How to improve the curb appeal of a wartime bungalow

Updated April 17, 2017

Neighbourhoods with Craftsman-style bungalows sprang up across the United States before World War I. They remained popular after the war ended in 1918 but fell out of favour in the 1930s. Craftsman bungalows were designed to complement nature and blur the line between the indoors and out. If your wartime bungalow is down at the heels and needs some help, keep this philosophy in mind.

Remove or trim trees that soar above the roof line, dwarfing the house. Keep shrubbery well trimmed. Don't let it grow too high and possibly obscure architectural details.

Choose a mix of flowering and evergreen shrubs that give interest to the landscaping all year. Complement the shrubbery with flowers, both annuals and perennials. Craftsman bungalows were often landscaped with strictly indigenous plants. Mulch and weed your flowerbeds frequently.

Plant grass seed to fill in bare patches on your lawn. Keep it mowed. If you lawn has very little grass or is full of weeds rather than grass it might be time to start over with a new lawn. Consider having the area sodded if time is a factor. If not, you can seed the area yourself or have it seeded by a professional landscaper.

Underscore the elements of nature by marching pots of flowers up the porch steps. Coordinate the flowers with the season. Bright red geraniums sing summer, while yellow mums ease you into fall. Hang ferns or trailing ivy in baskets from the overhang to sway in the breeze.

Replace dated porch lights with some in the Craftsman style. Look for lamps with hammered copper or cast-bronze frames.

Outfit wicker rockers with deep cushions that invite visitors to sit awhile. Add a table to create a conversation area. Complete the look with a porch swing.

Refresh the front door with a new coat of paint. Wash the door's windows if it features them.

Highlight the door with brass, wrought iron or copper knockers, knobs or handles and locks. These would have been common on Craftsman bungalow doors. Switch out old house numbers with some made from the same material as the door hardware.

Install a new door if the old one is too damaged to bring back to life. Choose one that is appropriate for the age and architecture of the house. A solid wood door with windows at the top is a good choice.

Scrape off peeling paint from the house. Research the colour palettes used on Craftsman bungalows. They commonly had three to five colours. The base colour was often a muted earth tone like green or brown. The trim colour was lighter, perhaps beige or tan, while the front door was painted a tone darker than the trim but lighter than the base colour.

Avoid painting over any rock or brick in your facade. They are natural elements and indigenous to the Craftsman style. Fill in cracks and spaces between the rows.

Replace damaged roof shingles. Be sure the roof complements your exterior colours.

Freshen the porch with a new coat of paint. Stay within the palette you chose for the house.


Bungalows became so popular, they could be purchased in kits and shipped to buyers to be put together on site. They were sold by Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Ward other suppliers.

Things You'll Need

  • Shrubbery
  • Flowers
  • Mulch
  • Grass seed
  • Pots
  • Rockers
  • Cushions
  • Table
  • Paint
  • Door hardware
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About the Author

Jan Czech has been writing professionally since 1993. Czech has published seven children's books, including “The Coffee Can Kid," which received a starred review from School Library Journal. She is a certified English/language arts teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Niagara University.