Flat front houses (like colonials or Cape Cod-style homes) could look two-dimensional and boring. They often paint in one or two colors, drawing little attention and not getting noticed when someone walks or drives past.
Most of the time, flat front houses are colonials with sparse ornamental features, no outdoor structures like porches or patios, and not much intentional landscaping in the garden. In short, these homes have minimal curb appeal
You can add curb appeal to a flat front house in many ways. It could be as easy as installing a few lights or painting the trim of your house. On the other hand, it could be as extreme as building on a structure or two to change the look of your home entirely.
Changing a few elements of your home’s exterior might be all you need to improve the curb appeal of your flat front house. Alternatively, you may want to change the look entirely by making a few changes. The changes you make will depend on personal taste, how extreme a change you want to make, and how much you can spend.
What does it mean to have curb appeal?
The curb appeal of a property or house refers to how attractive the house or property is when viewed from the street. This is often an important aspect to consider when you are looking to sell your house.
Even if you love your home and don't plan on selling it any time soon, you might want to add some features you enjoy looking at while giving your home a more modern look and feel.
What is the problem with flat front houses?
A flat front house might look plain with minimal features that draw the eye. However, the architecture has almost no dimension, mainly consisting of straight walls that are broken up only by windows and doors.
These homes could look dull or plain and fade into the surrounding landscape. A flat front house is not necessarily the most admired home in the neighborhood. Worse still, a boring flat front house could create the subconscious impression that it is not very well taken care of or that the people who live there don't take pride in their home.
While this might not be true, there are ways to improve what your house looks like from the street. This can help your home’s exterior look as beautiful as your home decor inside.
Why is dimension important?
Dimension refers to the height, length, or width of objects. It also considers the surface texture, geometric characteristics, and location of a feature in a space. Having objects or structures with different dimensions in an area or space could create a feeling of flow and cohesiveness without it being monotonous or boring when you look at it.
It creates an interesting visual to look at that draws your eye in, encouraging you to see the details that might otherwise go unnoticed. For example, items that are strategically placed to create dimension in your front yard could break up the repetitive horizontal lines formed by the design of your home.
What are some ideas for increasing curb appeal on any home?
There is not much that you can do to make this structure of your home more appealing when viewed from the street unless you wish to change the design and architecture of the structure.
Adding different dimensions onto or around the outside of your flat front home could dramatically impact the house's curb appeal. Here are a few ways to add different dimensions to improve a flat front house's curb appeal.
Use contrasting and complimentary colors
A coat of exterior paint might be all you need to make your flat front home look entirely different. Using color strategically can significantly affect the curb appeal of your home. For example, you could consider painting your front door in a bright color or the shutters and trim in contrasting colors to the walls.
For a more dramatic flat front home makeover, paint the brick, siding, and trim in contrasting but complimentary colors. For example, paint the brick and siding in darker colors while keeping the trim light or the other way around. Red brick looks great when painted in lighter colors with a darker, complimentary colored trim.
With most flat front homes, the garage and front doors both face the street. The garage door attracts the most attention in these homes simply because it is more prominent. You can draw attention to your front door by painting it a bright or bold color like red, blue, green, or even purple.
Adding color to your home is a quick and easy way to improve its curb appeal. It is also relatively inexpensive and does not require structural changes to your home. However, remember that if you are painting multiple features, you must ensure that the colors don't clash. The best option is to speak with a professional or keep your color palette to three or fewer colors.
Use impactful lighting
Dimension lighting placed in specific spaces could significantly affect your home's curb appeal when viewed at night. These lights can be neutral colors like white or yellow, or they can be colored according to your mood. The colors of your outdoor lighting could also be changed according to the holidays.
The great thing about dimension lights is that they can create visual effects without making any permanent changes to your home. They can be adjusted, moved, or removed if you decide that you do not like the effect they are creating.
Dimension lighting could include lights placed on either side of your front door, in the garden, or used to light up interesting features around the outside of your home.
While layers add depth, symmetrical compositions create flow and balance. You can create symmetry by placing two matching lights on either side of your front door. You can also use planters or potted plants on either side of the door.
