What’s the Most Cost-Effective Way to Update a 1970s Home Exterior?

April 17, 2024

Are you living in a house that seems frozen in time? A home that’s stuck in the design era of the 1970s? The avocado-green bathroom, wood paneling, and shag carpets might carry a certain nostalgic charm, but most homeowners today prefer a more modern aesthetic. If you’re looking to update your home’s exterior without breaking the bank, you’ve come to the right place. We will guide you through cost-effective ways to transform your home from outdated to outstanding.

1. Refreshing the Paint

A simple coat of paint can work wonders on the exterior of your home, transforming it from drab and dated to fresh and modern. The task of painting can be quite daunting, especially with a house of considerable size. But don’t worry; you don’t need to hire expensive contractors to do the job. With a little preparation, you can take on this project yourselves and drastically change the image of your home.

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First, consider the current color palette of your home. A beige or brown color scheme screams 1970s. To bring your home into the present, consider shades of white, gray, or blue. These colors will give your home a fresh and updated look.

Next, consider the material of your home’s exterior. If it’s brick, a coat of paint can be an inexpensive way to modernize. But if the exterior is wood, you may need to invest in a power washing service to prep the surface before painting.

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Remember, quality paint can last up to 15 years, so it’s worth investing in a good brand. You’re not just choosing a color; you’re protecting your home from the elements. Don’t forget to paint your front door too! A bold color choice here can provide a great focal point and increase curb appeal.

2. Updating Windows and Doors

The second key area to focus on when updating your home’s exterior is the windows and doors. Old, outdated windows and doors can really date a house. Plus, they’re often not as energy-efficient as modern versions, which will be a cost-saving in the long run.

Begin with your front door. If the door is solid and in good condition, you might not need to replace it. A new coat of paint in a contemporary color can do wonders. However, if it’s worn out, consider replacing it. A new front door can drastically change the look of your home and also increase its value.

Next, let’s talk about windows. Besides being a significant design element, windows play a crucial role in insulating your home. If your house still has its original 1970s windows, you’re likely losing a lot of heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. When it comes to windows, it’s better to spend a bit more upfront to save on energy costs in the long run.

3. Landscaping Optimisation

Outdoor space is the first image potential buyers or guests see. Landscaping is a cost-effective way to increase your home’s curb appeal and value. You don’t need to hire a professional landscaper to make a significant impact.

First, take a look at your front yard. Is it cluttered with overgrown shrubs and trees? If so, it might be time to trim them back or remove them completely. Next, consider adding some flower beds or planters for a pop of color.

Also, consider your walkway. If it’s cracked or outdated, consider updating it with a modern material like stamped concrete or paving stones.

Finally, don’t forget about outdoor lighting. Well-placed lights can highlight your home’s best features and add a warm, inviting glow in the evenings.

4. Adding Exterior Living Space

Adding a deck, patio, or porch can significantly enhance your outdoor living space and provide a return on investment. If you already have a deck or patio, consider improving it with some simple updates.

You could add a pergola or awning for shade, or build an outdoor kitchen for entertaining. Even something as simple as a new outdoor furniture set can make a big difference.

If you’re adding new outdoor living space, be mindful of your home’s existing design and choose materials that will complement it. Keep in mind that while adding exterior living space can increase your home’s value, it’s important to stick to your budget.

5. Modernizing the Roof

Last but certainly not least, consider the state of your roof. If it’s showing signs of wear and tear, it might be time for a replacement. A new roof not only protects your home from the elements but also significantly enhances its appearance.

While reroofing can be a costly project, it can also provide a substantial return on investment when it’s time to sell your home. If your roof is in decent condition but looks dated, consider a roof cleaning or a coat of paint.

Whatever your budget, there’s a way to update the exterior of your 1970s home and bring it into the present day. Whether it’s a new paint job, updated windows and doors, improved landscaping, added outdoor living space, or a modernized roof, these updates will give your home a fresh, contemporary look without breaking the bank.

6. Incorporating Modern Technology

In the 21st century, modern technology is a must in every home. Consider updating the exterior of your home with improved outdoor lighting options and security features.

Firstly, upgrade your outdoor lighting. The right lighting serves a dual purpose – it sets the mood for your outdoor space while also contributing to the safety and security of your home. Solar-powered lights are a cost-effective and eco-friendly option that requires no wiring and little maintenance. You can also opt for motion-sensor lights for pathways and entrance areas to enhance security.

Also, don’t overlook the potential of smart technology. A video doorbell or a smart lock on your front door can drastically increase your home’s security while giving it a modern touch. These devices not only provide peace of mind but also deliver convenience, allowing you to control and monitor your home remotely.

Remember to consider different styles of lighting fixtures to suit your home’s exterior. For a modern and sleek look, you might want to ponder on wall-mounted lights. For a more traditional or rustic look, consider lantern-style post lights.

7. Enhancing the Driveway

The driveway is more than just a place to park your cars; it’s part of the overall curb appeal of your home. Enhancing your driveway can significantly increase the aesthetics and value of your home.

For homes with a gravel or dirt driveway, an upgrade to a concrete or brick driveway can greatly improve the home’s look. If you already have a concrete driveway, consider adding a decorative finish or pattern to give it more character.

Also, consider the width of your driveway. If it’s too narrow, it may be time for an extension. A wider driveway not only provides more parking space but also contributes to a more balanced and proportionate look for your home’s exterior.

Moreover, you can add features like lighting along the driveway or bordering it with plants and flowers for an extra touch of class.


Updating the exterior of a 1970s home doesn’t have to be a daunting or costly process. With the right planning and a little creativity, you can transform your home’s outdated look into a modern masterpiece.

Start with a fresh coat of paint, update your windows and doors, optimize your landscaping, add exterior living space, modernize the roof, incorporate modern technology, and enhance your driveway. Each of these steps will contribute to a fresh, contemporary look that enhances the image of your home without breaking the bank.

Also, consider using modern tools like Houzz Pro for project management, custom website lead generation, and invoicing billing to make the renovation process smoother.

Remember, the aim is not just to recreate the latest trends but to create an exterior that you love and that will stand the test of time. After all, your home is an extension of yourself, and its exterior should reflect your personal style and taste.

Remember, the key to a successful exterior update is balancing aesthetics with functionality. So, whether you’re planning to sell or you’re just looking to improve your living space, these updates are worth the investment. Think of it as an investment in your happiness and comfort, as well as a way to create a great first impression on anyone who visits your home.