11 Home Staging Tricks That Don’t Cost a Penny

To maximize a home’s potential market value, many real estate agents recommend hiring a professional stager or investing in fairly major fix-ups. But what if your budget simply doesn’t allow for such pricey measures? Here are a dozen zero-dollar staging strategies, from glamorizing the bathroom to making the kitchen smell ultra-fresh, that will help seal the deal with picky prospective buyers.

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  1. Use Found Florals


    Greenery and flowers instantly freshen a bland room—but you don’t have to spend a fortune at the garden center to benefit from nature's bounty. Instead, take a walk in the woods and gather some sculptural branches to fill an empty corner and provide a focal point for a living room or guest room. You can even collect stems of berries or blossoms to arrange in a large vase on the dining table. Be sure to check your finds thoroughly for insects before bringing them inside.

    Related: 21 Totally Free Ways to Upgrade Your Home


  2. Clear Crowded Crannies


    Here’s a no-cost staging trick that will even help you pocket a few dollars. Sort through your basement, attic, garage, and every closet with the aim of getting rid of 20 to 40 percent of the contents of each space. Sell the discards at a yard sale—you’ll make a bit of cash up front, and your seemingly expansive storage areas will increase the perceived value of your house.

    Related: Let It Go: 14 Things to Trash Without Thinking Twice

    Zillow Digs home in Knightdale, NC

  3. Uncover Hardwood Floors


    Everyone loves a gleaming wood floor, so check beneath that old wall-to-wall. Is there a good-looking planked oak hidden under there, waiting to boost your home’s value? If so, rip out the carpeting and discard it, then give the wood a good cleaning and polishing.

    Related: 7 Unusual Tricks for Your Cleanest Floors Ever


  4. Touch Up Paint


    Even if you don’t invest in a major new paint job, pop the lids on those leftover paint cans, and take a small foam brush to any scuffs or stains on the walls. Fill in any dents or holes, sand, and repaint those spots too.

    Related: 11 Problems You Can Solve with Paint


  5. Sideline the TV


    Does a giant screen dominate your living space? That setup may be great for bingeing on Netflix, but it’s not the most appealing visual for potential buyers. Slide your furnishings toward the room’s center, and arrange the pieces to form a conversation group, with sofas and chairs facing each other. Let the TV play second banana for now.

    Related: 10 Simple Tricks That Make Buyers Love Your Home

    Zillow Digs home in Sacramento, CA

  6. Edit Out Family Photos


    One or two shots on a side table are fine, but don’t let your family pics overrun every wall of the house. Instead, take down most of your framed family photos. Print some pretty landscapes (you can find many online for free) or make copies of favorite works of art, then slide them into the remaining frames.

    Related: 13 Mistakes Not to Make If You Ever Want to Sell Your Home

    Zillow Digs home in San Francisco, CA

  7. Let the Sun Shine In


    No one likes to clean windows, but now’s the time to bite the bullet. Get your wadded newspaper and glass cleaner ready, then wipe those panes until they shine. For even more light, remove any heavy drapes—leave only sheers or use no curtains at all.

    Related: 14 Home Essentials You Never Need to Buy Again

    Zillow Digs home in Minneapolis, MN

  8. Cover Up Old Furniture


    Need to do a quick furniture makeover? Take an inventory of old tablecloths and extra curtains you’ve removed from windows. Toss the smaller ones over any less-than-lovely tables. Tuck larger versions neatly around the cushions of tired armchairs and sofas, then top with a few throws and pillows for a finished look.

    Related: 10 Ways to Give Furniture a Fast Facelift


  9. Style Your Bathrooms


    Neatly fold and stack hand towels, then tie them with sheer ribbon and display them on a countertop or shelf. Hang a pretty beaded necklace or two from a hook, and set out a votive candle. Place a pristine bar of soap in the shower, a full roll of toilet paper in the holder, and some nice scented hand wash next to the sink. Hide toothbrushes, cleaning tools, and anything else that isn’t brand-new.

    Related: 14 Ways to Stop Hating Your Small Bathroom

    Zillow Digs home in Frisco, TX

  10. Swap Out Your Storage Containers


    Treat interested buyers to a calming vista when they peek into storage spaces. Collect large glass jars, then paint their lids white to create a matched set to store crackers, nuts, and the like in your pantry or food cabinet. Consider tracking down some wine boxes, covering them over with white or brown kraft paper, then neatly labeling them to bring eye-pleasing order to closet shelves.

    Related: 14 Instant Fixes for a Total Pantry Makeover


  11. Boil a Lemon


    The old staging trope of baking an apple pie during each showing is a bit hackneyed these days, and scented candles are a mixed bag—some folks despise them. Instead, give your home a natural citrusy aroma by boiling a halved lemon in a stovetop pot of water before every showing. This trick will banish any lingering food or pet smells and lend your home a clean and appealing vibe.

    Related: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh


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