Join our newsletter Name: Your Email Address Contact me with news and offers from other Future brands Thank you for signing up to Realhomes. Whether you've a modern or traditional property, there are both simple tweaks and bigger changes that you can make – from windows and cladding to even your front door colour – to help improve the saleability of your home, so it is worth exploring your options. While, if you are after something more substantial, you could be looking at adding an extension, landscaping your front garden or changing the roof structure for a more impactful architectural difference.
Keep scrolling for our exterior design advice – and for more on house renovation, read our ultimate guide.
This can be achieved by extending a house upwards or outwards to create a more pleasing balance (and space), greater symmetry, or to replace poorly designed extensions added by previous owners. Subject to planning permission, it may also be possible to add a second storey to a bungalow, transforming it into a house, or to replace a flat roof.
Many smaller extensions can be added under permitted development rights (PDRs), without applying for planning permission, especially those at the back and sides of a property. With the exception of listed buildings, partial demolition does not require planning permission either, so you can remove unsightly structures or features, freely.
This said, different rules apply for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so always check with your local authority. If you're using a main contractor, you can expect to pay £1,050 to £1,650 per m² of added footprint for a standard specification and £1,450 to £2,200 for a high-end finish.
A further fee will be payable if you then retain the designer to appoint and oversee your building contractor for the work. Cladding over pebbledash is often done as it is hardwearing and easy to maintain, but it can look quite harsh – especially on boxy estate homes.
(opens in new tab) Get Real Homes magazine delivered direct to your door and your device (opens in new tab) Can't get to the shops but don't want to miss out on the latest issue of your favourite homes magazine? Don't worry, as when you subscribe today you'll get every issue of Real Homes magazine delivered direct to your door and your device. From stunning completed projects to the latest decorating ideas you can try in your own space, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained and inspired inside each issue. Don't miss our special deal – subscribe to our annual print and digital bundle offer today for just £39.99 – a massive saving of 52%. Ask your supplier if they can give you new and aged samples to see how your home will look freshly clad and a few months down the line. Make sure the weight of your chosen cladding or render is suitable for your property, as some materials are heavier than others.
Hardwoods, like oak, chestnut or larch, can be left to weather naturally or sealed with a fire-retardant coating. Hardwoods, like oak, chestnut or larch, can be left to weather naturally or sealed with a fire-retardant coating. Though they have the appeal of traditional weatherboarding, these Cedral (opens in new tab) lap boards, colour C05 Grey, are in modern fibre cement, a high-performance sustainable material made of wood, cellulose, sand, synthetic fibres and water (Image credit: Cedral) The striking Corten (opens in new tab) steel cladding on this extension will weather naturally, patinating to a darker, more burnished appearance and blending into its surroundings.
Architects deDraft (opens in new tab) used it to complete a £60,000 addition to a 1950s north London flat (Image credit: Whitaker Studio) It can hide poor-quality or mismatched brickwork on period properties, and create a sleek finish on modern homes.
It can hide poor-quality or mismatched brickwork on period properties, and create a sleek finish on modern homes. Concrete render shouldn’t be used with the lime mortar masonry of many period properties as it will lead to damp and rot. Natural horizontal cladding was used on the exterior of this home in the New Forest (Image credit: Nigel Rigden) We have factored in labour and the cost of associated materials for fitting (such as mortar for bricks and battens to attach cladding to). Heat-treated timbers like Accoya have a large initial outlay, but require next to no maintenance, making them a good long-term investment. Office S&M (opens in new tab) were the architects for Salmen House in East London, which took just six months to build and cost £205,000.
Stippled render and textured terrazzo was chosen to create the eye-catching facade (Image credit: French + Tye) Permitted development allows for extensions to be built with materials matching the existing building – but if you’d like contrasting cladding, you’ll most likely require planning consent. Building Control at your local council will also be concerned that the house meets regulations for thermal efficiency, so always consider whether cladding will alter its eco performance. If you live in a listed building or Conservation Area, detailed consideration needs to be given to how cladding will impact the character and fabric of the house. On some styles of house – especially a bungalow – the roof is a very dominant feature, so if you change the shape of it, or the exterior covering, or even just improve the look of the existing tiles, it will transform your property’s appearance. Budget £28-£35 per m² to replace old tiles with new interlocking concrete ones, including labour and materials.
Generally, flat-roof extensions and modern, low pitched roofs look out of place on traditional-style houses, so replacing them with a more appropriately styled design can make a huge difference to a property’s overall shape. Ideally, the new roof will be steep enough to create usable space beneath, which will also help justify the cost.
