​10 exterior house design tricks you should know!

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Extensions & Reconfiguration for a 1920s Country Home ArchitectureLIVE
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Life’s unique when it comes to picking homes – while we all want a spectacular structure that attracts attention (and envy), we also want our homes to blend in with their surroundings and the neighbourhood. Tall order, right? And the process of exterior house design becomes even trickier once we start picking out colours, materials, and shapes – certainly not a project for novice designers! 

But in the end, we all want to live in a home that’s visually appealing. Think about those houses that make you do a double take when passing them; the ones that have that certain something. What rules did they follow? Which key principles did they include when it came to the designs of exterior façades?

Easy – the same ones that we’ve gathered here for you…

1. Exterior house design trick: Balance shapes and symmetry

The Downes homify Будинки

The Downes


Similar to graphic- and fashion design, so does interior- and architectural design work with balance and symmetry. Therefore, the façade, of every home needs some semblance of balance and symmetry in order to appear properly designed.

The simple and straight lines of a modern home; the symmetrical curves of a traditional/classic structure… regardless of style, a properly designed home will flaunt an exterior that is proportional and balanced in its appearance.

2. Exterior house design trick: Form follows function

The purpose of any building should be the starting point of the design. So, ask yourself what’s the purpose of your home. Consider your lifestyle and family’s needs to find out what is required for your house’s look. 

Are you an artist? Then you may require large windows that usher in lots of sunlight. Do you want an extra loft space / bedroom above the garage? Then your home’s exterior might need a dormer in order to make the window in that room look balanced. 

And always keep in mind that your interior design affects the exterior one.

3. Exterior house design trick: Façade materials and textures

Whether you’re choosing between cedar shingles and brick, always balance durability with aesthetics. Of course your house’s exterior must also reflect your personal style (i.e. tumbled stone for a country look). 

To avoid expensive mishaps, always consult with a professional architect. And keep browsing the Net (and homify) to see what options are out there in terms of façade materials and looks.

4. Exterior house design trick: Combining exterior colours

One Bedroom Bespoke Wee House The Wee House Company Будинки
The Wee House Company

One Bedroom Bespoke Wee House

The Wee House Company

The safest and most effective approach to your home’s exterior colour palette is to select two shades from the same colour strip a few shades apart (such as cotton white and daisy white). Either the lighter or the darker shade could be used for the body; save the opposite for the trim.  Then bring in a third contrasting colour (i.e. shamrock green) to highlight your front door.

5. Exterior house design trick: Choosing your roof

Extension exterior Westbury Garden Rooms Оранжерея
Westbury Garden Rooms

Extension exterior

Westbury Garden Rooms

The right roof will not only look stylish, but will also be practical and safe. 

In terms of materials, slate and tile might seem perfect, but remember that they are very heavy. Ensure your house’s structure can carry the load. Due to their lower cost and easy installation, asphalt shingles and wood seem to be most prevalent.

Always consider cost, durability, weight and your house’s style before settling on a final roof design.

6. Exterior house design trick: The right garage doors

Garage Doors Wessex Garage Doors Гараж/сарай

Aside from design style, you need to know about your garage doors’ insulating properties, safety features, material durability, spring designs, warranties and cost. And here is where the assistance of garage door pros can become invaluable. 

Once you’ve sorted past the nitty gritty of mechanics, have some fun browsing the various looks of garage doors.

7. Exterior house design trick: Your windows

Orangery with Bi-fold Doors Vale Garden Houses Оранжерея
Vale Garden Houses

Orangery with Bi-fold Doors

Vale Garden Houses

Your house’s windows are its soul, shining light into all those personal moments enjoyed inside. So, in picking the right windows for your home, first ensure that they are durable. Secondly, they need to complement your home’s design (while modern homes can look great with large floor-to-ceiling windows, traditional structures dictate more symmetrically placed, white-paned, rectangular windows).  

Also keep the following in mind: 

• UV rating,  

• privacy,  

• proper ventilation,  

• ease of cleaning, and  

• outdoor views.

8. Exterior house design trick: Getting your entryway right

Front door K-Tribe Studió Будинки

In addition to choosing a contrasting hue for your front door (as noted in step 4), you can also pick a lighter/darker shade in the same colour family as the rest of your house. But to make your front entryway stand out, ensure your door is in a darker or bolder shade than the rest of the façade. 

And don’t shy away from other features meant to add personality to an entryway, like lighting, plants, door knobs, rugs, porch seating, etc.

9. Exterior house design trick: The importance of landscaping

Contemporary Bookend Extensions to a 1920s Country House ArchitectureLIVE

Contemporary Bookend Extensions to a 1920s Country House


Landscaping involves the well-planned placing of plants to add visual appeal to your yard. That means you can’t just plop down a few planters and call it a day!

To find out which plants are most suitable for your area / landscape, we suggest talking to a professional gardener/landscape architect, or someone at your local nursery.

10. Exterior house design trick: Artificial lighting

Riggsacre, Corbridge MWE Architects Будинки
MWE Architects

Riggsacre, Corbridge

MWE Architects

Proper lighting is vital for home safety and night-time appeal. Consider adding exterior fixtures to your garage, walkway areas, porches and patios, etc. 

Choose lights that complement your house style. While traditional homes look fantastic with lantern-style chandeliers dangling over a covered entryway, angular steel lights can add more contemporary character to modern homes. 

Getting your exterior house design perfect can be daunting, but it can also be fun. Remember patience and a commitment to style. And although it’s important to follow the rules of colours, materials, form and function etc., we also recommend keeping an open mind. 

Got your house design right? Now, see these 8 Ways You Can Add More Value to A House.

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