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Exterior Home Design Trends by Region

Topics in this article: Home Improvement Remodeling Tips & Hacks Trends See All Topics

East Coast Home Trend

What’s hot in home improvement and home design this year depends on where you live.

From lighter colored roofing out West and richer colors in the South to beach-inspired design in coastal areas, the varying climates and styles of the United States influence the design elements homeowners choose for their homes. Even the style of the home itself can vary by region.

What’s on trend where you live? Hover over the icons on the photo below to learn what home improvement trends are cropping up in your part of the country.

The East Coast

In coastal communities like Miami, it’s all about the beach lifestyle. Exterior features include outdoor showers, plunge pools, shady porches and verandas all designed to create the feel of a day at the beach for family and friends. More importantly, though, is protection from hurricanes in areas along the Gulf Coast and up the Eastern seaboard.

  • Windows: Forget about nailing boards to your windows at the last minute. Coastal homeowners are creating permanent exterior answers to Mother Nature’s fury, such as impact-resistant glass for windows and Bahama shutters that you can close at the first hint of a storm.
  • Roofing: Roofs are designed to withstand the uplift”winds hurricanes produced.
  • Doors: Garage doors are designed to stand their ground against high winds.

The Mountains

Whether you live in the Rockies or the Tetons, bringing the outdoors inside is a trend that starts with the exterior of your home. Denver home improvement projects will see a lot of the following trends.

  • Siding: In the mountains, Mother Nature’s colors are reflected in exterior home trends. Green, putty and brown dominate.
  • Windows: Walls of windows make the sweeping landscape part of your living room.
  • Flooring: Flooring that extends from your home outside to your patio or outdoor room brings the inside out and the outside in.
  • Roofing: Roof overhangs create shade for outdoor sitting areas, and remember to install built-in infrared heaters to keep you cozy on chilly nights.

The Pacific Northwest

Home exteriors in the Pacific Northwest tend to be inspired by the lush landscape around them. Home styles are all over the map, from contemporary to traditional.

Siding runs from traditional shingles to wood to laminate, all in the colors of nature. Greens, blues and grays, reminiscent of the ocean and woodlands, are common in this part of the country, especially for Seattle home improvement projects.

The Midwest

The weather influences Midwest exterior design trends, especially in the northern areas like Chicago, where winter can dominate the year. When Midwesterners can get outside, they want to be outside, so a hot trend right now is toward outdoor living spaces in which to enjoy the fleeting days of spring, summer and fall.

  • Doors: Outdoor rooms are nothing new, but the Midwest is seeing modern touches like sliding glass doors that open up an entire wall of the home.
  • Siding: Tones here skew toward browns, tans, putty and greens.
  • Roofing: Metal roofs can be good for shedding snow, but asphalt shingles continue to be the most popular choice among homeowners.

The Southwest

The idea here is for the home to blend seamlessly into the landscape. Hacienda-style accents like brightly colored house numbers or mailboxes and landscaping with desert plants such as cacti round out the look.

The colors of the desert drive siding trends here — terra cotta, cream, colors of sand. Construction materials tend to run local as well — adobe and stucco dominate.

The South

Here, it’s all about Southern hospitality. And homeowners aren’t afraid of a little color, especially in fun metro areas, like Dallas home improvement projects, where you’ll find bright and colorful trends.

  • Doors: Down South, welcoming front porches, double doors that add a splash of bright, bold color to your home and shady verandas are all popular.
  • Siding: In the Southeast, you might see a little darker colors, desert tans and whites, but you’ll see some brown wood and driftwood as well.

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How to Spot the Top Problems Home Sellers Try to Hide

 sweep-under-rug

Whether you’re a seasoned house hunter or a first-time buyer, the process of purchasing a home has plenty of pitfalls. And while you may assume that sellers are being upfront, it’s not uncommon for them to gloss over some of their home’s shortcomings.

