It happens like clockwork.  Without fail, as the dawn of the new year approaches, it happens, and not so subtly either.  Store isles are cleared of their leftover holiday swag and in their place, yoga mats and hand weights appear.  The jovial, rotund bellies of inflatable Santas are replaced with products promising rock hard abs.   Candy canes banished to the clearance section and cinnamon buns replaced with buns of steel dvds.  It is as if, just before the stroke of midnight on December 31st, our holiday cheer is replaced with the undeniable desire to become a Greek Adonis.  The message is clear, the holidays are over, so put down the cookies, it’s time to look good.  Spurred on by the disaster that was 2020, when potato chip-stained sweatpants became the unofficial uniform, there seems to be a bit more motivation in the air than usual as we look toward 2021.    

Striving to become the ultimate vision of health and beauty is an admirable endeavor, however, while you embark down the road of tireless self-improvement, why not show the same love and effort to your home?  This year, more than any other, we have seen just how very important our homes are.  They became, not only our homes, but our offices, schools, daycares, movie theaters and vacation spots.   With everything that your home has done for you this year, doesn’t it deserve a little TLC?  Luckily, there are plenty of ways to give back to your beloved abode.  Some are simple and inexpensive, and some are a bit more involved and pricey, but all are guaranteed to improve the look of your home, while remaining in the good graces of your HOA.

Squeaky Clean

Let’s face it, in 2020, we all showered a bit less, don’t deny it.  Just like a good, long shower can make a drastic improvement in the way you feel and look, the same goes for your house.  Pressure washing your house is a quick, inexpensive way to instantly improve its overall appearance.  A pressure washer can be used to clean siding, windows, shutters, driveways, walkways, you name it.  While it seems simple, the difference that a little water can make is truly remarkable.  If you don’t want to take the extra step of procuring a pressure washer, you can use your humble garden hose, on the strongest setting, to rinse off the dirt and grime.  

Upgrade your Address

A fairly simple project that can add immediate visual interest to your home is exchanging those original  house numbers for some newer, more interesting digits.  When choosing your new numerals, be sure to consider the other finishes on your home’s exterior, such as light fixtures. Try to find numbers that match in some fashion (color, finish, texture, etc.), creating a sense of cohesion.  Your local hardware store, in addition to the mighty vastness that is the internet, can supply you with endless possibilities when it comes to style and size.  You can purchase these numbers separately, or find (or create, if you’re feeling especially crafty) customized plaques with your unique combination.  

Fix the Fixtures

In many HOA governed communities, the fixtures that find their way both inside and outside homes are what interior designers call, “builder-grade.”  This makes sense, as it is cost effective when multiple homes are being built quickly, but the end result can have homes looking a bit “cookie-cutter,”  another phrase that makes designers shutter.  However, this gives homeowners a quick and relatively inexpensive opportunity to add curb appeal to their home’s exterior.  By simply swapping out old exterior light fixtures, like the ones near garages and front doors, homeowners can bring some style and individual flare to their home.  When selecting fixtures, take into consideration the architecture of your home, as well as the color palette.  

Green-up your Thumb

If you already have flower beds, be sure to go through and clear out any debris, including weeds and trash, that may have collected.  Think about plants that add color to your yard, grabbing the attention of passersby.  When choosing plants, you should also consider which will do best in the specific place that you intend to put them.  Some plants need full sun in order to thrive, while others prefer the shade.  Take a day or two to study how much sun your space gets before planting, to be sure that you get the longest life from your foliage.  

To make things even easier, consider potted plants.  The benefit of planting  your fragrant beauties in pots, as opposed to beds, is that they are mobile.  You can move them around your space to change up the overall look and even switch out  pots to keep with seasonal themes and color palettes.   If you live in an area with wide temperature fluctuation in the spring and fall, you may be able to keep these plants alive and healthy for much longer, given that they can be moved inside should the temps fall.  

Painted and Pretty

One of the most high-impact steps that can be taken to increase the curb appeal of your home is to hit it with a fresh coat of paint.  This is, admittedly, a bit more involved and expensive than the other methods that we have discussed, but it is definitely worth the time and money.  Not only will painting your home make it look more appealing, it can actually increase its value.  Some research would suggest that simply freshening up your current paint job can increase the value of your home from 2%-5%.  It is also worth noting that painting your home, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, is also completely necessary home maintenance.  Keeping your paint fresh prohibits moisture from entering the wood and/or siding of your home’s exterior, keeping nasty things like mold and mildew from growing.  To be clear, however, this is not a venture that you can simply take up on a whim, a considerable amount of planning and paperwork need to be completed before you can begin.  You’ll need to refer to your community’s governing documents to see what  is permitted in terms of color, as well as the procedure that you’ll need to follow in order to receive approval.  Consult this article for more information and helpful advice for moving through this process.