Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor
Whether you have a cottage that needs a little TLC or a nondescript colonial you’d love to inject with a bit more personality, deciding on changes to the exterior can be tricky. It’s important not to force a completely unrelated style on your home, but the right exterior enhancements can significantly improve your home’s curb appeal.
1. Add a covered entrance. A bit of cover overhead is welcome when you’re trying to get in the door in a rainstorm, but even more important for our purposes, a covered entrance can do wonders for a home’s curb appeal.
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A small portico topped with a pediment, like the one shown here, works well with colonial-style homes and is enough to add definition to the entrance. Covered porches are a natural fit for cottages and Craftsman homes — if you have the room and the means, consider adding a larger porch that fits with the style of your home.
2. Hang a lantern. Bring depth and definition to a flat facade with the right light fixture. A traditional gas lantern like the one shown here (also available in an electric version) looks right at home on a farmhouse (modern or not), colonial or other traditional-style home. Try nautical-style lanterns on a cottage or Cape Cod–style home.
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3. Change the door. A door of a different style can make a big impact. Consider choosing a new door that incorporates panes of glass, like the one shown here or in the previous photo — the glass lightens up a heavy facade. Search for a door that matches the architectural style of your home but has more detail, a more solid construction or lets in more light than your current door.
4. Hang window boxes with a seamless look. We all know that window boxes are charming. Instead of tacking on any old window boxes, take the time to find some that are well suited to the style of your home, and paint or finish them to match. The extra effort will be well worth it, because when window boxes look seamless, they act like an architectural feature — without costing as much as a renovation.
5. Add a gate. A low masonry or wood fence paired with a wood or metal gate can add presence to your home’s exterior. When accompanied by landscaping in front of and beyond the gate, it draws the eye in, making even a small front yard feel deeper.
6. Plant an arbor. An arbor over the gate is utterly charming, especially when planted with climbing roses or another fragrant plant. Nestle landscape lighting into the plantings around the arbor for a magical effect at night.
7. Redo the driveway. The driveway is a piece of the exterior puzzle that you may not notice — if it’s in great shape. But if your driveway has taken a beating or simply does not match the style of your home, it could be dragging down your home’s curb appeal. Brick, masonry or stained concrete can all make for beautiful, durable driveways.
8. Dress up the garage doors. If your garage doors are easily visible from the street, they should match your home’s architecture as closely as possible. Painting the garage to match the rest of the house and adding lighting in a similar style to that used on the main entrance can make a big difference. For more of an investment, consider replacing the garage doors or adding a pergola over the garage.
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9. Add dormer windows. It can be quite costly (and disruptive) to add dormers, but if this feature is right for your home, it can really boost curb appeal and add natural light to the interior. If you think dormers might be in your home’s future, contact an architect to get the ball rolling.
10. Choose the right roof. Like the driveway, the roof is one of those things that, when it looks right, you may not notice at all — but when it’s wrong, it’s really wrong. If you’re facing the prospect of putting a new roof on your home, the practical must come first, naturally. But once you narrow your options down to a few good ones in your price range, it can be worth it to consult a designer or color expert to help pick the material and hue that will work best with the style and color of your home, as well as the landscape.