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Category:  Home Improvement

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6 Eye-Catching Ways to Add Curb Appeal to Your House

By  Julie Lohmeier

The exterior of your home offers a first impression of your house and your style.  Make the most of those initial seconds by maximizing your home's curb appeal. This holds true whether you are selling your home or plan to live in it forever.

1) Clean up. The most important way to enhance your curb appeal is to clean up. Trim or remove overgrown bushes and shrubs. Eliminate all weeds. Cut the lawn. Spartan is better than messy. Repave or reseal your driveway.  Fix anything that is broken. Power wash or paint stained concrete. (There are specially formulated paints for concrete.) And if a concrete stair or pad is sinking, have it raised or replace it.  Make sure your roof is in good condition and that your brick mortar is well tuckpointed and your siding freshly painted.  You wouldn't want to meet people in dirty, torn clothes; don't greet them with the housing equivalent.

2) Landscaping. Simple landscaping can go a long way. Arrange plants, trees, and shrubs in odd number groups using a variety of colors, heights, and textures. Be sure to leave room for growth. I've seen many a landscaping job look great for the first three years, only to be overgrown soon thereafter. If you know about perennials, plant those in a variety to provide blooms throughout the warmer months. If your knowledge of perennials starts and ends with hostas, planting annuals is as an excellent way to add color in spring and summer. 

3) Shutters. I view windows as the eyes of your house. Shutters are a very easy way to make your home more welcoming. There are very few styles of homes that won't benefit from shutters. They should be the height of your window from the sill to the top trim. When shutters were functional instead of decorative, they were to be half the width of the window so the pair would cover the entire window in bad weather. Now, just make sure the width is fairly proportionate to the window, and never less than 12" wide.  Your shutters can be any color but pick a scheme that complements your siding, brick, and trim. My personal favorite is deep hunter green, but black nearly always works. I prefer wooden shutters so you can paint them any color you wish, but if you get vinyl, be sure to replace them if the color begins to fade.

4) Door. If windows are your home's eyes, then the door is the mouth. Make it inviting.  Stained wood doors are most favored now in woods like cherry, mahogany, and even oak. Today you can get simulated wood doors made from fiberglass that look like wood from a distance, are very durable, and much less expensive.  In many ways, I still prefer painted doors because of the endless possibilities of color for accent. You can paint the door the same color as your shutters, but I usually prefer a complementary color, often a shade of red - anywhere from burnt red brick to a deep red that's almost plum. It all depends on your ...

5) Color. A house with curb appeal has color. Several complementary colors. Most paint manufacturers offer groups of colors that work well together. This can give you some good ideas. I personally like to see siding, trim, shutters and doors in different colors. Typically I prefer the trim to be the lightest color with the shutters and doors providing the greatest accent.  However, some houses are stunning when the trim is the most vibrant color. And with a "painted lady" Victorian style home, you can use several different colors all to accent various architectural features of the house.

6) Distinctive mailbox and numbers. Make a statement with your mailbox, especially if it's on your house instead of the curb. These can get a bit pricey, but will really add appeal to your front elevation. Some single nail up address numbers will do the trick, but there are many more options these days. There are ceramic tile. Brass plates. Custom painted ceramic signs with flowers. Engraved stone if your house is stone or brick. When we were selling remodeled homes, our realtor always got us a custom painted ceramic address sign. It incorporated the colors of the house and added a truly charming element when people walked up to the front door. Have your mailbox and address welcome your visitors, not simply tell them this is the right house.

As you can see, there are six easy ways to enhance the curb appeal of your home. The key is to remember that the front of your house is typically the first thing visitors see. Make a good impression with a well maintained, landscaped home offering those little details and coordinating colors that add richness and luxury to your front elevation.

Julie Lohmeier is the veteran of numerous home remodeling and building projects.  From working hands on and doing much of the work herself to hiring contractors and construction managers, she has seen the entire spectrum of home improvement.  She shares her remodeling tips, home decorating ideas, and other various rants at  Sign up for her free email newsletter at:  


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