Mid-Century Curb Appeal On A Budget

Have you ever started searching the Internet for a door knocker, only to get sucked into a rabbit hole of crazy kitsch door hardware that is both amazing and terrifying?


Let me back up. A reaaaallllly long time ago, back when I very likely had only two readers (and one of them was my mother), I mentioned that our family might be moving in 2015.   At that time it was a big ‘maybe’, and to be honest I wasn’t too thrilled about it. Not that I wasn’t up for moving, but I did not love the place we were moving to.


Six months later and not only has it become official, I’ve also changed my tune! I cannot wait for the new adventure ahead of us. I may have to get used to the landscape, but at least I’ll be able to decorate with cacti and serape blankets and not feel like a total noob.

Which leads me to why I was ogling cat door knockers at 1 am on a Wednesday night. We’re listing our house next month, and thanks to our serious neglect of the landscaping, the loss of the yard’s last tree, and the overall blah-ness of a 1960 split-level, we’ve decided it’s time to increase the curb appeal of our mid-century home.

Here’s what it currently looks like, in its very sad state. Don’t judge people!

Mid-Century Curb Appeal on A Budget

I began by identifying the problem areas, which are numerous.

MId-Century Curb Appeal on a Budget

Then the following mood board was born:

Mid-Century Curb Appeal on A Budget
The plan is to:

  1. Convince Austin to let me paint the brick the same pale yellow as the siding. And when I say let me, I mean let me. No hiring that part out, as we’re on a budget! In a perfect world I’d hire someone to paint the whole house (that pale yellow color is the WORST) but sadly that idea was immediately vetoed. Sniff.
  2. Remove the exterior glass door. I think this will make a huge difference in and of itself! We really hate how it blocks the actual front door. If it was fully glass it’d stay, but alas it’s not.
  3. Paint the front door and add a door knocker. I’m thinking a pale shade of gray-blue, as you can see in the photos above.
  4. Paint the shutters a color that is not dark poop. Because that’s what I see when I look at them now. I’d like something a little darker than the front door, and with more green in it.
  5. Update the light fixture. I found this one at Home Depot for only $17!
  6. Move the mailbox and replace it with a smaller white one. Maybe it’s because we don’t have newspapers delivered, but for some reason it really irks me to look at those two empty hooks every day.
  7. Paint the front stoop a dark gray and add a colorful rug and plant. I already have the plant stand from Ferm Living, and this 2 x 3 outdoor rug from AllModern is super cheap but very pretty.
  8. Spray paint the house numbers gold and mount them on a stained wooden board, to make them pop from the street. I have all the materials for this in the shed, so that at least should be free.
  9. Add more ground cover, which we can take from the backyard.

Here is what I’m hoping it’ll look like:

Mid-Century Curb Appeal Ideas

One thing I took away from this project was that not much as changed in the world of door knocker design in the last 100 years. Unless I was willing to shell out some major bucks, my only choices seemed to be your basic shield shape or the same thing but with an eagle. After failing to find anything to inspire at the obvious retailers, I began to search eBay and Etsy.

That’s when I discovered the strange things some people want to mark the entrance to their homes, to be the first warning taste of what lies behind their doors. I mean, seriously.

Mid-Century Curb Appeal Ideas
This is both terrifying and awesome. I want it.

It’s also how I found this kick-ass gazelle door knocker that might eventually grace our door (I’m still deciding, as it’s $38). It may not be everyone’s taste, but at least it’s interesting!

As the weather gets warmer I’m hoping to start making these changes, and I’ll be posting updates as I go along. If you have any tips when it comes to painting brick, painting your front door, or generally increasing your curb appeal, I’d love to hear them!

Does your front entry need sprucing up? Or do you have any plans to do so this year? Share them here!

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Comments (25 )
  • cassie
    | 22 February 2015

    YES gazelle. YES! it’s awesome.

    • annabode
      | 26 February 2015

      Lol Cassie. Knew you’d like it! 🙂

  • shelly
    | 22 February 2015

    cute plans for the entrance. i’m a fan of the antelope knocker, if that helps! funny enough i just moved to denver from Ohio and had a hell of a time finding an apartment to rent. there is a lot of new construction out here which you would think’d be great but the cheap finishes and lack of charm leave a lot to be desired. i lucked into a great old-but-updated place, thank goodness but it took some real work to find. good luck with your move!

    • annabode
      | 26 February 2015

      Thanks Shelly! I’d love to connect with you once we’re settled, as I don’t know anyone in Denver. How do you like it?

