Exterior Home Improvements with Black - Shutters, Lights & Doors

Although there was a two day rain delay, our shutters finally got repaired and painted last weekend while we were away (Florida trip for Jeff's niece's graduation!) It's funny all the small details people don't see in a distance photo such as the faded color, missing bolts, bird-poop, even broken shutters - but living in a space, you see these details everyday (and so do the neighbors). I'm so happy they are repaired & painted (black satin - same as the front door) which now helps to give the home front a more crisp curb appeal...

Although Jeff and I are pretty hands on people, we did consult with and hire a professional for the much the needed painting & repairing shutters out front, along with a deck specialist for repairs, cleaning and staining out back. The person we hired to do the shutters was the same person we had hired to paint the interior common areas back when we moved here in November.


 Black mulch compliments the shutters - White flowers relate to window sashes and pop in contrast to the mulch.

I'd like to eventually add planter boxes to at least the four lower windows, to give some height behind the ball hedges, while still keeping a clean look out front. Since we're pacing ourselves with our home projects, that project will probably be next Spring's home improvement (or maybe for the Fall). 

  (both pics taken before shutters painted - updated pic at end of post)

Here is a outline of the home-exterior improvement progress:

1. Change the door hardware.
2. Paint the front door.
3. Change welcome matt & add potted plants.
4. Refresh house numbers.
5. Paint the railing.
6. Refresh the front yard landscape & pressure-wash walkway.
7. Repair & paint shutters.
8. Replace builder light fixtures

1. Repair & stain two-story deck.
2. Pressure-wash driveway
3. Paint garage & shed doors.

The back yard two-story deck is what we're working on now. We called three area deck specialists for a work-scope, quote and timing (they were booked to start in May) - I'll share more about the deck in the next post - but for now, here is a sneak peek at the color choice:

Left is too brown. Right is too grey. The center, which is Behr Deck-Over Slate color, is just right - but it will be color matched by Sherwin Williams Super Deck (because this is the brand our hired deck professional uses). The black deck in the back will also help relate the home front's shutters, doors, and lighting details, giving the exterior a cohesive feel -- just like we do on the inside... and the deck is almost done now!! - but back to the front...

After the deck is painted, and now that the front yard details are refreshed, I'd like to update the builder basic outdoor wall sconces. Not only are they faded, but they are too small for the scale of this house and the door proportions. 

 As of now, we're more the diagram to the left shown above. 

I've been sourcing locally and online for fixtures. Below are some lighting style options I've found online. Some outdoor light fixtures can cost upwardly well over $300 to $600 each (because of craftsmanship, quality, size, and brand) but I did find some better sized fixtures, for $90 to $120 each online - and even a customized house numbers plaque on etsy for only $25. I'll have to also check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStores, which is where I lucked out and found use a great casual dining area light fixture for only $35 (would sell for $350 easily!) When working with a small budget, you've just got to have patience...

In addition to updating the front of the house and the back deck getting painted black, we've also discussed eventually updating the look of the house side exterior from the builder basic white garage doors to a satin finish black, add black shutters to the centered window above, and also paint the shed door black - I've got the outdoor paint, roller and brushes, so this paint project can be an easy DIY, helping to save on the exterior improvement expenses (it just needs to be worked on at sunrise, when the temps are cooler, and sun on the east side). The only expense would be adding the extra pair of black louvered shutters, I believe would be $45 for the pair at Home Depot.

 I tried a dark grey first on the board, but the house side still looked washed out - The door accents look more striking and updated with the black, relating to the front. It's not that it's horrible right now, but it (to me) looks a little washed out. The home was built in 2005, and builders (even just up our street) now are using darker trims, accents, and colored carriage style garage doors.


I know -- it sounds like I'm using a LOT of black. But for this style house (symmetrical -  Georgian Colonial), plus the scale and existing colors, black is what helps keep the styling classic as well as add interest to an otherwise 'box' structure. Inside, using black helps to anchor a space. Outside, black  gives contrasting interest to the existing ecrew siding, mocha brick, and white trim.

As I've mentioned before, we're pacing ourselves with home improvements - nothing too shocking too the neighborhood and nothing too major to the wallet, because you never know when an unexpected expense can pop up (such as a crapped out water heater or an unexpected trip to the ER) But just simple refreshing treatments can make a difference. With the deck the focus now, the outdoor lights can be the 'Fall Update'... and next Spring: flower boxes at lower windows...

What color are your exterior doors (front door / garage door / back door)? Do you have shutters? If so, are they the same color as your doors? Our neighborhood has a few different color options people have done with their home exterior (front door, shutters, siding), and this detail, along with light fixture styles, is another way to bring your inside style - outdoors!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Beautiful work and i love the redo on shutters and door in black. You are so good to show how the side garage would look with the black paint on the doors and what a difference if you decide to do it. One day going for the carriage style with windows would look wonderful. You always amaze me on how you find such great buys and you are right patience and budget can get you there.

    1. Thank you Monica!! xo Yes: Having patience on a budget can still get you where you want to be with your home decor!

  2. Looking good! Always fun to see what you're up to. We miss you in AZ.

    1. Thanks so much Heather!! Hope you're staying hydrated this summer!! xo

  3. I didn't realize you guys were outside painting. Great job!!

    1. Thanks Rose - We brought back the painter we had hired to paint common areas inside when we moved in - I only painted the front door (and for Fall: I'll do the garage & shed door). xo

  4. I thought you two were doing everything including labor! I wondered how you had any time to do anything else! I love watching what you are doing inside and out! I wish I had just a little bit of your talent!

    1. Thanks Linda!! We have done most projects together (especially Jeff with electrical inside, and I've refinished a few finds to better fit the updated decor style here) -- but for some tasks, if you can, it's just better to hand off to someone else! :)

  5. You have such a great eye for detail. I probably wouldn't have thought to use the black mulch, and all white flowers. It really does make a difference.

    1. Thanks Ellen!! lol - My mom thought I was nuts at first, but after she saw the pics, she loved it - and I think she said her brother did the same for their home in Arkansas!! xo

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