Learn how to emphasize your home’s unique features. Image: Manny Espinoza
There are so many styles of homes — Victorian, Craftsman, Colonial, contemporary — the list goes on and on. Highlighting the exterior architecture of your home might seem overwhelming, but no matter what style it is, there are lots of ways to make it shine.
Take a good, long look at your home; note the things that set it apart from others, the things that you love most about it. Even if you live in the suburbs amid similar houses, consider the elements that make your home yours and bring a smile to your face when you pull in the driveway.
Got those things in mind? Great; now, let’s build on them.
One way to change the look of your home is through color. Image: GardenWise
Color Your World
As with interior architecture, one of the most cost-effective ways to change the look of your home’s exterior is through color. Granted, this isn’t going to be a 1-gallon fix, as your dining room might be. But compared with renovations, paint can be a budget-friendly way to draw attention to elements you like or downplay the ones you don’t.
Think about the features that you like most about your home; maybe it’s the way your front door is offset, or the gingerbread detailing on your historic Victorian. Highlight those elements by painting them a lighter shade or a complementary color of your main exterior walls.
Not so thrilled with your boring (but necessary) gutters and downspouts? Try painting them the same color as your walls so they disappear from view. Color can work both ways; use it to your advantage.
Keep in mind that color should be used in threes; that is, three tones of the same shade or three complementary colors work best for a pleasing palette. For example, you could have white siding, a bright red door and black shutters; or, for a more tonal look, light gray siding, charcoal gray shutters and trim, and a black door.
Still not sure what to do? Does color scare you? Try using Benjamin Moore’s online color tools to help you choose a color scheme for your home’s exterior.
Showcase your home even after dark by using exterior lighting. Image: Hart’s Design
Highlight with Lighting
How does your home look at night? Can passersby appreciate its architecture, or is it a dark void with a porch light above the front door? Don’t miss the opportunity to showcase your home even after the sun has set.
If there are elements that you specifically want to highlight, such as interesting columns or trim, spotlights are the way to go. If it’s beautiful brickwork or stone that makes your home a standout, try wash lighting, which sends a broad beam of light across the walls and makes dramatic contrasts of light and dark.
Don’t forget to keep your green spaces welcoming by utilizing landscape lighting. With your lighting choices, you have the ability to dictate exactly how people view your home.
Think of your exterior lighting on different levels, just as you would your interior lighting. For example, inside you might have a combination of ceiling lights, wall sconces and table lamps; every room is lit from floor to ceiling. Treat your home’s exterior the same way, from the ground cover up to the roofline.
Choose landscaping and accessories that fit your home’s style. Image: Jeri Koegel Photography
Stay True to the Style
By working with the style of your home, its architectural elements will come to life. If your home has modern lines, for example, adding fussy trim would only detract from its clean, minimalistic look.
Even your landscaping should match your home’s style. An English garden wouldn’t work well with the overall aesthetic of an otherwise modern exterior. Conversely, an ornate Painted Lady would play up a Victorian exterior.
Make a statement by adding accessories that fit your home’s style. Things as simple as replacing a pre-fab front door with a solid wood door can have an enormous impact on the exterior of your home, and could highlight a Craftsman perfectly.
You might choose a nautical-inspired light fixture for your beach cottage, or house numbers in a font and finish that accentuate your minimalist home. A case often can be made in design for mixing things up; just tread carefully so as not to give your home’s exterior multiple personalities.
Pay attention to areas such as the garage, driveway and roof. Image: P. Shea Design
Don’t Forget the Surrounding Spaces
While you understandably want to focus on your home, ignoring the adjoining areas on your property is a common mistake. Pay attention to areas such as garages (attached or stand-alone), landscaping and the often-forgotten roof and driveway — everything that can be seen when approaching your abode.
Looking to spice up your suburban garage doors? Add decorative hardware that won’t impede their function but will improve their aesthetics. Did the previous owners of your adorable Craftsman add a concrete driveway? If it’s in your budget, consider replacing it with a brick drive to complete your home’s architectural impact.
Similarly, you’ll be amazed at how adding a white picket fence can give your Cape Cod more presence. All of these spaces will work together to make your home the jewel of your neighborhood.
Highlighting your home’s exterior architecture can be done on a small budget by considering color, lighting and other accents. If you have a larger budget, the options become even grander; you can replace the things that just don’t fit or add the details that are missing.
Evaluate your home with fresh eyes to see what it is really meant to be. Then take some notes and get started on unleashing its full potential and turning it into the home it was meant to be!
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