Symmetry can be achieved in your landscape design by placing similar plants on either side of the yard or lining them along walkways or the driveway.
Replace windows and doors or install shutters
You prefer not to paint it; you can replace a plain door with one that makes a statement. For instance, you could hang a door that is ornately decorated or one that has a rustic or cottagey feel. You could also replace your old garage door with a more modern version. Interestingly enough, having a modern garage door could increase your home's resale value.
Windows can be replaced with windows with a muntin pattern or that have multiple individual glass panes. You could also include stained glass windows here and there. All of these could add another dimension or layer to the design and curb appeal of the outside of your flat front house.
If your house does not already have shutters, you could consider adding some to the front of your flat front house. These shutters can be painted a contrasting color to draw the eye, give a few focal points, and add texture to the front of your home.
Create depth with your landscape design
Keeping your yard clean is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your landscaping improves your home's curb appeal. This doesn't only mean disposing of the random candy wrapper that found its way into your garden. It means removing any weeds that might come up, keeping the lawn short, ensuring that the edges around the garden beds are maintained, and regularly raking and picking up fallen leaves and other plant debris.
Adding walkways edged with flowers or plants and installing window boxes can quickly upgrade your home's curb appeal. Window or flower boxes are great because they add dimension and symmetry to your flat front home. By installing window boxes, you can quickly change the look of your home without making significant changes to your yard. Better yet, add a few potted plants. These can be moved around from time to time to create different effects. They are also great for creating focal points around your garden.
Remember that great curb appeal landscaping should create the illusion of dimension to your flat front house by adding depth. There should be a feeling of depth and flow in your yard. You can create this illusion by adding multiple layers to your landscaping.
To do this, look at your garden from the street. Add different heights, colors (with flower beds), groupings, and types of plants in your foreground, middle ground, and background. This would break up any monotony or flat lines in the garden that might accentuate the simple lines of your home.
Tall evergreen or shade trees work well along borders or in the background. Shrubs, flowers, and grasses can be used in the middle ground. Groundcovers and sedges can be used to fill in spaces between walkways, around patios, and around and underneath trees.
Remember to display your house number clearly amongst your yard landscaping when using gardens to improve your home's curb appeal.
Use different siding or add textures to the outside
For a more dramatic effect, you could consider installing different types of siding on the front of your flat front house. Adding a contrasting siding to one or two specific areas of your flat front house will draw the eye to these spaces, creating visual interest and dimension without any structural changes.
Another way to drastically change the look of your flat front home is to add brick or stone to the bottom quarter of your home. This can give you a color contrast and add texture to the outside of the house.
Using outside structures
Adding an outdoor structure like a porch, pergola, or patio can drastically change the look of your flat front home.
A porch is attached to the house and is usually built close to the front or back door. Porches have closed roofs but may have open sides. In some cases, porches can be closed in with screens or window panels. They can become extensions of the home when furnished with outdoor furniture like couches, tables, decorations, or outdoor fixtures like ceiling fans.
A patio is a paved surface outside a house. They don't have any walls or coverings, and the floor is usually made from stones, gravel, pavers, or poured concrete slabs. They can be placed directly adjacent to your home or some distance away.
Pergolas can be freestanding or attached to your house. They usually consist of columns that support a roofing grid of beams and rafters. The grid may be left open or covered.
These outside spaces provide seating and areas where you can entertain. They also add layers and dimensions to the front of your home. More than that, they increase your home's resale value if you plan on selling.
The flat front home has that old-world charm, but it might seem one-dimensional and boring when viewed from the street. Adding some dimension in the form of color, texture, or additional outside areas and landscaping can greatly improve what your house looks like from the street. In a short amount of time and on a small (or large) budget, you can transform your flat front house from the neighborhood wall flower into the house everyone stops to stare at. Here are some other good ideas for curb appeal.
Good curb appeal does not happen by itself. It requires some planning and effort, but once it’s done, you will enjoy the outside of your home as much as the inside.