Here are six ideas and trends that should get your creative juices flowing:
The Front Door
It has been long advised that the front door—one of the first things a visitor touches—should look well-kept and attractive. The cheapest option is to repaint it. Contrast is good, and some homes benefit from brighter colors. For just a few more dollars, replace old, corroded hardware—knobs, kickplate, etc. For a professional look, and to save yourself some time and clean-up, install the new hardware after painting.
Replacing the entire door might cost you or your client $500 or more, but if you are bored or unhappy with your plain door or if the door will affect the value of the home, peruse the latest new styles.
Light the Way
Some home-building companies scrimp on the porch or entrance-way lighting. If you or your client weren’t involved in the original lighting decisions—or even if you were—over time, glass fixtures become dim from dirt, dead moths or old bulbs.
Cleaning globes and replacing bulbs instantly brings new life to your evening facade. New fixtures are inexpensive and can usually be owner-installed. The options are nearly limitless for affordable and novel ways to illuminate your home’s front porch or portico.
Install Stone Veneer
For many homes, a major transformation from common, run-of-the-mill appearance to a luxury look is achieved with stone veneer. No doubt about it: stone veneer is an up-and-coming trend for home upgrades. Once installed, stone veneer is nearly indistinguishable from full stonework. The key difference is cost and ease of installation.
Stonework speaks to craftsmanship, and veneer gives your home this expensive look for less. Stone veneer also has advantages beyond cosmetic:
- It’s rugged and never needs painting.
- It comes in a wide variety of textures and colors.
- You can use it for an entire house, a single wall or just the skirting.
Refinish Sidewalks and Driveways
Just as the upscale look of stone upgrades exterior walls, stone or brick makes a huge improvement to unsightly cracked concrete walks and drives. Different types and shapes of stone can create a variety of patterns, and hiring a professional installer on a complete tear and replace will save time and your back.
If your property’s asphalt or concrete drive is in good condition, bordering it with brick pavers can add a touch of class. Trims can be a do-it-yourself project requiring minimal skill, effort and cost.
Add Color to Landscaping
You’ll want the lawn and hedges manicured. Go further. Green is great, but dots of color lift your yard to a higher level of beauty. Eyes have come to expect more color and design street-side—and in desirable neighborhoods, and that expectation translates over to the look of your curb.
Again, a tiny expenditure equals a major step up. Bulbs, shrubs, borders, fencing and mulch are all things to consider.
Check Your Mailbox
In many neighborhoods, another first curb-appeal object is literally at the curb: the mailbox. It’s often not seen for what it is: an eyesore. A recent trend is less costly: unique and artsy mailboxes and posts. Visit an arts and crafts show and you may find hand-crafted mailboxes for a reasonable price. At the least, meet a local artist who would enjoy crafting something special for you.
On a street where all the mailboxes look the same — and where the houses also may be cookie-cutter—you can set yours apart. That’s the point of all these improvements. Give your house its own attractive identity—and for less than you might expect.