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Homes | Beautification

Simple ways to spruce up your home's exterior

You may not be able to afford a new home, but you can make your old one feel brand new. It's time to freshen up your home's exterior and give it a welcome layer of beauty, especially if you've been living in it for a while. There are many ways to enliven your home and beautify it on the outside — from new paint and decorative accents to attractive awnings to simply power washing away years of grime. StatePoint Media

Refresh and revive

A new paint job for your home is akin to new clothes and a haircut for you. Try new color schemes featuring accented trims. If new paint isn't in your budget, pressure wash your home siding and dingy deck. Each year, remove mildew or mold on your home's exterior, as well as your sidewalk and driveway.

Focus on your door

It's the first thing people see when entering. If you can afford a new front door, choose one with decorative elements, such as leaded glass inserts.

If you can't spring for new doors, add new hardware and fresh paint to your existing doors. New knobs, hinges, mail slots and knockers make a big difference.

Consider installing new molding around your front door to make it pop. Or add a fabric awning or canopy. Not only will it set your house apart from others on the street, it will protect you and your guests from the elements when coming and going.

Create an outdoor oasis

No longer relegated to a few folding chairs, back yards are becoming true outdoor living rooms. Install awnings to create an outdoor oasis, while saving money on cooling costs and reducing your home's carbon footprint. A retractable awning over a deck or back window creates a comfortable seating area in which to enjoy a cool drink, a family meal or simply the great outdoors. And on hot days, shading your windows with awnings can reduce cooling energy consumption by 25 percent or more, according to the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota.

"Homeowners needn't make drastic changes to beautify their homes and reduce their environmental impact," says Michelle Sahlin, managing director of the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA). "Awnings are an easy, economical upgrade to enhance livability while reducing the load on home air-conditioning systems."

For more information on choosing awnings, including those with high-tech sensors and push-button controls, visit www.awningstoday. com, which is maintained by PAMA.

Add new accents

Decorative accents can lend a home new attitude. Consider lighting sconces or planters on either side of your front door, or new shutters and awnings on windows. And experiment with colorful paint trim.

Even a new mailbox can add flair. Choose one that reflects your personality or complements design elements of your house, such as its architectural style or prominent features.

"Whether you're simply trying to make your house more comfortable for your family or if you enjoy entertaining guests, there are many ways to enhance your home and its outdoor living spaces," says Sahlin of PAMA.

Simple ways to spruce up your home's exterior 04/14/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11:07pm]

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