14 things that make your home’s exterior look old
As the first impression of your home, it’s important that the exterior, especially the front, feel fresh and welcoming. This goes beyond colorful containers and cute doormats. “‘Old’ can also mean not working,” says designer Lisa Henderson of Lisa Henderson Interiors. “When dealing with an outdoor space, a holistic approach will ensure a beautiful and functional exterior.” From lighting and paint colors to curtains and ceilings, the smallest details can get in the way of your home’s potential curb appeal.
“For example, adding a modern light fixture above the front door can change the look, along with a cheerful welcome rug and potted plants,” says designer Maggie Griffin of Maggie Griffin Design. At the end of the day, every home is different, and what makes it look dated may vary, but here are some general guidelines according to designers: “Of course there are exceptions to every rule,” adds designer Lauren Lowe of Lauren Elaine Interiors.
Trends that won’t stand the test of time
“Keep it classic and it will look great for years to come,” Lowe says. Trends often have expiration dates. When building or updating a home, rely on traditional and timeless elements. “Anything that is too trendy or specific to a time frame can end up making your home look dated,” says designer Laura Hodges of Laura Hodges Studio.
Think about the location and style of your home, too. “Not every home is architecturally suited to embrace the modern farmhouse trend — one size does not fit all when it comes to a white and black trim home,” adds Elly Poston, founder of Elly Poston Interiors. “And those contemporary windows that were hot in 2018 will likely not exist in 2028.”
“The quickest way to date a project is with inconsistent building materials that scream ’80s, ’90s or 2000s,” says Poston. “Choose a color palette and material, then embrace it,” she adds. By the same token, if you’re remodeling or updating your home, make sure any new additions match existing elements. This can be especially difficult when it comes to brick, which Lowe suggests avoiding bricks that are pink or orange.
“Replace overgrown shrubs, especially if they are obscured by the house, and add interest with the texture and color of the plants,” suggests Liz Williams of Liz Williams Interiors. While landscaping won’t date a home in the same way that building materials will, fresh plantings can take your home far in terms of refreshing the exterior. “Plants that are tired should be removed or need to undergo a ‘rejuvenation pruning,'” says Jan Liu of Jan Liu Design. Williams also recommends updating old containers and planters by adding new planters or simple ferns.
Past, primary elements
Maybe it’s time to rethink your leaded glass and ornate iron entry doors. Although these things may not necessarily be outdated in and of themselves, they probably don’t help in the appeals department. Williams suggests replacing old gutters with new systems, especially copper if the budget allows, and replacing or repairing cracked gutters. Where appropriate, update the concrete with fresh stone or brick. This also applies to things that might just need a good deep cleaning. “The facade and driveway that have accumulated soot over time can benefit from a thorough power washing,” Liu says. She also suggests cleaning any glass well, replacing dimly lit bulbs, and changing out welcome mats that have seen better days.
Shutters not quite right
Whether it’s size, scale or color, the right curtains can make or break the look of your home’s exterior. “Shutters grew out of the need for protection from the elements, security and privacy, but over time, they have become like window ‘earrings’ – used as pure decoration with no regard for function,” explains designer Katie Wolf of Wolf Interiors. . Having improperly sized shutters is a sign of an outdated exterior. “A real shutter should work, cover the window if it’s closed, and have hardware that makes it feel truly authentic,” Wolfe says. “As for hardware, tiebacks are not just there to keep your shutters open, but they provide an opportunity for a design element.” Any shutters in the home should have the proper hardware to keep them open, whether they’re operable or just for looks. Shutters should also reflect the shape and size of the window. “If your windows are arched, your shutters should be arched,” the designer adds.
Overly manicured lawns and fake plants
“Manicured lawns can look beautiful, but with so much water going into lawn care, I think that look is starting to look dated and out of touch with the changing climate,” says Hodges, who sees more gardens featuring native plants. Hodges also recommends staying away from fake plants on doors, in hanging planters and window boxes when possible. “If you can’t use a live plant, try preserved plants, which will last longer but still look great,” she suggests.
Blocked and frozen windows
Although we often think about window treatments inside the home, it’s not just the fabric that needs attention. While frosted, leaded, and decorative windows serve the purpose of privacy, these materials often do not look out of fashion today. “Glass windows seem to have made a comeback recently, but to me, this architectural material always seems outdated,” Hodges says.
The paint scheme doesn’t match
Painting is one of the best ways to liven up your home, but consider your color palette before committing to it. Mismatched colors and shades will do the opposite to enhance curb appeal. “I love a color palette, like using the same set of colors to paint the body of your home, and then changing the palette a little lighter or darker for the trim and windows,” says designer Laura Jenkins of Laura W. Jenkins Interiors. Who looks to historic homes for inspiration. “Don’t be afraid of color. If you don’t want to commit to painting a large portion of the house, have fun with the door,” Jenkins suggests. And while there are plenty of colors you can play with, make sure to consider your home’s style as well. In general, Lowe advises staying away from brown paint unless your home is in the classic Tudor style, and being wary of textured colors with yellow undertones, especially if they’re against brick.
Polished brass appliances and lighting
Just as lighting sets the tone for a room inside a home, it’s one of the main ways it creates a warm welcome outside as well. “The brushed brass appliances and lighting look like a relic of the 1980s,” says Jenkins. “I love brass hardware and lighting, but I always use ‘living finishes’ that will turn and age over time—which is especially important in historic homes.” When considering outdoor fixtures, it’s also best to stay away from overly ornate choices that could date your home in the future.
Roofing is Home
If it’s time to replace your roof due to damage or age, it may be a good idea to consider using something other than flat asphalt shingles. “If you’re updating your roof, use dimensional architectural shingles or if you have the budget, use a luxury material (like cedar, slate, or copper accents), especially if your roof is highly visible,” Jenkins suggests.
From mismatched plaster ceilings to Tuscan-inspired villas, it’s easy for a home to update itself as trends and styles change around it. “Unfortunately, the building boom of the 1990s left us with a lot of homes of questionable architectural significance, like McMansions,” says Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors. The rise of the “Tuscan kitchen” trend also led to many exterior designs leaning vaguely Mediterranean — double-height arched windows, columned doorways, and light gray stucco exteriors with crisp white trim that look old-fashioned today ”
The power of paint is undeniable – both positively and negatively. “Fadly shutters and a dark front door can easily date your home,” says Griffin. Even if a complete exterior refresh isn’t in the cards, a bolder color on certain elements will go a long way. “New paint will always update the look of the exterior, especially the contrasting color on the front door,” Williams says. “If you have a front porch, consider repainting or updating the furniture as well.”
Retro house numbers
“Although house numbers are a small detail on the outside, they are one of those things that can determine the history of a home. If you have lived in your home for more than ten years or if you have moved into an older home,” says Rashida Banks, an interior designer. “It’s possible that your house numbers need to be updated.” “Changing the position, font type, and size of the numbers are all factors to consider to help give your exterior a refreshed look. And if you are using stick-on numbers, definitely replace them with something more modern like wall-mounted numbers.”
Low quality windows and doors
When you think about it, windows and doors take up a large portion of your home’s facade, so it’s important to consider the type of product you choose. “When upgrading windows or doors, be sure to use high-quality products that mimic the original style of the home,” says Jenkins. “And never use windows with false windows!”