House & Home

10 Affordable Ways to Add Fast Curb Appeal

Posted August 26, 2015

If you've just listed your house with a real estate broker -- or are merely daydreaming about putting your place on the market someday -- you've no doubt heard of the importance of curb appeal. Perhaps you've browsed through Pinterest, home improvement forums, or glossy decorating sites. But so many of the suggestions for improving your home's curb appeal are … well … a little overwhelming. You'd like something that won't bust your budget (meaning a major kitchen renovation is out of the question right now) or take years to show results. (Plant a tree? Really?) Herewith are our ideas for 10 affordable ways you can add fast curb appeal to your home.

  1. Pay attention to your window treatments. You may have had the same curtains hanging in your windows for so long that you don't notice them anymore -- but visitors will. Make sure that draperies are clean, in good shape, and arranged to look attractive from both sides of the window glass.
  2. Decorate with latticework. Lovely open weave lattice is enduringly popular as material for fencing and gates. However, you can also apply some to your home's facade to endow it with romantic Southern belle style … just because.
  3. Create an inviting walkway with the help of pavers. If you already have a walkway in place, rev up its appeal by edging it with neat lines of similar-sized stones.
  4. Edge your flower beds and the area at the base of any trees while you're at it. Then add a good sprinkling of fresh mulch for a smooth appearance … but easy does it. Mulch which is more than two inches deep could smother the roots of your precious plantings.
  5. Polish your doorbell, as well as any other metallics on your front door. This goes a long way toward encouraging that essential positive first impression.
  6. Tidy up your landscaping. Have trees and bushes professionally pruned, especially those immediately adjacent to the house, to show off your home's good looks. Don't forget to keep your lawn or ground cover in tiptop shape, too.
  7. Upgrade your garage doors. Re-stain them if severe weather has taken its toll on their appearance. Then add a touch of class with handsome hardware. If the existing doors are more than 20 years old, or badly dented or otherwise damaged, consider having new garage doors installed.
  8. Add a bit of trim. Accent trim is enormously trendy these days, whether inside your home (think crown molding, wainscoting, and the like) or out. Two types of exterior trim with a major wow factor are shutters to flank the windows and molding to surround your front door. The latter is simply made out of foam, so it's a super quick and easy DIY project. Just position, glue in place, and then paint molding, door, and all.
  9. Disguise any ugly-but-useful outdoor necessity. Large items such as garbage cans or your air conditioner's outdoor unit might need to be concealed behind a cleverly placed screen or container plant. For an electric meter, a simple coat of paint may be all that is needed to make it less conspicuous.
  10. Place a cozy rocker or wicker chair (or two!) on your front porch. This is important, even if your family's usual outdoor seating area is on a deck or patio out back. It will give a welcoming air to visitors, especially when the chairs are topped with colorful cushions … and perhaps a sleepy tabby cat.

Laura Firszt writes for

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