Don’t all those renovation makeovers on TV look great? They make it look so simple too, don’t they?
I mean, it seems like all you need to do is give your interior a lick of paint, rearrange your furniture, update a few items and your home will look all shiny and new again.
If you have a good sense of design and you’ve done your research, you might be able to achieve a fantastic makeover like that, but what about the exterior? That’s where things can get a bit tricky.
I work with home owners from all over Australia and the most common thing people come to me for is help with their facade.
While home renovation shows have given home owners more confidence when renovating their home interiors, there’s still a huge lack of inspiration for exterior renovations – in particular, the facades of 1970s and 1980s homes.
Most of these homes need more than a basic makeover (render, paint and landscaping) to really modernise them.
The problem is that many renovators don’t know what other options and materials are available, and they lack the experience to successfully work in new cosmetic or minor structural elements in a way that suits the style of their home.
Short of going to an architect, which many home owners are reluctant to do because of the expense, renovators are often left to go it alone.
So, how to find a good balance between the two?
If you want to change the look of your home’s facade, there are other things you can (and need to) do to create a much bigger impact than a paint job and a bit of landscaping.
Start with gathering some images of home facades you love the look of.
Perhaps you can’t imagine how the design concepts, colours and materials on these houses could be adapted for your home right now. But often they can.
The trick is to blend what you love, with what you have. Respect the architectural style of your home at the same time as modernising it.
It sounds like a simple concept, but it can be difficult to create a look that works in reality. Take your time to work through your options.
Depending on the property, you might be able to make some minor alterations to the roofline, add a new porch or some feature cladding, change the entrance, erect a new fence, do some different landscaping, add a driveway or carport, or makeover the garage doors.
If your home is boxy or flat looking, investigate ways to give it some dimension.
If it’s brick and you want to render it, look at ways to introduce contrasting materials and features to give it some interest and depth. If your home has arches, find ways to either remove them or conceal them in some way.
There are hundreds of ways to improve a facade over and above a paint job and landscaping; you just have to work out which ones to employ for your home.
My advice is to seek the help of a professional. Let’s face it, if you’re going to spend anywhere from $50,000 – $80,000 or more on your exterior, you really should be doing your best to ensure your plan is going to work.
A good designer will help you find a happy medium between what you have, the kind of look you want and what your budget will allow for.
And with fees for design concepts typically around 5 to 6 per cent of the renovation budget, the cost is certainly affordable.