Easy home improvements that’ll instantly boost your home’s curb appeal
Curb appeal has become one of the biggest buzz phrases in housing over the past few years. Homeowners have realized the massive importance that comes from a first impression, whether it’s from a visitor or a potential buyer. When someone comes to your home — or even just passes by on the street — what’s visible from the curb will go a long way toward influencing their overall thoughts about the place where you live.
We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to improve your curb appeal with relative ease. Keep reading and you’ll inevitably spot a few that you could add to your list of projects.
What Goes Into Curb Appeal?
Depending on how visible your home is from your street, many things can affect its curb appeal. Landscaping is probably the most universal one, as virtually every house has some type of greenery around the exterior. Whether you’ve got trees, bushes, flower beds, sand or just a flat lawn, those sights will have a big impact on that first impression. Other commonplace things that greatly affect curb appeal are windows, mailboxes, outdoor furniture, lights, doors and the hardware that’s on them.
Curb Appeal’s Effect On Sales
There’s plenty of data that shows the undeniable impact high curb appeal has on the sale of a home. In slow real estate markets that are loaded with available homes, Realtor Magazine reports that homes with high curb appeal sell for prices up to 14% higher than similar homes with less inviting exteriors. That could be a difference of around $25,000 for homes in the $175,000-$200,000 price range. Meanwhile, attractive landscaping alone can result in a buyer paying as much as 13% more for a home when compared to one with no landscaping, according to Homelight.
Curb Appeal’s Effect On Neighborhoods
It probably doesn’t surprise you that improving your home’s curb appeal can have a positive impact on other houses nearby. In addition to potentially inspiring your neighbors to do some fixing up of their own, it can actually raise the property value of the surrounding homes. Realtor Magazine reports that the appearance of the yards next door to a home that’s on the market can account for a third of the property’s overall premium. So, if you want to be a good neighbor, boost your curb appeal!
Let’s move on and get to our list of easy fixes that can make your home look much more attractive from the street.
Paint The Door
If you ask pretty much any expert about the best ways to raise your curb appeal, the front door will inevitably come up. If you have the budget for it, an entirely new door can be a great investment, but an easier way to elevate your entryway is by painting your existing door. A bold, colorful front door makes for a stunning focal point, especially when the color contrasts nicely with the hue of the home’s exterior. Consumer Reports rated Behr Premium Plus Ultra and Clark+Kensington as the two best door paint options, and each cost less than $40 a gallon.
Install A New Door Handle
While you’re sprucing up your front door, think about replacing the boring handle or knob that it’s had since it rolled out of the factory. A new door handle is an easy, relatively cheap way to breathe new life into your home’s exterior. If you opt for a timeless, brass finish, you can turn your old door into a stunning showpiece for less than $200, according to the DIY experts at This Old House. If high-tech is more your style, you can easily find smart-locking door handles for less than $300, which are sure to impress potential buyers.
Add A Charming Door Knocker
While you’re updating the hardware on your front door, a unique new door knocker can add a real touch of class. A quick online search will reveal an overwhelming number of options, in terms of color, material, style and shape. Whether you opt for a classic brass knocker, a bold lion’s head or something completely different, like an owl- or pineapple-shaped one, a memorable door knocker can really leave an impression. Install a matching kick plate for even more elegance.
Add New House Numbers
While house numbers have traditionally been viewed as a utilitarian piece of decor, they’ve become quite the statement-makers in recent years. There are many ways you can display your house numbers in an attractive way — and virtually endless options in terms of color and material at major home improvement stores. Some of the most popular ways to mount them include vertically on a column or next to the door, horizontally across a window box or mounted planter, over the garage door or mounted on a piece of wood in a way that makes them really stand out.
You can find some beautiful options at Etsy in a wide variety of prices, including these 8-inch modern ones from seller GoHomeNumbers.
Install Window Boxes
This one can end up being an eyesore if it’s not done correctly, but window boxes can bring your home’s exterior to life in a natural way. You can pay around $150 for a new window box made from synthetic materials, or you can make one yourself fairly easily for about $50 using wood. HGTV recommends going the DIY route and painting them to match the trim on your house for a custom-made appearance. The network also recommends using a variety of plant species in your new window boxes and lining the bottom with empty plastic bottles to improve drainage without weighing them down.
