Exterior design: four ways to change the look of your house

Are you fed up with the way your house looks? If so, you might be wondering whether you can change it. The good news is that, in most cases, you can. Below are some of the methods you could use.

Not every solution will work for every house but it will give you some idea of how to rethink your exterior design and potentially add more kerb appeal. Tricks such as changing doors and windows and landscaping the front garden will work for most homes, while other suggestions such as painting the walls, will work better for some properties than others. So, let’s look at how and where these options can be used.

Paint the walls

Painting the walls of your home can be an easy way to makeover its appearance. This works particularly well if your house is rendered and looks a bit drab or stained, as a fresh coat of white paint will help to freshen it up.

But painting the walls can also work in other ways – like making your home stand out from others on the street or creating a cottage-like feel. For instance, many ‘chocolate box’ homes are painted in white, peachy-pink or yellow to enhance their idyllic appearance. And rows of houses in traditional towns and coastal locations frequently look better when they’re all individually painted in yellows, pinks, blues and greens.

painting exterior of house

Not every house can be painted, but brick and rendered walls are generally suitable. However, you must use the appropriate paint and address issues such as cracks and fungal growth first. You should also check with your local council to ensure there are no restrictions in your area. Typically, exterior painting costs from £600 and takes between three and nine days to complete, depending on the prep needed and the size of your home.

Change doors and windows

Another fairly straightforward way to change the look of your home is to replace the windows and front door. On a period property, switching out standard windows and doors for ones more in keeping with the era it was built will certainly enhance the character. Reinstating Victorian sashes and fitting a panelled door with stained glass. Similarly, a cottage with basic uPVC windows might gain more charm if switched out for flush casement windows with small panes and pastel-hued frames. And adding a stable type of door could improve the character further.

More modern homes can also benefit from a change. A home built in the 1970s or 80s might appear quite dated, but fitting modern, black-framed windows and a sleek new door could bring it right up to date.

So, what is the cost of doing this? Well, it will depend a lot on the number of windows you have and the type of windows and door you’re going for, as the price of uPVC, composite, and wood materials varies. But the average cost for new windows is around £3,750, and a new front door will cost upwards of £400.

Pop up a porch

You could go one step further and add a porch to the front of your house. This is a great way to make a boxy house look more interesting. It doesn’t need to be anything big or complex, as an open porch or a canopy above the door can make all the difference.

A cottage might look more characterful with an oak-framed design while a plain, brick-built house could gain some kerb appeal with a traditional, pitched-roof style of porch. Using features such as traditional materials, partial glazing, weatherboarding and decorative bargeboards should enhance the design.

A canopy-style porch typically costs around £600, while an enclosed porch costs between £2,000 and £4,000. Again, this depends on the size and materials used.

Landscape your front garden

If you have a front garden, landscaping could help to change the way your home looks. This is a particularly good option when you cannot physically alter your house. So, for example, if you live in a conservation area, a listed building, or rent your home, this could be your best option.

Landscaping can make your home look more attractive and well-presented, even when the house itself is lacking in character. For instance, a house with a picket fence and an abundance of pretty flowers is going to look like the quintessential country cottage, isn’t it? A neat lawn, driveway and flower borders will not only suit a suburban semi-detached house but also provide curb appeal and make the place look more homely.

front garden

But landscaping can also work for other types of houses. A Victorian terrace with smart black railings, a monochrome tiled path and some symmetrical topiary can make a tiny, bland frontage look elegant and refined. So, changes to a small garden can have a big impact.

Designing and landscaping a front garden should cost between £30 and £100 per square metre, depending on the work and plants involved.

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