Real Life Homes: A Cute Cottage Makeover

Read our favorite ideas for how to add curb appeal to a small cottage home. Some paint and landscaping make a big difference to this older home’s style!

See more curb appeal ideas for real life homes of all shapes and sizes.

A dated home gets a fresh look in this (virtual) cute cottage makeover! Add curb appeal with these easy ideas, no matter what the style of your home.

Hey there Remodelaholic readers! Dawn here of AD Aesthetic.

If you follow Remodelaholic on Facebook, you’ve probably seen several of the reader questions that are submitted every month. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I love the helpful community vibe of these posts, so here’s my two cents on one reader submitted question and a mock up of what I would do if I were in your shoes! (Pssssst— you can submit your reader questions by messaging Remodelaholic on Facebook!)

First though, my disclaimer: While I can recommend ideas that I think look nice, I have never seen this house in real life and don’t have accurate measurements. I am also not an architect or landscaper and do not know the planting recommendations for your area- I just like to make things look nice. I can’t guarantee that any of the items I put in my ‘virtual’ design will actually work in real life (or that they’ll fit your design style for that matter), and this is not intended to be a professional design consultation. So think of this as a just-for-fun rendering that hopefully gets your wheels turning and provides some inspiration!

Recently had overgrown and huge evergreens removed from up against the house. Those awful railroad ties along the sidewalk have been ripped out too. How would you landscape it? The asymmetrical windows bother me! I need balance! Thanks!!

Small House Curb Appeal Ideas

First of all, what an adorable little house! As soon as I saw it I though it would be the perfect little cottage, and it really wouldn’t take a crazy amount of work to get there.

First, let’s browse some other cute cottages for inspiration:

Cottage makeover inspiration
Image Source: Southern Weddings | Photo Credit: Ashley Bosnick 
Cottage makeover inspiration
Image Source: Brandywine Cottage | Photo Credit: Kirby Carespodi 
Cottage makeover inspiration
Image Source: Belle Gardens | Photo Credit: Pam Terpstra 
Cottage makeover inspiration

Image found on: At Home in Love (Original Source Unknown) 
Cottage makeover inspiration

Image Source: Aesthetic Oiseau | Photo Credit: J. Savage Gibson 
Cottage makeover inspiration
Image Source: Southern Living | Photo Credit: Laurey W. Glenn 
Cottage makeover inspiration
Image source: The Spanish Dahlia | Photo Credit: Stephanie Bradley 

Cottage Curb Appeal Before & After

Now that we’re inspired, here’s my photoshop mockup of what I would do if this were my house: 

A dated home gets a fresh look in this (virtual) cute cottage makeover! Add curb appeal with these easy ideas, no matter what the style of your home.

Adorable, right? Doesn’t it look just so much more inviting? Here’s what I changed up to get there.

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Clean It Up (& Paint)

First the base: The house looked a bit dingy on the exterior. If a power washing doesn’t clean it up, a fresh coat of white paint would do wonders.

Then I changed the trim to a deep charcoal gray to really make it pop and add some dimension to the home.

I also added in a decorative gable pediment to the peak over the door to add some architectural interest and a fun detail over the entry.

Make the Entry the Star

Second that entry way: The amazing rounded front door was just begging for a pop of bright color. With the classic, (almost) symmetrical look of the house, I opted for an equally classic bright red door color. This is Steelhead Redd.

I removed the railing on the portico too. It didn’t seem to fit with the style of the house and almost made the porch seem caged in and closed off.

A more substantial step up to the porch, trimmed out in white paint and with the house number added, and a larger porch light that fits the cottage style and also works better with the scale of the door, completed the entry update.

Add Details + Landscaping

I lined the walkway with bricks, flowers, and boxwood hedges to make it feel very grand and inviting. It leads your eye right up to the bright red door and enhances the symmetrical feel of the house.

Up by the house, I kept the landscaping fairly simple, but brought in some texture with easy to care for hostas, and color with various flowering plants.

To help balance out the smaller window on the right side of the house, I think it would be the perfect place for a small tree. It brings some color up higher, adds a bit of softness to the facade, and provides shade as well— all without blocking your view!

I also added some trough style window boxes and flowers to complete the cottage look and beef up the windows even more, and finished everything off with new, larger house numbers centered on the front porch step.

Curb Appeal Update Sources

If you’re interested in any of the items used in my mockup above, here’s a list I put together to make things easy on you. (This list is updated occasionally with similar products as needed.)

Valspar Steelhead Redd

Porch Light

House Numbers

Window Boxes

Gable Pediment

And one final look at the before photo next to my photoshop mockup after. So what do you think? What would you do to up the curb appeal of Laura’s cute little cottage?

A dated home gets a fresh look in this (virtual) cute cottage makeover! Add curb appeal with these easy ideas, no matter what the style of your home.

As always, thank you to Cassity and the Remodelaholic team for having me — you can see all of my real life room reader mockups here.

Also I’d love for you to visit me on my blog,, or follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Have a great day, friends!



A dated home gets a fresh look in this (virtual) cute cottage makeover! Add curb appeal with these easy ideas, no matter what the style of your home.
Website | + posts

Dawn is one half of the team behind the creative blog, AD Aesthetic. By day she works as the VP of Creative for a design and marketing company (getting paid to make things look good!), while by night she renovates her Midwest home, refinishes thrift-store furniture for fun, and works with her husband on raising two tiny humans. Dawn believes in the potential to design your surroundings and your life one day at a time, and lives by the motto, 'Make everything beautiful.' Get to know her better by visiting her blog,, or following along on Facebook and Instagram.

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  1. You’d have to check the city code (for the exact height) but I believe a hand rail would be required on anything over 24″ height.