Celebrity Designer Offers Tips for Creating Curb Appeal on a Budget

(ARA) – If improving your home’s curb appeal tops your list of projects to do around the house, take note: creating curb appeal doesn’t have to be extensive or expensive.

For instance, replacing old, worn-out garage doors with something dressier like a carriage-house style door can change the look of a home, almost more than any other improvement to the exterior — especially one with a front-facing garage. And the project takes less than a day to complete.

Celebrity designer Chayse Dacoda from the hit TLC home improvement series, “While You Were Out” has built her reputation on helping homeowners refresh worn-out spaces. Here are her suggestions for minor cosmetic changes that yield big impact on a home’s exterior appearance on a not-so-extreme budget.

Top Ten Things You Can Do to Add “Curb Appeal”

1. Paint your house! This may be an obvious one, so I have to get it out of the way first. Even so, not enough people do it. Most houses need it anyway. Go crazy, do what you have always wanted. Many tones of the same hue can really add dimension to the house. And remember, decorative moldings on older houses give license to use more than one color. Good prep work, like sanding off worn and chipping areas and priming, can make an exterior paint job last a lot longer and look better.

2. Change out-dated light fixtures — or add lights if you don’t have some already. Light up your doorways and walkways. Better to have more lights at lower wattages than one, very bright one.

3. Add landscaping. Consult your local nursery for plants and shrubs that work best in your area. If you’re an urban dweller, don’t let cement stop you — add potted planters. The right landscaping around a property will make all the difference in the world.

4. Replace a worn-out garage door with a new, decorative model. This will have a big impact especially if you have a front-facing garage. Manufacturers offer many designs and decorative accessories so it’s easy to find a door that will complement the architecture of your home.

5. Illuminate your landscape. This will completely change the look of your property at night. Angle low lights to point up at trees and bushes and point down along a pathway for safety. Keep it simple. Use solar lights that charge during the day and you won’t have to run wires.

6. Resurface your driveway. Instead of a tarred or cement driveway, consider installing one with a woven stone and grass pattern. This can do wonders for curb appeal.

7. Add details such as shutters, decorative moldings and fun elements like weathervanes to the outside of your house. Make bland windows come alive and define the architecture of your house with mullions, moldings, decorative eaves, fixed shutters or iron scrollwork.

8. Add a stone walkway or path going to the house instead of grass or a wide berth of cement.

9. Replace a chain-link fence with a wood one. Be unpredictable. Instead of a picket fence – put in one that has slanted multiple-height wood slats – like the kind found commonly in Carmel, Calif.

10. Plant a tree. Nothing will appreciate more in value than what this tree will look like 10 years from now.

Interested in transforming your home on someone else’s dime? Meredith Corporation, publisher of Better Homes and Gardens, Country Home, Traditional Home, Midwest Living, Renovation Style and Better Homes and Garden’s Remodeling Ideas and Simply Perfect Exteriors, and garage door manufacturer Clopay Building Products are offering materials, money and a personal consultation from designer Chayse Dacoda, from TLC’s hit home improvement series “While You Were Out.”

The grand prize winner of the “Clopay Transform Your Home Contest” will receive a personal in-home design consultation from Chayse, a new Clopay garage door installed, $500 in exterior lighting fixtures, exterior paint and $5,000 toward the cost of repainting their home and a $1,000 landscaping allowance.

Two first-place prizes and 50 runners-up prizes will also be awarded. All winners will receive a signed copy of Dacoda’s “While You Were Out” book.

Contest entries are being accepted from February 3 until April 21, 2006. To enter, homeowners are asked to mail a color photo of their home’s exterior, including the garage, along with a 50-word letter explaining why your home is the best candidate for an exterior makeover. Log onto www.clopaydoor.com for more information.

Courtesy of ARA Content