Hide Your Trash Cans
Few things ruin a nice home’s curb appeal like a collection of ugly trash cans in plain view. Trash bins are obviously a necessary part of any dwelling, but you can find some creative and attractive ways to hide them yet keep them handy. There are several DIY projects online to hide them in an attractive way, including an inexpensive one from YouTuber NextJeneration, but Wayfair also sells this highly rated outdoor privacy screen that looks natural and keeps your cans hidden for less than $90.
Replace The Outdoor Light Fixtures
This is one that brings homeowners “a great success rate” when it comes time to sell, according to an expert that HGTV consulted. Like the hardware on your door, the outdoor light fixtures are an integral part of your home’s exterior look but are easily taken for granted. You can find outdoor wall sconces that fit any design style, whether you’re after modern minimalism or a retro, Edison bulb-burning look. If you’re performing this fix yourself, it would be smart to shut off the breaker and use a live-wire tester to make sure the wiring is safe to touch.
Pot Some Plants
A few potted plants placed around the entrance to your home can make the whole space more eye-catching and lively. This is especially a good trick for those homes that have boring front yards with no landscaping features to draw a visitor’s gaze. Many experts will recommend at least a pair of potted plants, so you can frame your front door in a symmetrical way. HGTV agrees and recommends urns filled with matching cypress shrubs and various flowers for a dignified look, or a porch planter filled with sunflowers for something more fun.
Plant A Tree
Again, this is a great option for anyone with a front yard that looks dull from the street. Planting a tree or two in a wide open yard is an easy, cost-effective way to inject some character. It can also be seen as a gift to the next owner of your home since trees often take years to reach their full beauty. Before planting, just be sure to look into local regulations about which trees are allowed and avoid stinky ones like the infamous Bradford pear tree!
Light Up The Landscaping
If you already have bushes, a flower bed or other landscaping features, putting some lights on them will take the whole presentation to the next level. There are plenty of affordable options for landscaping lights that will show off your greenery or illuminate the path to your front door. DIY Network says less is more when it comes to landscape lighting, and that path lighting should gently tell people where to go rather than lighting the way for an airplane landing at night. Solar-powered lights are affordable and great for the environment but don’t always offer the same powerful glow that traditional ones do.
Install A New Mailbox
The mailbox is another essential feature of every home that often gets taken for granted in terms of its use as a curb-appeal booster. One way to elevate your mailbox and make it stand out from the neighbors is to install one next to your front door rather than at the curb. If you plan to move your mailbox, contact your local postmaster first to make sure it’s allowed. If you plan to simply upgrade the curbside mailbox with a new, better-looking model, a quick search on Wayfair reveals thousands of options in every style imaginable.
A sexy mailbox will definitely leave an impression on anyone passing by or a potential buyer.
Install A Porch Swing
Who doesn’t love a porch swing? You can find nice ones with great ratings online for less than $200. This is the type of thing you can also check for at antique shops, especially if you’re trying to match the aesthetic of an older house. Make sure to do your measurements — and then do them again — before buying one! If you don’t have room for a wide porch swing, consider a hanging hammock chair, like this affordable one at Amazon, for a welcoming, bohemian vibe that makes a perfect spot for outdoor reading.
Add Or Paint Shutters
On the home improvement page at Reddit, new shutters or a fresh coat of paint on existing ones constantly come up when users are asking for ways to boost their curb appeal. Whether you opt for fake shutters or the real deal, you can find new ones at reasonable prices and in virtually any color you can imagine. There’s no one answer when it comes to picking the right hue, but Southern Living recommends matching the flowers you have in a window box or around the front of your home for maximum charm. If you’re painting existing shutters, Martha Stewart recommends using high-quality outdoor paint and trying black against a white house or pale blue on one that has a red door.
