- Home Improvement
How to Improve Your Home's Outside Appearance
What is your home saying about you?
The appearance of our home is a reflexion of ourselves, whether we like it or not we are judged by the way we look and the same principle applies to the dwellings we reside in. Regardless of whether we intend to sell our properties or not, we all want our home to look the best that it can. Our environment affects our mood. If you approach your house and what greets you is a rundown, worse for ware building thats in a state of disrepair, you are probably not going to feel very enthusiastic about entering it. However if what you see when you walk down your path is a well maintained, clean and pleasingly aesthetic sight, then you will feel much more satisfied on your approach. We are also aware that other people will pass judgment as they reach our front door.
The inside of the home is considered it seems far more important then the exterior is, which is odd really because more people view it from outside then they do inside. Interior design is generally more of a discussion point then what the outer shell often gets attention wise. Similarly gardening is targeted as a subject in itself, but by and large not as a combined interest with the outer appearance of the home. The building and the garden are usually considered as two separate entities when improvements and changes are made, when in fact it would be far more beneficial to the property as a whole if they were considered together in their entirety. As I go through the following points and applying them to your own home, it will be worth baring this in mind.
Give it a lick of paint.
This is the most obvious and immediate thought that comes to mind, simply because it is the most effective and noticeable change that you can make to your property. Aging and flaking paint not only ruins the appearance of a building but also leaves it more vulnerable to the elements. Paintwork is not only an aesthetic aid it has protective benefits too.
If you are thinking of changing the color of your home dramatically, you will need to check with your local council and discuss it with your neighbors first, if you do go ahead regardless without making sure that there is agreements made beforehand where necessary, complaints maybe made and you could have to do the whole thing again in a more 'suitable' shade.
There are many different kinds of paint available, what is suitable for the interior of a home will not be appropriate for the outside, so it is worth ensuring that you purchase the right one. If you are unsure ask at the store you are buying the paint from, they should have staff who are knowledgeable in home maintenance issues.
If you are not an expert in painting and you can afford to hire someone to do the work for you, it will be money worth investing. A fresh coat of paint is all well and good but if it is applied poorly, you would have effectively defeated the object.
Think about detail and design.
Things like rusty door handles, faulty doorbells with wires hanging out and broken gate latches all contribute to a sense that the house is not quite looking at it's best. It gives the impression that it is not quite as well maintained as it could be and can spoil the efforts that have been put into any grander work that has been done.
Symmetry is far more important and pleasing to the eye then you would probably first assume. The human brain is wired to appreciate mirroring images, in design, facial features and also in architecture. Try to create things to be as uniform as possible. Clean lines and distinct areas are also considered to be attractive. Think about textures. Many people would not even have texture cross their minds and why should they? We are not conditioned to think in terms of how things feel and how they look but they too play a role in the appearance of a place. Try to envision it as a whole, imagine it in it's entirety, try to work with what your house has to offer, not against it.
How do elements like structural materials work with or in contrast to other things, like the roof or windows? Does it all tie in together? Does it have a theme, or even a loose theme? Do you want to achieve country cottage or sea side chic. Mixing up different styles can complicate and overwhelm the general feel of a house. Does anything strike you as being out of place? For instance; a dominating classic marble statue, sat outside of an otherwise average, residential bungalow setting, would stick out like a sore thumb. If you have a mixture of traditional and contemporary elements are they working well together or not? Getting a good balance is key to a rounded style.
Ensuring the windows are clean on the outside as well as the inside will really dazzle. A polished letterbox, handle and door knocker also make a surprisingly obvious difference. A clean and newly painted, or treated door does wonders for the look of a house as does freshly varnished or recently painted window frames.
Gardening tools strewn on the lawn gives it an untidy appearance, by placing your equipment away in a dry, secure, easily accessible place will enable your garden to look better, your implements will also last longer as they are less likely to get weathered and will be far safer.
