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Easy and Inexpensive Design Tips That Will Help Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

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There's no doubt about it: we're in a sellers market. But that doesn't mean you should skip some simple staging tactics that could increase the sale price of your home.

Investing in upgrades to your home can get costly. But I'm discussing some inexpensive updates and staging tips that can help showcase your home and attract more buyers.

Sound good?

Buying or selling your home is one of life's biggest decisions that also has huge financial implications.

If you want to get the most money out of selling your home, small updates truly can make a world of difference.

But you don't have to be a seasoned investor or home flipper to use these tactics.

Anyone can make these small changes that will make your home will feel more open, more inviting, and (most importantly) appeal to more buyers!

Because that's what this is all about. Getting the most out of the investment you already have--your home. To do this, it's a pretty simple equation:

more buyers=more interest=more money

But what are these updates? What if you don't have a lot of money to invest?

If you're asking these questions, read on.

I'm going through the top quick and inexpensive fixes and upgrades you can do to your home to increase the sales price. The design and staging tips will help you sell your home faster and at top dollar.

Plus, they include some of the best easy and quick updates you can do too boost your home's value.

19 Easy and Inexpensive Updates That Can Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

1. Declutter

Decluttering the home is probably the best first step toward selling your home for top dollar.

I know that the "stuff" can build up if it's been awhile, but think of it as an opportunity to get a jump start on packing for the eventual move.

All personal items should be boxed away. This includes photos, diplomas, and any other personal objects.

Having a home that doesn't show who is living in there currently, allows potential buyers to more readily see themselves living there.

It's best if potential buyers can view your home as spacious.

If everywhere including the closets are overflowing with stuff (even neatly organized boxes), they'll think the house won't have room for their stuff either.

If you find you have too much stuff now in boxes, it may be wise to rent a temporary storage unit.

Once stuff is appropriately stashed away, donated or tossed, you'll also be able to see a clearer vision of what areas to tackle next.

2. Move Fido's Belongings

Hey, I love dogs! My dog, Frankie, is my furry child. So I completely understand what an important role our pets play in our lives.

But not all buyers will want to know that a dog, cat or other animal lives there.

In some cases, you may have a potential buyer who is allergic to pet dander.

During house showings, store away all pet toys and hide them away. Remove all pet food and water bowls as well.

If you put everything in a basket and store it away in a cabinet, it will be easy to pull out after the showing is done.

3. Contain the Kid's Chaos

As goes the pet items, so goes the kid's toys.

While you may have a lot of kid items that your child enjoys playing with, the best practice for showing your home is to have those items all contained neatly.

Often times, we have kid areas that sprawl into multiple rooms. Try to group it all in the child's bedroom.

Or, if that isn't possible because their play area is in the living room, delegate one corner that is least noticeable when entering the room.

This will make your space feel family friend and not like a rummaged through toy store on Christmas Eve.

4. Curb Appeal

First impressions matter.

Set the tone for the rest of your home by doing a few upgrades that will having potential buyers saying, "I can't wait to see what's inside!"

Freshly mow the lawn.

Jazz up the exterior with fresh, fragrant flowers.

Power wash the exterior of the house.

Purchase a new welcome door mat.

These are all small ways that can incrementally increase your home's curb appeal.

5. Inviting Entryway

Extend the inviting feeling of the outside of your home into the entryway of the home.

Remove all shoes, coats and any other personal items to create a feeling of order and cleanliness.

You want to make sure there is space for people to remove their own shoes, coats, hats, etc.

Also, the commercials are true: we all go nose blind.

Have a fresh, airy scent for your entry. There's a ton of plug in scents to choose from, but I recommend sticking with natural, light scents like vanilla and crisp linen.

6. Rearrange or Remove Furniture

Can you easily move around the furniture in the room?

If not, either remove excess furniture or rearrange it in a way that allows for movement within the room.

Often we set up furniture in a living room to be around a tv, but try a layout that focuses on highlighting architectural feature like a fireplace.

Set the living room furniture in cozy conversational groups instead of arranging them focused toward a single wall.

These techniques will have the room feel more spacious and highlight features that you want buyers to take notice of.

