10 Thrifty Methods to Add Charm to Your Home Exterior

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10 Thrifty methods to add charm to your home exterior

The character and curb appeal of your house can make such a statement! This post outlines 10 thrifty methods to add charm to your home exterior! 

YouTube video

Three years ago I created a post on How to Add Charm and Character to Your Home. I shared several tips we have used and it is filled with several great ideas! For this post though, I want to really focus in on more specific elements and share with you 10 thrifty methods to add charm to your home exterior.

Cozy cottage home exterior updates to add charm
How to add charm and character to your shed!

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I love adding charm and character to the outside of my house just as much as I do the inside. In the warmer months I am outside as much as possible and it is important for me to have a relaxing, beautiful and inviting space for both my family and friends to enjoy. Our home exterior is still a work in progress of course, but I want to share what I’ve done so far to really up the charm factor of our outdoor space and curb appeal.

1. Shutters

Our home has changed so much from when we first moved in nine years ago. It already had so many charming elements to it – a round door for example and the unique roof line which really gave it that English rustic appeal. But as you can see in the photo below, there was so much potential for more charm.

Before photo of our cottage home

One of the first things we did was add shutters. You can easily build your own shutters without a lot of experience. We simply used 1×4’s and attached them with a cross piece that was also a 1×4. We painted them with exterior paint and they have lasted for years! 

Cottage home flower boxes and shutters

In order to add even more charm, last year I decided to add some hardware to our DIY shutters and I love how they turned out. The hardware is actually vinyl and not metal! They are super affordable, you will have to check them out here!

Shutters with hardware on cottage exterior of home for charming curb appeal

2. Window Boxes

Window boxes can really add so much charm to your home’s exterior! We built ours in a couple of hours. I wish I had a blog post for you guys to refer to, but we created these long before I started my blog. Again, we simply used pine boards and painted them with exterior paint. They have lasted years!

Beautiful window boxes that add charm to the character of the home
Flower boxes on outside of home with shutters for charming curb appeal

Last spring I shared a blog post all about the flowers I chose for my boxes, and they turned out so beautiful come end of June/early July. You’ll have to watch the YouTube video above to see how lovely the flowers looked once they all filled in!

3. Flower Beds

Another easy way to add charm to your home’s exterior is to plant flower beds! You can do this along the exterior of your home,along your driveway or even around your mailbox! 

Cottage home exterior makeover

In my opinion, adding flowers ups the charm level 1000%. In order to save money, invest in perennials that will come back year after year with low maintenance. We have hydrangea bushes, hostas, and catmint among many others. They always come back so beautifully! 

Flower beds adding to charm on home exterior

4. Stone Border

When you are looking to add charm to your home, try adding rustic stone throughout your property. Stone goes with any style – country, cottage, farmhouse, modern, you name it. It can be used either on the border of your flower garden, or in the backyard around the fire pit, patio or garden area. 

Come tour our pea gravel patio in the summer!

A tip when using stone is to ask around for help! My mother in law actually helped me with the border of my front flower beds and it was such a fun day. Together we were able to work quickly and come up with a curved design that is so unique! She also got the stone for free from a friend, which kept the project super budget friendly.

Stone border on flower garden home exterior inspiration cottage style

5. Paint 

Painting the exterior of your home can be an expensive and enormous task. My husband and I are going to have to do this soon. Thankfully, when we purchased our home it was this gorgeous shade of grey and I wish the previous owners could remember the color they chose, because we love it and get asked about it all the time. We hope to find something very similar when we repaint!

Before photo of our Cottage Home
Home exterior after new paint on door and shutters to add curb appeal and charm

If you can’t afford to paint your entire home at once though, consider painting your shutters or putting a fresh coat of paint on your front door. That can really go a long way! 

6. Replace Exterior Light Fixtures

Simple exterior light fixtures can be very affordable and make such a difference to your home’s exterior. An old, dated fixture really takes away from the charm of your home and a replacement can be done very quickly. 

Our new cottage style lantern from Signature Hardware looks beautiful with our black storm door!

We replaced ours last year when we did our porch makeover and I love the lights we ended up with. Consider not only the front of your home, but also your garage and shed exterior lights as well! You will be pleasantly surprised at what you can find at your local home improvement store for right around $50.  

7. Outdoor Seating

Outdoor seating adds so much charm! It creates an inviting space and I love to have pockets of seating all around my home. We have rocking chairs on our front porch, chairs around our fire pit, and seating on our pea gravel patio as well.

Cottage Porch with inviting outdoor seating rocking chairs

We also have a bench in the back that we built as well as a hammock in another corner of our yard. All of this seating is used regularly and just brings so much charm to each little pocket of space throughout our yard! 

Outdoor seating in our patio home exterior charm

Outdoor seating doesn’t have to be super expensive. I see patio furniture at garage sales all of the time! Check out Facebook marketplace as well. You would be shocked at the great deals you can get on gorgeous pieces! Sometimes older pieces that you find may have more character so be open to incorporating those as well. 

Outdoor seating including a hammock swing in our backyard!

8. Update Your Garage or Shed Door

Last year we redid our shed and it made such a huge difference in our backyard. One of the most impactful changes was replacing the old garage door. Here’s a before photo of what our shed looked like when we bought the house –

Our cottage garden shed has so much potential

We looked at new garage doors for our shed and they were so expensive. I decided to once again head over to Facebook marketplace and I ended up finding some 100 year old carriage doors with so much character.

New shed doors to update home exterior and add charm
Charming cottage shed in backyard of home exterior with character and charm

They needed some work, scraping, repainting and new hardware, but we saved a ton of money and they added so much charm to our shed! 

9. Use Reclaimed Wood

It is so simple to incorporate reclaimed wood into different areas of your yard. We used some reclaimed wood for our raised flower beds in the backyard, and we also used it to create a wooden walkway that I absolutely love!

Flowers for cottage gardening surrounded by reclaimed wood
How to add charm and character to your shed!

10. Incorporate Pea Gravel

Pea gravel, like stone, can be incorporated into any style! It is so simple to install and looks so beautiful! We decided to use pea gravel in our back patio which you can read about here

Pea Gravel Patio in backyard that adds charm and character
Low maintenance pea gravel that is so charming

I love this space so much, but pea gravel can really be used in so many applications. Between garden beds, for walkways, around fire pits…use your imagination. It’s an affordable option compared to asphalt or poured concrete.

To summarize, the 10 thrifty methods to add charm to your home exterior are:

  1. Shutters
  2. Window Boxes
  3. Flower Beds
  4. Stone Border
  5. Paint
  6. Replace Exterior Light fixtures
  7. Outdoor Seating
  8. Update Garage or Shed Door
  9. Use Reclaimed Wood
  10. Incorporate Pea Gravel
English Cottage Elements - stone porch surround

I really hope these 10 thrifty methods to add charm to your home exterior have shown you there are truly endless ways to add character and curb appeal. I would love to read what ideas you hope to try in the comments below!



10 Thrifty methods to add charm to your home exterior


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  1. If you have Home Depot near you, you can scrap a sample of your exterior paint at least the size of a quart , take it to their paint department and their computer can match exactly. I have done this a lot. Only drawback is you won’t get a paint color name.

  2. Such a beautiful home with so much character! You have done a beautiful job in the years you have lived there! I love your style!!

  3. Pingback: Weekend Reading #89 - Making it in the Mountains

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