By Carson Arthur

I had a great conversation recently with a distraught homeowner complaining about their neighbour’s yard. They were desperately seeking some advice as to how to handle a next-door neighbour who has painted their home in bright and vibrant colours because they were certain that the home was hurting their property value.

This is such a tricky subject. Your neighbour’s home definitely impacts the value of your own space. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much you can do about it when it comes to their choice of colours or materials. Just remember that your neighbour may have a different opinion or sense of style when it comes to curb appeal.

There is some good news however. Real estate agents agree, that while the homes directly beside you are very important to buyers, they will also take into account the appearance of the rest of the neighbourhood.

If you are that neighbour and are craving a little colour and creativity for your own home, here a few things to try before you take the plunge and paint everything.

Add Art to the space. There is something completely satisfying about juxtaposing a brightly coloured art piece among traditional plants and flowers. There are three ways to insert art into your space.

  • The first is to design the space around a piece, making the statue the focal point and having all of the rest of the elements all point towards it. 
  • The second method is to do the complete opposite and place the statue in a space that is devoid of any thing that might distract the eye. This is a stark way of playing with outdoor space, but for the
    minimalist, there is no better option.
  • Finally, and probably my personal favourite, is to create a garden and then choose a spot that you feel needs a little something more. This option takes a lot more patience because you are trying to pair the perfect piece into a space that already exists, but done properly, you can create perfect harmony between manmade and natural elements.      

If adding the art is not going to be enough and you really have to paint, then start with the front door. I think I have seen every colour imaginable used on the front door of a home…even hot pink!
There are no rules when it comes to picking a colour for the front door. That said, I always like to add some of the corresponding colour to the plants or décor pieces near by so that the door is visually anchored in the space. Having a blast of colour with no reference points can be very jarring. Also, consider that adding a splash of colour to the front is easy with all of the new paint technologies and you can easily change your mind without a lot of extra work. Painting a front door is a perfect weekend project.

If these two options aren’t enough and you HAVE to paint the house, try my simple method of choosing the right colours for you. Start with picking several paint chips that appeal to you at the paint store. Next, take those chips to the front of the house and try and find elements in the neighbourhood that are the same shade. If you can find the colour outside of your home, in the trees, the rocks, or even in your neighbours yard, you’ll always know that your home blends with the neighbourhood instead of standing out in an obtrusive way.

Be cautious of choosing colours from your favourite flowering perennials or deciduous trees. Those great shades from your irises or Japanese maples may look amazing in the summer, but they are short-lived. Also make sure to look at your final colour selections in various levels of light. Check them out in the morning and at dusk… in full sun and in the rain. There are so many shades and hues out there that something as simple as light levels can really change the way a colour looks.

Finally, keep in mind that what we like in our homes is completely subjective. What may work for you may not work for you neighbour. Compromise is key. I am a strong advocate of making homes look like they belong together and yet still have their own personalities. Add colour if you need to, it’s your home. Just remember that you do impact everyone with your choices.