How can I inexpensively add some "wow" to my very brown/tan house?

Kathy alfke
by Kathy alfke
My house is 100 years old and rock solid but it is bland. It needs someone's creative suggestions!
My 100 year old house needs a facelift!
  23 answers
  • Lagree Wyndham Lagree Wyndham on Apr 29, 2015
    I think you just need a color change, bright colored front door and change the trim color, and hanging flowers from porch and plantings in front of porch to draw the eye in. Its a great looking house.
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    • Bonnie Paterson Bonnie Paterson on May 04, 2015
      I love this classic home, it definitely can use some perking up! The lights should be "beefed" up to a larger size and the screen door looks inappropriate. Can you change it to one keeping in the character of a older home. Mail box also needs updating in keeping with the ear of the home I agree with other that the landscaping is too linear and boring, Bring the front flower bed around to the sidewalk and add some colour. I would likely choose red. Also hanging ferns would be lovely. and an American flag from the corner on the right
  • Katie Katie on Apr 29, 2015
    Plantings and shutters! Burgundy/deep green shutters perhaps? Maybe only the two top floors? Planters on the sides of the stairs and hanging over porch. Bright pillows on chairs by front door. All should be inexpensive and can be done slowly as sales occur.
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    • Katie Katie on Apr 29, 2015
      @Katie Consider the top two floors for shutters. I'm thinking shutters would probably make all the window types/sizes look more cohesive. With hanging plants you probably don't need them on the front three window group.
  • Kathy alfke Kathy alfke on Apr 29, 2015
    Need more ideas!
  • Mehartgallery Mehartgallery on Apr 29, 2015
    Absolutely agree with the shutters idea,,,, wine color, on all the windows. Paint the front door the same color. Then on the ground, at the bottom of the brick posts, a large planter on each side, with pink flowers. On the sides of the covered porch, (left side and right side), a wooden latice type trellis.. either hang it, or attach permanently onto the railing and roof (even if it's just a 2 foot wide strip), that would cozy up veranda, (Oh, I sooo love verandas).... Then throw fabric on the chairs I can see there (In the pink color family). Attach a large wooden sign for the house number, in the same chosen colors. Hanging planters in the openings of the veranda. So same color scheme for everything: Burgundy wine for the shutters, pink family for flowers and fabric on the chairs, (thrift stores are a great place to find a large bedspread or comforter that can be cut apart to make slide on covers), and same color flowers in hanging basket planters.
  • Lola Lola on Apr 29, 2015
    I hate burgundy and I think it would clash with your brick. Mossy green trim or dark blue with contrasting trim and definitely shutters on top. Change out your light fixtures for larger ones or maybe one large light fixture that hangs down. Also, bring in some color in front by using annuals.
  • Samantha Samantha on Apr 29, 2015
    I've always felt that really great landscaping can take a "nice" house to a "wow, stop the car!" house. :) Maybe planter boxes for the sides of the steps, some brightly colored flowering shrubs, or some annuals that you can put in with the green bushes? I second the idea for bright cushions...and for the wine/burgundy color scheme. I think that would go beautifully! It looks like your picture has a filter on it that is making everything look a little bit yellow? @Mehartgallery has some great ideas! I hesitate with the shutters because of the double window you have on the right side on the second floor. I think adding shutters would make that area look cluttered. Maybe not though!!
  • Beverly Cady Cabaday Beverly Cady Cabaday on Apr 29, 2015
    Paint the body gray with white and black trim. Love that combination.
  • Krista Krista on Apr 29, 2015
    I would add colour with planters, bright fabric on your porch chairs, and definitely change out the lights for something bigger and brighter. I wish I had a front porch! :D
  • Dottie Dottie on Apr 30, 2015
    Beautiful house. I agree with the comments about landscaping. Add flower beds along the sides of the sidewalk to create a grand entrance. A small ornamental tree in the grassy area with a flower bed around it. Dogwood? Can't see what the fence is but maybe plant vines and train to cover or a semi "waddle" fence, i.e. weave flexible sticks through it to soften it? Colorful pots on a few of the stairs. More pots on the ledge with plants that will drape over the side. Paint your furniture a color that will draw in some of the garden color. Add new cushions or recover the existing ones. Paint the storm door to match the door trim so it is less visible. The lights around the door are small but if they're original and you like them, maybe paint them to coordinate with the color scheme you choose. That will help them pop out a little more. Your house colors are nice so maybe pick two colors to add to the overall color set. What a fun project. Be sure to plant some spring flower bulbs this fall, especially around the sidewalks, with perennials planted over them that will come up for summer. Hope this helps.
    • Kathy alfke Kathy alfke on Apr 30, 2015
      Wow I wish you could come over! Lol as you know lots of houses have dropped in value and that's why I want to maintain my century old house making it as pretty as I can and playing up it's existing character, the inside has gorgeous woodwork and hard wood floors. What style would you consider this? I wonder if I can get a historical marker? Thanks so much
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Apr 30, 2015
