Curb Appeal is what makes your home feel inviting for first-time visitors. It’s like a little window into your home and family. Do you value your house and your neighbors enough to make it look pretty? Do you want people to feel welcome? Let’s look at how to add curb appeal to your home!

What is Curb Appeal?

Curb Appeal is defined by Wikipedia as the attractiveness of the exterior of a residential or commercial property.

Curb appeal is the first impression others have of your house. It matters and people want to know how to make the most of it!

If you’re selling your home, it’s common knowledge that one of the very first things you should do is improve your home’s exterior

Even if you’re not looking to sell, you can improve your home’s curb appeal for your own enjoyment.

Our Home’s Exterior When We Bought It

Well when I saw our house for the first time, I knew it had great bones. I mean, it’s taupe-grey. There are no permanently weird colors or awkward features (except maybe the lamp post that doesn’t function in the middle of our lawn!).

But I also knew that there were a few updates I wanted to make. Here’s what our to-do list looked like:

  • Paint front doors black
  • Repaint the column (the paint is all weathered and chippy)
  • Touch up the painted door trim
  • Repaint garage man-door (it’s very worn and messy looking)
  • Update the garage door
  • Replace light fixtures on the garage and under the porch (we did this but haven’t taken pics yet)
  • Add a street number sign
  • Reshingle the roof (which we’ve done, but haven’t taken pics of yet)
curb appeal 2018 progress

And here’s what we’ve still got to do five years later:

  • Maybe add shutters on the upstairs two windows
  • Add more landscaping and gardening

How to Add Curb Appeal – 40+ Ways

1. Pressure Wash Walkways, Decking, and Sides of Home

I’m always surprised by how much better things look after a good power-washing. If you don’t have a pressure washer, consider borrowing one from a friend, family member, or neighbor. Or buy one with a friend and share it. 

2. Repaint or Restain the Porch

If your porch has seen better days, clean it up and then repaint or restain it. Be sure to color match any existing trim and finishes for a seamless look.  And use products specifically designed for porches, so that all your hard work will withstand the weather and the elements. 

3. Paint Shutters and Trim

Shutters and trim can also often use refinishing every few years at a minimum. Be sure to color match these as well so that your house looks better and not worse! 

4. Paint the Front Door

You can choose to paint your front doors with a pop of color like yellow, red, or turquoise.  

But our house was just itching for some elegant BLACK front doors and cohesiveness. 

black front doors red berry wreath

As you can see the doors didn’t get changed, instead we simply painted them in Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams (which is the same as the color we painted the interior side of the doors on the entryway side). 

5. Add New Door Hardware

Sometimes DIY projects can feel overwhelming, can’t they? Especially if you’re like me and find power tools to be intimidating (I’m a bit of a klutz!). But there’s one DIY project that is easy enough for anyone to do – changing your door hardware. 

Dollar for dollar, updating your door hardware makes a bigger impact on your home than many other afternoon projects.

Our kids are teenagers. And teenagers tend to lose things, like keys. Who am I kidding? I tend to lose things like keys!

Anyway, given that there are five of us living here with all sorts of schedules and such, we wanted to update our front door hardware to something that not only looked good but something that would also make life easier. This is why we chose the Schlage TouchTM Keyless Touchscreen Deadbolt with coordinating handles and knobs.

black double front doors with black door hardware and red berry wreaths

With Schlage TouchTM no key means there’s nothing to lose, and for would-be intruders, no cylinder to pick.

We can now allow friends and family to get in without a key – simply by entering a code. If we wanted, we could have up to 19 different codes programmed into our deadbolt!

black double front doors with black hardware and red wreaths. opening doors

Of course, as a designer, I like things to coordinate. So, when the deadbolt is changed, the rest of the hardware needs to change too.

For the longest time, we’ve been fans of matte black door hardware for inside and outside our house. It’s such a statement-making choice. And like I mentioned, doing all this is an easy project that anyone can do. When we changed the locks on the front doors, we also changed the handles and knobs to Schlage’s lovely matte collection.

6. Add Front Door Décor

The front door is a great spot for adding a little charm and character to your exterior and welcoming your guests in too. 

  • Hang a wreath
  • Add vinyl script words or saying welcoming people (or discouraging sales and soliciting). We added some fun script lettering to the doors with decals from here (paid affiliate link).

