With home design shows, blogs, vlogs, and media more popular than ever, you’ve probably heard the term, “curb appeal” thrown around a lot. Though it’s an easy concept to explain, it’s much harder to articulate how exactly it is achieved.
Essentially, curb appeal is the level of physical attractiveness the exterior of your home and property have; though beauty isn’t brick-deep, the general sense of curb appeal is. Think of it as someone standing at the edge of your property and checking-out your house; the style, prettiness, and finish of what they’re looking at is your home’s curb appeal. While the charm things hold for us is subjective, there are some golden rules to establishing a level of panache to your property that will give it widespread appeal.
The colour palette is one of the loudest components to your home’s outward appearance, especially if it’s wrong. It’s hard to condemn a colour choice as being incorrect, but with houses it really is possible. If your shutters, exterior doors, porch, trim, and house colours clash, that’s going to be all that people can really focus on; these don’t all need to be the same colour, by any means, but they should be complimentary and you don’t want them to be all different shades either (a rainbow house sounds fun but good luck selling it!).
When it comes to the colour of these structural elements, usually (but not always), the details should be in one colour and the siding should be in another. It can also be nice to incorporate a third colour, usually a neutral such as white, grey, black or even navy blue, for things like the trim and downspouts. The colours also need to work with your roofing; for example, if you have a reddish roof shingle, fuchsia siding is probably not going to be the right choice.
Your secondary colour can offer a prime opportunity to inject some of your personal taste into your home’s appearance, especially now when a pop of colour is more popular than ever. We’re seeing a steady increase in the demand and appreciation for front doors and shutters in lovely blues, sunny yellows, vibrant turquoises, cheery greens, and cherry reds.
If you’re unsure about what colours work on your house, speak with an in-store paint expert at your local home improvement store. It’s their job to have an understanding of how colour translates from a tiny paint swatch to the entire outside of a house. I also strongly recommend getting a sample of your chosen colour(s) and doing a test on a small area on the back of your house. Lighting, particularly natural light, can greatly affect the way colours appear to us; what looks one way in a store will look completely different painted on your house.
Landscaping will try to hog the spotlight from house colour with great determination. It plays a huge role in setting the tone for how cared-for your property feels. If your yard is tidy and groomed, that impression is reflected onto both you as a homeowner, and onto the interior of your house. Likewise, if your garden is a mess with a weed-ridden lawn, out-of-control vegetation, and other messy features, regardless of how immaculate the house itself is, people will see your home as unkempt.
Yard work is one of those areas where regular maintenance in small doses goes a long way. Have one afternoon or evening every week where you mow, weed, and edge, and your lawn will always look impeccable. Keep your trees, bushes, and hedges trimmed and shaped, otherwise they can easily look overgrown and wild. Flowers are always a lovely touch, but only if you water them properly and keep the beds or pots tidy.
A simple little job that has a surprisingly large impact is keeping your walkways tidy. Always sweep any grass clippings and debris from it after you’re finished your weekly yard work, and keep the grass trimmed and edged around it. Though most visitors never really register a tidy walkway, it sneaks into their overall impression, and an overgrown and dirty one will definitely stay with them.
In general, your driveway should go quite unnoticed; if it is drawing attention to itself, this is usually in a negative way. People observe potholes, cracks, and similar issues very quickly, and it says, especially to potential home buyers, that you don’t look after the very important behind-the-scenes aspects of your house.
Subconsciously, we often translate a run-down driveway as speaking to the status of more important (and costly) elements, such as the furnace or foundation. If you repair any cracks and holes as they arise, you can usually catch them before they become a huge problem requiring your driveway to be resurfaced. Keep grass, weeds, and other vegetation from sprouting up, because once they really get a hold, your driveway will look wild in no time at all, and something about a plant-ridden driveway immediately conveys an abandoned vibe to a property.
Though relatively-superficial exterior details play a significant role in establishing curb appeal, it also runs deeper than that. It’s human nature to make judgements based on outward appearances, and we often do so subconsciously, making it much harder to reverse those impressions. Our minds absorb details and translate them into our overall opinion; “this house looks pretty and cared-for on the outside, so it must be that way inside.” We also apply that unspoken logic to the maintenance and upkeep of structural elements, such as the wiring and plumbing.
If you’re selling your house, potential buyers take this a step further still, deciding if the house is conveying the demeanor they identify with, which in turn influences whether they will make an offer or keep shopping. Most importantly though, your house is a major investment of your time and money, and it’s reflective of you; you and your asset both deserve to have that reflection be a great one.
Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.