11 Ways to Add Curb Appeal for Under $100

Too many people ignore curb appeal until it's time to move. Then they spruce up the place for the next residents. How does this make sense? Every time you come home, the sight of your front door should give you the sort of euphoric endorphin rush that long-distance runners feel when they stop.

Adding curb appeal doesn't have to be expensive. Take it one step at a time: here are 11 ways to add instant curb appeal for $100 or less:

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Above: When architect Mark Reilly gave an Edwardian home in San Francisco a full remodel, the facade also got a facelift. Photograph by Bruce Damonte via Mark Reilly Architecture.

1. Get new house numbers. House numbers are one of the first things to catch the eye—first-time visitors are looking for them to confirm they're at the right address—and should set a tone for what to expect indoors as well as out. The spare, slim lines of Hillman Group 5-In Satin House Numbers (above) hint at the modern interior that lies beyond the traditional facade; $5.98 per number at Lowe's.

Architect Mark Reilly also updated the facade by changing the entry stairs and porch from brick to Brazilian black slate and by painting the building's trim and body the same color. The paint is Gray by Benjamin Moore (color 2120-10). For more of our favorite gray exterior paints, see Shades of Gray: Architects' 10 Top Paint Picks.

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Above: Photograph via Gutter Supply.

2. Clean out the gutters. Nothing says "Boo Radley lives here" like clogged gutters full of soggy leaves and the odd bit of twigs. Don't be shy about attempting this housecleaning chore yourself. All you need is a sturdy Stepladder ($63.99 from Cornell's), your oldest pair of waterproof garden gloves to protect your hands, and a bucket to fill with water to flush out the downspout. 

For more tips on installing and caring for gutters, see Hardscaping 101: Rain Gutters.

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Above: A New Zealand beach cottage has a covered front entryway. Photograph via Homebunch.

3. Add hanging hooks. If you have a covered entryway, you can turn it a welcoming extension of your home with hooks for coats, jackets, and dog leashes. Hanging fabric instantly softens the look of a space (think: curtains). We've rounded up our favorite hooks in our recent 10 Easy Pieces: Mudroom Hooks.

4. Replace your porch light. It's hard to go wrong with a wharf light (above), a versatile style that complements both modern and traditional facades. We recently rounded up our favorites, including several under $100, in 10 Easy Pieces: Wharf Lights. And if you're looking for a ceiling fixture, check out our favorites in 10 Easy Pieces: Classic Ceiling Porch Lights.

5. Get a new doormat. This is the exterior equivalent of getting new carpet. You need an upgrade if yours is stained, scuffed, worn down, or faded. If you're looking for a new doormat, see 10 Easy Pieces: Durable Doormats.

6. Get matching planters. Flank your entryway with matching potted plants (as above) to create symmetry.

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Above: Photograph by Eve Ashcraft.

7. Paint the front door. Think of your front door as jewelry for your house. It can be a little flashier than the rest of the outfit the facade is wearing. A strong color that complements wall and trim paint colors can be pleasing. (To get the look of the bright blue door above, paint color consultant Eve Ashcraft recommends Benjamin Moore's #2067-20 Starry Night Blue paint in Advance Satin Finish.)

For more color ideas, see 5 Favorites: British Front Doors with Style.

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Above: For more, see LA Confidential: A Private Courtyard Goes Luxe on a Budget. Photograph viaNaomi Sanders Landscape Design.

8. Get a new mailbox. If yours is rusty or dented, consider replacing it with a long-lasting aluminum or steel model. See our favorites in 10 Easy Pieces: Classic Sturdy Mailboxes

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Above: Architect Barbara Chambers keeps a rosemary hedge pruned to a height that frames her windows instead of covering them. For more, see Architect Visit: Barbara Chambers at Home in Mill Valley. Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista.

9. Trim the shrubs. Overgrown bushes that block your front windows are not a good look. Ever. Period. Shrubs should frame your windows but never hide them (unless you're on the run from the law).

Do you live in a climate where rosemary is a perennial? You too can have an herb hedge. For more on growing and caring for rosemary, see our recent Field Guide: Rosemary.

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Photograph by Liesa Johannssen for Gardenista.

10. Wash the windows. This will improve the view from within as well as from the curb. Are you wondering if you can wait until spring? If your windows have cobwebs, a visible layer of dust, or dirt on the sills, you can't. Get out there and get the job done on the next sunny autumn day. Use our all-natural cleaner with The Secret Ingredient to Make Windows Shine Bright Like a Diamond.

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Above: Zinc window boxes outside the Paris home of architect Nicolas Soulier and ceramicist Cécile Daladier.  For more, see A Ceramicist and an Architect in Paris.

11. Add a window box.  This is the fastest way to add color to your facade. Update the plantings year round and you can change the look every season. Wondering where to start? For more about choosing, installing, and maintaining a window box, see Hardscaping 101: Window Boxes.

If you are inspired to spruce things up a bit, see our archives for more Curb Appeal posts. And on Remodelista, see Outdoors: House Numbers from A Short Walk in Cornwall.

by Michelle Slatalla / Courtesy of Gardenista.com