10 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Jan 21, 2022

You know that feeling when you’re driving down a road you’ve never been on before and you pass a house so beautiful it makes you hit the brakes and back up for a closer look? Maybe you even roll the window down, whip out your phone, and take a quick photo to put in a “one day, if we’re lucky” album. At Morgante Wilson, those are the kinds of houses we live to create. Because as residential architects, we know there’s nothing more satisfying than designing a house that makes people want to stop to appreciate it. Here are ten of our best ideas to improve the curb appeal of your own house – the one you live in right now, or the one you fantasize about living in one day down the road!

1. Enhance symmetry

Kids often gravitate instinctively to drawing houses with symmetrical features. You know, with a door in the middle and a window on either side. And there’s a reason why: to most of us, symmetry just feels good. It’s comfortable. If your house boasts symmetrical features like this one does, you can accentuate them with landscaping and accessories. Note the trellis on both sides of the front door, the matching planters, and the trees flanking the front entry steps.

2. Mix shapes

On the flip side of a symmetrical approach, you can create visual interest and excitement by utilizing windows in different shapes and sizes. Though uniform in construction and finish, the mix is dramatic. We also love the slope of the catslide entry, and the arch beneath that leads to the front door.

3. Mix materials

Here, a standing seam metal roof caps a variety of building materials that give this house an evolved-over-time look. Featuring both horizontal stone and horizontally laid, washed gray siding, it’s got a lot of texture going on. And you know what we like to say: You can never have too much texture!

4. Details matter

There’s so much to admire about this 1920s Colonial, but one of our favorite details – besides its monochromatic color palette crisped by warm white trim – is the beadboard that lines the underside of the porch roof. A small move like this is hugely impactful in terms of communicating attention to detail. Not only does it warm the entry, like all stained wood, but it also creates a sense of curiosity about what lies over the threshold.

5. Shingle it

Few building materials are as classic, and evocative, as cedar shingles. Of course, most of the time, you see them on the roof. But we love them just as much on the façade of a house, especially a house that instantly transports you to Nantucket (even though this one is in suburban Chicago!). Again, note the mix of window shapes and sizes – outlined in white – and the judicious use of texture-rich stone.

6. Stain it

Continuing with the idea of shingling a house, I wanted to give you a whole other way to consider the style. In this case, we stained the shingles a creamy shade of white. The look is completely different than the last photo, and yet the feel is familiar. There can hardly be a more nostalgic way to treat a house, especially when those shingles are combined with porches, columns, and railings. The blue door really kicks things up a notch, too – its color is a fresh surprise, and lets anyone passing by know this is not a house that takes itself too seriously.

7. Be inspired by site

Longtime readers of this blog may remember this Michigan vacation home for its sculptural, tree-like staircase that speaks to its place in the woods. But the entry – the entry! – speaks to its place near the water. Fashioned like a lighthouse, it lets you know right away this house is all about lake living. It’s unique, it’s whimsical, and it truly makes a statement upon approach.

8. Take the curve

This house demonstrates one of the easiest ways we know to increase curb appeal. Sure, the flagstone walkway (that’s lesson #1 – use flagstone instead of cement!) could have stretched in a perfectly straight line from the sidewalk to the front door. But the charm of its meandering curve takes things in a whole other direction, veering from utilitarian to fairy-tale, which really complements the home’s Tudor-style architecture.

9. Go green

We love, love, love this vertical green wall installation. Adjacent to the home’s front entry, it’s a sustainable showstopper. It’s quiet and inventive. You just know what’s inside is going to be equally interesting.

10. Have fun

Perhaps most important of all, the exterior of your house can have fun. It can update traditional architectural styles, as this suburban Chicago home does. It can look warm and welcoming yet still provide privacy, thanks to discreetly placed windows that are plentiful enough to admit tons of natural light. One of our favorite details in this house is the way blue ceramic tiles were inserted between bricks. Again, they’re a surprise that hints at what waits inside.

