What makes or breaks curb appeal? With a custom home, it may seem obvious. With everything in brand new condition, what could be more appealing than that? The truth, however, is that curb appeal is about more than maintaining a high quality condition of your home’s exterior. Curb appeal is character, charm, and beauty. It’s made up of all of the small details that together combine to make a house feel inviting through and through. And whether you’re a green thumb, or prefer things simplified for ease of maintenance, there are more curb appeal essentials beyond landscaping to consider. From your home’s color to the placement of your shutters (and more), we’re breaking down all of the essentials you need to make your home visually appealing for both you and your neighbors.
Getting the right house color seems like a no brainer, right? But requesting a yellow house, for instance, can mean many different things. A soft, almost pastel, yellow offers a cheerful, yet subtle addition to a home’s exterior. On the other hand, opting for a nearly-fluorescent shade of yellow will quickly earn your home the nickname of “lemon meringue pie” (tasty as a dessert, but not so great as a house color). The bottom line is that when you’re choosing your home’s exterior color, you want to take a few things into account.
The first consideration is the aesthetic of your neighborhood. Do you live in an area where classic colors like white, grey, and blue reign supreme? Then skip the bright pinks or caribbean blues. Similarly, if your neighborhood is known for its artistic individuality and it has an inherently eclectic vibe, you can certainly opt for something a bit more saturated and vibrant. The second thing to keep in mind is that colors always play much brighter in the daylight. So, when choosing a bolder color, you should always opt for more subtle shades in general. For example, while you might be able to get away with a luxurious plum in a powder room or bedroom, on an exterior, it could read more like “grape soda,” so it’s safer to go with a softer shade that can work almost as a neutral instead. For the exterior of your home, playing it safe is usually a good bet.
Just as your house color can be either a major mood booster or a total downer, your front door has the potential to either shine or feel drab and outdated. While it may be tempting to choose any old front door that your builder recommends, remember that it’s one of the first things people see when approaching your home. So, you want it to fit your personality and home’s aesthetic. Someone who loves traditional elements and is inspired by the ornate details in a colonial home or french cottage is going to be much more pleased with a strong and thick wood door, perhaps with stained glass windows or a unique brass door knocker. Contrarily, for someone drawn to modern farmhouse vibes, a simple and straightforward door – perhaps with shaker-style detailing – will be their best fit.
Now, whether or not you choose to make your front door pop with a unique color is totally up to you. Just be sure that if you choose a color, it works well with your exterior paint color and isn’t too neon-like in hue to blind passerby. A bright color is fine, but going overboard can be disastrous (and generally speaking, if you have a more saturated hue on your home’s exterior, it’s a good idea to create some balance and go for a more toned-down front door).
Shutters can be absolutely stunning, no doubt. There’s something so regal and classic about adding them to each floor’s windows. However, if shutters are wrong, they are very wrong. You may not have noticed incorrectly-installed shutters in the past, but after reading this, we guarantee you’ll be able to spot them everywhere you go.
The first mistake some people make is simply buying shutters that are the wrong size. Your shutters should always be the size of your windows (after all, before they were merely decorative, they were meant to functionally close and protect your windows). A too-small shutter wouldn’t ever actually cover the entirety of your window, and even in just a decorative sense, it makes your home look stunted and odd. A too-large shutter looks a little less strange, but it also wouldn’t fit the “function” test, and somehow manages to feel unbalanced next to a smaller window.
Another shutter mistake people often make is the placement. Remember – a shutter is supposed to, when closed, actually cover the window. So you want to install them on each wall facing the opposite direction. If your window is arched, your arched shutters should swing out so that the lowest point is facing the window and the highest point is on the outside. It may look opposite, but you have to remember that you’re placing it where it would functionally go (even if you aren’t using them functionally).
There’s nothing quite like a spacious front porch (and a wraparound one is even better). But one of the biggest custom home mistakes we see is a front porch without any railings. That’s not to say it isn’t on the punch list for the future, but we promise that skipping this step is a major curb appeal faux pas. You see, railings are about more than function. Sure, they keep you safe and prevent you from falling and breaking your ankle if you take a step in the wrong direction. But beyond that, railings function in a very strategic visual way.
Even if they are minimal and can easily be seen through, they work similar to fences, giving a sense that there is a barrier of privacy between your home and the street. It makes your front porch feel enclosed and comfortable, allowing you to fully relax as you watch passerby over a cup of coffee or a happy hour cocktail. Without it, your porch will feel bare and unfinished, to say the least.
The beauty of curb appeal is that it doesn’t take an extraordinary amount of work to get it right. By following a few basic color rules, paying attention to placement of exterior elements, and prioritizing both functionality and style, knocking out a final list of exterior home improvements is actually quite simple. And as far as home improvements go, it’s important to remember that something as straightforward as a new coat of paint can make a huge difference in the way your home looks and feels. The exterior, after all, has a large footprint and is perhaps the most stand-out aspect visually (especially since it’s the first thing anyone sees). So, the bottom line when it comes to perfecting your custom home is to remember that the exterior deserves to have the same attention to detail you’ve given to every other corner of your space. Trust us when we say that if you prioritize it, you’ll be surprised at just how incredible your home’s transformation can be.