12 DIY Curb Appeal Tips – on a Budget!

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Real Life DIY 12 Curb Appeal Tips on a Budget

A few years ago my daughter, Elizabeth, bought her first house. It’s a little bungalow that had been completely updated on the inside…but not on the outside. The first year she kept up with basic outdoor maintenance but the real work had to wait. Over the past few weeks we have worked hard on the weekends to add some much-needed curb appeal to her house. We’d like to share our 12 DIY Curb Appeal Tips…and we did them all on a budget!

So you can see what we had to work with here is her house a few weeks ago.

Before ~ Elizabeth's HouseIt had good bones so we started there. The brick is in great shape for a house this age but the porch stoop needed work. We thought about replacing the front door and storm door but opted to update the existing doors with paint. We made the decision for budget reasons but in the end we are so glad we did. We kept the original door and it looked like new after a fresh paint job.  I made a plan so we could address one thing at a time. Looking at the big picture when we started was a little overwhelming.

DIY Curb Appeal TipsThe first thing we did was prime and paint the front door and shutters. Next we painted the front stoop. We used concrete sealer and then 2 coats of concrete paint.

DIY Curb Appeal TipsWhile Elizabeth was painting (yes…she really climbed the ladder and did it herself…) I went to work on the landscaping. I edged, pulled the ivy along the foundation and just basically cleaned up.

Update your landscaping by removing old bushes.One of the easiest ways to update your landscaping is to remove old or dead bushes. We cut down 6 along the front of the house. They were all dead or dying and needed to go.  We opted not to dig them out because of the labor and time involved. We used a pruning saw and cut them all off at the root. The existing ground cover disguised the stumps so they didn’t show.

DIY Curb Appeal Tips from On Sutton PlaceAt this point we washed the gutters and the windows. I can’t tell you what a difference that made. It took us about an hour but the pay off was huge.  Finally…it was time for the fun stuff! We bought 10 bags of mulch and laid it around the ground cover. We used inexpensive black planters and filled them with colorful annuals.

DIY Curb Appeal Tips from On Sutton PlaceShortly after she moved in, Elizabeth replaced broken porch lights, an old mailbox and outdated house numbers. I gave the mailbox a fresh coat of black paint to clean it up. She also replaced very rickity hardware on the front door. The hardware on the storm door was gold and we spray painted it metallic silver. We spray painted an old chair a soft yellow and added a little wreath to her door. A new mat on the porch was the finishing touch to this makeover.

Hiding an eyesoreOne thing that I was determined to do when we started was to somehow hide the ugly electrical outlet beside her front porch. We knew removing it wasn’t an option so we placed a large planter in front of it. Problem solved.

DIY Curb Appeal Tips on a Budget

So…to sum things up: Here are 12 easy, DIY things you can do to add curb appeal!
PAINT THE FRONT DOOR AND SHUTTERS
REPLACE OR PAINT OLD HARDWARE
REPLACE OLD, OUTDATED LIGHTS
PAINT (OR CLEAN) THE FRONT PORCH
EDGE AND WEED LANDSCAPING
REMOVE DEAD OR DYING BUSHES
WASH GUTTERS AND WINDOWS
LAY FRESH MULCH
ADD POTS WITH COLORFUL FLOWERS
HANG A SEASONAL WREATH ON THE DOOR
ADD INTEREST WITH A CHAIR OR STOOL
PLACE A NEW MAT AT THE DOOR

It took us 3 weekends to accomplish everything. We also cleaned up the sides of the house and her back patio area. We got extremely lucky with the weather. We had sunshine and mild temps for every work day. Our plan involved a little elbow grease and even less money. By doing the work ourselves and taking advantage of existing features we were able to keep this project to about $300.00.  This was a real-life makeover. We didn’t have behind-the-scenes help with anything. I’ve said this before but it’s worth saying again. If we can do this, ANYONE can do this. We both agreed that our best investment, hands down, was the pruning saw! (Thank you Matt Knowton from theDIYvillage.com for your advice!)

Click here to see more of Elizabeth’s House.

Kelly the Blog DogDuring 2 of the work weekends we had the best little helper. Here’s Kelly looking puzzled by the mess we made with our painting supplies.  Not sure we could have done it without her!

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12 Curb Appeal Tips on a Budget: DIY and budget friendly!

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Thoughts from my friends...

  1. says

    Hi there! Your daughter’s house is adorable. My husband and I actually just purchased a brick front house in December. Do you remember the name of the gray paint you used on the outside?

    Thanks!

