How to make your house look inviting

Cassie Pryce

First impressions count, and the exterior of a building is the gateway to every home. It’s the first part guests and neighbours will see and sets the scene for what lies inside. We’ve rounded up some simple tips to try if you want to add a little wow-factor and make your property somewhere you’re proud to come home to everyday

1. Paint job

Most front doors are exposed to the elements and so can take quite a battering during the harsh winter months, causing damage to woodwork and painted surfaces.

Give the outside (and in) a fresh new look for summer by re-painting with a specialist exterior paint.

Remember to remove all hardware from the door prior to painting and sand down and fill any cracks before applying a layer of undercoat. Always check the weather forecast and choose a day when no rain is forecast for at least 24 hours.

 

2. Update accessories

Replace dated or worn hardware on your front door, including letter boxes, knockers, door bells and house numbers. Scratched or damaged pieces will instantly make the front of the house look tired and it doesn’t cost the earth to clean up or replace these.

Complete the look by laying a new doormat too, if yours is looking a little worn around the edges.

 

3. Glass act

Maintaining the window panels on your front door is just as important as the paintwork.

Keep window panes clean inside and out and consider applying a frosted effect for both style and privacy.

Stick-on film is an affordable way to update the glass and you can choose patterned or plain designs or etch house numbers into the film too.

 

4. Scrub up

If your front path has a tiled or wooden walkway, take the time to remove the dirt which has built up over winter.

A pressure washer will have different settings to suit most exterior surfaces, whether that be stone, wood or tiles, and the high-powered jet of water can remove layers of grime with minimal effort.

Be sure to check the instructions before use, as some settings may be too strong for certain materials and can cause decking or stone to crack.

 

5. Floor filler

For a larger-scale makeover at the front of the house, consider swapping old paving stones for statement floor tiles instead.

Patterned or colourful tiles laid along a small section, such as a narrow path leading up a porch, will make a big impact and really add personality.

If you live in a Victorian property, for example, look for designs inspired by that era such as black and white geometric tiles laid in a diamond formation.

 

6. Garden gravel

Gravel pathways are a budget-friendly alternative to tiles or paving and, when kept in good condition, can make a decorative and practical walkway. You’ll need to dig at least 10cm down and line the sides with treated timber edging boards, before laying landscape fabric and a sub-base material.

Once this has been compacted down, add the decorative gravel and rake it over to cover the base layer and create an even surface.

 

7. Bright idea

Ensure your exterior looks stylish at all times by installing suitable lighting. Outdoor wall lights can be used to frame a doorway and come in a wide range of designs, both traditional and contemporary, to suit any type of property.

Consider whether the position of your light fitting is sheltered or exposed to the elements and check for the correct IP rating accordingly to ensure it will be waterproof.

 

8. Welcome home

If your outside space has fencing or a gate leading up the property, be sure to give this a little TLC as part of your annual maintenance.

Sand down peeling paintwork on wooden surfaces and re-coat with a specialist exterior wood paint, or a metal paint for wrought iron gates or fencing.

If your metal hardware is suffering from rust damage, apply a rust treatment before painting to give a layer of protection.

 

9. Blooming lovely

When it comes to decorating the front of your home, adding greenery and flowers is a great way to make the outdoor space feel loved and welcoming.

Potted plants or small trees can be used to frame the doorway if you don’t have flowerbeds—use in pairs to create a symmetrical entrance—or train a climbing plant to grow up and around the front of the property for added character.

 

10. Smart styling

For homes with limited space at the front, make use of exterior windowsills to add a little colour through potted plants.

Narrow window boxes are ideal for this type of planting and will make a decorative feature that can be enjoyed from both inside and out the house.