Ask the Expert: How to Upgrade Curb Appeal On a Budget

In our first installment of “Ask the Expert,” Tom Poll, Habitat Kent’s Warehouse Supervisor, shares affordable, easy-to-do tips and tricks to upgrade the look and feel of your home.


Q: What is “curb appeal”?

Tom:  Curb appeal basically means, how attractive your home is from the street. When someone first looks at your home, what do they see, how do they feel about it, and what point are you, the homeowner, trying to make with the way your home looks.

Basically, it’s the first impression someone has about your home. The idea is the curb appeal of your home is an extension of you.

Q: What’s an example of something simple to improve curb appeal?

Tom:  Outdoor lighting is a great way to give your house an extra boost or pop.  Simply changing the light by the front door will change the appearance of your home.

Solar-powered lights along the sidewalk to your front door will give a warm, inviting look.  Solar-powered spotlights shining into the landscaping or on the house will give a new look as well, especially if you use colored lights – that will really make a statement!  There are many exterior lighting options available that are very inexpensive, including the fun holiday lights that project snowflakes, pumpkins, stars, or other fun items onto your home.

Q: Ok, so where should I start to help my curb appeal?

Tom:  One of the easiest things to help with curb appeal is to eliminate any clutter that’s in the front yard.

Keep garbage and recycling bins somewhere else, put away kids’ toys when they’re done playing, and keep the front yard free of litter that may blow in from the neighborhood. This is a constant problem I have because I live on a busy road.

Q: Are curb appeal projects expensive?

Tom:  Talk with a contractor and you could be looking at thousands of dollars in projects. Thankfully, there are many things you can do for under $100.

One of the first things someone sees is the front door. A really simple and expressive way to show off your house is by changing the color of your front door. A gallon of exterior satin paint for this costs about $35 or less.

You can also change the color of front posts or railings. Depending on the amount of railing and posts you have and the material they’re made of, changing the color can be as easy as painting. You can also change materials, but it’s more expensive.

Q: What if I don’t want to change any colors?

Tom:  Some subtle things that really show your personality are putting up a fun mailbox or special house numbers.

Q: How can I incorporate plants or flowers?

Tom:  If you’ve been in your home for a long time, it might be time to replace overgrown shrubs. Planting new shrubs or flowers is an inexpensive way to change the look of your home. You can go minimalist with just a couple of accent plants, or make it look like a jungle to create a buffer with the street. This is especially helpful if you live on a busy street as I do!

Attaching flower boxes under the window for annual flowers or a couple of flower pots along the sidewalk or on the front steps adds colors that will last all summer and fall. Just remember to water them! Flowers and plants not planted in the ground need more water.