Every house makes a statement. From the roof to the front walkway, the exterior shutters to the shrubbery, each aspect of a home’s exterior works together to send a message to people passing by.
Some homes yell, “Wow!” Others just say, “Meh.”
That’s the essence of curb appeal.
What your home says to visitors can make a huge difference when it comes time to sell; in fact, studies have shown that curb appeal can increase the value of a home by an average of 7 percent. At the same time, great curb appeal isn’t just about attracting buyers. It’s about really loving where you live! Your home should speak to you on a deep emotional level, not make you want to shrug.
If you’re looking for a few surefire ways to take your home’s exterior from ordinary to extraordinary, here are five of the most important items for your to-do list.
Establishing a focal point is a tried-and-true tenet of home design, and a home’s entryway is an obvious spot to draw the eye. Your front door should beckon guests, offer a friendly greeting and get them excited about what’s going on inside.
Just think of all the possibilities! Add a pop of bright, bold, contrasting color — red always works wonders — or stick with a tried-and-true classic like white or black. Consider a classic paneled design, or modernize the look with a contemporary style door. Add windows to your door for visual intrigue and a little bit of elegance. Replace a single door with french doors. Pick out some stylish hardware for the perfect finishing touch.
If you make no other improvements to your exterior, simply refreshing your front door can be a huge upgrade resulting in immeasurable curb appeal.
Windows on a house, like eyes on a person, make a huge impression. They’re a vital part of the overall look and feel of the whole “body,” and when it comes to curb appeal, they should never be taken for granted.
Go outside and assess your windows. Is there something about them that isn’t working? Do you need to perform some simple window maintenance, like touching up the paint on the trim? Do you need to replace shutters that are ill-fitted or improperly installed, or swap faded, warped vinyl shutters for more durable composite wood shutters? Do you need to add eye-catching accents, like a window box full of flowers, to liven up a “blah” look?
Address any window-related issues that are cutting into your curb appeal, and you’ll be amazed by the difference!
Color is perhaps the most vital aspect of curb appeal. It’s one of the first things people notice, and it has the power to evoke emotion and inspire the imagination. It sets the tone for the way people experience your home; consequently, the color scheme you choose can make or break the home’s entire look and feel. To “make” it compelling and inviting, rather than dull and lifeless, it’s important to choose colors that really work together.
Take a three-pronged approach to your exterior color palette: choose a dominant color for the exterior itself (the siding), then a second trim color (window and door frames) that complements the dominant color, and finally an accent color (doors, shutters) that brings the whole composition to life.
The trick is to stay true to the style of your home while creating a look that stands out. Don’t be afraid to take a few risks and express some personality; for example, if you have a more neutral dominant color, you can design exterior shutters for a unique, custom accent color for some fun contrast.
That “wow” factor you’ve established on the exterior of your home won’t mean a thing if the view from the curb is blocked by overgrown trees or shrubs. Less is more, in both home and landscape design. An unkempt, untidy or overly busy front yard is a huge turnoff and can greatly detract from the beauty of the home.
Simply trimming the existing vegetation and weeding out excess growth can go a long way toward creating a pleasing and cohesive landscape. Keep your focal points — front door, windows, walkway — clear and give them some space, so that inviting feeling you’ve worked hard to produce can shine through. Add mulch to flower beds, in a color that blends well with your overall design scheme, for a freshly manicured look.
If you want to add greenery by planting, be sure to think ahead and position the plants accordingly. How will trees or bushes look in 10-15 years when they’re fully grown? Are they in a good spot to provide shade and visual interest, without overshadowing the house and everything else around it?
Landscape lighting is another great way to make your home and yard, literally, glow. Start with the home itself and work outward. Use uplighting for key features such as porch columns, garden fountains or trees, and downlighting for outdoor sitting areas and pathways.
Speaking of well-lit pathways…presenting your guests with a direct, clean and inviting route from the curb to the front entrance is another important aspect of curb appeal. They shouldn’t have to trek through grass and mud to find their way to the door!
Dress up your current walkway by fixing any cracks, clearing away any weeds or overgrown foliage, power washing or even replacing an old concrete path with brick or stone. If you don’t have a walkway, explore your hardscaping options and consult with a landscape architect to determine what materials and design plan will work best for the overall look and feel of your home.
Whether you’re planning to sell your house or stay put for the long haul, any of the above projects can help you create a more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing space that you, your guests, your potential buyers and anyone passing by is sure to enjoy!