After some curb appeal to renew and refresh the front of your house? Not only will it make coming home a joy, curb appeal adds value to a property and helps keep your home in tip-top condition.
When designing the front of your home there are a few things that need to be considered; maintenance of the property to make sure it will stay looking good and watertight for many years to come, making a good first impression for you and for visitors and ensuring that anything you do complies with local regulations.
Homes should be fun and liveable, and designing the front is the best place to start, though if you're splashing out on the front, you might also want to consider backyard ideas too.
George Bradley, Director at Bradley van Der Straeten Architects, a London-based studio that loves creating colorful, fun and liveable spaces for emotionally invested private clients, shares his expertise on planning a successful front of house revamp, from start to finish. Here are his eight key elements to consider if you are revamping the front of your home...
7 top tips from an architect to improve your home's curb appeal
1. Think about access
Yes, your front door should look great for max curb appeal, but having clear and safe access should also be a priority, especially if you have steps outside the front. Keep the area clutter-free, sweep regularly and remove any hazards.
This real estate expert shares his creative curb appeal tactic for selling a house quickly. So whether you're updating the front of your property to enjoy yourself or if you're wanting to sell and add value, starting with the entryway is a good place to start.
'One of the first things to think about is access (and clearly the primary function of the front of your house!),' says George Bradley, Director at Bradley van Der Straeten Architects. 'Front doors on many period and modern homes are either up or down a set of steps, and these steps can often require work to bring them up to scratch. If your home does have steps, consider overlaying them with natural stone slabs. Your home will benefit in a few ways; overlaying allows you to adjust the tread depth of the steps to make them more comfortable, natural stone is a sustainable material to use and it also makes a great first impression.'
'You will also have the added benefit of being able to waterproof your steps at the same time, to prevent any penetrating damp below (we have had to fix this many times),' he adds.
2. Use color
Color is key when it comes to making your property stand out. Whether that's painting the full façade in one bright tone, picking a heritage hue for the woodwork or sticking to classic colors, giving your exterior a fresh lick of paint can be a fairly quick and affordable way to seriously transform your home. Make sure you choose the best exterior paint for doors and windows if you want to give it a whirl.
'One of the easiest ways to revamp a period property is to use color,' explains Bradley. 'By choosing one color to paint over the brickwork, plaster elements and timber joinery, we were able to celebrate and enhance these details.'
'An added advantage to painting is that you can make repairs or replace any original features that need to be, without it being noticeable (subject to planning of course),' he says. 'Note that period properties are often constructed of ‘breathable’ walls, and it is important to maintain the breathability so as not to trap moisture, so make sure that any paint you add to brickwork is breathable.'
3. Work with all the senses
One of the first things guests notice and touch will be your front door hardware, from the handles and knockers, to the doorbells and letterboxes, so make sure they're looking pretty. Invest in some gorgeous new hardware that all matches, or buff what you have currently to give it extra shine.
'With our work we like to think of all the senses to create a home that is a pleasure to live in and a pleasure to visit,' says George. 'Touch is one of the most important but also most overlooked sense when it comes to home design. Your front door is one of the things you and your guests will touch all the time. Really think about the hardware you use for your front door and go for the best handles you can afford with your budget. Oversized handles can be really fun and work well with the generous proportions of a period home.'
4. Perk up your property with plants
After some gorgeous modern front garden ideas to perk up the front of your home? No matter what style home you have, even if it's an apartment, add some pots, planters and greenery near your entryway to soften the hard walls. It'll smell much nicer too.
'The front of your property is such a good opportunity for planting to make your home welcoming but also to provide a nice view (and potentially some privacy) from inside,' says George. 'Plants also have the added benefit of helping to cool incoming warm air in the summer and provide natural shade. Planters can be designed to double up with storage solutions or can step to allow more light to below ground level rooms. We love working with wildflower planters, they are low maintenance and smell nice!'
