Ready to take your house from forgettable to “the one with the adorable front porch?” Buyers look at an average of 10 homes over a 10-week period before they make a purchase so it’s no easy task to stand out.
But when you follow these staging tips to elevate a home’s porch curb appeal, your abode will be remembered as fondly your favorite lazy Sunday mornings spent sipping coffee on the steps.
Perform a porch facelift before you dress it up
Diamonds and pearls won’t make mud-caked overalls suitable for a black-tie only gala. So don’t make the same mistake with your curb appeal: before you gussy up a grungy, mundane, or weather-worn porch, you’ll need to clean, repair, and update the space to a pristine condition.
First tackle the immediate porch surrounding areas: To prevent your house from sticking out like a sore thumb, it will go a long way to simply clean your home’s exterior and tidy up the landscaping around the porch for instant curb appeal points. Make sure the main attraction (your porch’s character and seating area) doesn’t get lost among overgrown branches and shrubbery.
But as you get to snipping, be sure you don’t go too far: “Greenery warms up an environment, so you don’t want to chop it all back a week before you list,” says Michael Winslow, a top-selling agent in Colorado Springs, Colorado who’s sold over 79% more properties than his peers.
“Landscaping takes a while to grow and flourish, so you just want to gently trim and prune your greenery by hand.”
With that done, it’s time to breathe new life into your cookie-cutter front door, poured-concrete steps, and standard-issue porch roof columns to attract buyers, starting with these tips:
Play with paint to enhance your porch curb appeal
Paint is the first place to make standout choices. While you need to choose a neutral color for most of the exterior to make sure your paint job increases your home’s value, you can go a bit bolder in your color selection for the front door.
Crimson red, canary yellow, cobalt blue, spring grass green, even pitch black—the sky’s the limit when choosing a front door color, as long as you keep the vibrant hue confined to the front door.
Shutters are the exception, however. Shutters should still be painted a near-neutral hue so your home isn’t overwhelmed with color and the focus stays on the entrance. For example, black shutters work on a white Federal-style house with a red front door.
Resurface your steps
If your home has those all-too-common concrete steps, you don’t need to take drastic destroy-and-replace measures to eliminate that eyesore.
Boring, ordinary porch steps are easily transformed into natural stone look alikes by adding stone veneers over top of your existing concrete steps. Stone veneers add a unique architectural accent that can go rustic with a rounded river rock mosaic or more formal with brick-stacked slate or granite.
This is a difficult project to DIY, and costs around $1,000 plus three to four full days of hard work to complete. However, you can get stone veneers professionally installed for an average of $20 to $30 per square foot, depending on the veneer you choose.
For concrete steps that are in rough shape, you can tackle two problems at once by hiring a concrete specialist to make repairs and resurface the stairs. Concrete specialists typically charge a $500 to $1,000 flat rate upfront plus an additional $3 to $10 per square foot.
While making repairs, a pro can also drastically improve the look of your steps with stamped concrete that can give your stairs the look of everything from brickwork to weathered wood planks. Concrete can even be dyed so it has the bricks or wood.
Cover your columns
Once you add a pop of color on the front door and rock star veneers on the steps, your ordinary, mass-purchased-by-the-builder columns will start to look out of place.
Luckily, boring roof support posts are easily transformed into impressive, ornate columns with column wraps. Craftsman or Grecian, fluted or tapered, column wraps are available to match any architectural style.
Replacement is the alternative to hiding your existing porch columns. It’s absolutely doable to DIY porch columns, but it’s by no means easy.
Temporary supports are needed so the roof doesn’t collapse while you’re replacing the existing columns. You’ll also have to make absolutely sure that the new posts are straight, capable of supporting the roof, and that the installation meets home inspection standards.
If that sounds too tricky or time consuming, simply leave the work to the professionals. It costs an average of $491 for ornamental column installation.
Tell your home’s story with appropriate porch staging
Once the setting is set, staging a porch becomes all about the story your home tell potential buyers.
“I have a lot of fun staging front porches,” advises Winslow. “Whether it has a porch swing, or a pair of Adirondack chairs, or a little table with a colorful plant on it, you can make a front porch feel like a living space.”
The furniture, decor, and accessories you choose for your front porch provide the introduction to the rest of the house.
Technique 1: Love letter to your locale
In many areas, if you’ve seen one suburb you’ve seen them all—so there’s not much of a story to tell about the local neighborhood. But for a lucky few, the locale is half the selling point of their home—and that luxury should be the focal point of the front porch.
For example, if yours is a lakeside or beachfront property, highlight that with nautical or beachy furniture or decor. Think blue or turquoise patio furniture, anchor or ship wheel wall hangings, and lots of seashells.
However, your decor doesn’t have to be completely “on the nose” to emphasize the best assets of your location. You can pick universal pieces like Adirondack chairs or porch swings that signal hours of outdoor relaxation whether your front porch view is of the ocean, forest, or rolling green fields.
By highlighting the perks of your locale in your porch decor, you’re reminding buyers of all there is to enjoy in the surrounding area should they choose to make an offer on your house.
Technique 2: Sneak peak of your home’s amenities
Even the most mundane suburban home can be outfitted to embrace specific lifestyles—and if you’ve made lifestyle-focused improvements to your home, your porch is the perfect place to introduce them to your buyer.
Let’s say that you’ve added a garden window filled with fresh herbs and a vegetable patch in the backyard—you can communicate how well your home supports a farm-to-table lifestyle with porch decor featuring a container garden and a buckboard bench.
Or perhaps you’ve redesigned your backyard to resemble a Japanese peace garden complete with a koi pond and a rake-able Zen garden. Invite potential buyers to enjoy the tranquility they’ll find out back with a bamboo lounge chair livened up with some colorful koi fish pillows.
Porch decorations are a great way to accentuate the lifestyle-embracing upgrades you’ve made to your home—whether you’re foreshadowing a game room with a wooden tic-tac-toe game on your porch end table, or the impressive built-in BBQ with picnic tablecloth-like red gingham chair cushions.
Doing so helps buyers see them as assets to enjoy rather than useless features that’ll be expensive to change.
Technique 3: Accentuate the architecture (or interior design)
Your home doesn’t need to have unique upgrades or a legendary locale for your porch to tell an interesting story to intrigue buyers—sometimes you can create the most inviting porch vignettes simply by celebrating the architectural style of your home.
Let’s say your home has a few French country architectural details like a hipped roof or dormer windows. Embrace those striking details with architecture-inspired porch decor featuring a French country-inspired metal bench flanked by a pair of topiaries.
If your home doesn’t have any distinctive architectural details, simply introduce the design style story of your interior with your porch decor.
For example, if your interior decor trends toward Mid-century Modern, install an atomic age-inspired mailbox or front door. Then create a ’60s -inspired porch vignette with a pair of Eames-designed molded plastic rocking chairs, and a retro metal end table.
Curb appeal that reflects the porch state of mind
Considering how many homes a buyer sees before deciding to make an offer, it’s easy to understand why the best agents recommend staging to help homes sell. By extending that staging to your front porch, you give your home that little something extra to help it stand out from the crowd.
Article Image Source: (Bobkeenan Photography/ Shutterstock)