You're standing on the curb (or driving by, or walking past) and you look at a house near you and think, "That house is so beautiful! I wish I lived there." That, my friends, is curb appeal. Technically speaking, it's the level of attractiveness of your home and property as seen from the exterior.
Why is it so important? For a number of reasons. For starters, curb appeal plays a major role in the resale value of your house. The exterior is a potential buyer's first introduction to their new potential home-- if it looks cared-for and inviting, they're going to be way more receptive to the idea that their house-hunt is over.
Many of the elements of a home's exterior that contribute to curb appeal also have practical applications as well. For example, new windows usually offer a significant visual upgrade, however they also increase insulation (keeping the summer sun from turning your house into an oven and the cold winter from making it into a fridge) and improve security (a hardy new window is way less appealing and harder to break into than an old, tired one).
One of the best things about attending to the curb appeal of your home is the simple fact that it feels great to take pride in your property. A house is the largest financial investment many of us will ever make-- we work hard to earn it, and it's definitely worth a little TLC to ensure that it reflects our personal style. Who doesn't enjoy having people gush over how lovely their home is?
Not sure what to tackle on your home improvement list to kick up the curb appeal? Take a walk all around your property with a pen and notepad. Look at it from the street. What jumps out at you as attractive, and what maybe needs a little makeover? Don't be afraid to check out ideas online and around your neighbourhood. It's hard to know what you like on a home's exterior unless you see it somewhere.
Consider the following. Do you want your home to blend into the streetscape? Or would you prefer that it stand out? Determining the answer is a good starting point for selecting colours and finishes that will present the face of your home. Keep in mind that trends come and go – if you don't want to renew your curb appeal every few years, consider sticking with classic colours and design elements in the major features, and incorporate trends into the smaller pieces such as urns and planters, house numbers and entrance mats.
Larger elements of your home's curb appeal include the roof, driveway, siding, and lawn. A sound roof is one of the best returns on investment you can make. It influences your home's insulation (in a very big way!), it protects all your beloved home's contents (including family members), and it's a big part of the visual picture. If your roof is tired, invest in a new one. There are some excellent payment plans now available to make a new roof affordable, and in the long run you'll save major money, not to mention that if and when you go to sell your home, a new roof increases the asking price of a property in a pleasing way.
Regular minimal maintenance will keep your driveway and lawn looking groomed, which then gives your property a similar air of being well looked-after.
For siding, there are so many different options now available that you'll have no trouble finding exactly what you want. Each type of siding comes with its own required maintenance, but as long as you keep on top of it, it's never going to be a major project.
People often forget that it's the details which really finish a look. Your front door, the walkway leading up to it, your window shutters, your mailbox, the flower beds or potted plants, your house numbers, the exterior trim-- all of these things play a surprisingly big role in the overall impression of your home. A quality front entrance is a good investment for your own benefit, but also when selling your home.
Remember the finishing touches, such as kick plates, door knockers and stylish door hardware when adding a new entrance to your home. A potential buyer's opinion of the overall caliber of a property is largely influenced by details like that, because if the seller has invested in these types of characteristics, they've also put thought and care into the larger parts of a home, like the furnace or roof.
Your walkway brings people to your home; it's like your property's handshake. Little things like ensuring there are no weeds growing in and around it, keeping it clear of debris, adding some nice flowers or plants along it, perhaps some pretty solar lighting, and similar such easy-to-do tasks will keep it looking fresh, stylish, and welcoming. Mulching walkway beds is a simple way to ensure you won't be spending a lot of time weeding – and it adds a well-groomed, professionally finished look to your property.
If you want to increase your home's curb appeal but you're working on a tight budget, consider painting the shutters and/or trim of your house. This simple DIY project won't take a lot of time or money, but you'll be shocked at what a fresh coat of paint can do to the overall attractiveness of your home's exterior. A popular trend among home designers right now is painting the house numbers in a bright colour to match or complement the front door and/or shutters. Adding some outdoor décor, like a wreath or hanging art to your door, and a chair with some colourful cushions, a pot of bright flowers and a stylish exterior entrance mat, will also win major style points.
You should be proud to come home to your house-- a little care and elbow grease will ensure that you always are.
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.