Looking for ways to spruce up your home without putting yourself in the poorhouse? Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or want to spiff it up for your own enjoyment, here are 10 good strategies for you to consider.

1. Make your kitchen look great

The kitchen is the heart of the home and potential home buyers make a beeline for it, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and is reasonably up-to-date. For a few hundred dollars, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with energy-efficient ones. With a slightly larger budget, give the cabinets a makeover. “Rather than buying new cabinets, re-face the old ones,” says Gwen Moran, co-author of “Build Your Own Home on a Shoestring.” “A contractor will remove doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes and add new doors and drawers. With a coat of paint, your cabinets will look like new.” If you’re handy, you can buy your own replacement cabinet doors and install them yourself.

2. Give appliances a facelift

If your kitchen appliances don’t match, order new doors or face panels for them. When Realtor Nicole Persley was sprucing up her home to sell, the kitchen had a white dishwasher, microwave and wall oven that were stainless steel with black trim. When she called the manufacturer to see about ordering a new, black face panel, the customer service representative clued her in on a big secret: Many dishwasher panels are white on one side and black on the other. “All I had to do was unscrew two screws, slide out the panel and flip it around. Sure enough, it was black on the other side!”

3. Buff up the bath

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. “Even simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are pretty easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference,” says Moran. She suggests replacing an old bathroom floor with easy-to-apply vinyl tiles or a small piece of sheet vinyl. “You may not even need to take up the old floor. You can install the new floor right over the old one,” she says. If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider regrouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.

4. Step up your storage

Old houses are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas you can add do-ityourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets. Firms like ClosetMaid.com allow you to redesign your closets online. You can also get design details and parts for these systems at many home-improvement stores. Most closets can be updated in a weekend or less.

5. Add a room

“If you have a two-bedroom house with a den, the only reason the den can’t be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn’t have a closet,” says Persley. “If you add a closet to that room, you’ve now got a three-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value.”

6. Mind the mechanics

It’s often very worthwhile to hire an electrician and plumber for a couple of hours to look over your electrical services, wrap or fix loose wires, fix any faulty outlets, and check for and fix any water leaks. Those details tell a buyer that someone has really taken care of the home and can really influence its price.

7. Look underfoot

Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colors. If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs. Unless it is truly hideous, most real estate agents don’t suggest replacing wall-to-wall carpeting right before you sell your house. The new homeowners may want to choose their own carpeting after they move in.

8. Let there be light

If you have recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room’s lights with an eye-catching chandelier. If you have a ceiling fan, you can buy replacement fan blades to update the fixture’s look.

9. Reframe your entry

Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-andlock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home. Also, if you’re stuck with a steel front door, Persley suggests painting or faux-finishing it for more eye appeal.

10. Consider curb appeal

Although it sounds obvious, a well mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept walkway makes a great first impression. “What buyers see when they first drive by your home is tremendously important,” says Moran. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider hiring a landscaper to install some new sod, plant a few evergreen shrubs and give your front yard a good cleanup. These kinds of changes can instantly change people’s perception of your home and, therefore, increase its value. And hey, your neighbors will love you for it, too.

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