Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.
When it comes to real-estate buzzwords, curb appeal is the new location, location, location. While a good-looking exterior can get prospective buyers in the door and potentially increase your home’s value, it impacts more than just selling (or buying) a house.
Good curb appeal sets the tone for your entire living space and affects how welcoming it feels to guests. Here’s how to improve your home’s curb appeal for your family’s enjoyment, and for its long-term value.
In simple terms, it’s how aesthetically pleasing your house looks from the street. Think of it as the first impression that people get of your home. In layman’s terms, it’s really anything that you do to improve the look of the front of your house and your yard.
The outside is the first thing people notice about your house, and it sets the tone for the inside. If you’re entertaining or welcoming people into your home, it needs to feel inviting. And it’s one of the easiest things you can do to add resale value.
If you only do one thing, get a new front door. It’s a great place to start because it doesn’t have to match anything else, and it won’t snowball into other projects—it’s easy to change by itself. Most of my clients do custom front doors, but you can play around with materials, like wood when you have aluminum windows or steel when you have wooden windows. Or, if your home is neutral, you can do something different visually, like paint it a fun color. A lot of people want extra security like bolts and deadlocks, so you can invest in really unique hardware too. It doesn’t have to match your house.
From a feng shui perspective, you don’t want anything to obstruct your front door, because that’s how the energy enters your home. It needs to have a clear sightline and not be overwhelmed by posts or trees. Having decorative lighting by your front door is super important because it helps light the way in. I like to hang a lantern above the front door or flank it with sconces or a single statement sconce. Your home should feel inviting at nighttime too, and having good lighting is part of that.
You can paint the exterior or just the trim, add siding or decorative stone—mixing materials is a huge thing right now, and you can just do it on the front of your house and not worry about the back or sides. You can build a decorative portico around the front door to make it look more inviting and architecturally significant. If you want to get a little more in depth, you can add statement windows with an arch or details, but just be aware that if you have an historic home, you might run into some permitting issues with your city—window shape and material tend to be a big deal.
Your yard should look well maintained, so you want to pay attention to the landscaping. If anything is overgrown or dying, you should remove it. If you have any high-maintenance trees or bushes that drop a ton of fruit or seeds and make your yard a mess, I’ve found that it makes a big difference if you remove those. If you want privacy—and most people do—you’ll want to plant big trees. They also help keep your house cooler in the summer. I like having potted trees or big potted plants in the vicinity of the front door—that has kind of replaced the doormat for a lot of people.
You want a clear path to the front door from the driveway or the street, wherever people are parking. I like to use pavers that look unique and make it feel like there’s a sense of purpose to walking there. You want to delineate the space, and hardscaping is a good way to do that.
If you have the ability to fence in your front yard, that’s the hottest ticket right now. In most places, you have to ask permission from the city to build a fence—you’ll have to get a survey, and you may need to follow rules on where to put it and how to paint or stain it—but however long you have to wait, it’s worth it. People are utilizing every square inch of space that they have, and that includes outdoor space, whether it’s the front, side, or back yard. The most coveted thing is to be able to open your doors, have airflow, and let your pets roam freely. True indoor-outdoor living is the ultimate luxury.
The front of your home should feel welcoming and unique.