curb appeal

Recently, a college friend of mine, Will, dropped me a line. He and his sweet family are getting ready to sell their house in north Alabama. But in this economy, the competition is tough, so he had a question. What can they do to give it a little curb appeal?

So I told him to shoot me some photos and I would take a look.

First of all, they have a lovely home. But things are a little uncertain, and competition is tough in this buyers’ market, so I thought I’d give a few suggestions on a few things they could do to up the ante with their home’s appeal for the buyers’ eye. As many of you know, Jamin and I have been trying to bring a little back yard appeal to our home, so this subject matter deemed itself fun, to say the least.

I know when you’re getting ready to sell, one doesn’t really want to invest that much into their home, as far as major revamps, so staying mindful of their budget, I tried to keep things simple. I basically broke it down into two simple steps: paint and plant. {we’ll throw a little building in there, as well to spice it up, but if you stop by every now and again, you knew that was coming. So stay with me, because I’m keeping it practical.}


First and foremost, a super simple thing to do, would be adding some depth and interest to that front door in the character department. Their home is wonderful, but unfortunately, just like the outside of our own home, most newer homes seem to look similar. Mixing things up a bit, never hurt. It all starts with the front door, so I’d like to see a dark shade of grey, while keeping the trim light, to draw the eye in. It’s hard for me to make an exact call on color, without seeing the exact brick and mortar undertones, but I think a great call would be a nice deep grey. So, I advised them to check out some paint samples, and make a call based on what felt right to them.


If I were to paint that front door, I would also match up the garage for added depth to the house. Some people see the garage on the front of the home a potential deterrent for purchasing, or a con, if you will. I would strengthen my weakness by painting it an attractive color, to match the front door. As a bonus, those doors are no longer so bright and in-your-face. Not only are they toned down a bit, but with the contrasting trim (I would keep it light, as well) the doors can suddenly become a bonus to the cute facade, and part of the home’s attractive curb appeal.

The color of “helen highboy” in our entry way, dining room area may make a great shade for a front door. The perfect shade, this grey is Benjamin Moore’s graphite.

Some more colors that I’d recommend in the grey department are: benjamin moore’s granite and timber wolf.


The color of this sun room is close to a tone I would recommend trying out, as well.

Taking it a step further with the front door, I would add some fun.

via + via

The address delightfully stenciled across the front door never hurt, and adds instant charm to the entry way…furthering the potential buyer’s first impression.


I would also add a simple wreath, once that door is darkened, keeping it light to contrast with the dark grey color chosen.

It’s a basic rule in art, design, and composition, that circles attract the eye. A high contrasting shape from the street will help do just that, and bring the buyers eye straight to the front. Yes, it is the little things. The following few are simple to make, and again, bring instant charm to the front space.




Taking it a step further, their front porch area could use a little fun, with contrasting diamonds at the front door. They could keep it subtle with tone on tone variety, but again, it’s like instant charm in a bottle, with a simple, taped off afternoon project.

Add drama: what’s the single most character building thing one can do for their yard? Adding pops of color in the form of blooms. The simple process of planting a few bulbs gives the eye instant gratification in the yard department.


What would I personally add? Knock out roses. Layers upon layers, on each side of the yard. I would pick a few different colors, and alternate. Their hardy, easy-to-care-for, nature, and their affordable price make them a definite win. They grow endlessly in the summer months. A triple bonus for you, when your home is on the market. Instant charm and beautiful color in the space.



Which brings me to…window boxes for the top windows. I would love to see something unexpected and different brought to those top level windows on the front of their home. Not only do they add instant charm & character, they bring the eye upward, making their home seem larger from the outside.


What would I fill them with? A nice variety of cascading plants and flowers.

To add yet another layer of color, texture and interest.





Want to keep those window boxes super affordable? Make them yourself. This would be easy to do, following our crate tutorial found here, and adjusting based on sizing needs. I would even stain them, rather than paint, a nice light brown color, to bring in yet another layer of texture and interest to the front of the home.


I would then repeat the same look, in the form of simple squares built from the same planks for more crates on each side of the front door. I would stain them the same color, to balance them out, and place a mixture of cascading and tall choices. Another example of a simple way to bring interest to their doorstep. Bonus: You can take all your hard work with you when you go.




I came across this photo, and thought it was a nice alternative to the typical planter you see in between garage doors. With a flare for drama, and a touch of added detail, this is yet another way you could make those garage doors oh so charming.

planting a variety of layers and blooms are always an instant win. via



Finally, something that would really add even more detail to the front of the home would be in the form of shutters. The first style would really suit their home best, but I would put them on the far left, and then balance them out on the right, over the garage, by adding it on that singular window, as well. They would be simple to make, and instantly up your home’s curb appeal.

And there you have it. Some simple ways, when sticking to a budget, to paint, plant and build your way to some instant curb appeal. Good luck, Will! Let me know if you have any more questions, and I’d love to hear some of your tips for selling homes in this market. I think we could all use it!

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Responses to curb appeal

  1. Mary Helen says:

    I really like the greys that you used. Some really great ideas!

  2. Catherine B. says:

    I agree, tone down those garage doors. I really dislike having a garage out front as if it’s a really important design feature (don’t get me wrong, after living without one for the last 14 years, I’d kill to have one, but its value is in its utility, not its design). Toning them down with darker paint will put the emphasis on the front door where it belongs. In addition to your other ideas,the front yard seems to lack trees. Especially as it gets warmer, the yard will just look hot (and not in a good way). Consider planting a tree or two, ones that are more mature (so they don’t get lost against the house), along with some good mulch and a few annuals.

  3. Hannah says:

    Love ALL of it!! And what’s great is a lot of this stuff is so easy to do. We’re not planning on selling our home any time soon, but it’s nice to have a place that makes the block proud. I’ve gone back and forth on window boxes for our house, but I think you may have just convinced me to give it a go!


  4. girlfriend…such a great post full of double stuffed eye candy.

    love all your ideas. without a doubt they should paint the front & garage door. i can totally visualize window boxes above the garage & on the second floor. i hope they do it & i hope they can sale their house. like you said, they can take all their planted work with them.

    great post!


  5. DKAuch says:

    I have a house that looks close to this. Mine has a covered porch and I am thinking of doing the suggestions to mine. Not wanting to sell just wanting it to look its best. The three car garage doors can be larger than life at times. I also like the idea of window boxes. My house faces west so we have a lot of hot afternoon into evening sun. Would love to see an after picture of this house.

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