Add a Dash of Style and Curb Appeal With Just a Little Cash
By Abby Hayes
Looking to sell your home? Or maybe you just want to feel proud of the place as you swing into the driveway each evening?
Either way, you can add some serious curb appeal without making a huge financial investment. For less than $50, you can make your home more attractive with these eight DIY projects.
1. Paint the front door.
If your front door is a boring gray or brown -- or blends into the facade of your home -- it's time to glam it up. Bright blue and red are both great options for a front door. Keep it classy, but choose a color that will coordinate with -- and still stand out against -- your home's facade.
Cost: $25 for a gallon of paint, plus a few hours of your time.
2. Upgrade your house numbers.
House numbers are a practical necessity, but they can also be a statement. You can pick up large metal house numbers for around $5 each. Or you can buy wooden numbers from a craft store and stain or paint them yourself. (Maybe paint them to match that newly painted front door?)
Cost: $20 or less.
3. Jazz up the mailbox.
If you have a mailbox attached to the front of your house, it's another great place to add some color. Those who lean more traditional may prefer to simply replace the mailbox with a new one. But if you'd like to add even more color to the front of your home, you can spray paint the mounted mailbox a fun color. Add your new house numbers to it in a contrasting color for eye-catching appeal.
Cost: Around $20 to $30 for a new mailbox and $5 for a can of spray paint.
4. Add porch furniture.
Does your home have a nice front porch? Adding a porch swing or rocking chairs can make your home more appealing and more functional. Contrary to what you might think it will cost, this can be done for less than $50. You just have to thrift shop for the furniture, and you might have to do a bit of upcycling.
Cost: $20 to $40 for furniture, and $10 to $20 for a can of paint to touch it up.
5. Paint the porch rails and ceiling.
This is the last painting project on the list, but it's an important one. Peeling, worn out porch rails are not good for curb appeal. Stripping and repainting them can be an extensive project, but it will be worth your time. While you're at it, you can repaint any peeling wooden trim around your front door and windows.
Cost: $30 and a weekend's worth of time.
6. Install an outdoor light.
If you have a bit of electrical knowledge, you can easily replace a light fixture on your porch ceiling or add a sconce beside the front door. Don't feel comfortable with electrical projects? Try adding some late-night curb appeal with wire-free solar fixtures.
Cost: $20 to $50 depending on the fixtures you use.
7. Decorate with potted plants.
Green plants and healthy flowers are one of the easiest ways to make your home more appealing. If you don't have much of a green thumb, you might hesitate to landscape in the front. But you can just as easily add appeal with potted plants. Place large pots near the steps or front door, or hang plants from the roof of the porch to draw the eye up.
Ask your local nursery which plants are easiest to grow in your local area. Make this project even more affordable by spray-painting cheap terra cotta pots or buying nicer pots secondhand.
Cost: $20 to $50, plus time devoted to watering and upkeep of the plants.
8. Plant flower beds.
Ready to really go green on the curb? Dig a new flower bed or two in front of your home. You can make this project super affordable if you know friends or family members with perennials ready to be divided. Most perennials, including irises, bulbs, astilbe, day lilies and easy-care hostas, need to be divided. This is a great way to get free plants!
Keep in mind, most plants divide best in early spring or late fall. And remember, it takes perennial beds a couple years to come into their full glory. Be patient, and fill in with cheap by-the-flat annuals while you wait.
Cost: Possibly free, or a few dollars for compost or other organic soil amendments.
There are plenty of other things you can do to improve curb appeal -- consider a new fence or gate, for example. But these eight ideas will give you plenty of bang for your buck.