Curb Appeal 101

Curb appeal is king. According to a 2013 report done by the National Association of REALTORS, 71 percent of homeowners say that curb appeal is critical when choosing a new home. Even if you’re not aiming to sell, a home with curb appeal can be a source of pride. A 2013 Better Homes and Gardens study found that between 2009 and 2013 the number of homeowners ready to tackle home improvements and boost curb appeal more than doubled.

“Based on these survey results, we’ve found that many of our readers want to refresh what’s already there,” says Jill Waage, editorial director for home content, Better Homes and Gardens. “Perhaps they’re looking to dig out that hidden sophistication of a mid-century home, or they might have a classic and want to bring out the character a bit more. Beyond the facade, our readers also really love outdoor living spaces; they see their yard as an extension of the indoors.”

From small touch ups to large renovations, projects such as replacing boring and beige with colorful vinyl siding and trim, updating entryways with bright front doors and shutters, and sprucing up outdoor living areas can make a big difference in the look of your home and neighborhood.

Consider these upgrades to get magazine-ready looks for your home exterior:

Make a grand entrance

Considering a weekend project? Painting the front door or replacing shutters is a simple solution with dramatic results. These small changes create a focal point for the house and provide a warm, inviting appearance with a modern feel. Brands such as Mastic Home Exteriors by Ply Gem offer shutters in dozens of pre-selected colors, or can be painted for a custom look.

Subtle improvements like adding modern lighting fixtures, detailed railings, a new mailbox, stone columns or house numbers can also go a long way in enhancing a home’s style.

Whole-home overhaul

For homeowners looking for a bit more than a weekend project, installing new siding and trim can infuse life into a bland exterior. With vastly expanded color palettes and styles, exterior staples like siding, trim, stone and fencing can be customized to a level previously unseen. Try incorporating cellular PVC trim as an accent to vinyl siding and stone – around windows, on dormers, eaves and gables – or install some new, low-maintenance vinyl fencing to switch things up.

The great outdoors

The finishing touch to any exterior project is perfecting the outdoor living space. According to a 2013 survey from the American Institute of Architects, almost 63 percent of architects reported increased consumer interest and demand for outdoor living spaces. Projects like adding outdoor fireplaces or kitchens using durable stone veneer can turn a bland outdoor space into an oasis perfect for entertaining friends, enjoying a summer barbecue or just relaxing with the newspaper.

To find design inspiration and product ideas for these and other exterior projects, visit Whether you’re looking for a small refresh or a total overhaul, many of this year’s hottest home design trends are waiting outside.

Free Ipad applications like Ply Gem’s Mastic Color Advisor are also available for inspiration and recommendations on how to make the most of the product and color combinations available.

Tell us… Do you feel your home has curb appeal? Any other tips for boosting curb appeal that you’ve tried?