      • shelly
        | 27 February 2015

        I saw your comment on my website and replied and wouldn’t you know my own blog ate my comment. Oh, blogger. Anyway, It’d be great to meet up! Just reach out whenever you’re feeling settled. I know how overwhelming moving and unpacking can be. I’m most of the way through it, but definitely still have some work I could do on my apt. In the meantime, if you have any questions about Denver, feel free to shoot me an email!

        • annabode
          | 3 March 2015

          I know how that goes! That’s happened to me in WordPress before, after I responded to like 10 comments. I’ll definitely email you with questions and so that we can get together, thank you! We’re heading out in April to do some house-hunting, I’m crossing my fingers we find something and only have to make the one trip.

  • Stephanie
    | 22 February 2015

    Hi Anna! I’m actually really glad you will not be painting the brick. I actually like it! If I were to buy this home I would consider residing down the road. Plus not painting saves time and money!

    • annabode
      | 26 February 2015

      All great points! I do like saving money, and that’s really helpful to hear that a buyer might want to reside it. At this point I’m waffling. To paint or not to paint…

      • Jaimie
        | 22 July 2016

        Don’t paint your brick, stain it with concrete stain! We just did this on the front of our house, Finished in 2 days (with 4 kids) and was less than $75! Much better for the brick too!

  • Hannah @ Eating with Alice
    | 23 February 2015

    I love that door knocker! It’s so cool!

    • annabode
      | 26 February 2015

      Not sure if you’re referring to the Chihuaua or the Gazelle…but either way, I agree with you!

  • Kristen
    | 23 February 2015

    I love the idea of painting the shutters and adding the other details. But I wouldn’t paint the brick — it takes… FOREVER. Seriously. I’ve done my share of brick painting! And some buyers might be really picky about it.
    Maybe you can add an azalea bush or something on that side to help camouflage the brick?

    • annabode
      | 26 February 2015

      Sigh, I know you’re right…and I think adding bushes is an excellent idea. I’m definitely hesitating now!

  • Jesica
    | 23 February 2015

    If I found that chihuahua in a thrift store I would so totally buy it! For some reason I find curb appeal so intimidating to tackle so I really enjoyed this post… I can see from your mockup how the small changes will make a huge impact, thanks for the inspiration!

    • annabode
      | 26 February 2015

      Thanks Jesica! It is intimidating–more people see the outside than the inside of your home, and any changes are much more permanent! Glad you enjoyed the post — cross your fingers that it turns out like it’s supposed to!

  • Teresa
    | 23 February 2015

    “a color that is not dark poop”

    • annabode
      | 26 February 2015

      Haha thanks Teresa 🙂

  • Jennifer @ Brave New Home
    | 23 February 2015

    Our entrance totally needs sprucing up! I totally agree with painting the multi-colored bricks. It’s a bit of a distraction and just like making a first impression, you want your house to make a good first impression to a potential home buyer, too. Man, you seriously have some vision, girl! I dunno if I could leave after all that sprucing up!

    • annabode
      | 26 February 2015

      Thank you! Haha it seems you and I are the only ones agreed on that. I’m going to leave it until the end, and if it’s still driving me nuts I’ll just go for it. But everyone else has great such points!

  • JJ
    | 28 February 2015

    Great improvement.

    • annabode
      | 3 March 2015

      Thanks Jackie! You’ll see it soon enough, maybe you can help me choose our door color?

  • Lea Ramirez
    | 21 March 2015

    Love most of it, sans the painted brick. I gravitate towards a more traditional house style (I actually like your current light fixture better than the one you wish to replace it with), so painted brick would definitely be a turn off. However, obviously everyone’s taste vary greatly, so maybe most people love painted brick. I would definitely check with your realtor first, though (if you haven’t already). They should be able to let you know what the general consensus on painted brick is.

    • annabode
      | 24 March 2015

      Hey Lea! You’re in luck, as we’re not painting it. Just not enough time! Plus as you hint at, it’ll give the next owners an option. We’re actually selling our house ourselves (my fiancé is a licensed realtor, though that’s not his profession) but that’s an awesome tip about consulting with a realtor. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Hearing what other people think is so incredibly helpful 🙂

    | 27 March 2015

    I would love to see the brick after you paint it! (If you do) have lived in an ORANGE brick no-level. UGH! It never occurred to me that it could be painted!

  • Rich
    | 6 March 2016

    I think it will be an improvement.
    I don’t mind painted brick I just hate repainting it. I like an exterior screen door that is all glass as it lets in light and make the space seem bigger and more inviting. I am talking about a full glass EXTERIOR door.

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