We have so many more homes to share on our website, and on Instagram and Facebook. Head on over and check us out for more great ideas!

Morgante Wilson Architects provides architectural and interior design services in Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Northfield, Ravinia, Wilmette and Winnetka – along with Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Explore other media:

  • videos

  • issuu

  • other media

Blog Links:

Everything Evanston:

How to Have a Heavanston Halloween in ‘23

While Evanston may be known for its beautiful lots and breathtaking lake views, dubbing the city “Heavanston” all year round, don’t forget about Halloween. During the month of October, the city truly prepares for the fun, spooky season. Evanston’s official...

Your Complete Guide to Outdoor Dining Options in Evanston

Many local residents have long enjoyed al fresco dining while others in the area might have discovered the joys of it more recently, but all can agree that visiting an open-air establishment can create a truly unique and relaxing change of pace. It’s no wonder that...

An Insider’s Guide to Farmers’ Markets in Evanston

There’s nothing better than the great taste of nutritious, straight-from-the-farm fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meats as well as fresh baked breads and pastries.  And with the many farmers’ markets in Evanston, it’s easy to get them – as well as lovingly made, small...

Your Comprehensive Guide to Your Daycare Options in Evanston

We’re proud of Evanston’s A+ schools. This pride extends to those who serve our youngest citizens, which is why we’re proud of our extensive list of local daycare options. After all, before our children are even ready for preschool school, they progress through...

Everything Home Selling:

This Storage Guide Can Help You Sell Your Home Faster

When you are looking to buy a new home, you want to walk through the house or condo and be to visualize yourself inside it. You think about where your things will go, and how you’ll decorate it. In other words, you want to see if it “feels like home.” The same goes...

Your Complete Guide to Understanding Home Warranties

Home emergencies happen, and there is no exception. Anyone who’s had their AC bust in the heart of summer knows that trouble can arrive at the worst of times. While you cannot stop bad things from happening, you can be prepared for the worst with a home warranty. From...

Is Your First Offer Really Your Best Offer?

There is a saying in real estate you may have already picked up on: Your first offer is your best offer!  So, what is it? Well, just like most things in life: There’s not a clear answer, but the saying is often true. To best understand how to answer the question, we...

Why You Should Get a Pre-Listing Inspection

Isn’t it the buyer's responsibility to get inspections?  The answer is both “yes” and “it’s nuanced.” Responsible buyers are going to want an inspection. They need to check their potential new home for safety issues, foundational/structural problems, hidden...

Everything Home Buying:

What is Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and How Do They Work?

You may have heard of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before. Perhaps you even have a general understanding of them or just associate these terms with owning a home. But what are they? What do they actually do? And why you, as a homebuyer, should care? According to the...

Buying a Condo? You Might Want to Consider a Co-Op Instead

There are many benefits to living in a condo: They often require less maintenance than single-family homes, as the condo association often maintains the common interior and exterior areas. As a result, condos can often offer more flexibility than single family homes...

How to Move with Pets

Moving into a new home isn’t just stressful for you, it’s stressful for your pets too – especially for cats and dogs. But while moving with pets can be daunting, we at Jackie Mack & More have some tips and tricks to help ensure that your move goes smoothly for...

Everything Home Maintenance:

Creating a Stylish and Functional Home Office

With the post-covid opportunity to continue working remotely at least part of the time, having a dedicated home office has become a necessity. A simple desk and chair won't cut it. Your home office should be comfortable and inspiring, so you can be productive.  Here...

Key Considerations Before Adding Solar Panels

Did you know that by using solar energy, you can increase your home value while lowering your energy bills? In fact, according to the Department of Energy, solar panels boosts a home’s value by an average of $15,000 – while lowering overall electric bills even with...

Do I Have Mold in My Attic?

I often get asked, “Do I have mold in my attic?” The answer: Yes, everyone has some level of it in their attic! This is normal. In fact, I’ve seen it in virtually every attic I have inspected in the past decade since I became president of Chicago Green Insulation. ...