Rent A Pressure Washer
You can pay anywhere from $80-$400 for a pressure washer that will take up space in your garage or shed most of the year, or you can rent one for much less and knock out your outdoor cleaning projects in a day or weekend. Pressure washing your deck, patio, driveway, sidewalk and even your home’s exterior can remove years of grime and quickly improve your curb appeal. Stores like The Home Depot offer rentals for less than $40 a day, and you might even know a neighbor or local Facebook or NextDoor friend who will let you borrow theirs for a weekend if you post about it.
For people whose homes are more than one story tall, Bob Vila recommends hiring professionals to power wash the exterior because it can be dangerous and require some serious scrubbing for best results.
Get Your Roof Cleaned
If you have the extra money, this can be a great investment for improving your curb appeal immediately and restoring life to a dull-looking roof. You can use Home Advisor’s handy online roof cleaning calculator to get a rough estimate on how much it will cost to get yours done, but expect to spend a couple hundred dollars. Power washing the roof is obviously a dangerous job and is not one you should attempt yourself.
Install A Video Doorbell
A high-tech video doorbell might not scream “charming,” but it will likely intrigue any potential buyer and be something that they will be glad not to have to do themselves. With online shopping and meal delivery services being the norm today, it’s nice to be able to see what’s happening outside your front door, even when you aren’t home. Even the most popular brands of video doorbells have options for well under $100 and provide a sense of security that no standard doorbell can offer.
Get A Charming Welcome Mat
This is an easy way to express your personality on the outside of your home! A nice welcome mat can draw the eyes away from anything that isn’t so attractive around your entryway and can immediately put your visitor in a better mood. There are plenty of options that will express everything from whimsy to elegance and you can go with a customizable tile mat for $75 that will allow you to change the message on your mat at will. If you want to go all out, you can even invest in a series of welcome mats that you swap out when the seasons or holidays switch.
Trim The Bushes And Trees
Routine lawn maintenance and landscaping can go a long way to keeping your curb appeal at its best. After all, the freshest paint job and cutest shutters can easily be missed if you’ve got messy tree limbs or overgrown bushes blocking the view. If you don’t know the first thing about pruning a tree or shrub, Lowe’s has a nice online guide that will help you keep your plants in peak condition and improve their beauty.
Do Some Edging
Bob Vila calls unkempt lawns one of the 10 biggest killers of curb appeal, and it’s hard to argue with him. Spraying for weeds is important, especially for those cracks on your driveway or sidewalk where they love to pop up, but keeping the edges trimmed is key to making your yard look immaculate. Get an edger — manual ones sell for less than $40 and highly rated powered ones can be bought for less than $200 — and keep the lines between your lawn and driveway and other borders well defined. “The clean corners will give an overall impression of crispness and cleanliness,” Vila’s website says.
Put Down New Mulch
Replacing the faded mulch around your flower beds or trees can add an immediate boost to your curb appeal. The experts at Pennsylvania’s Treesdale Landscape Company recommend doing that job every spring, when the harsh winter weather has passed. They say you don’t have to remove all the old mulch before putting down a new layer, as long as the whole layer is less than 4 inches from the soil. You should also leave a ring of about 2-3 inches around the base of the plant that is free of mulch to avoid suffocation and promote water penetration.
Add A Birdhouse Or Feeder
Nature-lovers in the market for a new home, or people with little kids, will love this easy addition. Birdhouses come in an endless array of designs that can make them signature accent pieces to your home’s exterior or something that blends into the scenery. Either way, it will attract birds to congregate in your yard, which is a major plus. Hanging a hummingbird feeder is also a nice touch and lets you see these beautiful creatures regularly (and help out these important pollinators). If you opt for a bird bath, just be sure to change the water and clean it out a couple times each week or it will quickly turn into an eyesore.
Paint The Lawn
It might seem like cheating, but lawn painting has become a major business and can boost your curb appeal in a hurry. You can find environmentally safe and nontoxic lawn paint that will turn your damaged grass into a thing of emerald-green beauty. If you check Amazon’s best-sellers in this category, you’ll find an array of top-rated paints that come in a variety of sizes and sell for anywhere from $20-$100. If you have a showing coming up and your lawn is looking weak, this is a great cost-effective option.