Little Exterior Updates with Huge Impact

This suburban two-story needed an update, and the contractor-homeowners wanted the change to be subtle yet dramatic. See how a coat of gorgeous green paint, fresh hardware and accessories, and a portico addition tallied up to give the home exterior a brand-new look.

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This home's neutral brick exterior wasn't necessarily an eyesore, but it lacked personality. It fit the neighborhood, but there was nothing eye-catching about the design or its execution. The goal? Construct a new exterior portico, update the facade, and improve the home's curb appeal while still blending with the nearby homes.

Before & After: Added Appeal

Many homeowners wouldn't dream of painting over brick, but a sophisticated and beautiful exterior color combination like this has persuasive powers. An effective use of subdued green paint and an enlarged front portico give the house more presence. Repeating the curved line over the front door on the garage door windows unifies the new elements. Light fixtures and door hardware in the same dark bronze finish further coordinate the updates.

Stylish Shutters

Small, faded navy shutters used to blend into their standard redbrick backdrop. These new larger shutters help define the architecture of the house, and high-contrast black adds punch against the painted brick and siding—which were painted the same mossy green color to blend the two materials. The original window boxes stayed but were painted black for better contrast.

Before & After: Prominence Restored

The original front door was predictable for a 1980s house—its Federalist style didn't offer much visual presence. The odd angles and deep-set entrance felt dated, along with barely noticeable sconces. The homeowners wanted to increase the importance of the entry by adding a portico extension, yet they did not want the door to visually recede.

Craftsman-style paneling on the new entry door inspired the same motif on the door's sidelights and the alcove's wall panels. A mix of curvilinear and straight design details creates rhythm and adds interest to the impressive front portico. Arched corbels and a barrel-vault ceiling offer a counterpoint to straight lines like the standing-seam roof and architectural details.

Light the Way

Dirty and dated, no more! The dark metal of the new sconces reflects the finishes featured on the door hardware and alcove roof. The front entry lights and accessories add Craftsman style and stark contrast against detailed white woodwork and pale green bricks.

Doubled Design

When painting brick, consider how the new color will look with other fixed elements on your home's exterior. Dark metal hardware and period lighting fine-tune the new garage door, which echoes the Craftsman-design arch of the new entry. Moss-color paint coats the siding to seamlessly blend with the home's brick facade. Touches of cream and charcoal complete the look.


  1. I didn't read all the comments, so I apologize if this was already noted. It's true this isn't a "small" update, but if you'll notice in the full before and after photos, the trees and shrubs are much larger in the after, so it appears the owners took their time with the updates, and therefore the cost wasn't as painful. We are strongly considering painting our ugly brown brick, and I enjoy seeing the transformations that paint can make.

  2. My favorite redo was the addition of the larger shutters. But I also agree about the timelessness of unpainted bricks.

  3. I like painted brick because it offers so many options to change curb appeal. Howevee, it changes low maintenance to higher maintenance.

  4. Painting brick is a fad. And it’s not easily undone. So what happens when it goes out of style? You’re stuck with an outdated look. The original brick is a classic timeless look.

    1. I agree with you. I would never paint brick because after a few coats, it looks lousy! I do however, love
      German schmear, the technique that white washes some brick, but the original brick shows through in other places. It looks just as good as time passes. No need to ever update.

  5. Personally I picked up ideas for little things that I can do to improve my own home, without thinking I have to do every thing featured in this project. Most homes evolve over many years, for some of us oldsters, in particular. Thank you for showing all the ideas in a completed project. It's beautiful!

  6. Definitely not a little tweak, that's a big project!

  7. My email's subject heading was "Small Tweaks for Achieving Major Curb Appeal." Really?

  8. I am painting my house a similar shade and had a nightmare that someone painted my brick too. Enough of the brick painting fad. This is a big beautiful upgrade but it could look as good with original brick.

    1. The paint looks better, but most people with brick houses buy them so they DON'T HAVE TO PAINT!

    2. The paint is a pop!!
      Sooo much better!

  9. Although I love brick, I really do like how this turned out! The entry came out beautiful. But that said, these little changes quickly add up to a lot of money. But I guess the point is you can do some of them and not all of them.

  10. I agree. That is not a little update. Looks like ALOT of money spent. And how could anyone paint over beautiful brick.

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