Friday, November 25, 2011

Ways to Add Curb Appeal

    Create perfect symmetry
    Symmetry is not only pleasing to the eye, it's also the simplest to arrange. Symmetrical compositions of  light fixtures and front-door accents create welcoming entryways. This door is flanked by two sidelights. The black lantern-style sconces not only safely guide visitors to the door, but also coordinate with the black door and urns.

    Replace old hardware
    House numbers, the entry door lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, and an overhead light fixture are all elements that can add style and interest to your home's exterior. If they're out of date or dingy, your home may not be conveying the aesthetic you think it is. These elements add the most appeal when they function collectively, rather than as mix-and-match pieces. Oiled-bronze finishes suit traditional homes, while brushed nickel suits more contemporary ones.

    Dress up the front door
    Your home's front entry is the focal point of its curb appeal. Make a statement by giving your front door a blast of color with paint or by installing a custom wood door. Clean off any dirty spots around the knob, and use metal polish on the door fixtures. Your entry should also reflect the home's interior, so choose a swag or a wreath that reflects your personal style.

    Create an instant garden
    Container gardens add a welcoming feel and colorful appeal to any home exterior -- quickly and affordably. You can buy ready-made containers from garden centers or create your own with your favorite plants. For most landscapes, a staggered, asymmetrical arrangement works best to create a dynamic setting.

    Install window boxes
    Window boxes offer a fast, easy way to bring color and charm to your home exterior. Choose boxes made from copper or iron for a traditional look, or painted wood for a cottage feel. Mix and match flowers and plants to suit your lighting conditions and colour scheme.

    Make a grand entry
    Even with a small budget, there are ways to draw attention to your front door. Molding acts like an architectural eyeliner when applied to the sides and top of the doorway. Notice how the white door casing makes this door pop.

    Add outdoor art 
    Give your yard a little spunk by adding weather-resistant artwork. Choose pieces that complement your home's natural palette and exterior elements. Birdbaths, metal cutouts, sculptures, and wind chimes are good choices for outdoor art. Water sculptures not only function as yard art, but the burbling sounds soothe and make hot days feel cooler. Place fountains on level ground in optimum hearing and sight vantage points. Avoid spots in leaf-dropping range.

    Add shutters or accent trim
    Shutters and trim add a welcoming layer of beauty to your home's exterior. Shutters also control light and ventilation, and provide additional security. Exterior shutters can be made of wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, or fiberglass. New composite materials, such as PVC resins or polyurethane, make trim details durable and low maintenance.

    Add arbors or fence panels
    Arbors, garden gates, and short sections of decorative fence panels will enhance your garden and the value of your home. These amenities can be found in easy-to-build kits or prefab sections you simply connect together. For best results, paint or stain these items with colors already on your house.

    Replace gutters and downspouts
    If your home has an older gutter system, odds are it's also suffering from peeling paint, rust spots, or other problems that can convey a sense of neglect. Replace old systems with newer, snap-fit vinyl gutter systems that go together with few tools and require no painting. Copper systems, while pricier, convey an unmistakable look of quality.

    Tile your doorstep
    Create a permanent welcome mat by tiling or painting a design that contrasts with the porch floor or front stoop. Not only will you not have to worry about replacing the mat when it gets ratty, but you can impress your visitors with your creativity.

    Dress up the driveway 
    If your driveway is cracked or stained or has vegetation sprouting from it, you can upgrade it without doing a complete redo. First repair the cracks and stains (and kill the weeds), then dress it up by staining the concrete or affixing flagstones. If you need more room to move your car or park, add stone, brick, or pavers to the sides of the drive to widen it with flair.

    Build a walkway
    Well-designed walkways make your home feel warm and inviting. For a dramatic improvement to a straight concrete path, replace it with a contoured one made of stone or brick. For a less radical upgrade, apply a colored concrete resurfacer to the old walkway, then edge with brick or stone borders. Brick pavers offer traditional, classic beauty to the landscape of any home.

    Renew paint, siding, and trim
    An exterior facelift (new paint, siding, or trim details) automatically transforms the look of a home. Periodic maintenance of that exterior surface is the surest way to keep your house looking its best. Any obvious defects, such as cracked or rotting material, can downgrade the aesthetic and quickly turn away potential homebuyers. Once defects are repaired, look for ways to add personality with color, trim, or shingles.

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