When it comes to home renovations, the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior. A home’s curb appeal, ergo how attractive it looks from the sidewalk, can significantly influence a property’s value. But like all things, curb appeal trends change throughout time. In recent years, for example, the pandemic forced homeowners to re-evaluate outdoor spaces and sustainability has become increasingly important, says Annie Thornton, an outdoor trends expert at Houzz.
“Curb appeal is always in style,” reminds Marc Mayer, the director of technical operations at the TruGreen lawn-care company. Whether it’s prepping a home for sale or making small improvements for personal use, there are many different ways to up the ante on the exterior of your home, like bringing cozy indoor features to outside porches and patios and adding dramatic pops of color to the doors and shutters. Try these five eye-catching trends that home improvement experts recommend to increase your home’s value without breaking the bank.
Photo: LISA MCKELVIE/GETTY IMAGES
Build front-yard seating
Front-yard seating areas, including dining and lounge spaces, have become more popular since the COVID-19 pandemic, and this trend is here to stay. Usable outdoor spaces, even in the front yard, remain popular. Thornton explains that adding a stylish table, hammock, or seating area to a front porch or lawn can maximize the lot’s square footage and add functionality. In urban landscapes, try a decorative bench or a foldable wooden set that blends with brick face. If you’re worried about losing privacy while hosting in front of your home, Mayer says to add hedges or shrubs with a fast growth rate or blooming foliage.
Add dramatic color
Bold is in this year, so don’t be shy. Thornton says using a dramatic color palette is an easy and cost-effective way to enhance curb appeal. Popular colors and details include white siding, black windows and trim, and muted blues, greens, warm tans, or grays with trim and accent colors. “Choosing a colorful front door—perhaps for contrast—remains popular,” she says. But the key do’s and don’ts of doors are about making practical choices for the weather and climate. Choose weather-appropriate paint, and don’t neglect the screen door, if you have one.
Color can also be added by painting fences in seasonal hues. “Annual flowers are a great addition to any outdoor landscape and can add color to dull areas of your yard,” adds Mayer. Even a front-facing garage door could reflect the playful contrasting tones that will make your home stand out, especially in planned communities.
Try permeable walkways and driveways
This year’s heat wave has proven that asphalt attracts heat. And while asphalt and concrete do have a clean and sleek look, they don’t absorb water and aren’t ideal for most changing climates. Mayer says an increasingly popular curb appeal trend is using pavers or stones that allow liquids to penetrate.
This adds some visual interest to what can be an otherwise plain front-of-house fixture, and “creating grass or ground-cover inserts to break up the stone appearance has gained traction over the past two to three years,” Mayer says. Not only does this create a variation in design, but there is an element of functionality too. The water-friendly drainage design of permeable pathways can help the environment and prevent erosion.
Get over grass
Similarly, the days of pining over a classically manicured front lawn are gone. Although still popular, Thornton says that homeowners are rethinking the maintenance and sustainability of classic front lawns. Some homeowners are planting more edible gardens, some are making room for mulch, while others have done away with grass entirely and doubled down on gravel gardens. “Designers are replacing traditional lawns with native or no-mow grasses (including sedges and fescues) that lower water use and provide an attractive, walkable, and wildlife-friendly planted space,” Thornton says.
Grass is old news. Check with your local landscaper to ask what naturally thrives in your region. Try anything from succulents to herb gardens if it makes better use of your space. Landscaping and gardening are fundamental to increasing a home’s value and boosting curb appeal, so whatever you use to replace grass must still be neat and well-kept. “For a two-story home, trees and tall bushes are a good choice,” Mayer says. “For a one-story home, keeping plants trimmed and short will be more appealing to the eye.”
Lighting tends to be an afterthought until someone steals a package off your porch. But new buyers and long-term residents alike can truly appreciate a well-lit and inviting home. This year, take the time to replace light fixtures. “Replacing old light fixtures with new ones is an easy fix that can add personality and a fresh look to your entryway,” Mayer says. Low-cost and motion-sensor lamps can make smart use of light for security and dramatic effect.
Try light additions to the mailbox, walkways, staircases, lawn’s edge, garage entrance, and even under outdoor windowsill boxes. These touches can keep pests out while adding a warm, soft glow, especially on streets with dim streetlights.
If you don’t have the time or money for a complete overhaul, simply keeping the existing exterior clean and up-to-date can go a long way. After all, prospective buyers often judge a book by its cover or a home by its front lawn. If a front yard is untidy, they may bypass the house altogether, assuming the interior is chock-full of similar (or worse) maintenance issues.
Replace any broken, missing, or leaning hardware, like light fixtures, knockers, numbers, doorbells, fences, or railings. If you have siding, schedule a power-wash. Clean gutters regularly so they don’t sag, rust, or fall. Replace broken shutters, stairs, and caulking. Not only can these minor fixes make your home beam with pride, but they can also attract the right buyer at the right time.
Source: Real Simple | By Nafeesah Allen