  2. Lyn says

    Fantastic job! It’s really an adorable home! And just an idea…we have pipes coming from our basement and out into our yard, we spray painted them, you could do the same thing with your electrical outlet to hide it. Made a big difference here!

  3. says

    You and your daughter did a great job on her house (how old is it , by the way). I love little bungalows like that. The new door and shutter colour is perfect and really updates the house. Personally I would paint that little electric outlet a red to match the brick as it is going to show in the winter when you take the planter down.

  4. Courtney says

    Looks great. What did you do to the grass? I have the same patchy grass as the before picture and the after looks sooo much better.

  5. says

    I love the updates she made to her home. Landscaping and house color choices are so important in what gives your home it’s curb appeal. I bet she loves driving up to her home now.

  6. says

    Your daughter’s house is very pretty, I looked back to read about them again, I love her sweet home, it’s decorated very nicely.
    Hugs, Cindy

  7. says

    This was an extremely timely post for me to read since I am helping my son with a little curb appeal for his home. His shrubs had me baffled. The pruning saw just may be the answer with a little periwinkle he has here and there. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. says

    We have owned 9 homes since 1988. I have always been stunned at how previous owners have made some of the strangest decisions. I mean, come on Ann…what the heck were they thinking when they added that electrical plug at the front door area???!!!!! Could they have planned that one better??? lol

    There is always something like that to contend with. Our current home is relatively new, but even then the previous owner had such strange notions on where to locate light switches around this house! It’s always something.

    I gotta say, if your daughter stays in the house and wants to make the investment, I new covered portico walk up and front porch on this bungalow would be just beautiful. Looks like one of those great bones homes. Sweet.

  9. says

    Sweet Ann, this is a terrific post. She has a lovely home and your curb appeal updates really help to make it look lovely. She is lucky to have such a sweet Mother to help out and your little helper Kelly is so cute! xo P.S. congrats on the Debbie doos spot. I like her blog. I hope you will link up to the hop tomorrow :-)

  10. says

    My son just bought his first house and we have been busy cleaning up also! Have hung pictures and art work inside and now need to move to the front porch, loved seeing what you all did! It looks great!

  11. says

    That is a very impressive renovation of the front entrance area. Very simple and straight forward jobs, but what an impact. Which pruning saw did Matt Knowton recommend. I did go to the site but it was not immediately obvious to me. I do not have a blog.

  12. Colleen says

    It looks great! If she is thinking of adding more bushes she should wait for the fall. A lot of the garden stores discount plants and bushes at that time. She could get more bang for her buck!

  13. says

    Elizabeth is so blessed to have you near… and vice versa! Her new home is being transformed beautifully!!! LOVE all your tips… especially removing dead shrubs. What a difference that made!
    Looking forward to all your great recipes at Debbiedoo’s!

  14. says

    That is quite the dramatic difference between the before and after. Your work was so worth it. I love the new grey on the shutters and door as it is more contemporary and suits the brick colour. Amazing what lots of hard work and a little cash can do. Elizabeth has a lovely home with great curb appeal now.

  15. says

    Really a fantastic job. I love that you kept the costs down, and every project was manageable. The after is so remarkably better! Love the planters and the change of color on the shutters the best.

    Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

  16. Nancy B says

    Ann, what a fantastic job you and your daughter did. Even the front lawn looks better. The bungalow is so cute now. And think of the thousand of dollars of value you added to the house for $300 and some grunt work. Job well done.

  17. says

    WELL DONE, gang!

    Your daughter must be so proud!

    Hey another thing she can do to help hide the electrical outlet even further is paint it to match the brick.

    Love the post-work picture. So glad the weather cooperated for you.

  18. says

    Wow! I would say you two did an awesome job not to mention what an accomplishment and how proud she must feel to have it finished. I love these before and afters. Good job, ladies!

  19. says

    Wow Ann! It’s amazing what a little paint and some gardening will do to the streetscape of a house! It looks really great and I think you both did an awesome job. Elizabeth’s house is adorable inside and out!

  20. says

    What a wonderful transformation! You ladies did a great job…the beauty is in the details. Your daughter must be so happy. Love it!

    XO,
    Jane

  21. says

    What a difference that makes! The person who originally planted those bushes obviously loved their garden. It’s a shame it was allowed to go to ruin.

    xo

    Andie

    • says

      Thanks Andie! Elizabeth actually bought the house from the family of the original owner. He was very old and I think the house was let go for a long time before he died. There is still much to do in the back yard…but that’s a project for this fall!

  22. says

    Ann this is fantastic, really made a huge difference. I say curb appeal means everything…if you don’t have it, who wants to come in. Elizabeth’s home is very charming and inviting…knock, knock:)