Changing the look of your home doesn’t have to be tedious or expensive. In fact, the affordable curb appeal ideas on this page can be done in less than a couple days, and fit easily into almost every household budget.
When it comes to your home’s value, first impressions matter. You may have an interior that looks like a decorator’s dream, however, if the exterior is shabby, it will become uninviting and may even turn away potential buyers if you are planning on selling your property soon. Improving your home’s exterior is easier and cheaper than you think. Following are ten curb appeal ideas that are not only inexpensive but also easy to do, taking only a few hours or a day to accomplish.
Cheap curb appeal projects are only part of the equation. To have good curb appeal, maintaining exterior maintenance is essential. Make sure that you keep grass cut, trim bushes and trees and ensure that gutters and other exterior maintenance issues are taken care of on a weekly basis to maintain a basic look.
For other great ideas, check out our list of the 101 Best Home Improvement Websites to learn more about maintaining your home, updating it’s look, and/or increasing it’s value for years to come.
1. Upgrade to a New Mailbox ($20 – $150 / 2-8 Hours)
If you have a post-style mailbox, it’s literally the first thing a visitor will see when approaching your home. When exposed to the elements, a post-style box can take a beating over the years becoming dented and full of rust. If you live in an area with snow, careless snowplow drivers can also ruin your mailbox along with the post during the winter.
Basic rural mailboxes start at around $20. For a splash of color, try a wooden mailbox for about $50 that you can paint yourself. Compare standard mailbox replacement costs, or if you like it bit ore longer lasting and stylish, check brick mailbox costs. While you’re at it, spend a few more dollars and buy new house numbers. Numbers cost anywhere from $2 to $12 apiece depending on size and style. Most home improvement stores have small decorative wood accents for under $10, that can add a finished and custom look as well.
2. Pressure Wash the Walkway and Driveway ($75 – $100 / 2-4 Hours)
Nothing turns off a potential guest or buyer like a driveway or sidewalk with 10 years of natures’ grime on it. You may even be surprised yourself when you realize how cheap and easy it is to rent a pressure washer and clean your driveway and sidewalk.
Fortunately, renting a heavy duty gas powered pressure washer costs less than $75 a day from Lowes or Home Depot, and in most cases a light duty washer will do the job just fine. Make sure you get higher than 1500 psi, and many rental stores will include the driveway attachment free of charge, which speeds up the job to just a couple hours.
3. Make Walkways Pretty and Interesting ($50 – $125 / 2-3 Hours)
Landscaping ideas are another easy way to achieve affordable curb appeal. Line walkways and driveways with landscaping bricks or even mulch that will provide not only visual interest but also a splash of color with stone, clay and concrete pavers or colored bags of mulch.
The average cost for pavers is $6.35 per linear foot, and a bag of mulch costs about $2.50 each. Another inexpensive option is to place solar lighting stakes in the same area. You’ll find a basic package of six solar lights for under $15, and they install in minutes.
4. Make Your Entryway More Inviting ($250 – $100 / 1-3 Hours)
You can do a number of things here, starting with a new doormat. Not only is a doormat a sign of friendliness and invitation, it’s also a personal statement that helps prevent dirt from tracking into your home. You can find a good doormat for about $15.
If you have the room, consider a large planter and fill it with colorful annuals. Make your own out of wood or find one on clearance at the end of the growing season to save money. Alternately, drill holes for a hook or two and hang baskets full of flowers to add color. Most hanging baskets cost $20 or less, although some large premium ones can cost up to $30 each.
5. Clean and Paint Your Front Door and Shutters ($25 – $40 / 1 Hour)
The front door is the gateway to your home. Giving it a fresh coat of paint is one of the quickest, easiest and most affordable curb appeal projects. Most quality exterior paint costs approximately $15 – $20 per quart, or $30 per gallon. Make sure that you properly prep the surface so the paint will adhere well to the door.
If you’ve always had a neutral color for your front door, don’t be afraid to experiment. Bold colors such as red, turquoise and even greens are in right now, as well as just about any shade of blue. If you have shutters or exterior trim, paint those too. A fresh coat of paint will not only make your entryway brighter, it will give your home an updated look. Another option is to paint the trim around the door in a complementary or contrasting color to frame it.
6. Pressure Wash Your House Siding and Fence ($75 – $100 / 6-8 Hours)
Saying that your going to wash your house may sound funny at first, but dirt, grime, bird droppings, tree sap and more can adhere to siding, stucco and masonry, making it look dull and dingy. Depending on the method you use, washing the exterior can cost you next to nothing if you hand scrub with a long-handled brush and soapy water. Depending on the type of fence you chose to have installed, pressure washing or a fresh coat of paint goes a long way also.
Expect to pay $75 to rent a power washer, yet you’ll get the job done in a fraction of the time. Power washing not only will bring back your home’s true exterior, it can help paint adhere better when the time comes for a new coat. If it appears that you may need some paint touch up as well, consider hiring a painter to pressure wash and touch up the exterior paint. They’ll be done in a day and you’ll be happy knowing your house exterior is going to last several more years before a complete exterior painting is needed.
7. Buy and Install New Lighting Fixtures ($50 – $150 / 1-2 Hours)
Purchasing new lighting fixtures is another cheap curb appeal solution that can be done quickly. Although there is some charm to having old-fashioned lighting fixtures, especially if you have a historical home, they can also become worn-looking or even partially broken over time. Glass can become broken, cracked and dingy.
Replacing an outdated light fixture will brighten your exterior in more ways than one. Exterior lights come in a range of prices, starting at about $30 each. If the fixture is in basically good condition, wash it thoroughly and opt for a can of black spray paint for under $5 to change the look. don’t forget to change the interior bulb. Replace incandescent ones with money-saving LED bulbs that provide better light.
Always make sure you check local building code before replacing it yourself. Some areas require a permit or an electrician to do a simple project like this, though most homeowners just do it themselves.
8. Plant Bushes or Small Trees ($75 – $150 / 4 Hours)
Planting mature trees are beyond the abilities of many DIYers, but most homeowners have the wherewithal to bushes and small trees. Big box stores and nurseries stock a variety of bushes and young trees in the spring. Many types of bushes, such as junipers cost $20 or less and come with one-year warranties. Make sure to save your receipt.
Trees are more expensive, although arborvitaes can be had for less than $25 on sale. Other small trees, such as maples, can cost up to $75. You can also expect a one-year warranty on most. Cleaning up the area and planting is a quick project with 1-2 people, and the beatification of the area will continue to look wonderful for years to come.
9. Clean Out Flower Beds and Keep Them Groomed ($0 – $20 / 1-2 Hours)
Annual flowers are one of the easiest ways to add color to your home’s exterior but if you let the weeds grow, they can quickly lose their appeal. Planting flowers is another way to add warmth and an inviting atmosphere. If you choose beds, keep them well-groomed and free of weeds. The cost depends on how large your beds are and the flowers chosen.
10. Other Ways to Add Curb Appeal from the Web
We realize we aren’t the only website to put together a set of ways to add curb appeal on a budget. To that end, we decided to share a few of our own favorite places to learn more on the topic and get fresh curb appeal ideas. If you know other sites that should be on the list, let us know.
- BuzzFeed – A facelift for your house.
- Better Homes and Garden – 20 Ways to add curb appeal.
- Country Living – 50 curb appeal secrets.
- RenoCompare – 38 Inspiring walkways to add curb appeal.
- Popular Mechanics – 10 Simple curb appeal ideas.
Do you have a few ideas that are worth adding to this page? If so, jump into the comments below and share with others.