Whether you’re trying to sell your house or simply want to make your home the envy of everyone on your cul-de-sac, trust us: A little work goes a long way. But that doesn’t mean every cool DIY project or flashy upgrade is worth the sweat equity. Here are the simplest ways to refresh your front door (and beyond) without breaking the bank—plus, three projects the pros say just aren’t worth it.
A fresh coat of paint—colorful or not—is the easiest and cheapest way to upgrade your home’s exterior. Neutrals, navy and deep reds tend to be foolproof front door colors (hey, they’re classics for a reason), but if you’re looking to mix things up, try a mood-boosting buttery yellow, set a beachy vibe with a pale aqua or opt for a shade that coordinates with your foliage, like the berry number above.
These days, most people expect a top-of-the-line house to include a few smart features, according to Coldwell Banker’s 2018 home survey. One of most impressive tweaks you can make is a smart doorbell. We’re partial to the Nest Hello for its sleek looks, but the Ring is battery-operated, so there’s no hard-wiring involved.
Pick up a set that has a matte finish. It’ll look expensive and polished, not to mention easier to read from the street. (You’re welcome, UPS guy.)
Trimming trees and shrubs is one of the top things real estate agents recommend people do to the exterior of their home before putting it on the market (behind basic lawn care and ridding their entry of any grime or cobwebs). And for good reason: Well-manicured greenery makes for a tidy first impression, giving the sense that the rest of the house will be just as well-maintained.
A lush, green lawn really does help sell a home, but if you can’t afford to resod, surrounding your shrubs with fresh mulch can be an affordable way to boost your curb appeal, fast. Seriously, this Saturday afternoon project has been known to yield a 126 percent return on investment.
It’s a great way to remove deeply set dirt stains and will give your porch that brand-new and shiny vibe. (You can even add a bit of wood cleaner to really get the job done.) Don’t own a pressure washer? Rent one from your local Home Depot for about $39 a day.
Accent lighting doesn’t need to be a big investment. A 12-pack of sleek solar pathway lights costs $23 on Amazon. For $8 more, you could go with a more traditional look. Hell, even if you want to ball out with a totally decorative pick, like this lantern-like set, you’re only spending $45 for eight. Whatever style you choose, they’re great for highlighting freshly pruned trees or shrubs—or simply illuminating the way to your front door.
Repaint it. Cover an ugly base by surrounding it with elephant ears or hydrangeas. Go for something truly one of a kind and build a whole new one using instructions purchased from Etsy. Whatever you do, don’t settle for a rusted or warped mailbox any longer.
In addition to being inexpensive, window boxes are easy to install (you often don’t even have to use a drill) and they won’t damage your house’s facade. Look for self-watering options that will allow excess water to easily drain out, and make sure to plant flowers that can handle plenty of sunlight, like marigolds or petunias.
If you’ve always dreamed of picking your own oranges, go for it. If you’re doing it simply because you think it’ll make your yard more picturesque—and give your realtor one more thing to add to that Trulia listing—step away from the shovel. When Texas-based lawncare company Lawnstarter analyzed two years’ worth of home data, the brand found that most people didn’t want to deal with the near-constant pruning fruit trees require and the insects they attract.
Artificial greenery can be so tempting—as anyone who’s battled crab grass or very persistent weeds can attest—but it can actually be a turnoff to buyers, particularly those with young kids who are looking forward to making good use of that yard. BTW, fake grass could decrease your home’s value by five percent, House Beautiful UK reported.
Again, if you love the soothing look and sound of a babbling brook or a three-tiered fountain, go for it. Just know that when you go to sell your house, potential buyers may see it as yet another thing to maintain, making it more of a chore than a point of pride.
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