Curb appeal: 2013’s hottest home improvement trend

(BPT) – The busy home remodeling season is a great time for homeowners to focus on increasing curb appeal. The percentage of homeowners who feel now is a good time to spend money on home improvement has doubled since 2009, according to a recent survey among Better Homes and Gardens readers. Considering two of the top four features consumers have on their wish lists for their next home are low maintenance exteriors and a private backyard, high-performance products that come in a variety of colors, textures and designs are expected to be in high demand this year.

“Based on these survey results, we’ve found that many of our readers want to refresh what’s already there,” says Jill Waage, editorial director for home content, Better Homes and Gardens. “Perhaps they’re looking to dig out that hidden sophistication of a mid-century home, or they might have a classic and want to bring out the character a bit more. Beyond the facade, our readers also really love outdoor living spaces; they see their yard as an extension of the indoors.”

From small touch ups to large renovations, projects such as replacing boring and beige with colorful vinyl siding and trim, updating entryways with bright front doors and shutters, and sprucing up outdoor living areas can make a big difference in the look of your home and neighborhood.

“Homeowners want it all in 2013; low maintenance products that perform and style that breaks the cookie-cutter mold,” says Jerry Blais, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Siding Group, a division of exterior building products manufacturer Ply Gem. “Colorful vinyl siding options in different styles, combined with complementary trim, stone veneer and designer accents that set your home apart are in demand for home improvements.”

Consider these upgrades to get magazine-ready looks for your home exterior.

Make a grand entrance

For experienced DIYers considering a weekend project, painting the front door or replacing shutters is a simple solution with dramatic results. These small changes create a focal point for the house and provide a warm, inviting appearance with a modern feel. Brands such as Mastic Home Exteriors by Ply Gem offer shutters in dozens of pre-selected colors, or can be painted for a custom look.

Other subtle improvements like adding modern lighting fixtures, detailed railings, a new mailbox, stone columns or house numbers can also go a long way in enhancing a home’s custom look.

Whole-home overhaul

For those ready to create a whole new style, installing new siding and trim can infuse life into a bland exterior. Vinyl siding, stone veneer and designer accents have evolved over the years, with vastly expanded color palettes, easy maintenance and a natural look. By incorporating cellular PVC trim as an accent to vinyl siding and stone – around windows, on dormers, eaves and gables – even the most discerning homeowners can enjoy a sophisticated look that’s also low maintenance.

To help with exterior color selection, look to free Ipad applications like Ply Gem’s Mastic Color Advisor. Design guides are also available for inspiration and recommendations on how to make the most of cellular PVC trim, with styles such as gingerbread, modern, rustic, colonial and much more.

The great outdoors

The perfect addition to any exterior design renovation is an outdoor living area to entertain friends, enjoy a summer barbecue or just relax with the newspaper. To extend your interior space to the outdoors, consider projects such as installing an outdoor fireplace or kitchen with durable stone veneer, or a low maintenance vinyl privacy or picket fence.

To find design inspiration and product ideas for these and other exterior projects, visit Whether you’re looking for a small refresh or a completely enhanced look, many of this year’s hottest home design trends are waiting outside.