    Hi Kathy! It is difficult to tell from this picture the true colors of the house because it has a green tint to it, but I am thinking it is cream and dark brown with a brown roof? When you do the "squint test" what you see is all the dark brown, including the trim and all the brick in the front which creates a dark linear effect. It makes the trim appear to be quite thin and not substantial compared to the heavy brick columns. So I would paint out the trim in a bright creamy white, then add shutters to the lower windows in a third contrast color (with the brown and tan and the orange in the bricks I would be partial to a blue but that's just me : ) Those two little windows on the top look like dark holes, so I would paint them to match the others. Not sure of the scale but they look like they might be too small for shutters, but perhaps add some architectural detail above them in the matching blue color? The same with the front door-paint out the trim around it so it blends with the storm door, then hang a pretty floral wreath on the outside of the storm door to pull all the colors together. Replace the small lanterns on either side of the door with something larger and brighter and paint the porch ceiling a pale blue (keeps away the bees : ) Then I would clean all the brick and the front concrete steps, add some brightly colored pots with flowers on the steps and plantings along the concrete walk and in front of the shrubs. Good luck!
  • Ellen DeVilbiss Ellen DeVilbiss on Apr 30, 2015
    Congratulations on being the owner of a beautiful example of the American Foursquare style. It's so quintessentially American I'd go with a patriotic color scheme. House body white or light cream, trim a grayish blue, and a red that coordinates with the brick on shutters for the second floor and attic windows. Possibly the front door too. Clean up the brick and take some of these other suggestions for brightening up the decor on the step & porch.
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    • CK CK on May 05, 2015
      @Kathy alfke Go to this website for ideas on paint colors, porch ideas, etc. Your house isn't's the look American Foursquares had back when they were built. I don't like to see these old homes "modernized' inside or out anymore than what's absolutely needed to live in the 21st century. I'd do some research into what plantings were used in your area 100 years ago and try to replicate them. I'm sort of a 'purist' when it comes to these beauties so I'm saddened when I see them trying to be 'updated' by the homeowners. Sure they can be, and sometimes it works...but sometimes it turns out looking like the poor house was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Embrace your home's beautiful 100 year old look with time period appropriate plantings, flowers,furniture on the porch and paint colors. LOVE your home!
  • Nancy B Nancy B on Apr 30, 2015
    A red front door, blinds or curtains on the inside of all of the windows to unify and soften the look.
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    • Becky Greenwald Becky Greenwald on May 02, 2015
      Check out for a huge variety, great prices, and free shipping. Texas company.
  • Lisa Lisa on Apr 30, 2015
    Add some color by painting your front door or adding some window boxes with colorful plants
  • Upstater Upstater on Apr 30, 2015
    How about adding shutters on the top floor windows and maybe diamond muntins to the top part of the windows to add some charm? Also need larger light fixtures and updated mailbox (all matching- maybe bronze). Paint door deep vibrant red.
  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Apr 30, 2015
    I love the house and it truly is able to stand on it's own, however when I look at it, I think of old world flowers, classical climbing roses, Peonies, Lilacs, and Iris, so I would add some flowers or flowering trees. You have a lovely home may you have many years of happiness in it.
    • Dottie Dottie on May 01, 2015
      @Lee Cunningham Green Yes, I agree, Lee. Period plantings would look very nice with this house.
  • Dorothy Yates Jackson Dorothy Yates Jackson on Apr 30, 2015
    Paint that house white with green trim. Add the flowers, flowering shrubs and a new bright color for the front door. You will love it.
    • Kathy alfke Kathy alfke on Apr 30, 2015
      That sounds lovely but my budget has to revamp the deck out to the side and I can't paint the whole thing..... But I can paint the door and do the cosmetic things you've mentioned! So thankful for your advice and all others😃
  • Leslie Leslie on Apr 30, 2015
    Paint the trim around all windows and doors white. If possible, also paint the now brown trim area above the porch in white. New larger lights on each side of front door, and a pot of colorful flowers on the brick ledges on each side of the steps. Oh, just saw you don't live all that far from me!
  • Janice Janice on Apr 16, 2024

    What a lovely home you have! Some colorful plantings of several pots along the porch ledge could brighten the home considerably. Also perhaps a bright color you like for the dark trim around the windows & doors....maybe aqua? The pots would provide some extra privacy if you wanted it. You've got lots of suggestions, so hope that some strike you as worthy.

  • Dee Dee on Apr 16, 2024

    I would paint the storm door a bright color, I would put shutters in and get some pretty hanging plants. You could also paint the brick posts. You definitely need to add some color.

  • Annie Annie on Apr 18, 2024

    Some shutters would be a great way to add visual interest!

  • Annie Annie on Apr 18, 2024

    There are some tips here that might help out as well:

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 18, 2024

    Shutters or Window Boxes or both.

  • Hi Kathy! You can check out this article for more information on secrets for beautiful home exterior. Hope this helps!