You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover But You Can Dress It Up And Make It Look Better With A Little Work.
In 1946 the phrase "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover" first appeared in the murder mystery novel Murder in the Glass Room (by Edwin Rolfe and Lester Fuller). It is also a well known English idiom which means "you shouldn't prejudge the work of value of something by how it looks." But since you only get one opportunity for a first impression, if you are planning to place your real estate on the market, it is wise to make a strong first impression.
So here are three quick, easy and uncomplicated ideas about how to make the most of that first impression starting right at the curb.
(1) The front facing side of a home is one of easiest, quickest ways to communicate the right impression. While the exterior of your home may be painted in a quiet, perhaps conservative color or stuccoed with some boring beige material, the main door or the garage is a place to have a little more fun by adding a contrasting color, perhaps even a bright pop of color that will lift your home’s main color and increase that curb appeal. And if you don't like it... it's something fairly easy to change.
So just get to the paint store and pick out a few colors. Many paint departments will have very small vials that you can buy for less the $5.00. BUT if you are still unsure...don't put the color just yet. Paint a good size piece of cardboard, place it up against the door and then get to the curb and look back. Does it pop? Does it communicate who you are and what you like?
(2) Add some planters, flower boxes, hanging baskets or just re-do your main garden around the front of the place using one or two overscaled plantings to create a feature. Adding such items is like adding accessories. Choose items that require little or no maintenance and will stand up to the elements if you don't have that green thumb. And...Try for one theme or color. For instance, in the desert, look to the color of cactus as a theme. Then use that same green in pottery or planters to provide continuity. Shutters painted a deep Saguaro color will always be a classic color that few would grow tried of. Perhaps add dark green recycled glass as mulch, something then that you will not have to replace anytime soon. And by the way... a deeper green is a color that has greater appeal to those with higher incomes. Think of green marble for instance,... in a bank or law office. That same green marble would be silly looking in a Target. Besides... it might clash with that Red Target bullseye logo.
(3) Finally, look at your exterior lighting. I have found the scale of many exterior light fixtures to be just wrong. Recently in a walk by a contemporary home near where I live, there were these great stone faced columns at the fornt of the house.... about 24" square and 5 feet tall. On top was this silly looking colonial light fixture that was no bigger than a child's shoe box. And at night, it was illuminated with only a 40 watt light bulb. What a waste of design, money and energy. Changing to something appropriate to the size and scale of the columns would have meant just going to a local lighting store, even a Home Depot and buying one to try out before calling the electrician. So keep in mind that lighting style, output and size are the important criteria for choosing the right fixture and increasing curb appeal.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Desert, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.