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How to Change the Exterior of a House

Updated July 26, 2018

Changing the exterior of your house can be as simple as repainting or tweaking the landscape, but a complete makeover with major structural changes can be costly. When you make changes to the exterior of a house, keep the neighbourhood, the original era of the house and its setting in mind. Take photographs of homes with designs you admire and explore the online tools that are available that help you to visualise your project before you begin.

Add shutters. New shutters can give your house a hint of a Mediterranean look, a country farmhouse, a stately Colonial or an ocean-side saltbox. If your house has shutters, consider removing them to give your home a more modern appearance.

Remove the porch and replace it with a patio. This is not always practical, especially in the case of a raised porch. Alternatively, expand the porch on the front of the house or add a new one. Porches add warmth to entryways.

Repaint, stucco or put siding on the exterior. A simple change in paint and trim colour makes a big difference. Make a more radical change by adding a stucco finish, natural stone or brick.

Change the roof. Create a country look with a metal roof. Change the shingle colours. Invest in a slate roof, or shingles that look like slate.

Replace the windows. Change two small windows into a picture window. Use leaded glass for a Tudor style. Build decorative faux balconies in front of windows from wrought iron. Add window boxes.

Update the front door. Change a single door into a double door with a fanlight over it and frame it with sidelights. Paint the door a vivid colour that contrasts with the wall colour.

Fool the eye by freshening the landscaping. Prune trees and bushes that hide the house. Add a fence or change the walkways to draw attention to the house. Put uplighters under bushes to add drama to your house's facade at night.

Tip

Lighter shingles keep the house cooler by reflecting sunlight. When you replace the windows, choose an energy-efficient style.

Warning

Check with your community to see if there are covenants in place that restrict changes to property exteriors.

Things You'll Need

  • Shutters
  • Paint, stucco, siding
  • Window boxes
  • Uplighters
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About the Author

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.