How to Add Curb Appeal: Ideas for Every Budget

Friday, October 25, 2013 9:15:00 AM Categories: Home Decorating Home Improvement Tips Home Maintenance Home Renovation

In this how-to, you'll learn

  • Why "curb appeal" is a growing buzz word in the home improvement and home decor industries.
  • How to improve the appeal of your home at every price point.
  • Tips on how to get started including painting, landscaping and more.
  • How improving the outdoor appeal and look of your home will increase its value.


Curb appeal is a big buzz word these days in the home improvement and home decor industries. In the real estate market, it can be said that curb appeal can mean the difference between a showing and subsequent sale, or a drive by that generates no interest. Curb appeal is also important to the homeowner who is not planning to sell. It improves and maintains the value of a neighborhood, it makes your home welcoming and helps define and project your design personality.

Here are some ideas for adding curb appeal at every price point.

  1. Clean Up! Basic clean up is virtually free, but can go a very long way in making your home more visually appealing. Start by getting rid of clutter on your porch, around your entry and in your yard. Next, sweep down all surfaces and hose them off, wash down any outdoor furniture and wash windows, shutters and outdoor surface. Pull weeds, trim bushes, remove debris and add a fresh layer of mulch in the flower beds. Just this alone will greatly enhance your curb appeal.
  2. adding curb appeal with a painted doorWork Magic with Paint: Paint is cheap but it has HUGE impact. Paint the front door in a color that contrasts with your siding. For example, a red door is very warm and welcoming and the right shade of red looks great on siding colors from gray, to white, tan or blue. Black front doors are also very popular and deep toned wood finishes always add a classic touch. The right house with a boldly painted teal or yellow door can also be very appealing. Don’t stop at the door either. Trim, shutters, furniture, flower pots and metal art are also great candidates for a paint makeover. Even fixtures like hardware and lighting fixtures can be transformed with spray paint. Just give a light sanding to the surface, set up a barrier for overspray and spray in even light strokes that won’t run or drip.
  3. Change your Hardware: There is an incredible array of door hardware options on the market these days. Browse your favorite hardware or home improvement store for hardware in antiqued bronze, nickel, brass, black iron and other finishes that are full of character.  You’ll find classic and contemporary styles as well as period and architecturally appropriate hardware as well. In addition to locksets and door handles, you can also add kick plates, knockers, and decorative hinges.
  4. Say Welcome: Details around the entry area can be simple or elaborate, depending on your budget, space and style. Porch chairs or rockers, a simple bench, potted plants or a gurgling fountain add warmth and interest, drawing people to your door. A small table and area rug can actually turn your porch into living space. More expensive ideas might include a picket fence, entry gates, pergolas or arbors to dress up the entry and create drama. Be sure to scale your ideas to the size and style of the home for the best effect.
  5. All the Trimmings: The right trim and accents can bring out the beauty of your home’s design, regardless of its period and style. You can accent peaks, facades, dormers, alcoves and porches with a variety of trim accents. Eyebrow cornices over the doors and windows, pilasters, moldings, shutters, railings, gingerbread and siding accents are available in a variety of prices and made of low-maintenance materials. These can add drama and interest, especially when finished in a color that accents the main color of your home.
  6. Spotlight the Entry: Outdoor lighting is a beautiful way to add safety and security to your home while playing up its handsome features. Landscape lighting along walkways makes it safer to come and go after dark. Also consider lighting for stairways and porches. Don’t forget to highlight trees and landscaped areas create a finished, cohesive look. Low wattage lighting is most effective for outdoor lighting. Solar lighting is easier to install but does not provide adequate lighting at night especially on dreary days when solar panels don’t get much exposure to the sun.
  7. Create a Safe and Attractive Walkway: Concrete walks that are buckled and cracked not only look unsightly, they can present a tripping hazard and are a potential liability for homeowners. There are many beautiful options to choose from, including stamped concrete, pavers, bricks and natural stone and prices vary depending on the materials chosen and whether you do the job yourself or hire a contractor.  Choose walkway materials and colors that coordinate with the style and colors of your home’s exterior.
  8. flower beds for curb appealDesign a Garden: Adding color with flowers gives a home a warm and welcoming look. Planting beds that are in proportion with the size and height of your home will soften hard angles and vertical lines and also add shade and protection from the wind. Perennial flowering plants, as well as flowering trees and shrubs add seasonal color, interest and texture. Flower pots and urns, window boxes and hanging baskets are an easy method for adding pops of seasonal color. Adding color with plants can range from inexpensive, if you do it yourself, to very expensive if you hire a landscape designer or include hardscaping projects, such as retaining walls or patios.
  9. Replace Windows, Doors and Siding: Old windows and doors and faded, cracked siding make a home look neglected. New siding choices in both vinyl and fiber concrete siding can give it a fresh new look. New windows and doors will update your home, make it easier to maintain and improve energy efficiency.

Where to begin? Drive around area neighborhoods and see what appeals to you and then translate those ideas to fit your own home. You can start with small improvements that fit your time commitment and budget or tackle the larger projects that have an instant and major effect on the look of your home. If any of your projects involve construction – such as new windows or walkways – it is usually best to do those before upgrading landscaping and outdoor lighting since the construction process can impact those features. If you need help with adding curb appeal to your home, contact the professionals at Great Day Improvements.

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