Step up your kerb appeal

In­crease the value and appeal of your home with an ex­ter­nal re­vamp. By

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - INTERIORS - Gabrielle Fa­gan

It’s time to get up close and personal with your home’s ex­te­rior. Take a long hard look at it, be­cause if it’s drab and unloved with peel­ing paint, a shabby door and an over­grown gar­den, it won’t just lower your spir­its every time you re­turn home — it could also cost you money.

A third of peo­ple are will­ing to pay up to 25% more for a home or rental prop­erty with a freshly painted front door, smart brick­work, a well-kept gar­den and clean win­dows, ac­cord­ing to new re­search by Du­lux Weather­shield.

So, with the av­er­age UK home val­ued at around £220,00, giv­ing your house that lit­tle ex­tra bit of TLC could trans­late into a hefty £55,000 re­turn, in­creas­ing to £117,966 in Lon­don.

“In re­cent years, we’ve seen the im­por­tance of kerb appeal in­ten­sify, with buy­ers and renters mov­ing from un­con­sciously judg­ing the ap­pear­ance of home ex­te­ri­ors to con­sciously judg­ing them, so it’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant to re­fine aes­thet­ics even be­fore the agent takes their pho­tos to se­cure view­ings and the best price,” ex­plains prop­erty ex­pert Kate Faulkner, who worked on the re­search.

Yet in the UK we gen­er­ally ig­nore our home’s ex­te­rior for more than eight years, while a ne­glect­ful 20% haven’t dec­o­rated for more than 15, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey.

So, who better than TV prop­erty ex­pert Ge­orge Clarke to give us some tips for a late sum­mer spruce-up?

A NEW FRONT DOOR IS A GAME-CHANGER

“Your front door is the face of your home — it’s the first thing peo­ple see, so don’t fol­low the crowd. De­sign your own look and re­ally go to town,” urges the ar­chi­tect, pre­sen­ter of Chan­nel 4’s Ge­orge Clarke’s Amaz­ing Spa­ces and am­bas­sador for com­pos­ite door brand True­dor.

“With your front door, you have more free­dom to ex­press your­self, per­haps pick­ing a colour you wouldn’t choose for your in­te­rior.

“Chang­ing the front door is a quick win and a real game-changer in terms of how peo­ple per­ceive you and your home.

“If you’re feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous, go for strong, bright colours, but choose a shade that com­ple­ments your own personal style and the rest of your house.

“If you’re not feel­ing brave, black’s al­ways a safe bet, or opt for darker shades of blue, plum and green, which will still make a de­sign state­ment.”

True­dor, whose be­spoke doors start from £700, has a list of the top trend­ing door colours this year. For tra­di­tional set­tings, think jet black, steel blue, pine green and crisp white. For con­tem­po­rary homes, con­sider bright yel­low, cobalt blue and pur­ple. Pas­tels are hav­ing a mo­ment too, with shades such as duck-egg blue and light vi­o­let on the up.

OPT FOR CLEAN LINES AND SYM­ME­TRY

Sym­me­try and sim­plic­ity at the front of a house is al­ways a good idea. Con­sider po­si­tion­ing plants or tubs in equal num­bers on each side for en­trance im­pact. Out­door lights also gen­er­ally look better in pairs.

“High­light­ing your home’s best fea­tures can only en­hance its ap­pear­ance — it’s rather like make-up for the home,” says Sally Storey, de­sign di­rec­tor at John Cullen Light­ing.

“Set a scene with light­ing by lay­er­ing dif­fer­ent ef­fects us­ing dif­fer­ent fit­tings. A lantern ei­ther side of a door con­jures a warm, wel­com­ing ef­fect, while a hang­ing lantern is prac­ti­cal for a porch. Fit a dim­mer switch so you can sub­tly al­ter light lev­els.

“Cre­ate an­other layer of light by us­ing Lucca up­lights (£110 each) for door sur­rounds to fo­cus on ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures or light steps.”

KEEP THE FRONT CLUT­TER-FREE

Keep doors, path­ways, steps and open porches free from dust, dirt and other de­bris. If you have a front door­mat, make sure it’s smart and clean. Dis­guise re­cy­cling and refuse bins in a small shed or shel­ter if pos­si­ble.

CRE­ATE FLO­RAL DIS­PLAYS TO BOOST THE APPEAL OF YOUR EN­TRANCE

Flow­ers, shrubs, hang­ing bas­kets and win­dow boxes can re­ally lift the en­trance to a home, es­pe­cially if they com­ple­ment the colour and style of the front door.

IN­VEST IN THE DE­TAILS THAT MAKE A DIF­FER­ENCE

In­vest in qual­ity door ac­ces­sories, such as let­ter­boxes, door­knobs and knock­ers, and try and en­sure door fur­ni­ture is in keep­ing with the style and age of your prop­erty. And don’t for­get a fresh lick of paint.

“With the av­er­age home­owner liv­ing in their prop­erty for 21 years, many sim­ply for­get over time to main­tain their home, es­pe­cially on the out­side, be­cause our ma­jor fo­cus is on the in­te­rior,” says Mar­i­anne Shilling­ford, cre­ative di­rec­tor at Du­lux Weather­shield.

“Do your re­search be­fore de­cid­ing on an ex­te­rior decor scheme. Take in­spi­ra­tion from neigh­bours’ homes and check out im­ages on Pin­ter­est and In­sta­gram.

“Take a copy of your favourite im­age and use the colour pick­ing tool on the Du­lux Visu­al­izer App to find a near­est match to the ex­te­rior fin­ish you want.

“Bear in mind that paint colours will look dif­fer­ent at dif- fer­ent times of the day, de- pend­ing on the light and whether the prop­erty is north or south-fac­ing.

“Buy a tester pot and paint a small area be­fore com­mit­ting.”

well-painted doors and at­trac­tive green­ery could help you sell your home more quickly

OP­POR­TU­NITY KNOCKS:

Shoe planters, from £60, Smithers of Stam­ford

May Vic­to­rian frosted door pat­tern Purl­frost on glass door pan­els, £45 per square me­tre

Planter trough, £24, Gar­den Trad­ing, Faux box­wood, £35, Sweet­pea and Wil­low

Door knocker, £15.99, Dows­ing and Reynolds

FRONT LINE: some home buy­ers are pre­pared to pay 25% more for a house with a smart ex­te­rior, ac­cord­ing to re­search

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