Room & Space Ideas

Home Exterior Ideas and Inspiration

Whoever said, "What matters is on the inside," was definitely not thinking about curb appeal. When it comes to your home exterior, that first impression really does matter. One that exudes vibrant style, subdued calm, or whatever quality you so desire sets the stage for your interior — and not just for guests. It matters for you, too.

That said, the exterior is often one of the last projects on the to-do list. It makes sense — painting a house can be a lot pricier than, say, adding new throw pillows and a rug. Replacing shutters is not exactly a weekend DIY project. And you spend more time ​inside​ anyway. But making thoughtful decisions about your overall style, colors, and details such as lighting and doors can completely transform the space. Just take these dramatic exterior transformations as examples.

If you're looking to revamp your home exterior, look no further.

Determine your style.

There was a time when the style of the outside of your home had to match the inside. And while that's still common, it's definitely not some strict design rule.

Home exteriors can vary wildly, and there's room for delightful juxtapositions like a traditional Edwardian facade that gives way to serious modern and contemporary design inside, or a bold Bauhaus or contemporary exterior with Scandi design indoors.

Or you can play it safe. Traditional or craftsman home exteriors, in particular, look wonderful. And farmhouse exteriors are popular in so many neighborhoods, especially when they get that modern touch.

Embrace color.

Image Credit: Luis Barragan

It's one thing to have a very traditional home exterior in a very traditional palette — say, a classic Spanish Colonial-style home painted white with a red Mission tile roof. And it's another to paint said home, say, a bold black — or pink! That's what's so fun about exterior colors.

So while white exterior paint will always feel apropos, as will most shades of gray, you are free to pick from the entire color catalog. Green? Teal blue? Sure! Certain hues are more appropriate for certain styles. Think: a black and white farmhouse, a navy blue Craftsman, or a turquoise beach home, for example. But you shouldn't be afraid of an exterior shade that's edgy or on-trend. Some paint colors will even help sell your home faster.

Be selective about materials.

Image Credit: Paul Anderson for Hunker

Color is not the only variable at play, either (even though it might be the most fun). Home exteriors can incorporate a variety of materials, including siding, paneling, stucco, exterior brick, and even stone.

Exterior paneling — including board and batten — can be used to update a dated exterior. You can, for instance, take a bland tract home and give it more of a midcentury modern feel. And on the flip side, dated exteriors can be updated with nothing more than a quick coat of paint, turning, say, a dingy, wood-paneled dwelling into a crisp, white modern showpiece. A highly textured '80s stucco could even be sanded down into something more smooth and 21st century.

Don't forget the light.

Exterior lighting is one of those small details that can make a huge difference, especially at night. There's a functional aspect — are your pathways and entrances well-lit? And then there's straight-up style. Do you want exterior pendants that are dramatic? Classic? Edgy and modern?

And then there's landscape lighting. Draw attention to trees, or define some outdoor seating, all with the power of a few bulbs. And while outdoor lighting isn't always cheap, there are ways to DIY it.

Take care with your doors and windows.

Even if you've taken a fairly moderate approach to your home exterior — nothing too flashy color-wise and period-appropriate materials — there's still one place you can have a lot of fun with only a little expense — your doors. Whether your tastes or your home lean traditional, midcentury modern, or just straight-up modern, there are lots of options. You can pick a stately shade, like black, and get creative with the shape. Or go with a Dutch door.

You can even break all the rules with bold pops of color for the front or back door — or both. And don't forget the door trim, the shutters, and window trim.

Spend some time on the garage.

If home exteriors, in general, come last — the garage is typically the last of the last. But it deserves love, too — especially when, with certain style homes, it's right there front and center, closest to the street.

The garage is mostly utilitarian, yes. But as the true landing spot of most homes, you want it to feel as welcoming as possible. One place to start is the entry. In a Craftsman garage, you might see detailed millwork in and around the door. A modern option might incorporate unexpected materials. A farmhouse garage door might stick to the classic black, white, wood, or even something more rustic.

You can also play with color here with a bold red, sleek black, or just about any other tone you can imagine. Don't forget good garage lighting either.

Add outdoor storage.

Don't think your exterior can handle outdoor storage? Think again. You can add practical solutions like waterproof containers to store your yard equipment and tools. Or you can repurpose an existing structure, like a shed, to hold any overflow items that just don't fit indoors. For a more aesthetic option, you could even use that shed to house your plant collection.

Where To Shop for Home Exterior Products

You don't exactly find home exterior products while browsing typical decor shops. Your best bets, if you plan to do it yourself, are the big home improvement stores or their local equivalents. Or, as always, ask your trusted contractor.

Lowe's

Wayfair

Lumens

Simpson Door Company

Pella

Anderson Windows

The Home Depot