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Easy, affordable and simple renovation-free ways to quickly help the exterior of your house feel fresh and new.

5 Easy Exterior Home Updates Without the Reno!

Easy exterior updates without a renovation seem like they might not be worth the effort – like, can you really affect big change with little time?  But it can be so much easier than you would think – so here are five simple, easy & affordable ways to quickly update your exterior without renovating!

Header Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Easy Exterior Updates No. 1: Clear your spaces & Clean your house

Photo by Callum Hill on Unsplash

First, the easiest exterior update is to simply straighten up your outdoor spaces.  Eliminate the clutter, Sweep up the detritus, Nestle those planters together, and wrap up that hose.  It all helps!

Second, houses get dirty! It sounds so simple, but either scheduling a soft washer or doing it yourself is the #1 way to make your house feel fresher. And it’s good for your surfaces, too!  But make sure it’s SOFT, not POWER – you don’t want to blast your paint off!  So get the hose and a big soft brush out, and get to scrubbing. 

Easy Exterior Updates No. 2: Mulch your landscaping

top left – decomposed granite Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash
top right – pine needles Photo by Lana Campher on Unsplash
BOTTOM LEFT – BARK Photo by John Kinnander on Unsplash
BOTTOM RIGHT – PEBBLES Photo by John Salzarulo on Unsplash

Mulch is not the physically easiest thing on this list, but it’s 100% the most satisfying.  A new clean layer of whatever mulch is the most affordable and makes the most sense with your climate (or is best for fire prevention!) is a simple way to make your house feel clean and updated.

Easy Exterior Updates No. 3: Paint your front door

Photo by Tegan Williams on Unsplash

A quart of primer and paint, 2 hours, and a steady hand are all you need to add a fresh look.  Almost any surface can be painted with the right primer, and it’s an easy way to add your personality to the exterior of your home.

Wish your door was wood but don’t want to pay for a new one?  There are kits you can buy to hand paint the wood grain on there, or often major cities will have a professional ‘Wood-Grainer’ painter that will come and do it for you!

PRO TIP: Learn what undertones your siding surface has, and pick a door color that compliments them.  If your brick is red, you want a door color that has a warm undertone.  If your siding is cool grey, then you want a door color that has a bit of blue in it. And don’t forget neutrals!  A black door is a classic look with almost every single siding color.

BEST DOOR COLORS WITH RED BRICK:
Iron Ore,
Alabaster,
Indigo Batik

BEST DOOR COLORS WITH GREY SHINGLES:
Denim,
Tricorn Black,
Isle of Pines

BEST DOOR COLORS WITH WARM WHITE STUCCO:
Black Fox,
Oakmoss,
Pennywise

Easy Exterior Updates No. 4: Dress Your Windows

Photo by David Trinks on Unsplash

Unquestionably, completely changing out windows is not only expensive as hell but also incredibly aggravating – if you can even get them! However, you don’t have to change the entire window to get a fresh look.  These quick and easy additions give a layered look that makes your house feel finished and fabulous.

Window Grilles

Straightaway, adding decorative window grilles to the inside or outside of your window frame (sometimes also called grids, muntins, or sash dividers, depending on where you live) instantly gives you a new look inside and out.  Stick with the style of your architecture, and match the color of your window frame for a cohesive look.

Shutters

Meanwhile, shutters are a wonderful way to add a bit of extra detail along with a pop of color.  However, not every house, and especially not every window, is a situation where shutters make sense.  For this reason, avoid placing shutters on any window where the shutters wouldn’t totally cover the opening when closed (like a picture window or a bay) or forcing shutters on every single window on one side of a house.  And never, ever, ever, simply screw them to the siding – they should WORK! Or, they should look like they work – faux hardware works wonders!  Above all, hinges, tie downs, or shutter dogs and latches are the final step to installation.  

PRO TIP: Make sure your shutters are the right size for the window you’re putting them on.  They should be sized to the window frame, not the window itself, and should be exactly half the full width of the window.  And to make them look like they work, even if they don’t, they should be installed ON TOP OF the window trim!

CEDAR HORIZONTAL SLAT SHUTTERS
WITH HIDDEN ATTACHMENTS

ARCHITECTURAL PVC SHUTTERS
WITH HIDDEN ATTACHMENTS

Windowboxes

For a sweet finishing touch and a bit of visual softness, windowboxes are always a wonderful idea.  Match the color of the box to another detail on your exterior (the trim, your front door, your hardware or lighting), and keep the box itself sized to the width of the window trim, not the window.

Easy Exterior Updates No. 5: Bigger Lights & Numbers

Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

If you looked at your exterior right now, there is a not insignificant chance that both the wall light at your front door and your house numbers are not the right sizes for the scale of your house.  And these finishing touches make a big difference! 

Measure the height of your entry door and multiply that number by .25 to learn how tall a light fixture will look the best on your home. For a garage door, measure the width of the door, multiply that number by .25, and then divide by 2 for the best light fixture height. 

And with the numbers?  You’ll want at least a 6” high number to be easily read from the street.  There are also so many beautiful numbers to choose from that it’s such an easy way to add your personality and style.

5 Easy Ways to Update Your Exterior Without a Renovation

Simple, easy updates that make big changes are doable with only a little bit of time and effort!  And any of these could be a starting point or your finish line on your road to a home that feels more like you.  

And if you ever need a little extra help on that journey, I’m here for you!

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Detailed planner, seasoned shopper, & thoughtful creator of solutions for the overwhelming home projects in your busy life.

I'm your designer, Mel.

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