5. Avoid rainwater pipes at the front
Keeping the front of your home as clear as possible helps it look neater, boosting your curb appeal. Clear the façade of any unused aerials, pipes and wires if you can. If you're after inspiration, check out this before and after of a terraced house in Hackney that's been given a modern makeover. The front of the house needed a clean-up after the inside was renovated as it was overgrown and looking unkept. A new exterior reflects the fresh interiors.
'Don’t add rainwater pipes to the front of your house if you don’t have to. This is easier said than done and takes careful planning but getting the front of your house to look good isn’t an afterthought, it is integral to how you plan your home renovation,' George says. 'This means planning the layout of your interiors and drainage design very carefully. If you do require a pipe at the front, try and design it so that it is one straight vertical run (usually works best next to the boundary with you neighbour) and avoid kinks around windows and doors.'
6. Consider bike storage
Many of us enjoy cycling for pleasure or for commuting, whether that's for fitness or the planet, so having some decent bike storage should be weaved in to any front of house revamp, especially if you have a narrow hallway.
'Period properties don’t often lend themselves to entrance hallway storage, which is why it is worth making the most of the front to store bikes. Bike stores can double up to also serve as planter beds, if you have the height and it doesn’t block view, or alternatively with sedum roofs that don’t require as much height for soil,' says George.
7. Beautify your bins
No bin looks great, so it's best to cover them up and disguise them with some wheelie bin storage ideas to help make your exterior as pretty as possible and to boost your home's curb appeal.
'Planning permission will often come with a requirement for adequate bin storage at the front of your home. No one wants to see a load of bins so use the space to create a good-looking bin store (that can double up as a bike store as above),' says George. 'By planting a green roof on it, you can hide the bins, make it look nice and hopefully also disguise some of the unwanted smells.'
How do I make the front of my house look nice?
Want to make the front of your house look nicer? It doesn't have to cost the earth. Begin by sweeping up dead leaves, any trash and mowing the lawn if you have one. Give your woodwork a fresh lick of paint and consider updating your front door's hardware, like the knocker, letterbox, handles and doorbell.
If you have furniture in your front yard, then think about giving it a new lease of life - here are the best exterior paints to refresh outdoor furniture.
How can I decorate the front of my house?
If you're feeling brave, you can decorate the front of your house yourself if you're just touching up the front door, or cleaning your windows. But if you want the whole place repainted and fixed, especially if you have more than one floor, you might want to call in the professionals.
Anything you do is sure to improve your curb appeal and add value, from new front door color ideas and a simple clean up and cleverly disguising bins, to a full on front of house revamp.
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As the Houses Editor on Livingetc, Rachel has been obsessed with property ever since she was a kid. With a diploma in interior design and more than a decade working on interior magazines under her belt, she feels very at home sourcing the best contemporary houses the world has to offer for Livingetc. It's not just the day job either, she admits she's spent a scary amount of her own time researching schemes for her own renovations - scrolling Instagram, stalking Rightmove and Modern House, flicking through magazines and snooping in other peoples' windows - so she really does live and breathe houses on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Before Livingetc, Rachel had a stint finding homes for Ikea Family magazine where she was lucky enough to gallivant around the world on shoots meeting and interviewing interesting people, all with a very keen eye for blending high-end design with everyday items from Ikea. It inspired her to not be afraid of mixing new and old, expensive and affordable, vintage and modern and so Rachel's current Victorian terrace in north London is very much an updated, contemporary take on a period property; think open-plan modern kitchen with concrete floors, feature fireplaces and her grandmother’s paintings on the walls. Rachel is currently crushing on reeded glass, large gingham prints, squishy curved furniture; like Buchanan Studio’s Studio chair, and vintage wall sconces; she especially adores Retrouvius for sourcing antique finds and feels inspired by Lonika Chande, Beata Heuman and Matilda Goad and already can’t wait to start planning her next home, wherever that might be.
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