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10 Quick Exterior Curb Appeal Fixes to Mask the Ugly Unchangeables

by on Apr 11, 2024

A plain house exterior can often feel dull and uninviting. But no worries because in this guide, I will share tips on adding character to a plain house exterior.

Your house is more than just a structure, it’s your home. And just like how we put effort into decorating the interior to reflect our personalities, the exterior should also have its own character.

With a few simple changes and creative ideas, you can transform your plain house into a charming and unique home. One that will make a lasting impression. So, let’s dive in and discover how to add character to a plain house exterior.

The Power of Paint and Color Choices

Choosing the right paint and color schemes is essential in adding character to a plain house exterior.

The colors you select can dramatically change the appearance and mood of your home, setting it apart from the rest.

Opt for a color palette that complements the roofing and landscaping to create a cohesive look.

Don’t be afraid to use bold colors for the front door or shutters to add a pop of interest. For those looking to maintain a classic or subtle aesthetic, consider neutral tones with a contrasting trim color to define architectural details.

The use of high-quality, durable exterior paint enhances your home’s curb appeal and provides protection against the elements.

Additionally, integrating accents in hues that reflect the natural surroundings can harmonize your home with its environment. Making it stand out while still fitting in beautifully.

Through careful selection and application, paint and color choices can breathe new life into your home.

Landscaping and Greenery to Frame Your Home

Elevating your home’s exterior with landscaping and greenery is a surefire way to infuse it with character.

Thoughtfully chosen plants can frame your house in vibrant colors and textures, drawing the eye and enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

Consider incorporating a variety of perennials, annuals, and evergreens to ensure your garden remains lively across different seasons.

Strategically placed trees can provide shade and reduce energy costs while flowering shrubs add bursts of color and fragrance.

Integrate hardscaping elements like stone pathways or decorative edging to guide visitors through your garden for an added layer of visual interest.

Additionally, features such as a well-placed bench or a bird bath can introduce charm and create a focal point within your landscape.

Through careful planning and design, landscaping can transform a plain exterior into a harmonious blend of nature and architecture. Which makes your home not just a house but a masterpiece of your personal style.

Enhancing Curb Appeal with Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting is a key element in adding character to a plain house exterior, transforming it from unnoticed to unforgettable.

Strategic placement of outdoor lighting can accentuate architectural details, create ambiance, and improve security.

Start by highlighting key features such as pathways, landscaping, and the facade itself with a mix of floodlights, spotlights, and pathway lights.

Consider the warmth of the lighting; soft, warm lights invite a welcoming atmosphere, while cooler tones can offer a modern aesthetic. Illuminating the entryway with sconces or a statement overhead light fixture draws attention to the front door as a focal point, reinforcing the unique character of your home.

Additionally, incorporating decorative lighting elements such as string lights or lanterns in outdoor living areas or gardens can add a playful charm and extend the functionality of these spaces after dark.

Thoughtful integration of exterior lighting not only enhances curb appeal but also allows the unique character of your home to shine through, day or night.

Architectural Details That Make a Difference and Add Character

Incorporating unique architectural details is a transformative way to infuse your home’s exterior with personality and distinctiveness.

Subtle yet impactful additions such as decorative trim or intricately designed moldings can significantly elevate the aesthetic appeal of your facade.

Contemplate integrating corbels under eaves or around doorways for a touch of elegance that harks back to classical architecture.

The installation of window boxes filled with colorful flowers or shutters in complementary hues can instantly boost your home’s charm, marrying functionality with aesthetics beautifully.

Consider the visual interest that a pergola over a front porch or garden area could add. It could create a lovely outdoor living space while enhancing the architectural beauty of your home.

These features not only contribute to the aesthetic but also provide practical benefits such as shade and privacy. The addition of gables or dormers can break up a monotonous roofline, adding volume and visual appeal to the structure.

Embracing these architectural elements enables you to customize your home’s look, transforming a basic exterior into a reflection of your unique style and vision.

Each detail, no matter how small, plays a crucial role in crafting a compelling exterior that captures attention and admiration.

The Role of the Front Door in Home Character

The front door serves as both a literal and metaphorical entryway to your home, playing a crucial role in adding character to a plain house exterior.

It’s the first detail guests notice, and as such, it offers an opportunity to express your personal style and the home’s unique flair.

The choice of door material and design plays a crucial role—whether opting for a bold wooden door with elegant glasswork or a contemporary metal option, each enhances the home’s character uniquely.

