Pretty up your porch
Does your home have the "It Factor" it needs to sell in this buyer's market? Experts say potential buyers make a split-second decision the moment they pull up next to your house. If your home exudes curb appeal, you’re already more than halfway to "Sold." But if it doesn't, you’ve got an uphill battle convincing potential buyers to buy.
Your porch plays a huge role in setting the scene. Even if you're not planning to sell this year, a porch makeover will enhance enjoyment of your own home. Want to put a smile on your face (or potential buyers' faces)? Here are seven high-impact, low-cost must-do's.
1 Hide your recycling
Blue boxes and piles of cardboard are the last thing the come-hither porch needs. Move recycling to the side of your house, or your garage, shed, mudroom, basement or some other place where it’s out of sight (and possibly, smell).
2 Plant it up
Live plants freshen up any porch. Flank your steps with a pair of urns, stagger pots on steps, or set balcony planters off porch railings.
Save money by potting your own long-lasting geraniums, pansies, ivy, begonias and other long-lasting container-friendly plants purchased in flats.
Or save time by buying planter-ready potted arrangements and dropping them into ornamental planters.
Buy plants suited to your porch's lighting conditions.
3 Update your hardware
Banish mismatched porch hardware and the messy message it projects. Buy a mailbox or slot, doorbell or knocker, kick plate and lock set from the same collection. Your house numbers should also be in a matching finish.
4 Paint your door
Add character to a dreary builder's basic steel door, or give new life to a faded wooden door. A couple coats of glossy paint will do it. Black is sophisticated and high-end, red is a classic Look-At-Me traffic stopper. Or go outside the box with a brave trend colour – after all, when you get tired of it, all you need to do is repaint!
5 Upgrade your lighting
Nothing looks more tired than a tarnished old porch light. Replace your light and save energy by popping in a long-lasting, low-wattage compact fluorescent bulb.
6 Clean the floor
Whether your porch is wood or cement, it can get stained by leaf litter, ink from wet flyers, or recycling bin leaks (see #1). Sweep, mop, and then scrub away stubborn spots.
Repaint your wood porch if needed.
7 Add a seat
Not hanging out on your porch? You're missing out. Adding a bench, chairs, café table or porch swing creates a welcoming ambience, not just for your home, but your street as well. (How’s that for raising property values?!)
Porch seating also provides you with a nice, semi-intimate spot to chat with neighbours or canvassers without worrying about letting anyone inside your messy (just kidding!) interior.
For the best results, look for
• All-weather, resin wicker (natural wicker lasts longer if it can be protected from rain and brought indoors in winter)
• Eco-friendly and weather-resistant plantation teak
• Inexpensive and lightweight aluminum
• Heavier, ornate wrought iron
Finish the look with colourful indoor-outdoor cushions and seat pads, which can be swapped out seasonally for spring, summer and fall mini-makeovers.
Do a porch prettification check
You wouldn’t leave the house without checking your hair or makeup, one last time would you? Likewise, do a daily porch appeal check.
• Toss any trash or flyers that have found their way onto your porch steps
• Sweep dirt, dust or leaves from the porch
• Replace light bulbs as needed
• Clean smudges from hardware or glass
• Water and deadhead plants in porch planters or urns
• Straighten doormat