Creating an Intentional Exterior Aesthetic

When thinking about design and creating an aesthetic that represents us, our minds too often and too quickly jump to interior design and décor. However, it is important to remember that the exterior of your home and property reflects you, for better or for worse, just as much as the inside of your home. The truth is, you can be just as artistic and aesthetically deliberate with your exterior as your interior.

However, when working with the outside of the home, there are so many elements to consider that impact the overall appearance and aesthetics. You can have a house that is architecturally gorgeous, but if the yard is plain or a mess, or if the color of the pain is poorly chosen, the view could still have much to be desired. Here, we will discuss the wide array of elements that go into creating an overall exterior aesthetic to help you start thinking and planning of how to improve your exterior design.

Elements of Exterior Aesthetics

The first step in creating a deliberate, beautiful exterior design that will be admired by neighbor and visitors alike is making sure you take stock of each detail that will inevitably impact the overall aesthetic. Neglecting to consider an element may result in an inconsistent look or may even have an outright awkward effect. So let’s spend time reviewing each detail that we need to consider when working on our exterior design:

  • Context: The first thing that we must take into consideration is the surroundings and the neighborhood. Like it or not, the effect of your design choices will not appear by themselves – they will be viewed within the context of the homes and yards or landscape surrounding it. Since that is the case, for better or worse, you must consider what the overall character of the surroundings creates a design that will be complimented by it and vice versa. Else you may be in danger of creating a look that borders on the absurd.

  • Color scheme: The colors you choose for your home can either highlight the great features or the bad, so you need to be careful when exploring your options. It is also good to consider that the roof material, any materials constructing the walls, and the windows’ frames all have character and colors that are not necessarily changeable.

With all of that in mind, you will want to choose what colors you want the exterior walls, trim and doors to be. Often, the best look if composed of two to three different colors, often from the same color strip as found in paint stores. It is usually a good approach to make the house dark and the trim light, or vice versa, and then possibly use a third color to make the doors pop out.

  • Materials: The materials and their textures used for exterior walls now are bountiful, each with their own character that suggests particular styles or contexts. There are wood shingles, panels, vinyl siding, brick, stone, aluminum, stucco, logs… If you are building and get to choose, it is again a good idea to remember the context and the overall “feel” you want to achieve. If you have to design your exterior with a pre-existing house and materials, allow the materials your home is constructed of to help determine your other choices since they are more easily changed.

e. However, while they are seemingly small, they can play big roles in the overall aesthetics of your home. See above recommendations about how the right paint combination could make them pop and add definition to your home.

  • Outdoor features: Just like the right furniture and accent pieces inside of the home, outside features can really make or break the overall look you are going for. When planning your exterior design, don’t forget to consider pre-existing decks, pools, fences, and changeable features like outdoor furniture and firepits. Again, be sure that the style of any added features compliments the materials, color and setting that already exists.
  • Landscaping: This is an essential part of any exterior designing, but perhaps one of the most complicated. Much depends on the climate of where you live and the season, which means this aspect of your aesthetic is likely to be ever changing and perhaps the most demanding element, since plants, trees and grass need watering, pruning, fertilizing and other care. However, when done well, landscaping can turn even a drab house into a stunning image.

Be sure to consult your local nursery to learn what plants and trees work best for your area as well as for the time of year and it would probably be a good idea to get at least some guidance from a professional. And be patient – it takes time for the plants to grow to fill out a yard.