7. Update Throw Pillows

Look, even I've been guilty of having too many pillows in the past. 😂

But you want to make sure there is room for someone to take a seat and get a feel for the room. Even if they don't actually sit, having a cleared seat makes the room feel more open and inviting.

If your pillows have seen better days (floppy, dated colors, stained, etc.), maybe it's time to update your pillows.

For a small sectional or sofa, I usually recommend no more than two pillows per end.

Feel free to display a throw blanket, as long as it looks like a quality knit décor piece.

8. Add Live Plants

Adding some greenery to your home can really help spruce it up for potential buyers.

We all have a connection to nature, called biophilia. More and more we see people gravitating toward homes that have that inside/outside vibe.

Show that your home can support this natural vibrancy by adding live plants to your décor.

On the flip side, it's also time to take down any artificial plants, flowers or dried flowers.

Although some of those items may have sentimental value to you, it's best to bring in the real deal with live plants for showings.

9. Relaxed and Balanced Bedrooms

Master bedrooms are important to today's buyers.

Especially since a lot of us now work from home, having a space to relax at the end of the day is all that more necessary.

There's a few tips you can use to make the master bedroom feel inviting and balanced.

Remove excess pillows. Yes, I'm mentioning this again, because I don't want you to think the bedroom is any different than the living room! ;)

A few accent pillows like pictured are great, but the entire bed doesn't need to be covered.

Remove all personal items from the end tables such as kindles, eyeglasses, lotions, etc.

Update your bedside lamps to create balance within the space.

Get a white or light colored duvet cover set. White looks clean, crisp, and airy. Agnes’s are the feelings you want a potential buyer to have when they walk in the master.

If you have hardwood flooring, add a patterned rug underneath to ground the bed. It will also make the space appear larger. (Plus, you can use the rug at your next house!)

10. Update Curtains

You may use blackout curtains for sleeping, or have dark curtains in the main living space, but it doesn't help show your home in the best possible light.


You want as much natural light in your home as possible while people tour it.

Update curtains to sheer white linen to create a feeling that is light and airy.

If you are updating the curtains, make sure to have them at the correct height.

Raise the height of the curtain rod to just couple inches below the ceiling. When you do this, the room will appear larger and taller.

11. Things With Sayings

Some people love their little quips posted everywhere in the house. And if that's you, it's okay! Just think about whether them on display for showing your home.

As humans, we naturally gravitate toward reading things. So that "Live, Love, Laugh" sign is going to get a LOT of attention.

But remember, we want buyer's focus on the home's strengths, not your personal items.

You want their focus on features of the house, not your aesthetic. This is why things with sayings should be taken down.

Opt for wall art that has a lot of white space like sketches or minimalist paintings. They will give that open, fluid movement that script writing has, without stealing all of the attention.

12. Area Rugs

An updated area rug can go a long way to making a room feel more modern and clean. Plus, this tip is good for any room in the house!

If you have an area rug that is beyond cleaning and worth saving and you were going to be tossing it anyway, now is the perfect time to get a new rug.

The added bonus here is if you get one that fits the size of the sofa or bed that’s moving with you, chances are you have the right size rug for your next home.

Stick with neutral colors, but feel free to have it in a modern print. An area rug can help "anchor" furniture and actually make rooms feel larger yet cozy.

13. Control the Media Center

I mentioned the layout of the furniture in the living room to not highlight the television, but I want to go one step further because this is a no-to-low cost tip.

Reduce all the electronics to the minimal amount needed. Only have the absolute basics out for television viewing on your media center.

Yes, that might mean you are without surround sound for a little while, but it will improve the look of the room.

Also, if you have lots of cords, get those under control! Tie them using twist ties and spiral them into a basket if you need. Make the media area not seem like a tangled mess.

14. Spa Bathrooms

Get your bathrooms feeling like a visit to the spa with these tips (and without a major renovation!).

Do your best cleaning of all the tiny areas of the bathroom until it sparkles.

Put new towels (white/neutral in color and style) on racks.

