Creating Curb Appeal: Summer ’16 Style Home Decorating & Design IdeasBy Rebecca R. Newsome, MIRMWant to have the most inviting home in the neighborhood? It’s really not that difficult to amp up the wow in your home’s curb appeal, and no time is better than the present to get started! Here are a few tips on adding value and lasting character to your home while welcoming family, friends, and potential buyers.This Meritage home at Legacy at Jordan Lake is packed with curb appeal via interesting roof lines, an attractive mix of brick, stone, and fiber cement on the façade, an inviting front door including glass and transoms, and beautiful landscaping combined with landscape lighting.Scrutinize your home from the streetWhat’s your home’s best feature? What’s its worst? How can you play up the best feature and minimize the worst? What are your budget and your time frame for making improvements? Brainstorm a bit on these questions to start putting together a curb appeal plan that’s best for you.Freshen up exterior colorsIs the color of your home crisp and inviting? Fresh paint works wonders to enhance attractiveness. Most homes consist of three distinct colors: a dominant or “field” color for exterior walls, a trim color for the casings of windows and doors as well as for fascia boards that hold your gutters in place and protect the edges of your roof, and an accent color for doors, shutters, and other architectural features. Best practices suggest that you choose your field color first, choose trim paint in a lighter shade than your field color, and choose your accent color to add pizzazz. According to Heather Atkins, Raleigh’s Design Center Manager of Eastwood Homes, various shades of gray are currently trending. “Both warm and cool grays with black metal accents on porch, dormer, and/or accent roofs are popular and classic choices,” she says. In addition to gray, light greens and creams are also top picks in exterior colors, as evidenced in Chapel Hill homes at Legacy at Jordan Lake by Integrity Homes, Meritage Homes, and Ryan Homes.Let your entry make a statementAlthough porches with columns and seating continue to ride the wave of popularity, especially in Craftsman-style homes, small porches and covered entries can deliver impact in combination with a tasteful front door and the inclusion of a small personalized item such as a wreath or a plant stand. Front doors with windows or overhead/flanking transoms are well-liked in that they bring light into foyers; however, without going to the expense of purchasing a new front door, the use of a striking accent color and new hardware on the front door can create a dramatic and appealing entry. The addition of customized house numbers and container plants can tailor an entry even more, creating ambiance, interest, and an invitation to step inside and visit.Enliven your landscaping Nothing shows pride in ownership like a well-groomed yard. Making sure your lawn and shrubs are manicured is a given; taking the extra step to plant flowers and other ornamental foliage only adds to the atmosphere of hospitality. Irrigation systems are standard in many new home communities throughout the Triangle, as well as the inclusion of heat resistant and drought tolerant lawns and plantings. “We sod the entire yard in our new homes, promoting better curb appeal and making it easier for home owners to maintain them,” says Christy Beck, Raleigh General Manager of Ryan Homes. If you’re in a home in which these elements were not initially included, or if your landscaping needs a make-over, talk to the experts at your local nursery or lawn and garden center for ideas on what to plant and how often to water. “Good lawn maintenance and care typically equates to good overall home care,” says Rob Williams, Division President and Managing Broker of Highgarden Real Estate in Raleigh. “When we’re showing homes, the condition of the yard makes a difference in how eager people are to see a home’s interior.” Makes sense, whether you’re selling your home or hosting a party!Curb appeal in this Ryan home includes the use of stacked stone in harmony with the trending colors of green, gray, and cream, a welcoming front porch, a front door with a window, and side entry single-width garage doors.Shed a little light on the subjectA new exterior light fixture is an inexpensive way to boost your home’s curb appeal. Beyond that, including lighting by your driveway, sidewalk, and/or landscaping is a simple approach to add evening panache to your home. Even just making sure your interior lights are visible through your front door and windows add interest. Remember taking that critical view of your home from the street? Do it at night as well as in daylight; oftentimes it’s very simple things that make a huge difference!Take a look at your competitionTriangle-area developers, builders, and marketing/design professionals take great strides in making sure new homes add positively to a neighborhood’s visual appeal. From carefully coordinating home plans that enhance topography to providing architectural covenants and landscape guidelines, these industry experts know what it takes to make curb appeal last long after new home sales contracts are signed. “Our collection offers a variety of elevations and styles to create a unique streetscape,” says Shannon Robinson, Marketing Manager for Meritage Homes in Raleigh. “Some of the features of our exterior facades include a mixture of brick and stacked stone, double porches, arched entryways, dormers, and side-entry garages.” Christy Beckechoes these sentiments, adding that board and batten veneers also contribute to the variety and discerning look of Ryan Homes at Legacy at Jordan Lake. “Side entry single-width garage doors with a third carriage style set-back garage, 12” roof overhangs, and deep front porches also contribute to curb appeal,” she comments. Emilio Martinez of Integrity Homes in Raleigh agrees, adding that durable fiber cement exteriors and porches with brick and stone accents continue in popularity in their Craftsman and ranch plans. “We plan the details of our home exteriors so that they portray a terrific first impression upon drive up,” summarizes Eastwood Homes’ Heather Atkins. Isn’t that what curb appeal is all about?The New Homes & Ideas team hopes these ideas will inspire you to embark upon some projects this summer that will not only give your home an immediate curb appeal boost, but also add long term value to your home. Email your before and after photos to email@example.com for consideration in having them featured in New Homes & Ideas. Best wishes and we look forward to hearing from you!To search for new homes in the Triangle area, click here.