Curb appeal. Whether you’re thinking of selling your house or just want to make it more welcoming, it pays to focus on how it looks to the casual observer.
The first step to improve your curb appeal: take a walk. Go across your street and take a few photos of your home from a distance. Print them and keep them handy for reference; printing on paper allows you to mark on a photo with suggestions.
Houzz, a website and online community focused on architecture, interior design, decorating and home improvement, offers several tips for what to do next.
Becky Harris, a Houzz contributor from Atlanta, suggests looking at the obvious — symmetry, scale and size. Is the entryway balanced? Are columns or posts the proper scale for the rest of the house? Are the architecture and details, such as front door and porch lights, all from a similar design era? Are plantings evenly balanced and trimmed so that they enhance, rather than obscure, the entryway?
With this visual image in mind, then take care of the basics. Are the door and adjacent windows or sidelights clean? With a busy family, it’s sometimes necessary to clean the door and entry windows once a week to maintain a sparkling finish.
If repairs are needed, make them. Refinish the porch floor or front deck if needed. Mow the lawn, and replace missing, broken or jostled pavers along the path and garden beds. If the walkway is stone, consider finishing it to restore its luster and protect the stone. If the path or driveway is asphalt, purchase a bucket of crack sealant and patch any cracks.
Once the obvious details are completed, take another look at the picture. What’s missing? What would help make the entry stand out?
Many designers say a fresh coat of paint on the front door is an easy and cheap way to brighten a home. For a door that really pops, pick a coordinating color that contrasts with the rest of the home’s exterior. Red front doors are trendy, but other colors, such as a bright yellow against a brown exterior, or a spring green amid gray siding, can instantly update a home. Not a fan of bright colors? Even a glossy black door, set against a more neutral tone like green, can be striking, says San Francisco-based design writer Jennifer Ott on Houzz. Don’t forget to freshen up the trim and shutters.
Tiffany Bell, a writer at DIY Network, suggests updating your mailbox and installing new house numbers when you’re looking to freshen up your exterior. She suggests matching the house numbers to the finish of your home’s exterior lights to keep a consistent theme. If the exterior lights need updating, now is a good time to do that, too.
Adding fresh mulch and updating plantings in garden beds near the entryway will make your home appear well cared for and provide spots of color and interest. Group planters near an entryway or on steps to soften the hard lines of steps, and change vegetation with the seasons to provide continual interest. Not enough space for garden beds or porch planters? Consider installing window boxes instead.
The list of potential projects may be lengthy, but simply choosing one or two to complete will help improve the curb appeal of a home. Most of the projects mentioned can be done for about $100, so the updates needn’t break your budget.