The 5 Things You Must Know Before Starting Your Home Exterior Makeover

When thinking about making improvements to the outside of your home, you must look at the essential elements that create its overall appearance and style. Each product, color and design decision you make must work together. It can be easy to fall in love with the color of a home you see in a magazine but it might not be the right choice for your home. That is when it is especially important to know the five things you need to think about before starting any exterior makeover project.

Above you see a home makeover from the "Shake it Up" Exterior Color Contest. I thought about each of these 5 things as I planned my recommendations for remodeling this home. I think the results speak for themselves.

1. Some Things Can Change - Some Must Stay The Same

What design elements of your home are permanent "fixed features" and which elements can be easily changed. Most homes today are constructed of multiple materials. These include shake, slate, brick, stone, stucco, concrete, wood, etc. Identify the fixed features on your house  -- roofing,  full or partial stone or brick facades, hardscapes, pathways and retaining walls. The surface of each may look different but most often the materials will have a common color or color cast. If you are going to be adding a new material -- especially one with a permanent color -- identify the common color of the fixed features already existing on the home and chose a color that will work well for your home’s overall color scheme.

2. Color Like Real Estate Is All About Location, Location, Location

Certain colors and materials may work well in one area of the country yet be completely out of place in another location. I can almost guarantee that the exterior look you loved when you lived in the Northeast won't look nearly as nice on your new place in southern Florida.  The light and landscape of the two areas are quite different and therefor the design elements that work in each area are different. Each region of the country has prevalent colors based on the housing styles, available materials, natural surroundings and the quality of light. Determine the colors in your area (often those you see a great deal of on other homes) to stick with regional colors.

3. Do You Want Your Colors To Disguise Or Surprise?

Some people want their home to standout. Others want their choices to be unexpected or unusual. Still other homeowners prefer their home to blend in with the natural environment. Decide what you want for your home. Then consider how to achieve that goal by looking at your setting. Are you near the waterfront, a desert or a mountain? Temper the colors on your home’s exterior to blend in or stand apart from your surroundings or the natural colors around you. The goal I most often go for is "standing out while still fitting in!"

4. You've Got Style & So Does Your Home

You chose clothes that match your personality and style, right? Approach choosing color,and materials for your home in the same way. Always remember to select design elements that support the home’s style and architecture. Determine your home’s style (are you a Ranch? Tudor? Victorian? Art Deco? Greek Revival?) and then do some research online to determine what colors are most often associated with your style of home.

5. There Are Just Some Colors You Have To Use 

If you live in a historic district or in a development governed by a Homeowners Association(HOA), you will need to check for guidelines and/or restrictions on selecting colors and materials your home. You may also be required to have your selections approved before you begin your renovation work.

Those are the 5 things you must know before starting your home exterior makeover. Think about these 5 simple ideas and you will have a fabulous home exterior from the top of your DaVinci lifetime roof all the way down to the walkway that welcomes your guest.

For even more great advice you can download my FREE ebooks in the DaVinci Roofscapes Color Studio.Then make sure to stop back here over the next few weeks as I share the makeovers of the finalist in the 2015 "Shake it Up" Exterior Color Contest.


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