I get a lot of emails from readers asking for tips and advice on sprucing up their interior spaces or fixing up their thrift store finds, and I’m happy to correspond. One reader posed this question addressing the exterior of her home, so I thought I’d answer it right here !
“Dear Ms. Kate, We just got married and purchased our first home a few months ago. We’re very excited about our new place, but the outside of our house is a tan box and doesn’t look much different than the rest of the cookie cutter houses in our neighborhood. We’re looking for ways to pretty up our front porch and front yard. Could you possibly share some ideas on how we can turn our plain Jane into something special, maybe some weekend DIY projects we could tackle ? Thanks so much for any help. Jenn R. ”
Congratulations to you and your husband Jenn on buying your first home – what an exciting moment ! Welcome to the world of home ownership where you’ll now spend more weekends than you imagined at the local home improvement store !!!
Since my husband and partner-in-DIY happens to be a real estate appraiser with over 20 years experience in valuing homes, I shared Jenn’s inquiry with him. Mr. CG has inspected and appraised thousands of homes, so together we came up with these ideas for eight weekend DIY projects that will instantly add curb appeal to any home.
1. Paint or replace your front door.
It’s amazing how much a pop of color on a front door or a fresh coat of semi-gloss can make your ‘plain Jane’ stand out from the crowd. As long as there are no homeowner’s association restrictions, go right ahead add jazz up your door with a fresh coat of paint. It’s a good idea to prime it first for durability. Be the inspiration for all your neighbors – no doubt, they’ll be painting their front door in no time too !
2. Create a container garden
There’s nothing like fresh greenery and flowers on a front porch to make it come to life. Whether you choose glazed pots, classic terra cotta, hanging baskets, or dramatic urns, go with a container you love that also complements the style of your home.
Always think color, perhaps a complement to your freshly painted door. You’ll be humming ‘Home Sweet Home’ in no time with some outdoor perennials and annuals blooming on your walkway.
Pay a visit to your local nursery or garden center to learn about what grows well in your zone. There are plenty of easy care plantings available that simply require you water them a few times a week, like topiaries or small trees. If you have a proficient green thumb, by all means, impress your neighbors with your skills!
Consider other containers beyond just urns or planters. How about baskets, a painted chair, or an old dresser with plants spilling out of the drawers?
Colorful bins or even buckets make marvelous containers during the growing season.
3. Add a few window boxes
Window boxes are a simple architectural addition to any home that add a ton of curb appeal. They come all shapes, sizes, and many modern versions are self watering.
4. Create a seating area on your porch
What’s more welcoming than a place to kick of your shoes, sit down awhile and have some lemonade on a summer day ? Here’s another opportunity to add some color to your home, with metal or painted furniture and outdoor pillows.
Porch swings are absolutely charming, especially when softened with some favorite fabrics.
Adirondack and rocking chairs add a relaxing country feel.
If you have the space and the budget, splurge on deep seat cushions that may just tempt you to take a nap right there on your porch. You can opt for a neutral cushion or simple stripe, then kick it up a notch with bright citrus colored pillows or softer sea and sky colors with blues and greens. Have fun with patterns, mix it up !
5. Add architectural accents
Painted shutters, upgraded sconces, dramatic address numbers and decorative brackets go a long way to adding value to your home.
6. Upgrade your garage doors
A larger investment for sure, but consider the dramatic difference of a beautiful new garage door. Simply stunning !
7. Invest in good landscaping
Dollar for dollar, an investment in a well landscaped front yard adds value and curb appeal to your home. Your yard design need not be complicated, although if your budget permits, you can consult with a landscape architect to really up the wow factor.
Installing a sprinkler and drip system will go a long way to ensuring your yard receives adequate water. Many regions now require drought resistant front yards, so check with your local ordinances before installing a lush (although gorgeous) front lawn.
Landscaping a yard typically takes more than a weekend, but how about upgrading your planting beds, feeding your lawn, or planting a few new shrubs, perennials, or trees ?
8. Light a path to your door.
If you have steps or an uneven path, lights will help prevent falls and also act as a deterrent to intruders. Low voltage lights add ambiance, cast a welcoming glow, and enhance your landscaping in the evening hours.
And for just a few more ideas, consider painting or refinishing your porch or stoop, painting your gutters, downspouts and trim an accent color, replacing your doorknob, knocker and/or doorbell with a modern finish, upgrading your mailbox, and adding a welcome mat and/or wreath.
So that’s our list of eight weekend projects that will add that extra wow factor to your front facade. Now that the weather has improved, what are you excited to tackle on your homefront ? Is it your yard ? Will you be planting in the upcoming weeks? Are you painting, or adding seasonal and colorful accents?
Tell us how you plan to spruce up your home sweet home !