Before-and-After Exterior Makeovers That Added Style to Small Homes

tan house after white yellow
Photo: Laurey Glenn

Small homes can make a big impression. With the right exterior features, even the tiniest cottage or bungalow can project serious curb appeal. See how these small homes gained serious character with updates to their exteriors in color scheme, landscaping, and more.

01 of 21

Before: Falling Down Fixer-Upper

liverman before house green roof
Courtesy of homeowner

This 1925 bungalow needed a major overhaul to make it liveable. It had rotted wood siding and nonfunctioning windows, and the structure was on the verge of falling down. The renovation completely altered the exterior, adding modern appeal while retaining its historic charm.

02 of 21

After: Modern Bungalow Makeover

liverman house after yellow door
Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Set against dark blue siding, crisp white trim now highlights the small home's architectural details. A sunny yellow front door beckons visitors onto the redone front porch. Squared-off columns and a metal roof above the porch nod to the home's Craftsman roots.

03 of 21

Before: Drab Facade

tan house before
Laurey Glenn

A beige color scheme set a dreary tone for this small cottage. Black awnings cast gloomy shadows over the windows and front door, and the tiny porch hardly offered a warm welcome. The before-and-after makeover showcases the difference a brighter exterior color palette and broader front steps can make.

04 of 21

After: Bright and Cheery Cottage

tan house after white yellow
Laurey Glenn

White paint brightens the small home's exterior, while a new Dutch door and stripes painted on the awnings bring in a zippy lime-green accent. Low-slung wooden steps now wrap around the small porch for a more open feel. Window boxes and planted containers provide pretty curb appeal.

05 of 21

Before: Boring Brick Home

brick house before
Courtesy of homeowner

This small brick home had some interesting features, but no distinct personality. Standard-issue brick and minimal landscaping left the Cape Cod with little curb appeal. The door and shutters seemed out of scale with the rest of the structure.

06 of 21

After: Distinctive Exterior Update

brick house after white black
Edmund Barr

A sleek black-and-white color scheme modernizes the brick exterior. Wider shutters and sidelights around the new front door feel more in proportion with the rest of the home. Window boxes, evergreen topiaries, and boxwood hedges now distinguish the small house.

07 of 21

Before: Lackluster Exterior

house with screened porch
Jay Wilde

Lifeless and gray, this front porch served as merely a pass-through to the front door. Though the porch was structurally sound and offered ample space, it needed a few creative touches in order to turn heads. A makeover created an inviting outdoor living space.

08 of 21

After: Pretty Porch Makeover

white house with square fencing
Adam Albright

A front porch update boosted this home's curb appeal. Instead of a traditional rail, the homeowners opted for a geometric design that spoke to the bungalow's architectural style. Replacing the screens with stylish curtain panels boosted the porch's privacy. Low, colorful plantings frame the front of the house with greenery.

09 of 21

Before: Boxy and Blah Exterior

black and white photo of house
Courtesy of homeowner

This small home exterior lacked architectural features to lend it style. Wrapped in dingy yellow siding and trimmed in brown, the facade mostly fell flat. An extensive addition to the back of the house provided the perfect opportunity to refresh the entire exterior.

10 of 21

After: Stylish Small-Home Makeover

gray house home exterior
Jon Jensen

The gabled peak of the second-story addition now springs from the existing roofline, and an expanded portico with columns transforms the front door into a welcoming entrance. New steps and a wider walkway, made from concrete stamped to resemble cobblestones, graciously usher guests to the electric-red front door. Enlarging the windows and adding an awning made the cottage look gracious and inviting.

11 of 21

Small Ranch Revival

This small home previously lacked any stylistic features to make it stand out. The homeowners embarked on an ambitious exterior makeover to add retro-inspired curb appeal. See how the bland ranch took on striking midcentury modern style.

12 of 21

Before: Dated Home Exterior

front of tan house with bay window
Courtesy of homeowner

A dated color scheme obscured much of the character of this small home. Overgrown landscaping also contributed to the neglected look. A few simple but thoughtful changes allowed the charming exterior to shine.

13 of 21

After: Charming Cottage Home

gray house with two children
Alise O'Brien

A lightened-up exterior color scheme modernizes this cottage without sacrificing character. A simple palette of gray and white with black accents makes the small home appear larger. Custom touches, like a new front door and window box, also boost curb appeal.

14 of 21

Before: Characterless Ranch

black and white one story house with American flag
Courtesy of homeowner

This 1960s ranch couldn't provide the space or style its owners needed. The single-level home sat too low to offer views of the nearby ocean and made living quarters tight. An extensive renovation helped the small home better serve the family and fit in with its surroundings.

15 of 21

After: Quintessential Cape Cod

Grey cape cod home
Michael Partenio

Inspired by the local architecture, the renovated home now exhibits classic Cape Cod style with weathered-gray shake shingles and bright white trim. The redesign included the addition of a widow's walk that offers views of Cape Cod Bay. The perch is accessible from a pull-down ladder above the home's upper-level landing.

16 of 21

Before: Hidden-Away Home

gray house with blue porch
Courtesy of homeowner

A dull paint job and overgrown, unkempt bushes held this home back from its full potential. Although it had some charming features, the dilapidated appearance couldn't be overlooked. An exterior makeover refreshed the small home with a brighter, more modern look.

17 of 21

After: Small Home Refresh

neutral ranch porch with dark front door
Paul Dyer

Shaped-up hedges allow this home to step into view. A new front door and fresh exterior color scheme update the wraparound porch with a sleek look. Shades of gray pair with navy and white to achieve a modern farmhouse aesthetic.

18 of 21

Before: Buried Charms

white house with screened porch
Courtesy of homeowner

This small home's exterior was quite the eyesore. Although the porch offered extra living space, the boxy design and lack of furniture or decor left it uninviting. Boring white paint and zero landscaping left a lot of room for improvement.

19 of 21

After: Updated Bungalow

green home exterior with screened porch
Richard Leo Johnson

The home makeover added an upper level with sleeping niches, along with another bathroom and bedroom on the main level, all with a similar square footage as its cinder-block ancestor. A screened porch and dormers fit in with traditional island style. The seafoam green exterior color complements the now lush landscaping.

20 of 21

Before: Lackluster Landscape

view of brick house from sidewalk
Courtesy of homeowner

Dull landscaping and discordant colors lessened this Cape Cod home's charisma. Overgrown trees and shrubs blocked views both inside and out. Although it had a stately presence, the small home lacked polish.

21 of 21

After: Elegant Home Exterior

home exterior with short retaining wall in front yard
Laurie Black

A fresh paint job and simple structural changes, including a new portico, brought the home into the spotlight. The neutral color scheme helps play up its sophisticated appearance. Landscaping the sloped front yard finished the exterior makeover with traditional style.

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