Update the exterior of a 1950s home with style.

How to Update the Exterior of a 1950s Home

by Amy Mosher

There are many ways to update the exterior of a 1950s home to give it a new look and feel. Because the exterior often sets the mood for the entire home, its appearance is quite important. Curb appeal is easily achieved by incorporating up-to-date paint colors, modern building materials and decorative plants and accessories. Any 1950s home is a candidate for a simple makeover with significant results. The outcome is a home with a timeless style and charm.

Front Door

Update any 1950s home exterior with a new front door. Replacement doors often have greater overall stability as well as provide optimal safety features. They are usually more energy efficient, which is especially important in colder climates. New doors brighten up the entrance area of a home with a pop of color. For a more budget-friendly option, it is also possible to refinish the existing door, but care must be taken to wear work gloves and a dust mask to avoid any exposure from possible lead paint in homes built before 1978. In addition, this project is best accomplished by those individuals that are not pregnant or nursing, due to the possible fumes the paint can create. Small children are also best kept away from the work area. Color choices add to the finished look of the door. For a more energized exterior result, paint the door a brick red hue. Subdued appearances are achieved with calmer colors, such as soft tan, blue or plum. Use a gloss paint to make the door stand out against the home's exterior, and finish the update with oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel hardware and a door knocker.

Replacement Windows

Old windows that include separate storm windows can instantly date the exterior of a home. Give the 1950s exterior a crisp, new look by incorporating new vinyl replacement windows. Not only do replacement windows look better, they are also often more energy efficient. Most models tilt inside to make cleaning much easier as well. Choose grid varieties for more traditional two-story exteriors and simple styles without grids for more contemporary 1950s ranch homes. Expand the look of the window area by adding shutters on either side of the windows on a quintessential traditional home. Select shutter colors that complement the exterior colors for a fresh appearance.

Updated Landscaping

Overgrown trees and bushes can make the landscaping of a home appear old and dated. To refresh a home, take out the tired, existing plants and add new ones. Choose different heights to add visual interest. Plant taller bushes and small trees in the back area of the plantings, and fill in with medium and shorter varieties. Select plantings with colors in mind to create a cohesive look. Add perennials that bloom at slightly different times, so there is always something blooming in the garden areas. Once the plants and flowers are planted, add a decorative water feature, gazing ball or standing birdhouse to punctuate the design. Lay down mulch to complete the newly updated landscaping to prevent weed growth and give the plants a fresh backdrop of color.

Exterior Lighting

Light the 1950s home exterior in a myriad of different ways. Hang brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze fixtures on either side of the front door to illuminate the entrance. Choose styles that coordinate with the style of the home for a polished look. You can also add a ceiling-mounted light on a front porch ceiling to give the porch area additional light. Use solar-powered landscape stakes behind all the front area plantings to give them prominence when the sun goes down. Or sprinkle in a few decorative stained glass bulb varieties to give the garden a decorative touch and accent the area with color, texture and design.

About the Author

Based in upstate New York, Amy Mosher has been writing interior design and lifestyle articles since 2005. She is a prolific professional blogger, designer, artist and writer for various websites. She holds a bachelor's degree from Mansfield University and is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design.

Photo Credits

  • Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images