For a contemporary makeover, a ‘brise soleil’ overhanging sun shield can hide a low-pitched roof and give the appearance of a modern flat design. Madarchitects.co.uk (opens in new tab) transformed this home with new windows which make up a large proportion of the façade. A fresh coat of render and new roof tiles finish the look (Image credit: Whitebox Architects) Windows are the eyes of a house – if you change them, you can alter your property’s whole personality, especially if it’s done in conjunction with an overall redesign scheme.
However, choose windows and doors for a period property with care if you are planning to maintain its authentic style. If, however, you are looking to give your home a contemporary update that's style sympathetic to its period feel, consider metal framed windows and doors as replacements. A modern house that might be lacking in character can be made to look like a period property by adding period-style small casement or sliding sash windows, and by altering the door openings.
The most inexpensive solution is to buy new windows direct from a manufacturer, DIY supplier or online and fit them yourself.
If you live on a road where there is a very uniform house type, you should try to match your front door as closely as possible to those of the homes around yours. If you are living in a period property, and are looking to restore your home’s exterior to its former glory, then trawling reclamation yards to find a door in the style and period of your house is a good bet – as is commissioning a skilled joiner to make a new one that mimics the original to a tee.
Create a grand entrance with a frameless glass box completed with a smart bespoke door. Raw E80 pivot door set and matching boarded panel, in European oak with stained Onyx metallic finish and number engraving, H2.4m x W2m, from £24,000, Urban Front (opens in new tab) (Image credit: Urban Front)
Black and grey: are good choices to impress fussy buyers by letting your house stand out from the crowd. Black and grey front door colours apparently carry associations of anonymity, exclusivity, and understated elegance – very chic. It also looks good in every season, making it easy to style either with bright summer plants or a Christmas wreath. Bright pink, brown (unless it's natural wood); bright yellow (cute on a country cottage, not so much everywhere else); orange (just, no); green – unless we're talking a classic Farrow & Ball paint colour, these are choices that are likely to put house buyers off and, in some cases, might even damage your home's value.
Corian solid surfacing, from £600 per sq m, can be cut to very precise tolerances with mitred edges where several planes meet (Image credit: Jake Fitzjones for DuPont) Smaller alterations, such as adding a porch or a bay window needn’t be expensive, but can add a lot of interest and character to the house exterior design. Clarisse and Karim Mallem have created a contemporary family living area, increasing the light and space in their London ground-floor flat with an extension (Image credit: Alistair Nicholls) How much this will set you back depends to a large degree on the spec and size of your extension, but expect to pay between £950-£1,350 per m². Adding a porch on the front of your house will give character to a featureless frontage as well as providing extra, practical storage space indoors. Think carefully about design; the porch should be constructed in a style that suits the original architecture and is in proportion with the size of the house.
Don't forget to take a cue from the existing roof pitch and angles – the house exterior design should all be in keeping with one another. Wall-hung timber porch kits are less expensive than enclosed designs, but will transform a flat frontage, especially if climbers are trained around the structure to help it blend in.
A garage used for storage was converted into a kitchen and living space by architect Stephen Graver (opens in new tab) in this home (Image credit: Marc Wilson Photography) The join between old and new should be seamless – this may mean hiring an architect to ensure the details and proportions of features, such as windows, are right.
Keep the palette of materials used outside to a minimum, and ask your builder to tooth and bond the new work into the old to avoid a bolted-on look. Before you go ahead, check with a local estate agent to ensure you’re making the right move – if the advantages of an extra room are outweighed by the need for secure parking, the resulting impact on the value of your home may be negative.
Large double garage doors can be an eyesore on the front of a property and don’t suit a period-style makeover. Converting the garage into a living space and replacing the doors with walls and windows will alter the main elevations and could help create a more traditional period look. Once all the building work is complete, turn your attention to garden landscaping and updating any outdoor space that may be visible from the front of the house. In the front garden low maintenance planting including Amelanchier lamarkii is set in a raised bed retained with Corten steel.
In the back garden, an L-shaped built-in seating area in rendered block work with a hardwood bench top was purpose-built for lounging or dining. You may not have considered this when it comes to your house's exterior design, but off-road parking makes a property more desirable from both an aesthetic and practical point of view.
If your home does not have a driveway and there is enough room in the front garden for one or two cars, you should contact your local council to find out how much it would cost to drop the kerb. It is generally more affordable than other hard landscaping options, the noise means it is a deterrent to intruders, it drains well preventing flooding issues, and it is easy to create a gravel drive on a DIY basis.
While tarmac is very popular, block paving might be preferable as it does allow some drainage and is easier to repair than poured surfaces. If your driveway is more than five square metres and the surface is not Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) compliant then you will need planning permission.
So if you've kept a traditional house exterior design, you'll want to stick to classic planting and even formal pruning if available, for a truly refined finish that still has heaps of character. While if your home is contemporary, you may want to pare back on cottage planting and opt for a minimalist approach, using lighting to create a modern and inviting entrance.