You’ve likely spent months pouring over every detail of your new construction home, but between cabinet choices, tile selections, and hardware hangups, have you thought about its curb appeal—a.k.a. the aesthetic your home presents to the outside world?
“The opportunity to make your home really unique is out front,” says Mallory Busacker, a real estate agent and director of marketing for BohLand Homes. “When someone asks you about a house in the neighborhood, the first thing you say—even if you’ve been in the house numerous times—is, ‘It’s the one with the gabled roof.’ It’s not only their first impression; it’s what they remember the home by.”
Here, builders, architects, realtors, and landscapers share their top tips for creating that “wow” factor from the outside in.
Consider the style of your home.
When considering curb appeal, start by thinking about the defining characteristics of the style of home you have chosen—think the symmetrical design of a modern farmhouse or the gabled roof and dormers of a salt box. This “will drive curb appeal,” says Buffy Mobroten, a realtor and project manager for Cuddigan Custom Builders. “Whether it’s a Victorian with turrets […] or a small cottage-style home with a flower box under the front window, you start with a design within your budget. Then you look at the roof pitch, the front entry, the windows and trim package, the right mix of materials on the front elevation, and garage placement.”
Install a substantial front door.
“The door and the handle are the handshake of the house,” says Maggie Tarr, principal at Margaret Jane Design Group. From a double French design to a stained-glass accent to an unconventional color, the front door can add a punch of personality to the exterior of your house.
Light the way.
Lighting is a practical installation for safety purposes, but it can also be essential in creating curb appeal. Add sconces that match the home’s style around the exterior for an instant dose of a warm, cozy glow.
Don’t stop at the design of the house—landscaping can also up your curb appeal. “Adding annuals to the front entry provides abundant blooming color,” says Clarissa Cooper, senior landscape designer for DreamScapes Landscaping & Design. “They can be tucked into the border of the existing plant bed, planted in pots and urns, or used in hanging baskets. Arrangements in pots and urns can also be changed out with spring bulbs, summer bloomers, fall mums, and winter greens.”
Add a pop of paint.
A bright door or black window trim can add visual interest, but home professionals agree that you need to proceed with caution when it comes to color. “Don’t feel like you need to add three different colors because that gets to be too trendy,” says Tarr. “You want something that’s classic and looks like it’s always been there.”
Incorporate seasonal accessories.
If you’ve wanted to try a vibrant color, daring design, or bold furniture, but are hesitant to make it permanent, consider bringing in that “wow” factor through interchangeable accessories. “That’s a good opportunity to bring in some eye-catching stuff. You aren’t committed,” says Busacker. “Why not put a big double porch swing out front? You can only be out so often in Minnesota weather, so why not have fun with it?”
Keep up with maintenance.
Creating curb appeal isn’t a one-and-done type of task. It’s important to stay on top of regular maintenance to make sure your home is always putting its best foot forward. Routinely dust off the cobwebs in the front entry, touch up paint, and take care of the landscaping, such as pruning shrubs and clearing debris. “It’s difficult to talk about curb appeal without also talking about the big picture,” says Mobroten. “What do you want your home to look like in 10 years? You have to think long-term.”