Whether you are just updating the look, making repairs, or planning to sell, exterior renovations add protection and value to your property. Deciding where to begin or how to get ideas can be confusing and difficult. After all, the outside of your home includes more than just one part. Each part of it plays a role in an overall change, from the roof, windows, driveway, landscape, and even architectural style.
Before getting too overwhelmed, here are some guides, tips, and ideas for your home exterior:
Budget before you design
Getting a few ideas online or from magazines is a good way to start, but don’t get too invested. Before you really begin planning any changes, start by creating a budget. The right budget can help offer a clearer idea about new possibilities by narrowing down where to spend and where to save. In addition to basic costs, factor in room for splurges as well as an emergency fund. That way, you can still buy feature additions or have money saved in case of any unforeseen repairs.
If you are budgeting for maintenance and repairs, a good guideline is the one percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home’s value each year for a budget specifically for maintenance. That way, you always have money for renovations and a budget to cover any necessary repairs. Once you have a budget, you can start planning what sort of changes your home exterior needs.
Types of exterior changes
Think about what scale of change you have in mind for the exterior. Is it a complete overhaul of everything or just doing a few updates? Knowing this will especially help when deciding what type of changes are needed. With exterior changes, these can be narrowed down into four specific categories:
Maintenance or repairs
Basic maintenance and repairs can go a long way with updating any home exterior. If the siding is starting to look worn or there’s a leak in the roof, new paint won’t make that go away. Not only that, but leaving the issue risks a small problem developing into a big and costly one. If something needs to be repaired, like the roof or windows, and your home isn’t well protected, you should budget to do that project first.
If preventative maintenance is the focus, start with a list of what looks old or worn, and then give those areas some attention. Even a fresh coat of paint on faded window frames can restore the beauty of your home. Painting your siding is another great style change, especially if it is still in good condition. Maintenance changes can also incorporate a few updates, such as replacing a few old windows with a newer and more efficient style. Don’t leave out landscape maintenance either, and take the time to trim back bushes and trees or plant something new.
If repairs are necessary, see what can be replaced with a new style. Old gutters invite potential water damage, so invest in new ones. Simultaneously, be bold and consider a different colour that will make them pop and complement your home. A good rule of thumb is to either match the colour of new gutters with your windows or match the roof.
While refinishing a cracked concrete pathway, there are concrete repair companies that can help. Concrete lifting can even rejuvenate a sinking driveway or walkway, so it looks new again and is no longer a tripping hazard. Generally, it’s better to repair first, then renovate after your home is ready and safe.
Is your home starting to show its age next to more modern styles? If so, update your home’s look to do wonders with boosting curb appeal and adding value. Try painting your front door an eye-catching colour, then add exterior crown moulding to really dress it up. White trim on the house and window frames will help make your home stand out and look more prominent. If the style itself is outdated, consider adding columns or stone veneer to bring a more modern touch. Stamped concrete pathways with colourful flower beds, will add both beauty and a modern sense of elegance.
If you’ve noticed the windows are drafty or that your monthly bills are rising, your home needs an energy-efficient change. Energy-efficient upgrades are the best way to get the benefit of both money savings and a new look. Energy efficiency entry doors have a high R-value rating and plenty of possible customization, making them perfect for front doors. Add sidelights or a transom window on top to further dress it up and welcome more light into your home. ENERGY STAR windows will guarantee they have high energy efficient ratings, so you can focus on customizing the style. Add bay windows for a classic touch or large, grill-free windows for a modern appeal.
Plan to sell? In that case, you want to make changes to your home exterior to boost curb appeal and attract potential buyers. Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report shows home renovations with the highest return on investment. Many of the top renovations are exterior renovations including a new entry door, garage door, vinyl siding, deck additions, stone veneer, and new windows.
Landscaping and even general yard care can make noticeable and appreciated changes. A trimmed lawn, designed flowerbeds, and pathways, can completely transform the look of your home. For a more minimalistic addition, invest in window boxes or hanging planters. The colourful addition and touch of traditional appeal can help your home attract buyers.
If your driveway is damaged or the garage door paint is faded, take the time to repair and repaint. These details will be noticed by buyers and show that you’re committed to home maintenance. Other high impact additions can be small changes, such as cleaning the gutters or installing attractive light fixtures for the front door.
Architectural exterior home ideas
If you’re going to do a complete exterior remodel, focusing on the architectural style of your home is another great way to get exterior ideas. Depending on the style, you can either compliment it further or add a modern, new touch. You can also incorporate specific elements of popular styles, such as cottage or Tudor, for the best of both. Your home will look like a whole new house by adding a few feature touches or complementary changes.
This style focuses on having soft, feature accents with a warm or neutral colour scheme. A white picket fence, half porch on the front, and tidy flower beds can add cottage style features. Pick a few areas on your own home to update and then incorporate these designs. For a feature doorway, dress it up with an arched portico roof instead of building a front porch. As for windows, casement windows with smaller, more quaint panes are the traditional choice. Use a white trim to add a little height to your home, then either stick with neutral, classic shades or go for pastels. That pop of colour will add a bright, cheerful feel to your home.
