outdoor living

Front-door Facelift

front DoorThe first impression of your home comes from its front facade. You want it to look warm, welcoming and inviting. Often that takes money, but not always. It doesn't take a major renovation to give your exterior a facelift, just a little attention paid to the details. Here are our budget-minded suggestions for boosting your curb appeal.

1. Make your front Door fashionable
It doesn't matter what style of home you have, the front Door is the focal point. Architectural details like columns, pediments and porticos add impact, while handsome mouldings and casings can create an even more stately and memorable scene. Heighten the drama further by painting that Door in a rich red, bold black or charming blue. Just ensure that the shade blends with the bricks and other fixed elements of your home's structure. For an affordable upgrade, look to your Door décor. Add a welcoming mat, swag or a wreath and change them with the seasons.

2. Use hardware like jewellery: as elegant accents
Door locksets not only keep out intruders, house numbers tell us more than just where you live, and mailboxes do more than just hold mail. They make a style statement and add to the overall visual aesthetic of your home. Whether you are traditional, eclectic or contemporary, keep your hardware style consistent. Accessories don't have to match exactly, but they should complement each other and look like they belong together. Stick with similar finishes or colours - for example, contemporary brushed nickel with nickel, traditional polished brass with brass or bronze with bronze. Mailboxes, which range from miniature country houses to elegant Victorian black metal standing boxes and understated, wall-mounted rectangular styles, show off your personality. Just ensure the colours work with your home's overall exterior palette. Add Door knockers for a sophisticated touch.

front entranceway3. With lighting, let your décor personality shine
Lighting is not only an important safety feature in the evening, but during the day it's a visual accent that can lend drama and interest. When mounted near the Door or over the entry, keep it consistent with the other hardware of your facade. Go bold with twin lantern-style sconces or, if you have a porch, use a large ceiling fixture that stands out and provides a glimpse of the décor aesthetic you'll find inside your house. For a touch of glamour, flank your walkway with low-voltage or solar lights, or let them peek through your plantings.

4. Add four-season style with plants
Whether you want elaborate landscaping or removable planters, flowers and greenery are a cheerful addition to any front yard. Dress up your entry with oversized urns and containers overflowing with cascading blooms or shrubs. Consider evergreens, which have a four-season structure and appeal, or a mix of annuals, which can be changed to suit the season: cornflowers, marigolds and petunias for spring. Snapdragons, nasturtium and calendula will move from summer to fall. Heather, wintergreen and flowering kale and cabbage can withstand winter. Or add window boxes and hanging baskets in a riot of colour.

white front DoorSymmetry is always in style. Choose matching weather-resistant metal, concrete or fibreglass containers. For more drama, stagger containers of various sizes in an asymmetric arrangement on your stairs. If you favour perennial gardens, frame your walkway or the front of your home with placements of tall, large plants in the outer corners in grouped arrangements of threes and fives, mixing sizes and colours. And remember to add new mulch to keep your flower beds looking refreshed.

5. Polish it up with paint
Nothing brings down the look of a house like tired, chipped paint. A new coat of colour, whether it's on the garage, siding or railings, instantly uplifts; just remember that your trim should match your roof.
And consider shutters. Not only do they deliver instant charm to a home, they also provide a great opportunity to express your décor personality. And don't be afraid to let loose a bit. Colour them black, white or punch them up with an accent hue, it's up to you. After all, it's just paint. There's a whole rainbow of opportunity just waiting to be explored.

Addressing all five of these front-Door factors will most certainly transform your façade, but you can take it one step at a time, too. Update just two key components such as paint and hardware, or lighting and greenery, and watch your home enjoy a mini-makeover-instantly.