Help your house show its best face to the outside world

Renewal: 10 easy tips can add curb appeal

March 9, 2011 

If you looked at the outside of your house as a stranger might, would your eyes glaze over or would they light up with interest?

Curb appeal is a home’s “sex appeal.” It catches the eye and draws you in.

The outside of your home is the first thing to greet visitors and offer an impression of what may be inside. If it fails to inspire from the outset, it lowers expectations for the inside.

Spring, with its glorious weather and spirit of renewal, is a chance to ramp up your home’s curb appeal. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 easiest, low-budget ways to spruce up key elements of your home’s exterior.

1. Landscaping 101. Take inventory of your home’s landscaping. Prune overgrown shrubs, bushes, trees and plants. It’s time to weed beds, add fresh mulch and plant flowers to add the vibrancy of color. Use tall shrubs to accent and frame interesting features of your house and yard.

2. Lawn check. Reviving your lawn’s lush green grass will instantly boost curb appeal. But, even smaller tasks deliver impact. Get rid of weeds sprouting in the sidewalk. Are elements from your yard obstructing the view to your house? Removing a tree that is blocking the view can make just as much of a difference as adding one.

3. Mailbox makeover. A dingy, rusted or beat-up mailbox is cheap to replace and makes a big difference in setting the tone for your house’s exterior. Make sure the style of the mailbox complements the style of your home.

4. Squeaky clean siding. The elements take a toll on a house’s siding, and it may require a power wash to clean stained or dirty siding. Do-it-yourselfers can get on a ladder, sweep away dirt and hose down the walls (or rent a power washer). Or a professional pressure-washing service will probably restore the siding’s original gleam.

5. Perfect for paint. It may be too ambitious and time-consuming to paint the entire exterior of your house, but a new coat of paint on smaller areas can make a dramatic difference. Consider painting the trim or wooden shutters if they’ve gotten chipped or discolored.

6. Pay attention to details. It may seem minor, but little touches like new numbers on a house or a new light above the door improve the overall aesthetic of your home.

7. Spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is not limited to a home’s interior. It’s time to clean out the gutters and wash the windows.

8. Welcoming walkway. Brick or stone can create an elegant walkway leading up to your home.

9. Light it up. Adequate lighting at night is a way to add security, as well as highlight the architectural elements of your home. Landscape lighting or solar fixtures can light a walkway, while porch lights should illuminate the main entrance.

10. Do the door right. The door is an important focal point. If it has become worn, consider refinishing, painting or replacing an old door. New hardware to replace rusted handles or an outdated lock set also makes an impact.

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