We spend so much time inside our houses, it can be easy to forget about the exterior. Most of our home improvement projects concern our indoor spaces, like new kitchen islands, rainfall showerheads, and wall-integrated home audio systems. It’s important to have a comfortable, functional, beautiful home on the inside. But what about the outside?
The exterior of your home is the part other people see, and looks matter. While it’s possible to enjoy an outdated interior space privately, your house’s outward appearance is constantly being scrutinized by neighbors, family, passers-by, and, perhaps most importantly, buyers. With how quickly design and architecture trends move, it’s important to stay on the ball and maintain an attractive facade, especially if you’ve put effort into perfecting your living space. You might find some inspiration here, in our list of 7 exterior home improvement ideas:
1. Get Rid of Those Fake Shutters
In the world of sprawling American single-family homes, there is no more egregious sin than the fake window shutter. The practice of fake shutters began in the 1960s during a boom in construction of low-cost colonial-style homes, rivaling the Cuban missile crisis for Most Terrifying Mistake of the 60s.
Nowadays we enjoy a broad consensus that imitating anything isn’t worth anyone’s time. Toss those fake shutters in the garbage, right next to jeans with fake pockets, and consider replacing them with real, functioning shutters instead.
2. Slap a Fresh Coat of Paint On It
When in doubt, throw some paint on it. Sometimes, all a house needs is a palette swap to bring out its more attractive details. There’s a good chance your house still has its original paint job, and in that case, it’s definitely time for a change.
Warm tans and earth tones are in these days, but some houses simply demand a fresh coat of austere white. If you’re in a more tropical locale, don’t be afraid to go a little crazy; blues and greens will look great among the foliage, as will vivid pastels.
3. Use Dark Accents to Highlight Your Home’s Angles
While you’re painting, think about highlighting your home’s trim with a darker shade. Think of your home as having two primary tones, one for the wall and one for the roof. Roofs are almost always darker, and if you make your window borders and other exterior trim match the roof, it will gather the entire look into something cohesive. It’s not so different from applying mascara!
4. Reinvigorate Your Driveway
Now is probably a good time to say goodbye to that ancient, gray, oil-stained, chipped concrete driveway. It may have looked nice thirty years ago when the house was built, but for the last twenty-nine years, it’s been an eyesore. Instead, why don’t you try building a new driveway out of paver tiles?
Tiles come in all colors, so it’s easy to find something that matches your home. You can even lay your tiles with spaces between them where grass can grow, allowing for better drainage during storms.
5. Replace Your Old Front Door
Let’s talk about that old, beat-up front door. Why do you still have it? Unscrew it from its hinges. Take its measurements. Now discard your old door, and hit the internet, because it’s time for an upgrade. These days, it’s easy to find a sturdy, solid, artful, and stylistically appropriate door to complement any style of home.
And if you really want to make a splash, spring for a real solid core wood door slab – something with a flattering grain, like sustainably sourced mahogany. With the right door supplier, you’ll be able to find the style you want in the dimensions you need to fit your frame, or you can get a prehung door with its own custom frame.
6. Make Your Yard Productive
After fake window shutters, the unproductive yard might be the second-worst thing to ever happen to American homes. There was a time when people’s property was used to grow food; gardens would burst with tomatoes and greens, and fruits would grow ripe on trees.
Your front and back yards could be their own miniature orchards, and just about anyone can start their own garden. While most HOAs and some city codes might prohibit growing food in your front yard, that still leaves the back. Get tilling!
7. Install an Exterior Security System
Nothing says “don’t break my window” like a fleet of security cameras. Well, maybe just a few security cameras will do. Though we should all hope it doesn’t come to that, having your own personal CCTV system might come in handy one day.
It’s now easier than ever to install and manage your own security cameras, and many CCTV systems allow you to monitor your cameras from your mobile phone. You could also go an entirely different route – fake cameras. These will be a bit cheaper and will work just as well as a crime deterrent, but you might not be able to catch that raccoon that keeps raiding your trash cans.