Mom and Dad always said “never judge a book by its cover”, but they most certainly didn’t have houses in mind. It is basic human nature to make snap judgments on things through our first impressions. Numerous studies have shown that, when interacting with others, people throw out this virtue unconsciously like last week’s Chinese food. The tendency is to make an initial judgment call and then work all other impressions so that they match, or are at least in line with, the first. Whether staging your home or just sprucing it up for bragging rights, curb appeal is so important. Your house could be ultra-modern with African Blackwood Furniture and a collection of scented sprays that activate based on the user’s retina scans, but if the outside is less than desirable, it will hurt. The correct mindset is one where you have the vision of a potential buyer: someone who is super critical and not afraid to say that the scuff mark on the lower cabinet means the whole thing should be re-stained (maybe that’s a little extreme). It is so easy to be blind to your home’s imperfections, and it may be because you are actively ignoring them or because of the gentle warmness and pride that home ownership brings. By approaching things critically (and by not being afraid of getting some outside eyes), you can have a home that creates hundreds of angry drivers, caught in the traffic from rubber-necking home enthusiasts.
Keep that symmetry in mind! What do you think is the key to human attraction? Maybe you said beard, and if so, your humble blog writer is flattered, but it is something much more basic than that. As if you couldn’t tell from the buildup, they key is symmetry. People with symmetrical faces are generally thought to be more attractive, and the same principle applies to your home. We like order and while asymmetry certainly has its place in aesthetically, it does not typically function well in homes. If you have a plant on one side of the door, pair it with one on the other side. If one side is well lit (and we’ll get into that more later), that other side better show just as much of that transcendent glow. It’s a simple concept that will pay off in dividends later.
Pay some mind to the plants! For those of you in the audience with a green thumb, gardens work wonders to boost curb appeal. I’m not asking to recreate the garden of Eden in your front yard, but some vegetation will not only boost the aesthetic value of your home, it will also boost your mood. Contemporary homes or more visually simple homes will benefit from fewer, less diverse plants, while traditional homes will do well with lots of color. What better way to show the care and attention you put into your home than to fill your yard with living things that require water and the occasional plastic bag for the frost?
Colorize that door! The door represents something beyond just a slab of wood that keeps you in, but burglars and rattlesnakes out. It is the threshold by which you experience your home; that draws a line between the outside world and the comforts of your recliner and flat screen TV. Don’t you want something that so elegantly shows the power behind the symbol? The answer is a wooden, brightly colored door. Such a statement says that you aren’t afraid of bold colors and bold symbols! This is my entry way, by golly, and it will represent my heart, soul, and about half a grand from my savings. While you’re at it, you may want to consider replacing the hardware around the entryway. A brand-new lockset and large, polished house numbers are really the icing on the cake.
Lights everywhere! Maybe everywhere is overdoing it a bit, but placing some subtle lighting along a walkway or bordering your garden can create an ethereal glow that makes the whole place seem much more welcoming. What’s the point in these modifications if you can’t see them? It solves exactly this problem. The exterior lighting adds dynamic shadows that will play with the angles of your home, adding an interesting element to the aesthetic appeal. Take this as an opportunity to replace the existing overhead lights. The porch symmetry with the new lights will drastically boost your curb appeal.