Little things mean a lot!
If you’ve got a free weekend, you can start and finish a small home exterior project—and you’ll be surprised at how impactful a bit of paint, some new plants, or a pristine façade can be. Try one of these mini-improvements and you’re sure to be inspired to do more.
Paint the front door.
First impressions are made at the front door, so a whole new hue will mean a lot. “I've had aesthetically bland listings and simply painting the front doors in bold colors made the homes more interesting and inviting,” says Jean Rosalia of Keller Williams Realty. A fresh coat on the front door will help enhance the exterior, but while you’re at it, jazz up the trim, shutters, porch rails, and patio too. “Not only will it increase your curb appeal, but it will also protect your investment,” Rosalia says.
Bring in a bench.
“If space allows, add a small, decorative bench near your front door,” suggests wellness design consultant Jamie Gold, “This will be a spot to rest packages while you reach for your keys and provide seating for anyone waiting for you to come home.” Benches are available in all types of designs and price points, so you’re sure to find one that complements the home's style and colors.
Let there be nicer lighting.
Lighting will improve the ambiance of your home at night, but stylish new fixtures make things snazzier during the day. If your budget only allows you to get one or two, choose an area where it will get the most attention, such as beside your front door or on the on walkway to your home.
Illuminate the landscape.
You work hard in the garden so why not shine a light on your efforts? Solar-powered illumination is inexpensive and a snap to install—simply pop them into your garden beds where they’ll soak up the sun to light your plantings at night.
Upgrade the door mat.
Function and fashion combine in this humble outdoor accessory, so if yours has seen better days, replace it. “Look for a durable model that will keep dirt outside, hold up to the elements, and create an attractive welcome for household members and visitors alike,” suggests Gold. Or personalize a plain bristly doormat like Lia Griffith did with DIY stencil.
Reseal the driveway
Driveways take a daily beating—and yours looks worse for wear, it will reflect poorly on your home’s exterior. “A fresh coat of blacktop sealer will do wonders for a driveway’s appearance and make you feel like you've got a brand new surface,” says Rosalia. Pro Tip: For concrete driveways, remove any weeds and debris from small cracks, then fill with masonry crack filler.
Pressure wash for a pristine clean.
Everything looks better after a bath! Fortunately, renting a pressure washer costs between $40 and $100 a day, and a DIYer can do the whole house in an afternoon. Be sure to tackle nearby pavement, too. “A good pressure washing will lighten and brighten the surfaces of sidewalks and your driveway,” says Rosalia. “Pressure washing old or stained fencing also makes a huge difference.”
Update the mailbox.
Note to self: Do something about that shabby mailbox! Purchase a pretty one, and don’t forget to replace the post, too. Or DIY with any of the nifty ideas here, all using such salvaged materials as auto parts, computer housing, even an old wine barrel!
Renew your house numbers.
House numbers add an architectural element to your home. Upgrade with something unique from crafty sites like Etsy to have them custom-made. Or tap your own creativity and install basic brass numbers, available at any home improvement store, onto a decorative piece of wood.
Pave the way.
Made of all kinds of attractive hard materials, including cast concrete, clay tile, brick, and cut stone, pavers are the relatively inexpensive secret to an exterior transformation. You may not have the time or the budget to do an entire patio, but a small walkway is a doable project for most homeowners.
Mulch the flowerbeds.
You already know that plants help soften hard edges and bring a natural pop of color to your home’s exterior. Now go the extra mile by pulling the weeds and adding a new layer of mulch. “Fresh mulch in flowerbeds adds a tidy, cared-for look,” Rosalia says.
Count on containers.
Adding containers with seasonal flowers is a fun way to bring bright color to your exterior, without having to commit to caring for a large flowerbed. Containers—which in themselves add a decorative element—are moveable, and you can swap out plants whenever the mood strikes. Check out these ideas to create your own cool planters, from old furniture, housewares, and more!
Give the special gardener in your life a little love this holiday season! Go now to see Bob Vila's best gifts for green thumbs.