15 Easy Ways to Achieve High-End Curb Appeal on a Budget

house numbers planter
Photo: Carson Downing

A full-blown exterior remodel isn't the only way to reinvigorate the outside of your home. Simple, budget-friendly upgrades can boost curb appeal quickly—without draining your wallet. This weekend, choose a few of these easy projects, such as painting the front door or tending to the landscaping, to give your home a high-end look without the hefty price tag.

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Plant Long-Lasting Landscaping

home exterior garden landscape blue front door
Matthew Benson

It's possible to have a landscape that makes passersby look twice while sticking to a budget. The key is picking plants that last for a long time without much upkeep, such as peonies, hostas, and irises. Begin with a few varieties, then grow your collection by dividing perennials and exchanging with friends and neighbors.

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Create a Place to Rest

patio white fencing with bench

Attractive outdoor seating can add major curb appeal to a porch or garden for only a minimal investment. Look for something simple and eye-catching, such as a pair of outdoor chairs found on Facebook Marketplace or a repurposed wooden bench. Add color with cushions and bright pillows in durable, weather-resistant fabrics.

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Update Your House Numbers

house numbers planter
Carson Downing

House numbers serve a functional role, but they're also an opportunity to inject personality. Choose numbers in a fun style, then hang them on a planter, wall-mounted plaque, mailbox post, or anywhere else you'd like to add character. Make sure the numbers are visible from the street (even at night) so guests can easily find your address.

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Repurpose Lantern Lights

Front porch with plants, black door
Robert Brinson

Secondhand finds, such as vintage lanterns, bring old-school charm to your exterior at little cost. Keep your eyes open at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales for statement light fixtures—or other one-of-a-kind accessories—to decorate your front porch. Lighting, outdoor furniture, and planters are all great items to repurpose.

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Hang a Wreath

blue front door stone accents on house
Greg Scheidemann Pictures

Wreaths aren't only for the holidays. Dress up your front door year-round with wreaths in a variety of eye-catching textures and designs. To snag decor at a discount, plan ahead and buy items well in advance. Fall wreaths, for example, go on sale in November and December, so you can buy one at a reduced price, then store it until September rolls around.

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Establish Symmetry

house with gray siding and charcoal door and white columns
Brie Williams

We all know symmetry is pleasing to the eye, but it can be difficult to fake if your home wasn't built with balance in mind. Capture the effect without a remodel by symmetrically styling your front porch or walkway. Matching potted plants flanking a set of stairs or identical rocking chairs on each side of the front door will do the trick.

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Change Decor with the Seasons

wood house during the fall with pumpkins on the porch
David A Land

Seasonal decor refreshes your home's look every few months without much effort or expense. To stay within your budget, opt for simple, fresh accents drawn from nature. Pick up pumpkins, squash, and gourds for fall decorating, and hang evergreen boughs tied with red ribbons in winter. Bright, seasonal blooms more than suffice for spring and summer.

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Hang an American Flag

blue and white house with red door and american flag
Rob Cardillo Photography

Show your patriotism and give your house a dose of timeless style. The red, white, and blue of the American flag works with any exterior palette, and it's a low-cost way to add color. Mount the flag on a pillar or above your door.

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Install a Porch Swing

bright colorful porch with yellow swinging chair
Blaine Moats

A porch swing is like an exhale for your home's exterior and, of course, creates a cozy spot to relax outside. Although they may seem pricey, porch swings can be surprisingly affordable if bought in the off-season. You can also build your own swing in just one weekend—it's easier than you think!

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Dress Up Railings

wood porch planter box with various flowers and hanging plants
Brie Passano

Planters provide visual interest to a plain fence or railing—and let you alter your look from year to year. Simply pick a neutral basket (or build a DIY railing planter), mount it on a railing, and fill it with long-lasting perennial blooms. The end result resembles a window box but allows easier access for watering and swapping out flowers.

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Add Color to Your Front Door

bright yellow front door on house with blue siding and plants
Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Why make a grand entrance when you can make a colorful one? A brightly-hued front door is both welcoming and fun, ensuring your home will stand out in a neighborhood of neutral colors. Basic materials you may already have on hand (paint, primer, and brushes) keep costs low.

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Highlight Your Home's Best Feature

white painted brick exterior with black front door and shutters
Edmund Barr

Achieving a high-end look doesn't have to mean top-to-bottom luxury. The secret is playing to your home's strengths and architectural style. If you're on a budget, pick one feature to focus on (such as the shrubbery, lighting, or front door), and make it the focal point of your exterior. Here, manicured shrubs and sculptural topiaries reinforce this home's polished appearance.

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Go for Greenery

stone walkway up to tan house with wooden door
Emily Followill

Flowers are one way to create a stunning landscape. But blossoms fade. If you prefer the understated (and enduring) beauty of trees and shrubs, find out if any local forestry groups offer free or reduced-price greenery. Attractive landscaping doesn't have to cost a fortune.

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Install a Walkway

white farmstyle porch with hedges growing around it
Greg Schiedemann

An inviting pathway leading to your front door helps define the space if you lack a sidewalk. Create a DIY garden path with flagstones, gravel, or other inexpensive pavers, selecting a material that blends in with your home's architecture and style. Install one in your side yard, too, if you have a back gate.

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Light Your Landcaping

Colonial home with brick walkway
Laura Moss

Warm lights and lanterns exude homey comfort without much effort. If you already have porch or landscape lighting in place, consider supplementing it with a spotlight on a favorite tree or garden bed. Place lanterns along your front walkway to light the path for visitors at night.

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