7. Add Porch Curtains

If you like to sit out on your front porch, porch curtains can be practical as well as pretty. They can also add a certain softness to an otherwise boxy and hard space. 

TIP: Keep porch curtains plain and light so that they don’t compete with the outdoor natural surroundings. 

8. Don’t Forget a Doormat

A doormat is another spot to show your personality and add some character to your home’s exterior. 

The recent trend of layering door mats is a lovely way to do this:

  1. Start with a large plain mat or outdoor rug (solid colors work best for this layer). 
  2. Add a medium-sized patterned outdoor rug (plaid or floral are great here). 
  3. Top with a small doormat (consider a welcoming or even cheeky saying, depending on your personality). 
hello welcome

9. Makeover Your Mailbox

Depending on its current condition, either replace or rehab your mailbox. Give an old one a new coat of paint or add a name plaque.

10. Upgrade Your House Numbers

House numbers are essential for helping delivery drivers and (heaven-forbid) emergency services find you. But they can get worn and tired looking very quickly. 

Consider updating to a more stylish version that is also more clear than perhaps your existing numbers are. 

11. Update the Lighting

Exterior lighting is also another easy to swap out double whammy – better lighting is safer and can be more stylish too. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Shop around, scope out sales and update those lights!

12. Put Out Planters

Potted plants can add a lot of beauty and literal life to your front porch and home. 

Porch Planters

Line the steps to your porch with pretty planters. Or flank both sides of your front doors with stunning symmetrical planters for extra curb appeal.

Hanging Planters

Line your porch with hanging planters or simply place a couple of hanging baskets on either side of your garage.

aka design house summer 2015

TIP: Be sure to choose self-watering planters or to keep them well-watered. 

13. Add Some Seating

Front porch seating has a “come and stay awhile” vibe that makes a house look super attractive. 

TIP: Choose seating that fits the scale of your porch –  smaller if you have a small porch and larger-scale if you have a larger porch to avoid things feeling cluttered. 

14. Redo Your Walkway

Do you need a new walkway? Why not create one that is unique and compliments your home’s architecture! Try stamped concrete, mosaic pebbles, flagstone, or wood for something new in your front yard.

15. Install Landscape Lighting

In addition to regular exterior lighting, landscape lighting can elevate your home’s curb appeal. Have professionals install a complete lighting system if you have the budget. Or do it yourself with solar-powered stake lights that you can simply “plop” into place. 

16. Upgrade Railings

If your porch has railings, consider giving them an upgrade with a new paint job or replacing them with more updated versions. 

17. Give the Garage Door a Refresh

Depending on the garage door you have, you can repaint or restain it. Or you can give it another type of upgrade…

We used a couple of kits from Coach House Accents to update the garage doors:

  1. Decor Windows – in Sandstone
  2. Traditional Series Plastic Hinge and Handle Kit – in Black

They are plastic, but they are gorgeous, easy to install, and extremely durable (they’ve been up for five years now and are still good as new).

curb appeal garage detail - updating the garage doors with faux windows and hinges

18. Hide Electrical Fixtures

Meters and electrical fixtures can all contribute to a cluttered, messy look to your home’s exterior. If you hide them by building a small fence or something around them (so they can still be accessed, of course) can hide them or disguise them just enough so they blend in. 

19. Clean Your Gutters

This is more of a home maintenance thing. But full gutters can contribute to a messy-looking exterior if they are overflowing with debris or if they are sending dirty water over the sides because they’re too full. 

20. Replace Gutters and Downspouts

If your gutters and downspouts have seen better days, then consider replacing them with fresh new ones. This will be good for your home, but also your home’s curb appeal. 

21. Add Window Shutters

Window shutters started out as a practical way to protect your windows during inclement weather. But functional or non-functional shutters also look cute on many houses. 

22. Install Window Boxes

Whether you build your own window boxes as we did years ago, or you buy ready-made versions, window boxes can add so much welcoming character to a home.

23. Take Care of Your Lawn

After the long winter, most lawns look a little worse for wear. 

Rake any yard waste that didn’t get taken care of in the fall and bag it. In the spring, it’s best to wait for the ladybugs (and other good bugs) and bunny rabbits to be done their “nesting” period before raking. 

