What is curb appeal? It is the LOOK of your home from the sidewalk. It is the first impression of your home to the world and it can be paramount when you are looking to sell your home.

The PIH Team Manager, Anna Petrie, took to her own home with an experiment in curb appeal. Here’s what she did!

Anna’s home is a 1930’s Cape Cod and it needed a bit of pizzazz to the front. She started small since the goal was to get the biggest bang out of her buck and it’s easy to spend too much, so we wanted to give you an idea of what you can do with a bit of time and a $50 budget! They weren’t ready to redo the porch or landscaping, so we wanted to show you how starting small can be equally attractive in your own curb appeal projects!

Here is the Before and After picture, and below the picture is the process she followed.

Before and After side by side


First, Anna started by scraping off the old paint from the side of the front porch and stairs. With leftover white trim paint that was in their basement, she gave the porch and stairs a fresh coat of white paint! The paint she used was a semi-gloss interior/exterior paint.

The second part of the job was to clean the gutters and wipe the outside of them clean with a damp cloth. This took the shortest amount of time and, while the pictures don’t give it justice, it added a great sparkle to the project!

The next part of the job was to give those pillars a new shine. Anna had the luxury, in this case, of choosing to spray paint the pillars because they are actually made of a PVC instead of wood. She needed 2 cans of white interior/exterior spray paint and it covered the pillars beautifully.

Up next was washing the siding near and around the front door, cleaning up the cobwebs around the lights and wiping clean the ceiling portion of the porch. She did this with a gentle soap (like dish soap) and hot water. She also worked her way down the sidewalk, not pictured, to clean out the cracks between cement where weeds were growing in the sidewalk creases and finally, she put fresh weather strips on the stairs to avoid slipping. 

After the more detailed clean-up/fix-up projects of this sort were finished, Anna added a chair to the porch for sitting, a wreath to the front door, replaced the hanging plant, and added a small stand for another smaller plant next to the door as well.

Because this project occurred near the end of summer, there was a great deal on the hanging plant – we highly recommend shopping between the seasons for good deals on annual basket plants. Anna was able to snag this one for $5 from Fitchburg Farms, and with some luck, it will live through the winter months indoors so it can be used again come spring time!

What are some of your projects for curb appeal? Send us your pictures! We would love to hear about (and see!) what types of things you do for your own Curb Appeal projects.

All in, the above project cost $45 with the breakdown being as follows:

$5 – Hanging basket plant

$20 – Wreath for door

$20 – 2 cans of paint

($17 white paint) – not purchased for this project, but if you needed a full gallon for a project of this size plus a bit more, a full gallon could be purchased from the Habitat ReStore in Madison – which would also support all of the Habitat projects as part of their initiatives in Dane County! Win-win!


Good luck on your projects and share them with us! We can’t wait to see them.