Small projects that pay off big

Make your home more appealing to buyers (and yourself) with these easy indoor upgrades you can do on your own.

Paint the cabinets
The Kitchen
Paint the cabinets
Do-it-yourself: $135 for tools and paint supplies; $5 and up per knob
What you'd pay a pro: $1,200, refacing; $5,000, replacing
Skill level: 2/4
Time: 2 days
"You'll make or break your sale in the kitchen," says Sid Davis, author of Home Makeovers That Sell. "It's the first room people head to when they look at a home, and if it doesn't meet their expectations, forget it."

DO THIS IF... You're selling soon. You won't recoup the cost of fully replacing shabby cabinets with new ones (that's $5,000 and up). Refacing them is harder and costly too ($1,000-plus). A coat of paint, on the other hand, can cheaply do a lot to spiff up what you have, even if it's a bit of a cosmetic fix. "Over the long run, it'll chip and wear," cautions contractor Berlin. But hey, that's someone else's problem.

PAYOFF "If buyers like your kitchen, they will go through the rest of the home," says Davis.

WHAT SELLS A HOUSE BEST Neutral colors like white or brown, suggests Berlin

YOU NEED Drill, bits, tarp, sandpaper, primer, oil-based or latex acrylic paint or stain, paintbrushes (avoid rollers because they can add unwanted texture) and knobs

THE BASIC JOB On the first day, you'll remove the cabinets, sand them and apply primer. Wake up the next morning and paint or stain. Add fresh hardware to make them look brand new.

WHERE TO FIND DIRECTIONS doityourself.com/stry/paintcabinets

Tile

Cabinets

Bookshelves

Overhead fixture

Shower doors
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.