You can add some corn gluten or other weed discouraging product, or simply pull any weeds as they appear. Then fertilize and overseed as needed. 

24. Trim Your Shrubs

If your shrubs and bushes have gotten overgrown, give them a good trim. As I understand, this is best done in the spring or fall and not in the heat of summer’s active growing season. 

25. Remove High-Maintenance Plants, Trees, and Bushes

Not much of a gardener, but maybe you inherited a bunch of high-maintenance plants, trees, and bushes? Perhaps remove them and replace them with lower maintenance, but still lovely to look at options. 

26. Grow a Good Vine

Install a trellis and climbing vines on the outside wall of your home. By summer’s end, you’ll have a gorgeous wall of flowers or leaves! 

TIP: Choose vines that won’t ruin your house’s exterior finish. 

27. Plant a Tree, or Two or Three…

Maybe an old tree died over the winter. Or maybe you just have the perfect place for a tree. Try making it a family event and get your whole family involved in the planting. Our kids even named one of the trees we planted years ago!

hydrangea standard tree new no flowers yet

28. Add or Redo a Flower Bed

Flower beds are the perfect welcoming touch to a front yard. Add a new one or clean up and replant an old one. 

Plant Heirloom Plants

For a unique garden, try planting heirloom varieties such as lavender, moonflowers, and Russian sage. Lavender is especially beautiful and useful in potpourri and soaps. It gives an old-time cottage garden feel to a yard.

Plan for Spring Bulbs

Now is the perfect time to plan for Spring bulbs for next year. Look at your existing gardens and plants and make a plan to incorporate some spring tulips or daffodils.

29. Plant Ground Cover

Want to replace some of your lawn with a low-maintenance alternative? Try low-groundcover plants that look pretty and are easy to maintain. Just be sure to do this in a space that won’t get walked on!

30. Put Down New Mulch

Any garden can use new mulch in the spring to freshen it up. Choose a color that will look best with your home’s exterior. 

31. Edge Gardens and Walkways

By definition, edging plants are those that provide definition to gardens and walkways. They can soften the look of a hard stone walkway especially well. Just be sure to avoid messy plants, such as ones that drop berries!

32. Replace an Old Fence with Boxwoods

Do you have an old fence that needs replacing? Perhaps you could plant a row of boxwood hedges instead to create a living fence?

green lawn with boxwood hedge in front of white home with dormers

33. Add Arbors or Fence Panels

Architectural items like arbors and fence panels can be a lovely addition to the exterior of your home. 

34. Fence in Garbage Cans or Central A/C Units

Much like hiding electrical items outside, fencing in garbage cans and air conditioners provides a nice visual break from the practical bits and pieces. 

35. Consider Outdoor Art or a Water Feature

If you’ve got the space for it, maybe add some outdoor art like a sculpture or a water feature. 

36. Apply Stone Veneer (link to foundation refacing post)

If you live in a home that has a very prominent foundation, you may want to reface it to give it a little oomph. 

We did this on our wee bungalow and it made a big difference in the appearance of the front of the house.

37. Paint the house

If your home is the type that needs repainting from time to time, definitely repaint it. This will not only be good protection from the elements, but it will also clean up the look of your home immensely. 

38. Have the Roof Professionally Cleaned

If your roof is still in decent shape, but looking a little messy, have someone come and clean it. But use experienced professionals so that 

39. Replace the Roof

Of course, this is more about maintenance – no one wants a leaky roof! Trust me! But a new roof can do wonders for your home’s looks too. Be sure to choose roofing that coordinates with the rest of the finishes on your home’s exterior. 

40. Replace Front Doors or Windows

Or all the doors and windows if needed. 

41. Replace Outdated Siding

If you’ve got old worn siding that won’t take paint well, consider replacing it with something a little more modern and more durable. 

42. Reseal or Replace Gravel in Driveway

Driveways get a lot of wear and tear and could benefit from repair a lot sooner than most of us have the time or money to do it. But if you’re looking to improve your home’s curb appeal and maintain your home, resealing or repairing your driveway is key. 

43. Make the Drainage Pretty

If you need drainage in your lawn, make it look pretty by installing a French drain of pretty gravel or rocks.

How will you use these curb appeal ideas for your home this year?