As spring has arrived, it’s a great time to review and freshen up the exterior of your home and add curb appeal. It can be a daunting task to take on the largest outdoor décor canvas we have as all our options seem large and you may not know where to start. Here are some helpful tips on exterior decorating that can guide you through some common issues when looking to revive the outward appearance of your home.
The Front Door
The front door should be one of the main focal points of your home exterior, not your garage. Use a dark or bold colour that is complementary to your brick and window trim colours such as chocolate brown, deep blue or apple green and don’t be afraid to let your entrance pop. Paint the trim all around the front door the same colour as the door, especially with single panel doors to make the door have more presence and seem grander instead of using the same trim colour from the windows. You can accent the door with a glass and or iron insert which best complements the style of your home, whether it be traditional, contemporary or modern. ¾ or full length inserts look best as it doesn’t awkwardly cut down your door length and provides lots of light into your home. When selecting a glass insert, be sure to choose the privacy opacity that works for you best. If choosing to add a decorative metal within the insert, be sure that your door’s hardware (handles, hinges etc) are the same finish and colour.
When choosing paint colours always remember to ask, do I want the object I’m choosing the colour for to stand out? For example; the eavestroughs, gutters, drains, and garage door are definitely not desirable focal points and should be blended away by using a colour that is similar in tone to the brick, stone or siding. Windows do not have to blend away completely, but stay away from high contrast colours from that of the brick and not settling for white. Windows come in so many exterior colours today so make sure you take home a sample and choose one that is complementary to the brick, perhaps a shade or two darker at most. The most distinguishing factor when choosing windows is energy efficiency and quality construction. Regency windows are among the few select windows designated as Energy Star Most Efficient 2014 and come in and extensive array of custom colours.
Choosing a shingle can also be confusing. The roof shouldn’t be the focal point of your home, so select a neutral in a warm or cool shade that coordinates with the other exterior colours, brown toned shingles work well with taupe and cream exteriors, black works with red toned and grey exteriors and charcoal balances blue and grey colour tones. Try to use a darker tone on the roof than the brick as it tends to make the home look larger and if living in colder climes a darker roof can keep home warmer, conversely warmer temperatures would benefit from a slightly lighter shingle shade. The colour of your shingles can actually make a 20-30% difference to your attic temperature.
Siding, Brick and Stone
Refacing the exterior brick, siding and stone is an excellent way to update and transform any home, and with the latest product innovations that are available, it is easier than ever. Vinyl siding is one of the most popular exterior facades because of its durability, maintenance and abundance colour options. Be sure to use a high quality siding, like Gentek’s, which exceeds standards for colour retention and upgrading to an insulated siding for energy efficiency. Try to use no more than 3 different surfaces as the exterior will look too fragmented. If using different textures, try implementing them on individual horizontal levels; for example, using siding on the upper level, brick on the first level and stone along the bottom of the home. Using an easy to install, mortarless stone veneer is a great way to add depth and natural texture to update the front of your home. Versetta Stone is one such product that is a beautiful and durable stone veneer that simply installs like siding with screw-on panels, no mess, and no mortar.
Exterior lighting is often overlooked, but it is a key component to a home’s appeal at night. The fixtures should coordinate with the other metals and hardware that are already used on the front and garage doors to create a cohesive look. Lighting is another potential focal point, so this is where some creative liberties can be taken using unique illumination options. Try to invest in LED lighting when possible to create natural soft light that will efficiently last for years to come. Use 3-4 main fixtures that can be partnered with garden and pathway lighting in coordinating metal finishes. An interesting product for garden lighting is soft light globes that come in different shapes and can be placed anywhere for a whimsical, modern look. Using exterior soffit pot lights is another effective use of lighting that accentuate the positives of your home, but be sure to keep symmetry in mind when installing and spacing . Less is more, so don’t install too many soffit lights; and try to keep them a minimum of 4-6 feet apart.
Paths and Driveways
Driveway and walkway surfaces have many options, from the type of material and colour to shape and the physical layout design. Choose stone and concrete colours in tones that work with stone and brick colour of the home, a shade lighter would be ideal or one that has both light and dark tones.