret weapons for people who have aspirations to have live plants, but can’t necessarily nurture that relationship on a daily basis,” says Ambrosetti. “And they last a really long time.” 

If you’re lacking the plant gene, succulents aren’t your only option. For instance, snake plants require little watering, especially during the winter, and can thrive in low-light. Meanwhile, the Insta-famous ZZ plant, boasts succulent roots and is perfectly content in low-light conditions and with little watering. 

If you have the tendency to over or under water your plants, you can also invest in an self-watering system, such as an aqua globe, which gauges when your plant needs to be watered based on the oxygen it releases.

Where can you buy inexpensive plants?

Whole Foods always has great succulents, and surprisingly, they’re inexpensive,” says Ambrosetti. “Otherwise, you can always grab really inexpensive little pots from a dollar store or whatever the local shops are, buy the succulents yourself from your local nursery, and pot them yourself. They’re very inexpensive to do and it’s a fun little do-it-yourself project.”