From the front door to the backyard, each space of your house can benefit from these makeovers. They can mean the difference between stale and sold.


1. Clear the clutter!

BEFORE: This alcove off the living room could be used as a cozy dining area and not just a cluttered passageway. A huge aquarium, dog crate and large TV make the area look like the backroom of a pawn shop instead of a place anyone wants to call home.

AFTER: The aquarium and TV no longer crowd the alcove. Now buyers can see this area as more living space. A new breakfast bar and stools make the space functional, and neutral-colored walls make the area seem more spacious.

2. Let the style and the sun shine in.

BEFORE: This guest bedroom was skimpy on style. The wood paneling darkened the space and made it feel dated, and a hodgepodge of homely furniture made the room feel cramped. Ugly metal blinds make the room seem as bleak as a room in a cheap motel.

AFTER: Neutral paint on the walls, contemporary window treatments and a new furniture arrangement help direct potential buyers’ eyes to the room’s greatest selling point — that sunlit view. New bedding, pillows and accessories put the icing on the staging cake.

3. Small furniture makes a room look bigger.

BEFORE: The dining room was cramped with too-large furniture, and the wallpaper, tablecloth and accessories looked like they belonged in your grandma’s house. Rooms that look small will shrink the value of your home.

AFTER: The new-and-improved dining room now has an open layout. The new, round table and tablecloth make it appear larger and make the room seem to flow. Fresh wall paint, bright new window treatments, a light fixture and accessories put the bang in the room’s yin and yang.

4. Unfinished projects = unsold house.

BEFORE: The lack of doors on the kitchen cabinets make this galley kitchen look cluttered and cramped. The homeowner took the doors off the cabinets because he wanted a loft-apartment feel, but he never finished the shelves.

AFTER: The cabinets have been sanded and painted white to match the shelving, and brushed-nickel handles have been added for a modern touch. A cleanup of clutter and a new light fixture complete the look. A new chandelier and contemporary art pieces in the dining room make the room look as chic as a Chanel suit.

5. Clearly define a room’s function.

BEFORE: What’s a big dining table doing in the living room? Not only is this piece of furniture out of place, it’s also out of scale and makes the room look tiny.

AFTER: The living area functions as it should. With the dining table gone and stools added, the bar can be used. The open floor plan makes the room ideal for entertaining guests and calls attention to the beautiful hardwood floors.

6. Hardwood floors rock.

BEFORE: The apartment-grade carpet is brown and dingy.

AFTER: Ripping out the dirty carpet and refinishing the hardwood floors turns this room from yow to wow.

7. Don’t be afraid of color.

BEFORE: This sterile, colorless bathroom looks like it belongs in a hospital, not someone’s home. The only color in the room is the splatter of paint left on the wall from a failed home improvement project.

AFTER: The coordinating window treatment and shower curtain add texture and color to the room, and new lighting, accessories and fresh paint complete the look.