On the counter, have hand towels rolled in a basket, put out a single candle, add a plant (see above tip!), and set out a hand soap and apothecary goodies in glass jars.

A new linen (not plastic) shower curtain can make the space feel fresh.

Also, a new bathmat can be helpful, especially if the flooring is outdated. Just don't overdo it on the bathmats. One per counter/sink and one in front of the shower or tub is all that is needed.

15. Organize Closets

Remember me saying if you have too many boxes not to shove them all into the closets?

Yes, it's now time to tackle all the closets! Pair down to what you really need.

If it's Summer, box and store all those bulky winter clothes. Alternatively, if it's Winter, take out all the summer dresses and shoes that you won't be wearing anyway.

Clearing up room in your closets will make potential buyers believe there is room to grow in your home.

16. Create Bookshelf Vignettes

Create more of that feeling of openness in other spaces by clearing out some items on bookshelves or other shelves.

This goes for any bookshelf in the home, whether that's the living room, office or elsewhere.

Mix up the books you have with other items like plants and small décor items to create a styled look (a.k.a. vignette).

Use the rule of three: grouping items in threes creates a generally balanced and pleasing décor look.

17. Update All Electrical Switches and Outlets

I'm not suggesting to update all the electrical wiring in your house because that's not inexpensive or easy, so that's not on this list.

However, updating all the switches and outlets to a more modern style without screws showing, can add a nice modern touch throughout your home.

Plus, switches are a touch-point. Anything that a potential buyer will be touching, you want it to be perfect. And the best option (that isn't expensive) is to replace them all with modern switch plates.

18. Kitchens Made for Cooking

I doubt this is the first time you've heard this, but I'm saying it anyway: kitchens sell homes.

It's so important to make your kitchen shine because it significantly can increase the value of your home.

While you could paint your cabinets, that might be more than what you can invest or have time for. Rather, let's focus on some small changes that can make a big impact.

Deep clean all cabinet surfaces and appliances. Clean out the inside of appliances (especially if they are being sold with the home!).

Update the cabinet hardware to modern pulls or knobs.

Reduce the items out on the counter to: hand wash, a wood or marble cutting board stacked vertically against the backsplash, fresh herbs in ceramic pots, and a fresh fruit bowl.

Remove all countertop appliances. Even the coffee maker! 😲

No, I'm not suggesting you box that up! I'm not cruel! 😂

Just stash that "happy morning generator" away in a cabinet when you are hosting a home showing.

Having a clean and clear kitchen will make it feel open, show off more counterspace and have potential buyers imagining themselves cooking there.

19. Al Fresco Dining

If you have any outdoor area like a deck, patio or sunroom, buyers love seeing a space where they can eat or enjoy being outside. (It's also a great opportunity for biophilic design!)

Creating an al fresco or outdoor dining space can be easy. It can be as simple as a bistro table with two chairs. An umbrella with a couple lounge chairs and side table. Or if you're low on space, a single chair and a drink table will do!

You want to create an outdoor space that looks inviting and usable. Simple outdoor furniture can make a huge difference in highlighting your outdoor space.

Buyers often have a hard time envisioning what to do in empty areas so help them picture using the outdoor space you have for entertaining or relaxing by staging.

Final Thoughts

Well there you have it! The best inexpensive and easy tips to create a home that sells for top dollar.

If you follow these ideas, your home will feel more open, clean and inviting to all the buyers you have coming in.

Remember, you want to highlight your home's strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers.

The goal is to get you the most money possible on the sale of your home so you can invest it in your next home adventure, wherever that may be!

Stay well and be inspired,

Want specific ideas on how to update your home to sell? Book a Designer on Demand Session, and let's get you top dollar!

Amy Farnum, Owner and Lead Designer of Inspired Design Inc

Hi, I'm Amy!

I'm a knowledge seeker, dog parent, nature lover, and a big fan of bubbly water. I'm also the owner of Inspired Design Inc, a biophilic interior design and flooring company in Kansas City. I help homeowners wade through the many decisions needed while renovating their homes, including how to add more natural elements into the space. Let's find the perfect solutions so you can finally be living in the home you've been dreaming of.


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