“All homeowners sign a disclosure document about their property so buyers know what they’re getting into; however, it can be very tempting for some to tell white lies or conveniently forget facts,” says Wendy Flynn, owner of Wendy Flynn Realty in College Station, TX. “In fact, a very large number of real estate lawsuits stem from owners misrepresenting their property.”

So, just to be on the safe side, here are some common cover-ups and how you can crack them.

Water damage

Water stains aren’t just ugly; they’re also signs of leaks, and a breeding ground for mold. And they’re fairly easy for homeowners to hide with strategic decoration or staging, according to Frank Baldassarre, owner of Ace Home Inspections on Staten Island, NY.

“Many sellers try to conceal water intrusion in the basement, for example, with a pile of cardboard boxes or suitcases,” he says. You could always ask the homeowner to move the furniture a few inches and shine a pocket flashlight around. If the home has obvious red flags (an odd odor or visible wall cracks), it’s not unreasonable to request removing a large picture frame to take a peek at what’s behind it.

Another popular tactic for concealing water damage: a coat of fresh paint.

“Always ask the homeowner when they last painted,” says Baldassarre. “If it was a year ago, they’re probably not trying to hide water stains.”

A contaminated backyard

If you’re looking at an older home—specifically, if it was built before 1975—odds are it used to run on oil. Back then, homeowners typically had large oil tanks installed in the basement or underground in the backyard to conserve space and maintain the home’s aesthetic.

“The problem is that oil can contaminate soil, and because it’s incredibly costly to remove, some people try to hide evidence of the tank,” says Baldassarre. “Recently, I arrived to a home inspection early and caught the homeowner sawing off the top of the fill pipe.”

So while walking through a home’s backyard, look for a small fill pipe sticking up from the ground (sometimes covered by patches of grass), a dead giveaway that an oil tank is on the premises. Or double-check by asking the seller if the home was heated with oil in the past.

A shaky foundation

If the paint job in a home looks a little uneven around the door frames or windows, take a closer to look to see if it’s concealing any jagged cracks in the wall, advises Flynn. Those zigzags can signify foundation problems, a costly and potentially dangerous situation for potential buyers.

A weak foundation can prevent cabinets and doors from closing, cause supporting beams to snap from stress, or even result in a poor home appraisal, which can affect your loan and the home’s resale value.

Another clue that the house has a weak foundation: “if you feel as though you’re suddenly walking up or down—even slightly—as you move through the home,” says Flynn.

Problem neighbors

Barking dogs, rocker teens, and blaring horns are all factors that can turn off potential buyers. That’s why some owners try to downplay these situations with well-timed open houses and neighborly negotiations.

“Homeowners have an obligation to disclose what are called ‘neighborhood nuisances,’ but if they don’t, buyers have to rely on their word,” says Carrie Benuska, a Realtor® at John Aaroe Group in Pasadena, CA. “I know people who have asked their neighbors to keep noisy dogs inside during showings or only open their homes during strategic times of the day.”

Even well-intentioned owners may not be candid if they’ve become accustomed to their environment. One workaround, suggests Benuska, is for buyers to take a stroll around the neighborhood at different times of the day to get a more authentic feel for the area. And don’t hesitate to make small talk with the locals, who can offer a more objective view of their surroundings.

Weird temperature changes

Anyone who’s lived in a home with a freezing bathroom or unusually warm bedroom knows that a temperature imbalance can result in avoiding a room altogether. That’s why tapping into your senses is key when viewing your potential new home.

“If you walk into a room and there’s a subtle shift in the atmosphere—maybe the air feels dry or damp—ask the owner what the room feels like throughout the seasons,” says Benuska. “The culprit is usually poor insulation, sometimes as a result of the owner adding a second room or floor to the home.” Oftentimes, an owner isn’t trying to outright conceal extension work. However, if the construction was done without a permit—“more common than you’d imagine,” says Benuska—you aren’t required to pay for the extra square footage.

