Arlington Virginia (VA) Real Estate – Arbour RealtyHome
Helping You Plant Roots in VA, DC & MD
By Sarah Kellner
If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you know that its curb appeal, or attractiveness as seen from the street, is crucial. Just as proper grooming and professional dress are the keys to making a good first impression on a job interview, so too is curb appeal in the buying process. Your home’s exterior and landscape set the tone for your entire home, so you should do everything you can to make it attractive and inviting.
As the holidays approach, many people plan extravagant indoor decorations, but might not spend as much time thinking about outdoor decorations, especially first time homeowners coming from apartments. Tasteful outdoor decorations will not only get you into the holiday spirit, but they’ll also increase your home’s curb appeal, making it seem warm and inviting during the chilly holiday months.
Here are some tips for adding tasteful outdoor holiday decorations to your home.
The holiday heavyweights of the outdoor world, Christmas lights can create a dazzling display when used tastefully, but they can quickly become overwhelming to the viewer if overdone. Christmas lights should be used to highlight your landscape and the attractive architectural features of your home’s façade, not induce seizures.
If you’re new to the light-hanging game, be sure not to get too ambitious. Start small and build on your repertoire each year.
Another reason to keep it simple is safety. Take a wattage count on each circuit and make sure that no more than 1,400 watts are connected. Any more is overload.
When it comes to physically hanging the lights, avoid using any type of old fashioned methods like nails, screws or staples that will damage your roof. Where you can, opt for electrical tape or the shingle tab clips made specifically for hanging lights. Be sure to turn off the lights when going to bed or leaving for vacation, unless the lights are set on a timer.
Garlands & Greenery
Another way to dress up your digs is by using natural elements like greenery and garlands. Many people prefer fresh cut greenery over faux options because they give off that intoxicating aroma that just screams “Christmas.” When using fresh greenery as outdoor decorations, there are a couple tips you can use to maximize their life and freshness. The main problem with live greenery is that it dries out really easily when exposed to the cold air outside or the warm, dry air inside. You can combat this by conditioning your branches before arranging them. Fill several buckets with room temperature water, make fresh 45 degree cuts on the ends of the branches, gently crush the exposed woody ends with a small hammer and then soak for several hours before working with them. To make your own garland or swag, start with a long brown or green rope and wrap the branches around it with green florist’s wire, making sure to overlap them and twist around the rope for even coverage.
Whether you’ve decided to go fresh or faux, there are many places you can hang your garlands outdoors. Wrap them with lights, add pine cones, bows, berries and ornaments, then outline your front door with them, drape them in a staggered fashion from your porch or fence posts, or wind them around your porch pillars. This can add a lot of holiday pizzazz to the curb appeal of your home.
Outdoor Christmas Trees
Christmas trees are no longer solely indoor decorations. If you’re not lucky enough to have a real fir tree in your front yard, fake it by setting up a fresh cut one either in your yard or on your front porch. A simple indoor tree stand is not going to cut it, though. If set up in your yard, be sure to anchor it with several wires extending from the trunk to ground stakes. If on your porch, make sure it’s steadied with anchors in several places. This will keep your tree from blowing over in a strong wind, or even from neighborhood cats and squirrels knocking it over by climbing its branches.
Once you’ve taken care of setting up the major elements of your outdoor holiday decorations, it’s time for the finishing touches. Hang a festive wreath on your front door, replace your holiday door mat with a special holiday-themed one, and set up some lanterns filled with LED lights on your front steps. Another inviting touch is placing a piece of repurposed wood painted with chalkboard paint at your front door and a festive phrase written on it like “joy to the world” or “baby it’s cold outside.”
How will you add curb appeal to your home this holiday season?
Sarah Kellner writes on a wide range DIY-related subjects for Home Depot. Sarah especially enjoys giving advice on holiday decorating. If you are looking for some new outdoor decorations to give your home a holiday lift, visit homedepot.com.