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Getting your home into the best shape of its life is a lot like getting your own body healthy. It takes time and effort, but showing off the hard earned results feels damn good — whether you’re looking to sell your home or not.

It you are looking to sell, consider hiring a professional to help stage your home. “Staging isn’t always cheap — expect to spend a minimum one per cent of your home’s value — but the return on investment can be huge,” says Kate Chapman, an Ontario-based designer. “Ultimately, you’re selling prospective buyers on the new lifestyle your home can provide.”

Not only that, it’s a way to mask the not-so-awesome aspects of your home and really make the positives shine.

“Staging may even help you fall back in love with your own home,” notes Chapman. “You may decide that you don’t want to jump into this crazy real estate market after all.”

But whether you’d like to elevate your space in order to sell or just want to spruce up your digs, here are 16 sneaky staging tricks that’ll take your home from plain Jane to Pinterest-worthy.

The kitchen

1. Declutter all countertops.
Chapman recommends ridding your counters of all objects, including small appliances, spices, etc. Just because you like that electric teapot doesn’t mean anyone else will. “Add a few decorative touches like a vase of fresh flowers or a nice soap basket by the sink,” she suggests.

2. Update your faucet.
A sleek, new sink faucet is a relatively quick and inexpensive fix. And one, says Chapman, that’ll give your kitchen a subtle, but welcome pick-me-up.

3. Swap a dated backsplash.
You may have become blind to that ’80s backsplash, but fresh eyes aren’t. “Go with something classic like a white subway tile, or even just update with a coat of white as tile paint can go a long way,” says Chapman.

4. Update mismatched or tired appliances.
You’d be surprised what a difference matching appliances will make, not only to you, but to potential buyers, too. “You don’t need to rush out and buy a new matching set, but if you have a black fridge, a stainless stove and a white dishwasher, consider looking for secondhand appliances that are all one colour.”

The bathrooms

5. Redo the caulking.
This stuff has a tendency to get discoloured and makes the space feel old and run-down. “If the bathroom has gotten really grungy, consider painting the entire shower/tub (including grout) white,” says Chapman. “You can buy a kit from most big box home improvement shops for around $50.” Bribe your friends with drinks and have a tub-painting party.

6. Clean up countertops and vanity shelves.
We don’t want to see your retainer, and neither do potential buyers. ‘Nuff said.

7. Swap shower curtains.
It’s incredibly inexpensive, yet the impact of a new shower curtain goes a long way. Opt for something neutral. “Adding some fluffy coordinating towels won’t hurt either,” adds Chapman. All great bathrooms have fluffy towels.

In every room

8. Deep. Clean. Everywhere.
This means baseboards, light fixtures and all appliances, both inside and out. “When buyers see a dirty home they assume it has not been taken care of and needs costly renovations,” says Chapman. “Hire a cleaning service if you don’t have the time or desire to tackle this yourself.” It’s worth the investment.

9. Repaint brightly coloured rooms.
When it comes to bright colours, there’s a good chance that the next person won’t share your taste. It’s better to stick with something neutral.

10. Touch up all trim.
This includes baseboards, crown moulding and door trim. “A touch-up coat to these areas will instantly make everything look fresh and clean,” promises Chapman.

11. Take down retro window coverings.
“Nothing says ‘dated’ like a balloon valance!” says Chapman. If that balloon valance still holds a special place in your heart, pack it away for your new abode and swap in some modern lighting covers instead.

12. Depersonalize top to bottom.
Homebuyers want to picture their family living here, so take down your family photos or memorabilia. “Instead, hang a few large neutral art pieces or mirrors in prominent places like over your sofa or in the front hall,” says Chapman.

13. Edit your furniture.
Your living room probably doesn’t need five end tables. Instead, rearrange your furniture to give each room space to breath. “If your furniture is very large and outdated, consider putting it in storage and renting a few key pieces to stage your home,” says Chapman, “such as a neutral sofa, a few accent chairs, a dining set.”

14. Pick an accent colour.
Pick any accent colour that speaks to you and subtlety add it throughout each room to create a cohesive look. This will help all the different rooms flow together.

Don’t forget the exterior

15. Paint the front door.
We keep saying “go neutral,” but here’s where you can pick something bright and playful. Think yellow, violet, red.

A post shared by Bea (@beapopofcolor) on

16. Tend to the garden.
If you really want to impress potential buyers, invest some money into landscaping. Chapman suggests tidying up your flower bed, pulling any weeds and pruning or, at the very least, remove overgrown shrubs and trees.

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