Basic Principles of Exterior Design

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For being good at something, you need to know the rules, and that’s a fact. And if you want to stand out and be noticed, those rules have to be mastered in order to bypass, twist, modify and adjust them the right way. It is a complicated matter that gives headaches to rookie designers. However, even the designers of the most breathtakingly designed houses certainly follow some basic exterior design rules and key principles. Study the following steps, and improve your home’s exterior with a few simple additions and modifications.

Balance and Form 1

Balance & Form

A well-designed home has a balanced exterior; a balance achieved through the proper combination of shapes and adhered symmetry rules. One can achieve this in various ways. For example, you can make your home visually appealing and interesting with symmetrically placed windows, dormers and doors. You achieve balance by not making a single part overpower others.

Another approach is paying attention to how your entire home (and its geometric shape) contrast with the natural shapes of the surrounding landscape. Pay attention to the lines the shape of your house creates. It creates external (walls and roof) and internal (molding, windows, doors, pillars, and such) lines.

The starting point of any design plan should be the purpose of the building. What are your needs and desires? Is it a permanent residence or a holiday house? Do you work at home and in need for an office, or a home gym for your everyday workout? Define the purpose and let it be your guideline.

Materials Colors and Textures 2

Materials, Color & Textures

There are various options for choosing the right material for the exterior of your house. The main thing is to apply one that is durable. When it comes to aesthetics, choose the material that your home’s style. Minimalist, modern, traditional, industrial, Victorian or Mediterranean, it dictates whether you’d use brick, wood, vinyl or stone.

You really need to think hard about the design of your exterior walls. For example, exterior wall cladding options are a good choice. They require less energy to maintain the temperature and, thus, they support energy efficiency. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the best thing would be to consult an experienced design architect.

When choosing a color, choose a dominating color and combine two shades of it (lighter and darker), and a contrasting color to accentuate the windows, door and other smaller exterior elements. Color gives the first impression so make a creative scheme, instead of painting it plain white.

Textures (e.g. dalmatian, grit finish, flakes and granules) can be applied to a variety of absorbent surfaces, and are there to add depth and provide a lasting impression.

Roofs 3


Different roof types define different house styles. You can choose between a mansard, gable, hip or saltbox style roof (among others). It can be made of slate and tile (which are very heavy), asphalt shingles (durable, very affordable and easily installed). Factors that would define your choice are cost, weight, durability and house style, so choose carefully.

Doorway Curb Appeal 4

Curb Appeal (Garage Doors, Lighting & Entryway)

You can improve the curb appeal of your house with the right garage doors. When deciding which door to buy, the rule is – mechanics first, style later. After you’re done with the price, warranties, durability and insulation, decide on the style that fits best with your house design.

As for entryway, it is recommended to paint your front door in a darker shade than the rest of your house, in order to accentuate it. Also, you can improve its appeal with interesting door knobs, rugs, plants and such.

Outside lighting are nice for nighttime aesthetic appeal, but also for safety reasons. Outdoor lights can be placed in your driveway, garage doors, doorway, front yard and almost anywhere around the house. Solar lights are a great choice, due to easy installment and the use of natural power supplies. You can choose among LED lighting, lantern ceiling and wall lights and angular steel lights, whatever best suits your house style.

About the Guest Author

Derek Lotts writes everything related to home improvement. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment. He blogs regularly at Smoothdecorator. In his free time, he likes spending time in nature with his wife. Check out his Google+ profile and follow him on Twitter.



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