- posted 6.20.2013
- Ashley Bailey
- Home Life
Whoever said "never judge a book by its cover" was not thinking about houses. The exterior of the home is the first thing the eye sees on a property and according to the National Association of Realtors, "forty-nine percent of buying decisions are made from the street." Having curb appeal is not just important for people who are looking to sell their home, but also for those who are planning on staying in their homes for the long haul. Having a well-maintained exterior will give you a sense of pride and also make a house a home.
It's All in the Details
If major renovations are not in your budget or do not fit in your schedule, consider starting small. Mowing your lawn regularly can keep your home looking pristine on the outside. Nothing detracts from a garden like weeds or untrimmed bushes. Pulling weeds regularly will keep your plants looking beautiful, well-groomed, and vibrant. Utilize one of my favorite tools, the weedwacker, to keep your bushes and grass in proper form. Also, don't neglect your driveway. Routinely hosing down your driveway can keep it looking clean and dirt free. Make sure to pay close attention to oil run-off from cars as it stains concrete and stone.
Gardening is a great way to express creativity and to add color to the exterior of a home. The first color you should always consider is green. Adding bushes and trees to a yard is a great way to add symmetry and create a lush look. Make sure you perform some research on the types of plants or trees you are planting to ensure they can survive in the climate you live in, as well as the sunlight, or lack of sunlight, the area has. If you plan on buying plants from a nursery, do the following two things: First, take a picture of your home from the street so you have a complete view of the yard you are working with. Second, sketch (it doesn't have to be a Picasso!) where you potentially want to plant in the yard! The landscape designers at the nursery will be able to tell you if your ideas for the yard will work or give alternative suggestions.
Flowers are the easiest way to add a pop of color and you have many options when it comes to planting them. You can plant them in the ground, or in sitting containers, or hang them from containers. Take caution when planting flowers because some only stay alive seasonally and if they are not properly cared for, they can make your exterior look drab. For more tips on landscaping, visit HGTV.
Your front door serves as the focal point to the home and the human eye is trained to look at that first in any sort of design capacity. A front door is the entry to the home, so make sure it is welcoming!
You have a few different options when it comes to upgrading the standard door. First, you can choose to paint it. When picking out a color, you want to decide if you are looking for an impact color that will stand apart from the house, or one that will blend in. For instance, if your home's exterior is mostly grey, white and black, you may want to pick a vibrant red. If your home's paint color is more neutral in browns, you may want to select a subdued purple or blue hue. Also, make sure to take into account the material of your home's exterior. Brick, wood, stucco and stone textures all take on different characteristics and this may not be cohesive with your color choice. Visit Better Homes and Gardens to help you choose your next front door color.
If you're not ready to change the color of your front door, consider changing the hardware. Although this is a small change, it can make a big impact. Styles in architecture change constantly – the knobs a home builder used 20 years ago may not harmonize with the updates you have made to your home over time. Hardware adds the finishing touches and pulls your home's concept in. For example, if you want your home to look more like a Spanish villa, consider wrought iron-inspired hardware.
Windows are a simple thing to be maintained. Remember, it's all in the details. Making your exterior windows sparkling clean is something that often gets overlooked. Over time windows collect dust and other particles from weather conditions that build up. A simple window cleaner should do the trick but you can always enlist the help of a window cleaning service. If you want to draw attention to your windows, consider hanging planter boxes of flowers from them or add big details like shutters. Stay true to the style of your home; these ideas may not fit the look of the house cohesively!
One thing people forget to consider is what their home looks like in the dark! If you have put work into the exterior of your home, it should show after dark as well. The perfect way to achieve visibility of your home's exterior is to utilize different lighting techniques. Spotlighting is good to highlight certain areas of the front, such as a planter box of flowers. If you're aiming for it just to be decorative, you can look into a chandelier that hangs above the doorway. Lined lights on planters or the walk ways are important to illuminate the proper path. You can also consider putting sporadic lights around the driveway, if a lot of light doesn't reach that area.
Mailboxes tend to take a beating over time by the weather conditions. You can replace the whole mailbox and get one that's a little fancier, or you can simply update it with a fresh coat of paint! If you feel your mailbox is too bland, try planting flowers around its base. Take into consideration that adding flowers is an additional upkeep for you to take on.
If you are looking for a solution that is a little more edgy, consider implementing an art piece to the exterior of your home (before you jump to conclusions, I am not suggesting a garden gnome!).
Depending on the size of your property, you can add a moderately-sized fountain or even a small bench. Smaller additions could be a sundial, bird feeder, or wind chimes. A decorative sign or actual art pieces can add a nice touch as well. Have fun with your additions, but remember simplicity is often better!