Easy Ways to Boost Curb Appeal

Look at your Front door. "The front door is the most telling detail of your house," says Alan Hanbury, Jr., former chairman of the Remodelors Council of the National Association of Home Builders. You can give your Historical home's entryway an instant lift by choosing the perfect paint color, or re-finishing the door back to fresh wood, re-stain and varnish. If the door is not original, search out a new, more age appropriate or better quality antique such as a mahogany or cherry door. You can also add a more appropriate wood storm door.

Think shutters. "If you have an older house, this is one way to add character without spending a lot," says Rocco P. Orlando Jr., an architect in Ridgewood, New Jersey. If this is a historically appropriate possibility for your home, then it is a great investment. Just don't waste you money and go with cheap plastic or non-authentic vinyl. Anyone who is going to spend money on your home will pick these out in a heartbeat. Well made, handcrafted and unique shutters will add value and you need these to last a lifetime, not just look pretty for awhile then spend 20 years rotting off the house.

Accessorize. Authentic Antique Brass knockers, Appropriate mailboxes and Reproduction Antique lanterns are small investments that make your house look great, says Tim Carter, a syndicated home-improvement columnist (www.askthebuilder.com). House numbers, kick plates and doorbell buttons are also available. If new hardware is beyond your budget, polishing the existing hardware can make an amazing difference.

Spruce up the grounds. Trim shrubs so that doors and windows aren't hidden. Even the most abundant cottage garden has a certain grace and neatness to it. Fill window boxes with vines, geraniums and ornamental grasses, or plant tried-and-true perennials like climbing hydrangea. The garden should complement the style of the house, says Don Haldeman, owner of Sycamore Springs Garden Center in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Paint it right. If you are painting your home for a quick sale, traditional colors are a safe bet, says John Crosby Freeman, a color and design consultant. And unlike eggplant purple (which was hot a few years ago), the classics never go out of style. Benjamin Moore's Historical Colors collection is the company's most popular line, with 174 shades. Timeless favorites from Valspar's American Tradition line is another good choice for easy on the eye colors. Since the average cost to paint a two-story home is more than $8,000, don't rush your decision. Check out homes you like in your area and ask the owners for the names of the paint colors they used. When painting a home for yourself, click here for a different view on your color selection.