On REW.ca’s 2015 Essential Home Maintenance Task Calendar, May is all about adding pizzazz to your home’s exterior. So, get those working clothes on, grab a brush, some outdoor paint (or head to your nearest hardware store for your supplies) and get ready to revive your home’s curb appeal. Even if you’re not selling up, it’s important to keep up your home’s exterior so that it doesn’t decay and maintains the neighbourhood aesthetic.
REW spoke to Sarah Gallop, award-winning designer at Sarah Gallop Design Inc., to glean some expert advice on how to spruce up your home’s exterior. She says there are numerous ways to boost your curb appeal without breaking the bank or without taking days and days of work, and was more than happy to provide simple, easy ways to improve the look of your home. It just might require a little elbow grease…
Keep Things Tidy and Trim Year-Round
The easiest, least expensive way to keep your home looking good is keeping things tidy and clean year-round, so that it doesn’t get dishevelled or overgrown. So trim the hedges, edge your grass, tidy up your pathways if they have weeds, add some decorative flower pots, and then maintain it on a regular basis going forward.
A Little Paint Can Go a Long Way
It’s truly amazing what a little paint can accomplish – it can brighten, revive and give new life to your home’s exterior. Take a long look at your house: Is the paint chipping, cracking or simply looking dull and tired? Gallop’s quick to add that painting doesn’t have to mean the whole house; it could be a new front door colour, the trim, shutters or some accents that fit the architectural style of your home.
“I think homeowners often make a mistake in painting just the door slab though, and leaving the jamb and trim in the original colour,” adds Gallop. “The impact is much greater with the whole assembly painted the same colour.”
Light Your Way to an Elegant Entrance
Lighting is a great way to add some impact. This could be in the form of landscape lighting on a pathway or highlighting some trees. It could also be architectural lighting on your home (soffit lighting, new sconces and/or up lighting architectural features).
In addition, if your house has faded house numbers on it, consider replacing them. Depending on your home’s style – traditional, modern, country or other - choose numbers that will suit your décor. Numbers come in stainless steel, brass, aluminum and wood. Design tip: Try to match your new house numbers with the finish on your exterior light fixtures.
Flowers and Plants Add Colour and Beauty
Who doesn’t appreciate Mother Nature’s blooms? Adding planter boxes with lots of gorgeous flowers can add interest quite easily. Planter pots can also add appeal at an entry as they can frame the doorway with foliage which adds beauty and texture.
In addition, water features are a nice addition to entryways as well; your guests can enjoy the bubbling water while waiting to be let in. It’s also often used in good feng shui design.
Improving your Home’s Siding
Combining materials to highlight your home's architectural features are ways to enhance your exterior’s overall look. If you have a heritage home, you can purchase tongue-and-groove planks to draw attention and add character to your entryway.
“This also gives you the opportunity to change colours and highlight different areas,” adds Gallop. “You can also add trim details – brackets, shutters etc or other details that may be applicable to the style of your home.”
Create a More Appealing Garage
Let’s face it; many of our garage doors lack personality or any aesthetic charm whatsoever. We typically think of our garage as simply a place to store our vehicles, bikes and our stuff. Why not replace the garage door with a more attractive option? There are great garage door designs available so an upgrade here has endless possibilities. Be sure to choose something that fits well with the style of your home, says Gallop.
French doors can look great for a garage. Not only do they look more attractive than your traditional garage doors, they also provide plenty of natural light to filter into the space. To create a little privacy for your garage, add blinds or shades that you can easily open and close.
Don’t Forget Your Backyard
There is a multitude of ways to reenergize your backyard oasis. If your outdoor furniture is drab, tired looking or plain old, new furniture will instantaneously refresh your outdoor space. As in the front yard, Gallop says paint or staining the deck surface, and/or power washing and cleaning the patio goes a long way. Again, adding planters with bright colourful flowers always helps. “Creating little ‘destination’ vignettes with seating areas can add a lot of interest, and creates spaces of the yard that can be enjoyed for different purposes and in different times of the day,” she adds.