In an industry where first impressions can mean everything and curb appeal sells, paying close attention to the front façade of homes is critical. But in communities, budgets and a drive for efficiency can lead to a cookie-cutter feel of sameness.
Here are a few strategies to ensure your buyers can stand out from the neighbors.
1. Mix textures and materials—but thoughtfully
Blending textures and materials to break up the façade has been a popular approach for several years and remains effective. But it’s important to find balance. Too many colors and materials can start to look garish or out of place. Simple strategies such as blending horizontal and vertical siding, adding a stone half wall, combining complementary siding colors, or varying the size and placement of gables can make a big impact.
2. Go bold with color
Color often gets a bad rap—home buyers’ fear of resale value leads everyone down a path of neutrals. But when used thoughtfully, bold colors can add a tasteful pop of life to a home’s exterior. Just be careful not to go overboard.
Keep these tips in mind:
The best place for bold color is in a home’s decorative details
While it always depends on the house, bold colors are generally best used in a home’s accents, such as the shutters and front door. It’s one of the fastest ways to have a large impact and can completely transform a home’s look and feel. Even better, these details are often the easiest—and most affordable—to change later with either a fresh coat of paint or simple replacement.
Remember to coordinate
One of the first things to consider when picking bold accents is the home’s siding color. You want to select accent colors, such as on the trim, shutters, and front door, that work well with the siding, so consult the color wheel for reference. As explained on Color Matters, “color harmony” can be achieved by choosing analogous colors (three colors side by side on the wheel) or complementary colors (directly opposite each other on the wheel). This can be especially helpful in moving beyond traditional colors. For example, instead of the typical pale yellow, try a deep maize yellow paired with red, coral, or cobalt accents.
If buyers are uncertain about incorporating bolder colors, encourage them to experiment with different tones before making their final selection. If a home’s style doesn’t support shutters, consider using just a bold trim color. You can also soften a home’s look by pairing white or cream trim with one or two bold accents. For a less-permanent option, incorporate bold colors into the landscape design, such as bright-red or -purple flowers and plants, a jewel-toned bird bath, or even a painted fence.
Don’t discount the power of white
In the sea of tans and beiges that dominate today’s exteriors, white becomes a stark contrast that is a bold choice in and of itself. A crisp white trim against a richer-toned cladding is eye-catching and stands out from homes with cream accents.
3. Go for the timeless
While the modern farmhouse trend may come and go, certain home styles never go out of style, in part for their adaptability. Colonials, for example, are extremely versatile, providing a shell and footprint to build from. You can play with material while still feeling connected to that classic look. You can even incorporate modern trends, such as black window frames, to stay up to date without feeling dated in a few years.
Authenticity remains a critical selling point with homebuyers. And there are certain elements that never go out of style, including wood and stone looks. Stone is a material that stands the test of time in a classic, natural way. And it doesn’t have to be reserved for upscale custom homes. Products like Versetta Stone, a panelized stone siding that installs with nails or screws, make it easy to incorporate the look without increasing the budget. It also can be used as an accent, such as column wrapping, and carried over to the interior as a fireplace surround or accent wall for a long-lasting look inside.
4. Make simple swaps
In production communities, simply changing one neutral tone for another isn’t enough to ease the cookie-cutter feel. Pay attention to the community layout and how similar adjacent homes are to each other.
Certain elements of the façade lend themselves to easy swaps from house to house while still providing cohesiveness and still making a big visual impact. They’re also not likely to add too much cost or cause too many supply or installation headaches.
The garage door presents the biggest opportunity: Too often, a front-facing garage weighs down the home, particularly when they are the same five-panel design house after house. Vary them with different designs, stains, and colors. Very little investment for a big style impact.
Porch columns are another easy variation—mix up sizes and colors from house to house (our KleerWrap cellular PVC Post Wraps, for example, can be used on posts from 4x4 to 8x8 and are paintable), add stone to the bottom, and play with the movement and placement. Mix up the porch rooflines, as well.
Front doors also are an easy way to differentiate. A bold pop of color or a unique glass configuration can help each homeowner put their own stamp on the façade.
Morningstar combined several of these tactics for its Roslyn Ridge community in British Columbia, with a varied look through small changes in colors, accessories, and rooflines, including incorporating Foundry shakes on bumpouts and gables.
5. Visualize the options ahead of time
A number of manufacturers offer visualization tools to help homeowners see what they’re getting ahead of time. Boral Building Products’ Virtual Remodeler, for example, allows homeowners and pros to upload an image of the home and try out different profiles, sizes and colors of siding, trim, and shutters. This allows your buyers to choose with confidence while further ensuring each home in the community looks a little different.