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7 Trees That Will Wreck Your Yard and Ruin Your Life

Trees are a prized addition to any property, providing shade, beauty, fruit or nuts to nosh on, a spot under which to ponder humans’ place in the universe or perhaps whether to switch from Netflix to Hulu—and the list goes on. But be warned: Not all trees are good trees. Nature has also spawned some literal bad seeds that drop grass-killing nuts, grow roots that bust water pipes, or even smell like human waste. Have we gotten your attention yet?

In case you’d like to avoid these unappetizing scenarios and the extra maintenance they entail, here are the trees you’ll want to avoid planting in your yard or maybe even knock down if already there.

Princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa)

Princess tree
Princess treejojoo64/iStock

Sure, it has pretty pink flowers, but this “princess” is by no means well-behaved. Also called an empress tree, this aggressive royal tops the definitive invasive species list of Kim Coder, professor of tree biology at the University of Georgia in Athens. Originally from China and often seen growing wild in the U.S. along roadsides and stream edges, the princess tree can spread rapidly, propagating seedlings all over your yard that will have to be pulled out by hand. Unless you want a whole forest of princesses but nothing else, it’s best to steer clear of the species.

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

Silver maple in autumn
Silver maple in autumnOrchidpoet/iStock

This tree may be native to the U.S., but it will quite possibly attack your lawn like a foreign invader. For one, its roots spread fast and shallow—and can easily bust underground pipes, especially if they’re old or rusty. Above ground, you’ll have to worry about the wind, which can break this tree’s brittle branches or even knock down its trunk. If you do decide to plant one (why?), place it downhill or far away from your house, which could be a target when it eventually topples.

Ash (Fraxinus)

Emerald ash borer
Emerald ash borerUS Dept of Agriculture via Fllickr

We have no issue with the ash itself, because it is indeed a noble tree—tall and sturdy, its wood has produced generations of professional baseball bats. The problem is the poor ash is now a victim of the emerald ash borer, a ravenous beetle that is wiping this beloved tree off the map.

If you have an ash and love it, you can try to protect it with monthly sprays of herbicide, says Coder. But make no mistake, this is a high-maintenance tree, so if you want to grow it and forget it, it’s a poor fit.

Yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Yellow poplar
Yellow poplarDNY59/iStock

For the first 50 years of the yellow poplar’s life, it grows tall and strong, providing a lovely canopy over your yard and smaller trees. But in old age, the yellow poplar starts falling apart, a frequent victim of high winds and ice storms—so like the silver maple, make sure it sits far from striking distance of your house. Meanwhile, the poplar tree’s roots can often push above ground, bending lawnmower blades. If this happens to you, consider turning that area into a flower bed to avoid the mowing trouble.

Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana)

Bradford pear trees
Bradford pear treesBeverley Vycital/iStock

The Bradford pear delights many passers-by with its spring blossoms. The problem? Those blossoms produce an odor that flies love and humans liken to the stench of rotting fish. We guess the bright side is that the blooms remain for only two weeks; still, if your nose is sensitive, it’s best to steer clear of it. Unless, of course, you enjoy the smell of rotting fish.

Black walnut (Juglans nigra

Black walnuts
Black walnutsmajorosl/iStock

Black walnut trees are treasured for their beautiful wood and meaty nuts, which have become a foodist favorite. But the trees release juglone, a chemical that is toxic for some plants and robs others of nutrients. This makes the tree a terrible neighbor for vegetable gardens with tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.

What’s more, as much as you may love black walnuts, autumn’s deluge can make yard cleanup a nightmare. Make sure to rake up leaves quickly, since it kills turf if left unattended, and the nuts’ green husks can stain clothes—don’t wear anything you care about.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Gingko fruits
Gingko fruitsMYDinga/iStock

The female ginkgo tree produces a stinky fruit that smells uncannily like dog poop—then, for good measure, said fruit drops to the ground and sticks to the bottom of your shoe. By the time you remember you don’t own a dog, you’ve tracked the ginkgo stench throughout your house.

Still, if you love this ancient tree from Asia, the trick is to buy a male ginkgo—easier said than done, because it’s hard to tell the sexes apart when the trees are young.

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