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Curb Appeal

4 Things You Can Do To Spruce Up Your Home’s Front Exterior

August 22, 2019
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Curb Appeal

4 Things You Can Do To Spruce Up Your Home’s Front Exterior

August 22, 2019

Most of our posts are about interiors, but the exterior design of your home is just as important. 

In today's post we give a few tips to improve how your home looks from the front, as well as how to create an exterior lighting plan that adequately illuminates as well as ties the outdoor space together.

1. Make the front door matter.

As the entrance to your house, what could be more important than the front door? It sets the scene and bids welcome, both to you and visitors, while passersby may feel some momentary happiness, impressed by the sense of order and beauty there. To give your front door maximum allure, here are a few things you can do.

  • Pick an interesting color. One that makes you feel good when you see it, one that will stand out but also complement the color of the rest of the house. An unexpected color on the front door is probably THE most important thing you can do. Check out a few of Farrow & Ball's favo(u)rite front doors here or take a look at our Pinterest board.
  • Figure out your sconce sitch. The presence of exterior sconces not only illuminates the entry at night, it makes for an attractive entrance. Select fixtures that ¼-1the size of the door and mount them at about eye-level, about 60-65" from the ground, with the center at about 5'7"-6'6" from ground/stoop/floor to center is ideal for carriage lights. If only mounting one sconce, place it on the doorknob side, planes of your house allowing.

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Troy Lighting®
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  • Perhaps you have a porch and a roof or arch above your front door? This is an excellent place for an exterior pendant, lantern, or semi-flush mount.


A Mission Beach pendant by Troy Lighting is framed beautifully by the arch leading to this entrance.

  • Choose a knocker that has character and maybe ties into the sense of place in your area. There's always the perennial pineapple, a symbol of welcome.  Or maybe take time until you find a unique vintage brass one along your treasure-hunting quests.
  • Planters with perennials and hurricane lanterns with candles add a little more visual interest here, the planters presenting symmetrically, the lanterns probably off to one side in various heights. The contrast of symmetry and asymmetry, uniform and varied heights makes for an engaging entrance.
  • Alternate some sort of wreath and/or seasonal display throughout the months and seasons, giving it time unadorned in between, a reset to neutral that will make the next decoration stand out. Below, 396 Charmingville, USA gets in the Halloween spirit and then switches it up for a subtle wintry welcome. 

2. Post it.

Place post lights near the foot of the drive and the curb, if there is one. Another one by the sidewalk approach to the house. If you have a mulched garden area, perhaps a tree you're proud of, this might be another area.

When placing a post near a drive or curb, keep it at least one foot back from the driveway or street. Preserve 5’6”-6’6” between ground and the base of fixture. The fixture height should be about ¼ the pole height. Posts not only keep the area amply lit at night, they announce that your home is something of an estate, a place with pride.

Additionally, post lights often come in families that include exterior sconce and lantern options, meaning you can match them throughout both the front and backyard to create a unified outdoor design. That's the approach Jillian Harris took below with our durable and classic Henry Street exterior collection.


Homeowner: Jillian Harris | Light: Henry Street by Troy Lighting


Homeowner: Jillian Harris | Light: Henry Street by Troy Lighting


Homeowner: Jillian Harris | Light: Henry Street by Troy Lighting


Homeowner: Jillian Harris | Light: Henry Street by Troy Ligthing

3. Edged garden beds and flowers.

Bushes, shrubs, flowers, and herbs planted along the front of the house all provide various charms. Keep them trim and use an edger to increase visual definition and contrast. Vary heights to create a look of layered contrast. Smaller homes or ones not needing to conceal a foundation should never underestimate the charm of some windowboxes. Lastly, an island  or seated garden area with some gravel set at a midpoint between the house and the road adds considerable appeal. Give it a little fence of its own  as well as perhaps a post light, and vary heights of plants here as well. For more on garden-planning, check out our post How Does Your Garden Grow?

4. Transom window and side windows by front door.

Allow those approaching the house a welcoming glimpse with windows that provide a peek at the lighting fixture in the entryway and the warm light spilling out of the house at night.


Design: Kingston Design Connection | A transom window allows a welcoming glimpse into the foyer


Design: Kingston Design Connection | Our Morgan exterior sconce up-close

The first ever Kingston Design Showhouse (which we covered at length here and here) demonstrates a few of these properties. The color of the front door is beautiful and unexpected, complementing the dark hue of the exterior while highlighting the millwork. A transom window offers an intriguing peep at HVL's Abrams chandelier and the custom wallpaper within. Not having enough room for two sconces or to place one on the doorknob side, a single Morgan exterior sconce adds a beguiling accent and perfect illumination. A garden area in the front creates additional interest, making the house intriguing and inviting.


This shot from before the Kingston Design Connection project was completed showcases its lovely front garden.

For additional inspiration on outdoor design and lighting, check out our posts on dark exteriors or outdoor kitchens or the indoor-outdoor lifestyle and design that is California Coastal.

To explore our full range of exterior lights, dive in here.


Homeowner: Victoria Smith of SF Girl by the Bay | Light: Allegheny exterior sconce by Troy