Adding distinctive hardware, like antique doorknobs or stylized knockers, can further personalize the space. Additionally, dressing the surrounding area with potted plants or welcoming mats can amplify the charm and make the entrance even more engaging.

A distinctive door knocker or sleek handle set adds a touch of elegance and craftsmanship.

Seasonal decor, like festive wreaths or themed welcome mats, invites a sense of warmth and celebration.

Even the lighting choices here matter; a pair of sconces or a statement pendant light can cast a welcoming glow, highlighting your door’s features and ensuring it’s as inviting by night as it is by day.

These elements work together to accentuate the character of your home, making the front door not just an entryway but a testament to your personal flair and attention to detail.


The exterior front of a white house with striped awnings, a vine lattice work, a vertical large house number with chairs on a painted landing, a house from far away.


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Front entry of a white house with a white door flanked by matching green plants in box planters.

Add something of large scale to your front porch

The farmhouse above is really just a plain white house with old concrete steps. Instead of spending money to add a front porch or portico, the homeowner added large scale features to the existing porch. Large scale door trim, oversized planters, and extra large house numbers give this plain exterior some unexpected charm. Check out what it looked like before here.

The exterior of a home with eight brown wooden slats next to three full sized windows and an orange and white door mat.

Hide the eyesore

Maybe it’s the eyesore of the home that is throwing your curb appeal off its game. Think creatively like Tasha did here and cover what’s ugly.

Neat and traditional white house with striped window awnings and columned entrance.

Strive to have at least three defining elements to the exterior of your home

In my opinion, the homes with the best exteriors have at least three elements that define their curb appeal. These elements are usually a mixture of texture, color, and architectural details. 

Imagine this home having only one element, the white paint. Pretty blah right? The home jumps from blah to cute by adding the second element of unifying black shutters with the painted black door. They become standouts when the third element, the awnings, is added.

Look at all your favorite exterior Pinterest pins and start counting. They likely have three or more defining elements. Stand back and look at your home and count how many defining elements you have. This might be why your house just feels lacking. If you only have one or two, be creative and think of ideas for how you can add the third element. The remaining tips might give you some ideas.

bulking up those pillars

Bulk up your pillars

Your exterior might need a little more presence or architectural detail. Meghan from Balancing Home simply surrounded her iron porch pillars with chunky white pillars. 

Pumpkins are place on the outer steps of a home along with planted pots.

Multiply a bold color

Most homeowners only use a bold color for places like the door. If you have a home with very neutral features, why not do the same bold color in more than one way? 
This is a nice home with white trim, beige siding, and beige stone. The exterior has become bright and cheerful because the bright blue is repeated on the door, the shutters, and the porch decor. The trick to multiplying bold colors is unity. Too many different bold colors could start to look confusing. 

Windowboxes filled with flowers adorn windows of a white house with black shutters.

Add window boxes

Window boxes can be an easy store-bought fix that adds a ton of appeal to a home’s exterior.

A brick flower bed with purple and white pansies and a criss-crossing vine growing half way up a stone wall.

Cover a plain or ugly wall with ivy

I love how this ugly concrete exterior wall will one day have an awesome geometric pattern of ivy from Young House Love.

A cute little white house with a well manicured lawn.

Incorporate colorful and clean

This house is adorable. But if you take away the colorful landscaping, the charming character of peeled paint pillars looks a little old. Your home might just need some great landscaping to help redefine its flaws into something charming … or maybe even hide them.

A red door has flowers next to it on a porch.

Paint your screen door

Is your painted door blocked by your screen door? Paint it the same color as your door so the color will stand out. Consider switching out a standard glass screen door for a wooden screen one that can be painted. It will give your home a little bit of architectural detail without having to change your door. 

Beautiful house with beautiful portico

Find inspiration and copy it

More than likely there is someone out there who has an exterior similar to yours. This person has taken the very thing you don’t like about your exterior and made it look amazing. 
If you don’t know what to do, find your inspiration and copy it. I have an old home with lots of dark brown brick that can’t be changed. To embrace what I cannot change I needed a little inspiration. The above photo gives me a clear direction of what I need to do love my dark brown exterior. When I get some energy and time, I plan to paint my trim white.

What is it about your home’s exterior that drive’s you nuts, but? Please share any tips on how you updated your curb appeal. Also, check out this Curbly post on how to add curb appeal.

Looking for more curb appeal projects and inspiration?

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