When it comes to updating your home, it’s important to make sure the style you choose for your renovation suits not only your personal style, but the original character of the house.

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of homes where the colours and materials chosen to supposedly “update” the house have not worked at all.

There are a million and one different styles, ideas, colours and concepts to choose from when renovating, so how do you know which ones to go with? Nothing screams “devalued” like a disjointed and aesthetically challenged facade, so getting these choices right is imperative.

No amount of money will improve the kerb appeal of your home if you don’t get the basics of the design right. Colours are only a small percentage of what makes up a beautifully designed home exterior.

The houses with the best street appeal look great because of the materials and colour selections that have been used — and how they are composed together on the house, yard and fences.

Focusing on one design style when renovating your facade is a great way to streamline your ideas and eliminate the risk of ending up with clashing elements and no unifying style.

Another bonus of focusing on one design style, and ultimately creating a much more appealing looking home, is the value you can add to your property.

A great place to start is by gathering images of your favourite design and style. This usually begins as a project filled with excitement about what is possible, but it is easy to become overwhelmed.

The trick to identifying one design style or theme for your renovation is to start wide, then narrow down. Gather all the images you can find that you like. This might be 50 or 100 photos – or even 200 or more.

Next, go through your images and see if you can pinpoint a common thread that runs through them. You might find you’ve pinned lots of contemporary homes with splashes of timber and grey. Or perhaps the majority of your pics are a combination of modern and Hamptons style.

It could be any number of style, colour and material combinations that run through your photos as a common theme. Even if you don’t know the name of the style, the important thing here is to group similar images together.

Once you’ve identified the most prevalent style in your collection of images, eliminate any that don’t fit with that range.

The great thing about this process is that you are narrowing down your choices of what you can do to your home by only giving yourself renovation options that fit within your most favoured design style. Confusion and feeling overwhelmed – be gone!

To work out ways of incorporating some of the ideas you’ve gathered, take particular note of what colours, materials and products have been used – and also how they have been composed together to create the look you’re drawn to.

Never start your renovation by picking out individual things from random images and applying them to your design.

That will almost always end up looking like a mismatch of unrelated styles patchworked together. Always start with identifying your design style first so that the final result is a collage of cohesive elements that all work together to create a beautiful space, area or facade.

Jane Eyles-Bennett is one of Australia’s top exterior designers and owner of design firm Hotspace ConsultantsJoin Jane in her Facebook group Home Renovators Network Australia for design and renovation inspiration and insider tips for your home improvement projects.

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