Flower beds accumulate all kinds of dead matter as well as unwanted creepy crawlies, a little time spent weeding out all of the unwanted stuff will make a difference instantly. The build up of dirt on outside door mats can become quite unsightly, and the longer they are left the harder they become to clean. Brush of the worst of the accumulated mud and debris with a stiff hard bristled brush while it's dry, then clean outside with hot soapy water.
Store stuff away that you would rather not have on show, works in progress, stuff with sentimental value or high priced goods. Some objects are so eye catching, (and not always for the right reasons) that they detract the attention away from everything else, if you don't mind this then leave them where they are, however if it bothers you then move it.
What about your bins? Dustbins and recycling boxes can really upset an otherwise attractive looking property. Would it benefit the home more if they were moved? Can you hide them away without it making collection day more difficult for you? A gateway without rubbish piled up is far easier on the eye and invokes a much more inviting feel.
Replace and repair.
There is a difference between dated and old fashioned items and retro or vintage ones. Some original, classic or historical pieces can be real treasures, but they have to be well looked after and well maintained. Suitably placed objects can introduce character and interest, even cheaper looking items can be appealing if used sparingly.
On the flip side, are the unused, broken or unwanted objects. These either need giving away, given a make over or thrown away if they are beyond repair. It's worth thinking carefully about what category they fall into, would a good rubbing down and a coat of varnish give it a new lease of life? Would fixing it mean it would get used more? Is it something that someone else could make use of? Would anyone pay money for it? Is it making the property look better or worse? Or has it simply had it's day. If you honestly can't think of one good reason to keep hold of it, you're better off letting it go.
The same principle applies to outdoor fixtures and fittings, is it enhancing your property or is it down grading it? Would you be wasting good time and effort restoring it, or is it in good enough condition not to have to worry about replacing it? Everything in and around your home needs to earn it's place, if it's not working, do yourself a favor and lose it.
If any branches are hanging low, cut or tie them back out of the way. Otherwise at the least they will seem unkempt and be a nuisance, at the worst they could be a liability, you can then avoid any risk of people getting pocked in the eye, getting their clothes caught up or banging their heads.
Are any plants obscuring windows or masking desirable features, if so give them a snip too and show off the areas of your home and garden that you are most proud of. Use attractive plant pots to cover cracks, worn paint work or minor property damage as a temporary measure until you can fix the issue.
Hedges and bushes look better when they rest below the bottom of a window ledge height and are free of browning or dead foliage both on the plant and on the floor. If your garden is hard to maintain because it homes many flora and fauna, and you struggle to keep it looking pristine, it maybe worth removing flowers, bushes or even trees and just having areas of lawn instead.
Although Ivy can give the appearance of a quaint and rustic home. Has the potential to make it look older and occasionally more valuable, be wary as it is a destructive plant. The roots make there way into crevasses in the walls and as the plant grows it prises brick work apart. If you really can't bring yourself to get rid of it or it is covering a multitude of sins, then you want to make sure it is at least well watered and looks healthy. Dead or browning leaves should be removed and trim it back so that it has a neat appearance, so doesn't look shabby.
Have a vision.
Different seasons bring different problems, depending on what time of the year it is you will need to consider what might be affected at which times.
In the spring and autumn months we can expect a lot of wind and rain, it's worth thinking about what may need securing so that it doesn't get blown away or cause any potential problems by knocking something else. In times of particularly heavy rain is anything likely to hold water for long periods of time? Stagnant water is a breeding ground for algae and other plant life. Empty these out regularly or move them so that they are in a position where rain won't be able to land in it.
The summer months are if we're lucky, hot. Plants dry and wilt quicker in such conditions, keep them well replenished for a lush and healthy look of blooming color. The winter months will bring frost, this unfortunately sometimes kills off plants, if you find yourself in this position, clear them away as soon as you can, don't leave them on show. Similarly there maybe snow, grit main walking areas if you can, or clear snow if it is blocking entries or causing access problems.
I know that there is a lot to consider, however if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing right andyou are far more likely to succeed in your attempts to improve the appearance of the outside of your home, if you can picture what it you want it to look like when you have finished.
Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, if you stick with it, your hard work will pay off and you will be duly rewarded with a wonderful looking home, good luck.
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