By Megan Wild
Never underestimate the value of a pretty face…on your home or a client's home. A curbside facelift is money well-spent, whether prepping to sell your house, increasing its equity value, or just for your own pleasure.
These new ideas and trends should get your creative juices flowing.
Rethink the Front Door
REALTORS® have long advised that the front door—one of the first things a visitor touches—should look well-kept and attractive. The cheapest option is to repaint it, and people are getting more adventurous with color choices for doors. No longer feel bound to match your door to the window and shutter hue. Contrast is good, and some homes benefit from brighter colors.
For just a few more dollars, replace old, corroded hardware—knobs, kickplate, etc. For a professional look, and to save yourself some time and cleanup, install the new hardware after painting.
Replacing the entire door might cost you or your client $500 or more, but if you are bored or unhappy with your plain door, or if the door will affect the value of the home, peruse the latest new styles.
If you really want a big change, consider adding an arched doorway, windows on either side or expanding to a double-door. Ironically, one new trend is to go old and ornate.
Light the Way
Some home-building companies scrimp on the porch or entrance-way lighting. If you or your client weren't involved in the original lighting decisions—or even if you were—over time, glass fixtures become dim from dirt, dead moths or old bulbs.
Cleaning globes and replacing bulbs instantly brings new life to your evening facade. New fixtures are inexpensive and can usually be owner-installed. You will likely be delighted—no pun intended—to discover that advanced lighting technology has gone beyond fluorescent with the introduction of LED bulbs. LEDs provide more lumens with less power, resulting in brighter entryways while saving on electricity.
The options are nearly limitless for affordable and novel ways to illuminate your home's front porch or portico.
Install Stone Veneer
For many homes, a major transformation from a common, run-of-the-mill appearance to a luxury look is achieved with stone veneer. No doubt about it: Stone veneer is an up-and-coming trend for home upgrades. Once installed, stone veneer is nearly indistinguishable from full stonework. The key difference is cost and ease of installation. Stonework speaks to craftsmanship, and veneer gives your home an expensive look for less. Stone veneer also has advantages beyond cosmetic:
- It's rugged and never needs painting.
- It comes in a wide variety of textures and colors.
- You can use it for an entire house, a single wall or just the skirting.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how it sets your home apart from others on your street while increasing its value and marketability.
Refinish Sidewalks and Driveways
Just as the upscale look of stone upgrades exterior walls, stone or brick makes a huge improvement to unsightly cracked concrete walks and drives. Different types and shapes of stone can create a variety of patterns, and hiring a professional installer on a complete tear-and-replace will save time and your back.
If your property's asphalt or concrete drive is in good condition, bordering it with brick pavers can add a touch of class. Trims can be a do-it-yourself project requiring minimal skill, effort and cost.
Add Color to Landscaping
You'll want the lawn and hedges manicured. Go further. Green is great, but dots of color lift your yard to a higher level of beauty.
Over the last decade, most cities have upgraded cosmetics, realizing that public street corners beg for flowers and professional landscaping. Eyes have come to expect more color and design street-side, and in desirable neighborhoods, that expectation translates over to the look of your curb.
Again, a tiny expenditure equals a major step-up. Bulbs, shrubs, borders, fencing and mulch are all things to consider.
Check Your Mailbox
In many neighborhoods, another first curb appeal object is literally at the curb: the mailbox.
Sure, you can spend a pile for a pile of bricks to dress up your mailbox, but a recent trend is less costly: unique and artsy mailboxes and posts. Visit an arts and crafts show and you may find hand-crafted mailboxes for a reasonable price. Meet a local artist who can craft something special for you. If you prefer to do it yourself, concrete footing, a post, wood trim, paint, and, of course, your mailbox, will go far.
On a street where all the mailboxes look the same, and where the houses also may be cookie-cutter, you can set yours apart. That's the point of all these improvements. Give your house its own attractive identity—and for less than you might expect.