Our homes are places that naturally matter very much to us, and have the power to dramatically influence how we feel and experience life on an everyday basis.
When you think of the basic fact that the average person spends an enormous chunk of their lives within the four walls of their own home — after work, while sleeping, and on lazy weekends to name just a few occasions — it should be pretty clear that taking good care of your home is something that you are likely to benefit from dramatically.
That being said, while a huge amount of intention often gets paid to interior design and the overall functionality of your home — such as the quality of its insulation and its ability to retain heat during cold winter months — the exterior design features of the home may, from time to time, end up being neglected.
Ultimately, though, the exterior design of your home can be a very significant feature of the property as a whole.
If you are looking to sell your home at any point, its exterior design will directly and dramatically influence its curb appeal. No matter how well-equipped, well-insulated, and aesthetically pleasing the interior of the home is, it’s not likely to be very appealing to potential buyers if the facade is falling apart or is completely garish.
It’s also important to consider the fact that homes built in different eras have different strengths and weaknesses, with some naturally having a higher degree of innate “character” in most people’s eyes. Historic homes, in particular, are very often felt to be steeped in character, whereas mass-produced post-war homes can end up feeling a good deal too “cookie cutter.”
Working on the exterior design of your home can help it to overcome the limitations that may go hand-in-hand with the era of its construction, and can ensure that it achieves its full potential.
On a purely individual note for yourself, as the homeowner, you also shouldn’t underestimate just how much the facade of your home can influence its overall “vibe” with regards to how it makes you feel, day by day.
Driving up to the beautiful front of your home after a long day is bound to lift the spirit more than driving up to a dilapidated and unappealing exterior under the same circumstances.
Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to enhance and upgrade the exterior design of your home if it’s currently lacking.
Here are some steps you can take.
Change the exterior finish of your home
The material used for the exterior finish of your home can have a dramatic impact on how the home looks and feels — and a poor or out-of-fashion choice of exterior finish is often one of the things that most dates a home and detracts from its aesthetic appeal.
Homes are often “anchored” to their period of their construction via the kind of exterior finish they have. Homes that were built in certain areas in the ’70’s and 80’s, for example, are likely to include exterior finishes such as stone cladding, mismatched brick, or pebbledash, that may be perfect for some homeowners but unappealing to others.
Fortunately, changing the exterior finish of your home tends to be one of the easiest overall steps that you can take in order to upgrade your home’s exterior design.
In many cases, you won’t even need to remove the existing finish material, but can simply have it covered up with something else.
In cases where your home’s exterior is finished in an array of different materials that have the effect of seeming jarring when put together, you might simply be able to paint over everything in a neutral shade to create a more unified look.
Different exterior finishes have different pros and cons, and some are bound to appeal more to different aesthetic preferences than others.
Here are some of the more popular different exterior finish types for you to consider:
Timber boarding is very well suited to certain contemporary design styles and templates, in addition to a few period homes. Generally, having the exterior of your home finished in timber boarding will help to make it look a lot more modern and trendy in a hurry.
Feather-edged timber boarding has overlapping edges, while shiplap timber boarding has straight interlocking “tongue and groove” edges. Timber boarding made of softwoods like pine will be the cheapest option, whereas hardwoods like oak will be more expensive but also more resistant.
All timber boarding should be properly fire-proofed
Having the exterior of your home finished in metal tends to lead to a very distinct look that can easily veer towards “overly industrial,” but can also be stylishly executed.
Metal finishing will be expensive up front, but will last very well and require very little maintenance.
Textured masonry paint
Textured masonry paint is cheap and can rapidly and easily cover up an unappealing exterior. Textured finishes, specifically, can help to create a greater sense of uniformity when painting over disparate materials, and can help to hide slight cosmetic issues like minor cracks.
Having the exterior of your home finished in stone tiles is a much more affordable alternative than building from solid stone, while at the same time working very well to capture a traditional aesthetic.
Alter the exterior proportions of your home
As far as home redesign work goes, this is on the more ambitious and comprehensive end of the scale — but it also has the potential to make some of the biggest overall impact.
Many homes don’t live up to their potential in terms of exterior design, due to imbalanced exterior proportions — maybe as a result of strange initial design decisions, and maybe as a result of incremental work that was done along the way, such as a shoddy extension.
Modifying the exterior proportions of your home will generally involve making your home as a whole, or sections of your home, taller or wider. Fortunately, this doesn’t necessarily need a total overhaul as may initially seem to be the case.
Sometimes, adjusting the exterior proportions of your home to make them more visually pleasing can involve things like replacing a flat roof with a sloping tile roof, or having a garage extended out to the sides.
Whatever the case may be, changing the exterior dimensions of your home in this way can have a very powerful effect on the aesthetic features of your home as a whole, as symmetry and balance are fundamental features of good and compelling design.
Of course, it’s important to properly match any extensions you may add to your home to the existing design features. Don’t suddenly switch up the style of brick tiling you are using.
Replace your windows
The windows of your home are a very powerful visual feature of the property. Changing them has the potential to totally overhaul the feel of your home, both from the inside and the outside.
By replacing your windows and potentially enlarging them you can let in significantly more light, transform the look of your home to something much more modern, and can cause your home to fit in or stand out more — depending on what you are after.
The fittings that go along with your windows, such as windowsills and shutters, can also rapidly and effectively help to consolidate a particular aesthetic motif.
Of course, changing your windows can also have practical implications, too. If you’re got a drafty home, or get frustrated by the sound of passing traffic even with all of your windows closed, having your windows upgraded and refitted may do a lot to help.
As a general rule of thumb, properties with more and larger windows — and therefore better illumination — are more appealing to prospective buyers, and also more pleasant to live in.
Give the driveway a makeover
Homes with off-road parking are naturally more appealing than those without, not only for the convenience and security factor, but also potentially for the associated insurance benefits.
Even if your home has a driveway, though, it might nonetheless be the case that it’s not the most visually appealing driveway — or that, in any case, it could look a lot better.
And if your home doesn’t have a driveway but has enough front yard space to install a driveway, this is definitely something to seriously consider.
A newly surfaced tarmac driveway gives a home a current and well-maintained look and feel automatically, whereas an old and cracked concrete driveway will have the effect of making any home seem more neglected.
In addition to resurfacing your driveway, there are certain design features you could implement that could add an extra dash of style. You could, for example, install ground-level lights along the sides of your driveway, or even certain plant arrangements.
Of course, your driveway should feature good drainage, and features such as a good anti-weed membrane.