We’ve all walked or driven past those homes that just call to us like sirens. Sometimes the call is strong enough that we actually dream of living there. At the very least we want to be invited inside and meet the people who surely must be as charming or elegant as their home.
Maybe it’s the perfect splash of robin’s egg blue paint on the front door. Or it might be the overflowing planters that hang like jewelry from the windows. If you are passing by at night, it could be the inviting landscape lighting that turns each tree into a work of art.
Chances are, it’s multiple layers such as this that give a particular home a more welcoming vibe than its neighbors. We invite you to take a step out to your own curb, turn around and face your home and see which of these ideas might work to make it more inviting—or if you are considering selling anytime soon—more marketable.
1 Seating on the front porch, perhaps in the form of two rockers or a swing is a great way to add to the inviting feel of your home. Plus it encourages you to engage with neighbors and the activity on your street. If you don’t have a porch— or even if you do—a bench placed farther out in the yard or along the driveway is another great option.
2 Whether it’s a cluster of ceramic pots at your front door, or copper window boxes framing your windows, containers full of your favorite flowers and greenery offer a serious amount of charm and color. Mix and match your selections to suit your lighting conditions and color scheme.
3 Start right at the curb with your mailbox. If your mailbox door won’t stay closed or the post is tilting like the Tower of Pisa, it might be time to replace it with a new version. A bed of drought tolerant flowers around the base or a climbing clematis begin the charm streetside.
4 Clean is simple. No need to hammer this home. Clean windows, and power-washed siding, driveways and walkways are hard to beat when it comes to that well-cared-for look.
5 If your door needs a bit more than a paint refresher, you might consider replacing it. New doors, typically constructed from steel or fiberglass, will most likely be better insulated, more durable, more secure and require less maintenance.
6 If your doorknobs, knocker, or street numbers are dingy or outdated, think about replacing them with something fresh and modern. If you don’t have street numbers, think about adding them either at the mailbox or near your front door. Oiled-bronze finishes work well for a traditional style, while brushed nickel adds a more contemporary vibe.
7 Lighting, in layers, adds to the nighttime charm of your home. Create a clear path to your front door by placing fixtures in trees so that they shine down on the walkway. Uplight a specimen tree for a dramatic effect. Incorporate a variety of lighting fixtures to create a feeling of warmth and provide a sense of security. If you aren’t able to use lights that require wiring, think about solar fixtures.
8 Stairs, walkways and driveways all will benefit from a fresh coat of paint or sealer. You might want to cover your front steps with an exterior grade tile. Or, if the budget permits, consider reshaping your front walkway from a straight concrete line to a curved paver approach. This adds visual interest and often serves as a freeform type of edge for your planting beds.
9 Add splashes of color in planting beds placed strategically around your home—the front of your yard near the street, along driveways or walkways, and immediately in front of the house. Choose plants to frame, rather than hide, your façade. Include a mix of sizes, colors, and textures with a blend of annuals, perennials and evergreens for year round color. Prune, weed and mulch for that well-cared-for look.
10 In homes with front facing garages, garage doors make up a significant portion of what passersby see from the street. Similar to your front door, these can be painted and hardware can be replaced. A color that matches your siding will make garage doors blend in, while a contrasting color–perhaps the same as your front door—will make them stand out. And again, should it be time to replace, newer garage doors are often more durable and better insulated. They’re available in a bevy of styles ranging from traditional and classic to minimalistic and contemporary.
11 Add your own punch of personality with yard art. Birdbaths, fountains, metal sculptures, arbors and garden gates create wonderful focal points. Combine them with a bit of greenery and flowers and it’s a hard act to beat.
12 If your door is in good shape, an easy way to boost its appeal is to add color. Red says “welcome,” while something like chartreuse will give your home a contemporary bend. Black or charcoal might add an understated elegance. Consider a swag, flag, or wreath to reflect your style.
Doing even one of these steps will make a noticeable change to your home’s exterior. Add a few more and you will get the neighbors talking. Send us before and afters to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are particularly proud of your work!
Clopay Doors available locally at AE Door & Window Co.
Compania International available locally at Aquatic & Garden Décor, Renaissance Garden Accents and Siebenthaler’s
ODL Doors available locally at Cincinnati Entry Point