Remember that time you visited a friends house that didn’t look like much from the street, but on the inside was an absolute dream? This happens all too often in Australia, particularly in suburbs with not so attractive mid-century brick and mortar homes scattered around the suburbs. Often as Australians, we will renovate our homes, transforming the interior into a dream home, fixated on which way the light will fall in the new living room, what the furniture will look like, how comfortable it will feel. It’s easy to get lost in this vision when you’re in the midst of building, but don’t get too carried away, because there is more to think about than the inside!
First impressions matter
Strangely, we often leave the facade untouched, or give it a half-hearted makeover when renovating our homes. This could be a big mistake. First impressions are super important, especially if you’re thinking of selling or leasing your home. If a passer by sees a For Sale or For Rent board outside your home, but the paintwork is cracked, the garden overgrown, and the driveway uncared for, they might walk on by without a second glance. Improving the street frontage of your home could also increase the value. As humans, perception has a huge influence on our opinions, so if a home seems well kept, and modern from the front, that could hold sway for how potential buyers see the inside, and ultimately how much money they might be willing to spend on it.
Here are five tips for updating your front facade, that will quickly make an impact on how your home looks from the street.
1. Fix the facade
It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do. If your home is weatherboard, keep the paintwork maintained, and your home will always look immaculate. Most good quality outdoor paints last up to 10 years, so it’s not a huge job to take on too regularly. If your home is brick, think about rendering the front facade, which gives it a smooth, modern look, and can instantly lift the home’s features, such as the windows, eaves and garden. Rendering also allows you to paint it a different colour, meaning you’re no longer stuck with those hideous mission brown or burnt red bricks you were never really a fan of!
2. Give the garden a makeover
“But I don’t have a green thumb!” We can hear you screaming. That’s fine, a beautiful garden doesn’t have to be hard work. There are plenty of plants that require little to no maintenance at all, and keep your garden looking fresh and cared for. The most resilient, and least demanding plants are usually succulents and some natives. If you do have a green thumb, however, why not double up your front garden as a kitchen garden, planting edible flowers, vegetables and herbs? For more garden inspiration and ideas, click here.
3. Dress the windows
If you’ve recently renovated your home, or are in the process, and thinking of keeping the old window dressings, listen up. If you’re trying to lease out a property that has heavy, messy curtains in the street-facing windows, you need to listen up too. Window dressings have a huge impact on the facade of a house, often either making or breaking it. Blinds that are falling down hint at an uncared for student house, and force a potential tenant to question what else might not be 100% inside. When a home is simple, and otherwise not much to look at, plantation shutters or clean outdoor blinds provide an instant lift to the facade of the home, offering a glimpse of modern glamour inside. For a home that’s renovated on the inside, window dressings tie that into the outside.
4. Add a patio
As Australian homes are shrinking in size, many don’t have the huge backyards they once did. This might mean that your front garden is your only outdoor area, and one you want to use for entertaining. Adding a patio not only extends your living areas outside, but also adds to the facade creating a welcoming path between the street and your home.
5. Fence it in
Whatever you do, don’t get to the end of your reno and realise you’ve run out of money to put in a new fence, only to be left with the half-falling down one that was there originally. A clean, tidy fence, not only serves to keep your pets from running onto the street, it frames the home.
It’s not just about aesthetics either, where a picket fence provides the perfect border to your garden and house, a taller fence can provide much needed privacy for an outdoor entertaining area, extending your home outdoors.
Whatever you choose to do with your home during a renovation, it’s important, to plan for the front facade and garden too. Whether you choose to extend your living spaces outside with an entertaining deck and enclosed courtyard, or frame the home with a cottage garden and picket fence, making over the front facade of your home can improve your living space, increase the value of your home, and if nothing else, is a way to show of a glimpse of your home inside.
Kevin Pobjie grew up in Sydney and started working in the home improvements industry over 30 years ago. He is married with two children, one boy and one girl, 24 and 20. Kevin started selling awnings, pergolas and sunrooms using Hunter Douglas and Stramit before he started Wizard Home Improvements in Granville in late 2004. He is now licensed by fair-trading to build awnings.