5 Little Things Real Estate Experts Do to Make Your Front Steps Look Neater

published May 9, 2022
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When it comes to designing, staging, or making your house feel like home, there’s no shortage of information for kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms. However, what does seem to be lacking in the information department is the front steps. 

They may be overlooked while designing, but how they present can certainly set the tone for a home — and can be a deciding factor in whether or not a place gets sold. The fact is, you can’t talk about curb appeal without mentioning the front stairs. Whether your stairs are slabs of concrete, cracked wood, or made of something that simply fades into the background, there are many simple things you can do to make them look neater.

I talked to sought-after design pro, Brea Elles of Atelier Honnete, and contractors Chris and Calvin LaMont (also known as “The LaMont Brothers”), all of whom will be featured on HGTV later this year. Here’s what they had to say. 

Paint the steps.

With a minimal investment, you can enhance your front steps — both wood and concrete ones — with a fresh coat of paint or stain, Elles says. 

“A classic color scheme harmonizes the area, resulting in clean lines and an open sense of space. I recommend a monochromatic scheme for the stairs’ paint color to be the same as your home’s trim or the siding, if your home’s trim or siding is a light or neutral hue, to accomplish this effect,” she says. “To break up the monotonous impression of this paint scheme, you may leave the tops of the stairs or the porch floor in their original color or a little darker version of the primary hue, which will serve as a visual break.”

Update the railing and balusters.

Even if they aren’t required by your local building codes, adding railings to your home may enhance its appearance, says Elles. There are multiple ways to execute railing upgrading or updates that vary in price. The least expensive route is making any necessary repairs and giving them a fresh coat of paint or stain, explain the LaMont brothers, hosts of the new HGTV show “Buy it or Build it.

“Now, if your budget is larger, replacing the rail, posts, and balusters can really give you the curb appeal to catch the attention of your neighbors or that buyer,” they say.

Most home improvement shops readily have basic top and bottom rails available and a few classic spindles to make the job easier.

Credit: David Papazian/Shutterstock.com

Create dimension and texture with wood.

If your stairs lack texture and fall flat, you can consider covering the steps with wood planks. 

According to Elles, mixing woods or arranging boards in a unique arrangement may give interest and character to your porch floor. Wood-free composite floors and composite tongue-and-groove flooring produced from wood fibers and plastic resins provide a long-lasting floor with a natural wood appearance that is easier to maintain.

Experiment with different design pieces.

Sometimes the issue isn’t with the steps, it’s with the decor. Elevating your steps and making them look better can all come down to what you add to them, suggest the LaMonts. 

“An amazing way to [bring] color and style to your front doorstep is adding exterior grade rugs,” they say. Additionally, planters can bring in color, and change your style from modern to traditional depending on what planters you choose.

To create depth of field and visual variation, place plants with heights matching the position of the step, such as lower steps with low plants, middle steps with mid-height plants, and the uppermost steps with taller plants, Elles adds.

Utilize brick.

According to the LaMont brothers, incorporating outdoor-grade slate or brick to the treads of your stairs is a great way to upgrade the look of your steps and add interesting patterns. 

Keeping them to the front treads not only lowers your material costs but also is what can be seen from the front view of the home. They’ll last longer because of less wear and tear, explain the LaMonts. Regardless of what you choose to improve your front steps, make sure you don’t sacrifice safety and durability for aesthetics. Aesthetics and durability should be combined to produce long-lasting outdoor tile stairs, as your house’s entryway is a high-traffic area.