5 EASY & AFFORDABLE IDEAS TO ADD CURB APPEAL
Improving your home’s curb appeal is a great way to add value, whether it’s financial (for potential buyers/home staging) or emotional (for staying put). And it’s not about doing glorious landscaping with ponds large enough to skinny dip in (although the neighbors would be impressed); it’s about making small changes which, on the whole, create the illusion of a well-maintained, cared for, and modernized property.
1. EXTERIOR UPDATE: PAINT YOUR FRONT DOOR (& GARAGE DOOR)
As mentioned in my 5 Budget-Friendly Home Staging Update Ideas (I’ll link it at the end of this blog post, don’t worry), painting the exterior of your front door is a quick win and the most obvious update idea…
Painting your front door adds personality and style to your home’s exterior without a huge monetary commitment (a quart of paint will do it!). And don’t pick a front door color that YOU love; pick the color that best suits your exterior finishes, including stone, brick, pathway, roof, and siding.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR FRONT DOOR? I’ve got a package for that.
A QUICK EXTERIOR CHECKLIST (MORE IDEAS)
- Add a simple welcome mat. The average home best suits a natural fiber mat without writing (i.e., the mats that say ‘Hello’…hard no). The exceptions are homes with a unique character or location, i.e., a family lake home. If you’re staying in your home (not selling), have seasonal fun with decorative mats.
- Give your worn-out patio or deck a fresh lick of paint or pressure-wash it.
- Don’t forget about your rusty ole mailbox – grab a can of spray paint or find a new one that coordinates with your exterior light fixtures.
- Wipe down your gutters, especially those on the front of your home. This isn’t as vital with dark gutters, but white gutters can look pretty darn nasty (did you know you can paint your gutters? I DID!).
And don’t forget your garage door! Updating it with fresh paint or decorative hardware is a great way to improve curb appeal without breaking the bank. This next exterior shows the garage door at my Mom and Dad’s. They added Home Depot hardware, which cost less than $50!
Affordable garage door hardware sets are available at Home Depot!
2. EXTERIOR UPDATE: YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES
I’ve seen my fair share of moth-infested, rusted, crusty, nasty ole light fixtures. Enough is enough – time to change it up, folks! Did you know Home Depot has a two-pack of exterior light fixtures for under $100? Black metal, clear glass, simple lines – perfect!
Are these the best for a more modern home? No. However, these will do the trick if your home is a bit older and just needs a fresh new perspective.
This is a popular exterior lighting choice as well (By the way, Edison bulbs aren’t trendy in the interior of homes anymore, but are still moderately okay on exteriors)…
Or maybe you’d like this slightly more traditional, slightly Craftsman, but still updated look…
3. EXTERIOR UPDATE: NEW ADDRESS NUMBERS
Rusty old brass numbers won’t do the exterior of your home any favors in the style department. For someone who has never been to your house, the house numbers will be the first thing they look at – whether it’s a friend coming over, a real estate agent, or a prospective buyer, make a good first impression!
Address plates like this don’t suit every home – I usually prefer just numbers
A cheapie but goodie will cost you about $6 per number. Something a bit more fancy schmancy will probably be between $12 – $15 – there’s no need to spend any more than that. If your old numbers were on a diagonal and your paint hasn’t faded, consider placing them vertically or horizontally, which is a more modern application.
Or you can be like me and grab a can of spray paint! I gave my house numbers a cleaning and three fresh coats of black paint – they look brand new (photos TBA)!
4. EXTERIOR UPDATE: REFRESH YOUR LAWN & GARDEN BEDS
Unless you live on a large property with an obscene amount landscaping (mine is definitely borderline), it shouldn’t cost too much to freshen up your garden beds. At $6 a bag (for mulch), you can spend under $50 and get an AMAZING amount of work done. You’re not looking to add a foot to each bed – just looking to freshen up the top surface without mixing it into the old stuff; it usually takes three to five inches to do the job (that’s what she said…).
Just as home decor, accessories, and personal items can clutter the INSIDE of your home, leaves, yard shrapnel, and ragged edges clutter the outside of your home.
DECLUTTER your garden beds, and give your plants some room to breathe!
Leaves: The environmentally friendly choice is to leave leaves on your garden beds and lawn over the winter – this protects your plants and provides a place for bugs and bees to hide. Personally, I have other ways to save the environment. I plant TONS of bee-friendly flowers, but I like my garden beds TIDY!
5. EXTERIOR UPDATE: TRIM YOUR BUSH
Spend a few hours on your shrubs, and you’ll see an immediate improvement in your curb appeal…
This front patio is just BEGGING for a little bistro set!
Trim back overgrown hedges, pull out any plants that aren’t thriving, pull those damned weeds, and do some decluttering, like you would in your house. Find out when the appropriate pruning season is for major trees or shrubs. (The internet is a WONDERFUL thing, isn’t it?)
I love this home’s charm and thoughtful, English garden-style plantings!
By the way don’t be afraid to remove overgrown bushes past their prime – not everything is worth saving! When we bought our home, we had to take out four truckloads of bushes and trees that had lived their best life (we saved TONS, though). Here are a few of them…
California Lilacs have a short lifespan – approx 12-15 years. These were 15 years old and were rotting from the inside out (sadly).
And look at it now…
And using inspiration from the above photo, I’ll share a bonus idea, just for sharts and giggles…
6. EXTERIOR UPDATE: ADD CONCRETE CURB
This idea is a bonus because it’s EXPENSIVE.
Do you struggle to keep your garden beds contained? Are the edges constantly barfing over into your lawn? Do you have clumps of grass growing in your garden beds? I hear you. We had the same struggles, so saved up our scheckles for concrete curbing, which is a HUGE update to our already beautiful yard…
The original homeowners did their best, but it’s a LOT of yard. In the before photo, you’ll see some of the overgrown and dying bushes we removed (some we managed to rehome in other parts of the yard.). It’s nice to see a bit of mulch, giving our new grasses some breathing room. Our lovely dwarf spruce is also a LOT happier not being buried in Barberry (truly, the asshole of the plant world, with its sharp thorns.)
The price of concrete curbing varies, depending on where you live and your local supplier. Where we live, it’s approx. 13sq ft…which adds up fast, but for the hours we’ve spent trying to keep our landscape beds contained, it’s worth its weight in gold! Bender-board is more affordable and is another way to divide outdoor areas in your yard.
In all, whether you save money or blow the budget, I hope these ideas help you enjoy your home’s outdoor spaces a bit more more, or get them read for new potential owners!
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2018, OVERHAULED IN 2023