Easy ways to stage your home for sale
Five hours and less than $50 equal increased sales appeal

(ARA) - You've made the decision to sell your home. But before you put the "for sale" sign in the yard, make sure it's ready to make a good impression on prospective buyers and clearly stands out among the many other homes on the market.

There are many easy and inexpensive ways to clearly differentiate your home so that it appeals to a wide range of buyers ... and in return, yields a fast and profitable sale.

"To begin, purge. Nothing makes a home look smaller than cluttered countertops, cupboards and closets. Plus, buyers want to envision a home with their own possessions - not yours," explains Denise Patterson, Krylon product manager. As you start cleaning, sort items in three categories: donate, sell or keep. Soon, your home will look neater and you may add some cash to your wallet or gain a tax write-off.

Next, consider tackling projects that are easy, fast and inexpensive - but will significantly boost your home's appeal. Magazines are a great source of inspiration, and brands such as Krylon even have Web sites (www.beamoverandshaker.com) that offer practical advice and dozens of projects specifically designed to stage your home for sale.

Some indoor and outdoor projects that are quick, inexpensive and guaranteed to get your home noticed include:

Focal point finishes

Lighting fixtures are the focal point of many rooms - but replacing them can cost hundreds of dollars. With a little elbow grease, $20 and less than two hours, you can update your existing ones with a new, more attractive and popular stainless steel finish.

Directions: Cover your work area with newspaper and disassemble the fixture. Clean the pieces and tape off areas that don't need to be painted. Following the instructions, apply indoor/outdoor primer followed by the new metallic paint. Once dry, remove the tape and reassemble the chandelier.

Cover the smallest details

When sprucing up your home for sale, sometimes it's the small details that can make the biggest impact. Painting dull, dirty or chipped register covers or light switch plates can give any room a quick pick-me-up, in less than an hour.

Directions: Remove register covers or light switch plates and place them on newspaper. Sand the surface lightly and wipe clean. Clean all pieces to remove any built up dust and grime. Following instructions, apply a number of light coats of primer, followed by a couple coats of gloss or metallic spray paint. Once dry, reinstall and enjoy.

Illuminate the exterior

Exterior lighting showcases the beauty of your home, so make sure that your light fixtures are just as attractive. Update faded, rusty or outdated finishes with a fresh new finish for a minimal price and maximum impact.

Directions: Turn off power to the lights and detach the fixture from the house. Remove the light bulb and mask off any parts that should not be painted - including wires. Place the fixture on newspaper and lightly sand. Clean all pieces and wipe dry. Following the directions on the can, spray several light coats of Krylon's Outdoor Spaces Metallic Finish. Make sure to evenly apply paint to the entire fixture. Once paint is completely dry, reattach the parts, reconnect the lightning fixture and turn the power back on.

Freshen up with flowers

The right landscaping and use of plants and flowers can greatly improve your home's curb appeal for prospective buyers. Brightening up your flower boxes is a quick and easy way to add some color to the front of your home in just a few hours.

Directions: Place a clean flower box on newspaper, sand the exterior to create a smooth surface. Apply several light coats of indoor/outdoor primer to help ward off drips. Next, apply a few coats of indoor/outdoor paint in your favorite color. Once dry, the box is ready to display your favorite flowers.