Paint, paint, paint
Whether you paint your front door, your trim or your entire
house, few projects can transform a house as dramatically and
inexpensively as paint. Top-notch paint costs only a few dollars
more per gallon, but it will cover better, go on smoother and
last longer than the cheap stuff—it's a smart investment.
A few rules of thumb: If you want a small house to look
larger, paint it white. If your house is a mishmash of styles or
has sagging soffits or other flaws, paint everything the same
color to help visually unify the house.
Several paint manufacturers market computer software
that allows you to mock up different paint color schemes on
a digital image of your house (or on a house close in style
supplied by the program).
Install new house numbers
Replace shabby or dated-looking numbers with ones made of
brass, aluminum or stainless steel. They'll look best if the finish
matches that of the light fixture and door hardware. You
can buy do-it-yourself address plaque kits from home centers, hardware stores and online retailers.
Upgrade your mailbox
Whether you have a box mounted to the house, a letter slot
next to the door or a freestanding box on a post near the
street, a new mailbox can add a splash of curb appeal. Purchase
an approved mailbox and follow regulations regarding
height; for example, curbside mailboxes must be
mounted so bottoms are 42 to 48 in. above the ground.
And remember, hanging plants and flowers growing
around a mailbox may increase curb appeal, but the bees
and other stinging insects these plants attract aren't
always your mail carrier’s best friend.
Line a walkway with bricks or pavers
Is your concrete walkway in decent—but
boring—shape? Adding color, texture and
width to an existing walkway by lining it with
pavers is a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing
it. Stone, clay and concrete pavers are all good choices. The basic procedure involves
digging a trench one paver wide along the walkway, leveling in a bed of sand or pea
gravel, then setting and tamping pavers so they're flush with the top of the walkway.
Replace a light fixture
Consider function as well as style when selecting a fixture; it should
light up your steps, house numbers and door without being too
dominant. To simplify the project, buy a fixture that has the same
mounting system or screw spacing as the existing fixture.
Make certain the power is off and the new fixture is
rated for exterior use before installing it. Some
sconce-style lights are now available with unobtrusive,
built-in motion detectors.
Plant a tree
Plant a tree and you get not
only curb appeal but also
shade, an improved view
from the inside and fall
color. Before planting,
determine the mature size
of the tree. Plant it far
enough away from the
house so limbs won't overhang
the roof or cause
other problems. A tree
planted in the right place
can help block wind and act
as a mini solar device by
screening out the hot summer sun when it's in full leaf and letting
in welcome winter sunshine when it's leafless. Consider planting
two trees to "frame" the house or entryway. Foundation plantings
are another way to add appeal.
Add low-voltage lighting
improve your home's
nighttime curb appeal,
and by lighting walkways
and dark corners, it can
improve safety and security
as well. Lighting can be
grouped into three basic categories:
and specialty lights. Buy a
transformer that includes a timer or
light sensor so the lights automatically
turn on and off.
can add color, quaint -
ness and depth to
a house. Shutters
with louvers or
raised panels have
a traditional look;
those with decorative
more of a cottage
or country feel.
For an authentic
look, mount wood
shutters using special
and keep them
pinned against the
house with old fashioned
dogs. Shutter clips
are available for "invisibly" mounting
Install a new storm door
Even if your primary door remains the same, a storm door with an
oval window or decorative glass can act as a great cover-up. It can
add security and increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Self-storing units with glass and screen panels that can be
adjusted in tracks according to season are the most convenient.
Those with interchangeable screens and storm panels have a
cleaner, uninterrupted look but require a safe place to store the
Back to Top
Install flower boxes
Few projects add as much charm and color to a house as
flowers in window boxes. These work best when mounted
below double-hung, slide-by or stationary windows—casement
and other swing-out window sashes will decapitate the
flowers. Use a plastic liner to prolong the life of the planter and
simplify fall cleanup.
Easier yet, arrange container gardens in pots and planters
on the front stoop or along the walkway.