Top 10 Home Staging and Curb Appeal Ideas, Plus Costs

We’ve seen those remodeling shows where homeowners take sledgehammers to walls, and cabinets crash to the floor.

Here are some tips from the other end of the spectrum, small remodeling ideas that are a big help to sellers. They are simple, creative, DIY… but wait! Before you shake your head: you can have someone do them for you, and you don’t have to be a Creative Type.

Small Ideas: Big Difference

These projects are worth doing, but you decide how much you actually do. If you’re a DIY fan, great. If not, you can still choose the right materials. The trick is to know your house well, and you’re the expert there.

Imaginative Goals

One goal in small remodeling is to give the house a fresh, clean look that shows off its best features. Another is to spark the imaginations of potential buyers. You don’t want them to see the house as your home, but to imagine it as their home. 😉

This means following some tried-and-true rules, but also using your own knowledge of the house to its benefit.

The following simple ideas are inexpensive, and top agents agree they have proven appeal to potential buyers.

Helpful (and Maybe Even Fun) Small Remodels

1. Paint Indoors

Neutral colors are the best choice because they let good features show and present a “blank canvas” to the buyers’ imaginations. You know your warm and cool rooms, those with lots of or little sun, so you can choose warm or cool neutrals to balance those spaces.

Paint is especially helpful in updating kitchens and bathrooms, where “new” walls will take the focus off not-so-new interiors that require big remodels.

Cost: Plan to spend a few hundred dollars on quality paint and supplies if you are tackling this job DIY styles. If you plan to hire a handyman, your cost will be anywhere from $500.00 to a couple of thousand dollars depending on the extent of the work — the number of rooms being painted, and whether or not the removal of old wallpaper is required.

ROI: With the right paint colors for the interior walls and a job well-done, your ROI could be well over 100%. A nice facelift for you house and a more attractive, clean and modern look is what you get. If selling your house is the goal, then this is surely an important part of getting your home ready for sale. 😉

2. Paint Outdoors

A freshly painted front door says “Welcome!” with personality. Painting window trim freshens the first impression, but also lets you accent the windows on your home, or not. Having outdoor accent paint complement a flowering tree or your main garden color can be a charming touch.

Cost: To hire a handyman to repaint the exterior trim can cost anywhere from $500.00 to $2,000 depending on the extent of the work.

ROI: Getting your front door and window trim painted and exterior powerwashed not only welcomes buyers, it gets you money back when you sell your house.

3. Rearrange Furniture for better staging

Its placement likely reflects how you live, so rearrange furniture to minimize your presence and let the house’s qualities “speak up.” If you have a fireplace, arrange suggest a cozy evening. Aim seating towards a gorgeous view out a picture window when things are in bloom. Ask buyers to imagine a quiet reading area, or a sunny kitchen spot as a place for breakfast.

Buyers need to be able to picture the use for every single room, and you can create that use in the way you lay out your furniture. If you don’t lay out the furniture in a cohesive way, buyers could think that your floor plan has a bad flow or that it has too much unusable space.

Cost: Free if you do it yourself, or a couple hundred dollars to get a professional advice from an experienced interior designer or home staging company.

ROI: With the right house and proper furniture and lighting arrangement, you can make the whole home sale process easier, shorter, and more enjoyable.

4. Pay Attention to Small Details in the Kitchen

Speaking of kitchens (and bathrooms), buyers focus there, so details count. Choose new cabinet handles and drawer pulls, to give a uniform “look.” Hardware can be “country,” or “industrial,” etc., and can give a new feel to an older room. These small details cost pennies to fix (only $2.00-$5.00 per drawer pull), yet they give your space an instant facelift. Old hardware makes a space look dated, where new hardware makes buyers think it’s newer, and thus worth more, than it actually is.

You can make small scale changes in the kitchen that have a big impact, too. According to Consumer Reports, a kitchen renovation for as low as $300 could make you 3% more on your home sale. Spending that cash on drawer pulls and getting your cabinets/walls repainted will make the biggest impact.

5. Update Lighting Fixtures

New kitchen lighting can be inexpensive pendants that give a warm, inviting light. Let your kitchen’s style and natural daylight direct your choices. You know where and how much light is needed in the bathroom zones, too.

Cost: A dark home is not going to attract buyers, especially those who crave a light, bright space. You can get a beautiful kitchen chandelier for under $200.00. This affordable update transforms the entire look of your home.

ROI: In a study done by the National Association of Realtors, 96% of agents said that a home that is not decorated in a way the buyer likes directly impacts its value. Lighting falls into this category. A potential and realistically-attainable increase of up 10% in the home sale price is what’s at stake for the right property. 😉

6. Accentuate Your Home’s Best Features

Even if you hire a stager, you can contribute knowledge of house and location to the right decorative flair. If a woodsy view or flowering bushes are a great feature of the view, collect some sculptural branches or blooms for a vase, which adds beauty and emphasizes the asset. A glass jar of apples or citrus fruit, depending on what grows near you, brings that homey pop of color.

The same National Association of Realtors study found that 49% of real estate agents believe that a staged home positively impacts buyers. Go the extra mile and use home staging as an opportunity to tie your decor to the best features of your home.

7. Create Focus Areas

Attractive coffee table over glass tiles

For other rooms, similar little focus areas are great. An attractive tray on the coffee table can hold pine cones, shells, treasures from the local antiques market: these are personality-neutral, but connect the home to its setting.

8. Groom the Grass

Adding seed to fill in your lawn actually gets you a 317% return on your investment! Not only is this a cost-effective fix, it make your home welcoming to buyers and will look amazing in online photos. That’s a ton more change in your pocket!

9. Take Care of the Floors

Old carpets can create odor that turns buyers off. Worn hardwood floors make the house feel dated. Get a professional in to shampoo your carpets as soon as possible to eliminate odor and get buyers in the door! If you have hardwood, resurfacing or replacing will get you 0% extra cash, but will make a great impression on buyers and makes the space feel newer overall.

10. Pump Up the Curb Appeal

Small curb appeal ideas make a big first impression. Trim shrubs, and add some plants and flowers. Natives will grow better and cost less to maintain over time. You can group potted flowers or plants along steps, flanking the front door, or in a paved area. Coordinate with or complement your house color, your trim color, your neighborhood’s garden palette, or all of the above.

ROI: Curb appeal updates have the biggest return on investment out of any other remodeling projects according to the National Association of Realtors. Upping your curb appeal could total a 12% increase in your home’s value!

Getting Worthwhile Results

You can hire pros to get the job done or go the DIY, but choosing the upgrades you make wisely is a must! It can be useful, creative and fun to look at your home with “new eyes,” with the buyers’ eyes, and go from there. It not only helps you when you sell your home, but encourages the next owners to imagine the house as their own.