Curb-appeal updates from big to small

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Mr. Benton said pre-made shutters can be ordered online and installed by the homeowners, while operational shutters may require a contractor.

A variety of materials are available for improving or replacing a front door, such as paint, wood, metal or fiberglass. Mr. Benton opted to replace his solid wood door with a glass door to add more natural light to the entrance and a view from the portico to the trees in the backyard.

Mr. Goldberg suggested looking at a home’s entire front elevation for ways to give it a face-lift.

“You can add a porch or extend one, add shutters, dormer windows or even false dormers to give the front more appeal,” Mr. Goldberg said. “But you really need to look into landscaping at the same time to meet your objectives. One project we did was replacing the front porch with one in a darker wood with a trellis.”

In the backyard, Mr. Magill suggests replacing individual boards on a deck or replacing the handrail instead of installing an entirely new deck.

“You can get a new-looking deck for $6,000 or so, rather than spend $20,000 on an all-new composite-material deck,” he said.

Other options suggested by Mr. Benton for the side and back of a home are replacing the fencing with a different style and experimenting with a pop of color on the side or back door.

“You can be more playful or casual with a secondary entrance to your home,” Mr. Benton said.

Mr. Goldberg said homeowners should be careful to enhance their home in a style that complements not only their home but also others in the neighborhood. In addition, he recommends establishing a budget before consulting with a contractor.

“Everybody hates to talk about their budget, but the best way to handle a project is to come up with a budget and then get the advice of a contractor who can educate you to make a smarter decision within that budget,” Mr. Benton said. “If you are undertaking an expensive home-remodeling project, I recommend consulting with an architect to evaluate it to make sure it works. If your budget is $50,000, it just makes sense to spend $2,500 or so to get it right.”

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