Victorian homes feature plenty of detail, colours, and textures. Incorporating elements of this style is a great way to blend traditional with modern design. Architectural asphalt shingles, for example, will add that patterned style to your roof. Asphalt is also both very cost-effective and energy-efficient, making it perfect for a roof update. Bay windows are another addition that adds beauty both inside and out. Victorian houses also sometimes feature second story decks or partial front porches. Since decks always add value to a home, it’s a worthwhile investment. To add a modern touch, though, install the new deck above the garage for a real “wow” factor addition.
When it comes to craftsman style, tapered front columns are a common feature. Multi-paned windows as well, with wide trim, are also classic to this style of home. Since craftsman houses favour style, this is a great design to freely customize and be creative. Adding stone accents, such as veneer to the pillars or as siding, will help add a modern touch. The broader style of windows frames can also be painted in bolder feature colours, such as black trim, to really make them stand out. Blending siding material, such as vinyl with cedar shake siding, is also a popular way to add visual interest and transition.
Paint colour and features
Simply updating the paint or choosing a new colour is another easy way to change the exterior. Painting isn’t limited to just the siding, though, as everything from window frames, front doors, garage doors and gutters can be changed. There are some guidelines when it comes to knowing what to paint.
Rule of three
Just like with interior paint, the painting rule of three applies to a home’s exterior. That is especially important since you want to avoid clashing shades or to have too many colours. When picking a colour scheme, choose different tones for the siding and trim but keep the windows and doors the same. That will help bring balance to the home as well as avoid overwhelming with too many tones. It also brings just enough colour to the house, without leaving it bland or lacking in colour. If your home has a stone veneer or brick features, consider them one of the three colour schemes.
One exception to this guideline is if you want to add a feature colour for your door specifically. An eye-catching red or deliberately different pastel blue will help make your home stand out. You can also add flowers that match the doorway to add a subtle balance to the look.
This style is a great way to blend not only colours but also siding material. One way to add a bold contrast is to pair neutral shades against bright pastels. Another way is to focus on a more complementary transition between similar tones, such as dark browns with light tans. When blending materials, pick an area on your home to feature that contrast. Front-facing gables, the siding around the front door, or across the second story are perfect areas for different siding. Stone and vinyl or vertical siding with cedar shake siding are both complementary materials. Even using the same material, but then installing either vertical or horizontal siding will add similar interest.
Feature focal point
Any home will benefit from adding a feature that draws the eye and adds that “wow” factor. There are various ways to add a feature, but choose a part of your home that is noticed first. If you have a forward-facing garage, consider adding a feature door. Farmhouse style adds rustic charm or carriage doors add elegance, while a stained wood adds warmth. Large, modern windows are seeing a trend with bold, black trim that makes them eye-catching and stunning. Front yard focal additions can include shaped hedges or adding a water feature such as a fountain. For ideas, take a look at your home and notice where your eyes naturally travel to first, then add a feature there.
Adding new landscape designs will act as the final touch with any home exterior changes. With front yards, in particular, you want an attractive layout, but one that isn’t high maintenance. Find the right balance between design and upkeep to boost both curb appeal and home value.
Focus on a hardscape design for minimalistic maintenance, as well as plenty of appeal. It is also a perfect choice if you want to keep the main feature on your home. Make the most of natural stone pathways and retaining walls to add depth and direction to the yard. Use gravel or mulch in flower beds with low-maintenance shrubs or flowering bushes for colour. Adding hardscape features will make your home look better, but is functional as well.
Work with architecture
If your home has a noticeable architectural style, such as craftsman or modern, use that to help design your landscape. Think of the front yard as an extension of the home, meaning it should also have a similar style. Doing so will add more attraction and interest to your home. This is something a landscape designer can help you with.
Lines: For designing shapes and lines, look to your home. If it has straight, crisp lines, then plant trimmed hedges or a straight path to the front door. A softer home, such as cottage style, will benefit from more flow in the landscape.
Height: Height is another important feature that can really affect a home’s appearance. Small houses paired with large plants and trees can easily end up looking dwarfed. If you have a big, two-storied house, stick with smaller bushes and trimmed trees to compliment that grand feel. Small, quaint homes can still have some depth and height by adding short retaining walls. That way, you get some dimension and an attractive landscape, without deterring from the home’s exterior appeal.
Colour: Don’t clash too many colours when it comes to choosing plants or a paving colour. A good rule of thumb is to pick colours and materials that reflect the home. If you have a crisp, white home, add some vibrant colour with flowering bushes and greenery. Coloured houses, though, should either match shades or keep to simple bushes and well-kept lawns. If you have brick or stone veneer, incorporate the same materials into pathways or retaining walls. Hardscapes features, such as rock beds or decorative boulders, can likewise be used as complementary additions.
Call the professionals to begin your exterior renovation
Once you have some ideas and designs in mind, there’s a lot that can be done to change the home exterior. From small changes to large, you’ll enjoy the benefits of improved curb appeal and energy savings. When it comes to investing in exterior renovations, always be sure to call a professional. They’ll help you create a design that meets your budget and personal tastes, ensuring your home is beautiful and protected from the elements for years to come.
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