Front and cen­tre for lit­tle im­prove­ments

Brits gen­er­ally ig­nore their home’s ex­te­rior for more than eight years, while a ne­glect­ful 20% haven’t dec­o­rated for more than 15, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey. So who bet­ter than TV prop­erty ex­pert Ge­orge Clarke to give us some tips for a late sum­mer spruce up?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - East Kent Property - - INDOORLIVING -

1“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 nor­mally choose for your in­te­rior.

“Chang­ing the front door is a quick win, but 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, iden­ti­fies the top colours trend­ing for front doors this year.

For tra­di­tional set­tings: jet black, steel blue, pine green and crisp white. And for con­tem­po­rary homes: bright yel­low, cobalt blue and pur­ple.

Pas­tels are hav­ing a mo­ment too, with shades such as prim­rose yel­low, duck egg blue and light vi­o­let.

2Sym­me­try and sim­plic­ity at the front of a house is al­ways a good idea.

Con­sider po­si­tion­ing plants or tubs in equal num­ber on each side for en­trance im­pact.

Out­door lights also gen­er­ally look bet­ter in pairs.

“High­light­ing your home’s best fea­tures can only en­hance it’s 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.”

3Keep doors, path­ways, steps and open porches free from dust, dirt and other de­bris, and 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. 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.

5In­vest in good qual­ity door ac­ces­sories, such as let­ter­boxes, door­knobs and knock­ers, and try to 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 colours look dif­fer­ent at dif­fer­ent times of the day, de­pend­ing on the light and whether the prop­erty is north or south-fac­ing. Buy a tester pot be­fore com­mit­ting.”

Left, green minia­ture faux box­wood, £35, from the French fur­ni­ture bou­tique Sweet­pea and Wil­low; above from left, the Rem­brandt door, in pur­ple; Cezanne door, in Chartwell Green; Matisse door, in zinc yel­low, all from the Tra­di­tional range; Turner...

In­crease the value and ap­peal of your home with an ex­ter­nal re­vamp; right, As­lan brass door knocker, £15.99, avail­able on­line at Dows­ing and Reynolds – www.dowsin­gan­

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