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6 Ways to Make the Exterior of Your Home Look Better

Landscape Lighting, Plants, and Imaginative Paint Combinations can Juice up Curb Appeal

© 2012 by Victoria Heckstall; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

A home with exterior decorative shutters, photo courtesy Kelly Smith

A home with exterior decorative shutters
This article was updated on 05/26/20.

Many homeowners make the mistake of only focusing on the design, layout, and overall effect created inside their homes, and while this is obviously an important element of creating a complete home, it is woefully inadequate — almost like polishing the front of your shoes but leaving the back because you assume that nobody is going to see it.

The fact is that your home is viewed more from the outside than it is from the inside, and it is the exterior façade that creates the first impression of your home.

People are slowly coming to realize that they need to complete the picture from the outside before they can start on the inside, and this new wave of design creativity has sparked a number of interesting trends.

If you are keen on changing the external elements of your home, then look no further — this article will give you more than enough contractor and DIY projects along with tips and tricks to make sure that your home is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside.

House Signs and Plaques

One of the biggest trends in external home furnishing at the moment is the use of house signs and plaques. But these are not the kind of plaques and signs that people are used to.

The archaic, stereotypical designs of old have been replaced by cutting edge works of art in a variety of materials, all of which can be fully customized in order to meet your personal style and logistical requirements.

Think of engraved slate, cut-out bronzes, and imaginative garden signs, all of which are used to liven up bland external facades. Many designers swear that this is the ultimate finishing touch when completing your home. If your home is almost perfect, then this is the kind of item that you should really consider.

Plants and Trees

One of the oldest and most effective ways in which to add character to the outside of your home is by using plants. Many old castles and colleges epitomize the use of ivy and creepers on walls.

This adds a sense of history and portrays a naturalistic outlook. Plants do not have to be associated with creepers — pot plants or rows of trees have the desired effect more often than not. Go green and use your garden to make your home externally appealing.

A lot of consideration should go into choosing the right trees for your property. They are a big investment but depending on the species they can save you on your heating and cooling bills. Do you want fruit trees? Shade trees? Ornamental trees? A row of privacy trees? Which ever you choose keep in mind not to plant them too close to your foundation or you will have problems down the road.


Developments in paint technology mean that you can coat your home and dress it as you see fit. Whether you want to add color or texture, paint is a timeless and effective solution. Think of it like makeup for your home.

And of course you are not limited in terms of design or color — the days of beiges and cream solids are gone (unless you have overbearin homeowner association rules). Use your walls as a canvas, and consult internet resources for ideas.


Exterior lighting is one of the most underrated ways in which you can spruce up the external appearance of your home and boost your home equity. Hidden lighting in particular is effective for adding a warm, comforting glow to your home during the evening. For practical reasons, almost any exterior lighting will help to deter crooks bent on robbery or home invasion.

Creative designers often play with shadow and focus in order to highlight and accentuate hidden depth. When done correctly, this is a cheap and incredibly effective way in which to alter the whole feel of your home.

A home with exterior stucco walls

A home with exterior stucco walls

Stucco Exterior Surfaces

In some cases, focusing on interior design without any concern for the external parts of your house leads to significant damage to external walls, especially if the stucco is very old and already cracked or chipping. This may be the starting point if you are looking to improve the look of your home.

You have two real options — either re-stucco them and add a new coat of paint (see above), or consider a more flamboyant change by using a new material to coat the wall.

Siding is effective and although the price varies, it is generally an affordable investment. It can revolutionize the look of your home, even though the change is superficial in nature. Raw materials like aluminum, wood, or stone can make all of the difference to a lackluster home, and if you want drastic change, then this is a great option.

Add a Front Porch

Adding a front porch or even a small front deck is always a great idea. More outdoor living space is always a good thing. Making the exterior of your home look better will impress your guests and make your property all that much more valuable

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Article © 2012 Victoria Heckstall; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.