When you prepare your home for sale, some of the money you plunk down for staging is money well spent. 

But if you're not careful, some other expenses are a waste of your cash. 

Of course you want the best return, so let's look at one of the best staging investments you can make -- a gallon of paint. 

Many of the most affordable DIY painting jobs are quick and easy. Here are two of my favorite painting projects that are especially worth the time and money.  

Furniture refresh

Furniture that looks clean, updated, and coordinated elevates the perceived value of your home.  Whether buyers are looking at your photos online, seeing a video presentation, or actually walking through your home, they will form a positive or negative opinion of your interior based on your furniture. 

Of course, they are considering objective facts like how much square footage you have, how old the appliances are, what the neighborhood looks like, and a host of other considerations, but how your home feels to them subjectively influences their decision just as much. 

If your "case goods" (wood furniture like tables, chairs, bookcases, and bureaus) look mismatched and a bit like they've seen their best days, paint can often rescue them. A gallon of semi-gloss or satin latex paint costs $33-56,  and is more than enough to bring new life to multiple furniture pieces, and at the same time simplify your color scheme. A simple color scheme makes your home look cleaner, bigger, and more intentionally decorated.  

Besides the usual candidates for updating with paint, we DIYers are famous for transforming old media armoires, stacks of assorted hardcover books, lamps, vases, planters, desks, mirror and picture frames, and even microfiber chairs

I've blogged about the common mistakes people make when they paint furniture and shared with you my practical, expert tips for getting a good paint job, advice you won't see anywhere else on the web. 

Aerosol paints that you spray on are certainly handy and quick-drying, but are less forgiving and cost more than paint from a bucket you brush or roll on. A drip or splatter in your spray paint finish is almost impossible to correct, but you'll have better control when you brush paint on. My favorite brand of aerosol paint is Rustoleum, and that clocks in at about nine dollars a can, a price that can easily double or triple for that large bookcase that might need multiple coats. Brushing is also more convenient than spraying, because spraying demands that you ventilate the work area well and protect surrounding surfaces.                               

If you struggle with color choices, make your life easier by going with one color when you paint furniture. White is the default color because it's so versatile and non-offensive. White is happy to play a supporting role instead of stealing the scene when you stage. 

If you paint with white, you can choose a selection of 
 different whites for variety. Photo: Kim Cornelison via BHG


Note: Furniture like this heirloom quality bed, 
shouldn't be painted. Fenton Home Furnishings 

Overhead garage door

A garage is a sure selling feature when you list your home. Many American homes, ranch design and other styles, are designed with a front-facing garage that monopolizes the front facade. Since it's such an important part of your curb appeal, make sure it's clean and not faded. Garage doors that match the color of the home's trim are more likely to blend with rather than dominate a home's facade.

Most people assume that renewing or changing the color of one is difficult, but I've blogged about how easy it is to paint an overhead garage door. You'll use less than a gallon of paint for a single-car garage.  

If your garage door is old and you are marketing your home as a smart home by incorporating the latest technology, consider replacing your current door with a modern version. You'll find ones that include camera systems and other security devices that can alert you to who's inside and when your overhead door was last opened. Some will let you close your door remotely from your smartphone. Most buyers would notice and appreciate these features. 

Handsome and well maintained garage doors play an
important part in making your home look
large and accomodating. Photo:
Vinyl Sash of Michigan

Get the look, get the book

The best improvements you make in your home are the ones that increase its value to most buyers. If you don't have the time or budget to make major upgrades, consider how smaller projects can help. Both these options are examples of how you can increase the listing price of your home.

For more ideas on how to profit when you sell your home, be sure it is staged right inside and out. Yes, you can do it yourself! My eBooks are indispensable guides for all aspects of DIY home staging, from choosing a Realtor to arranging furniture, and everything in between. Get smart about your home's staging! Follow this blog, search the archives here, and be sure to download my home staging eBooks now.