When we travel, we don’t just gaze at the landscapes and tourist attractions. We take in the whole vibe of a city and its neighborhoods—including its homes.
And if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably fallen in love with a few of those houses—and their distinctive styles—along the way. An Arizona adobe? Sign us up! A San Francisco Victorian? Yes, please. Whether it was the paint, the landscaping, or the front door, there were elements of these homes that made us swoon.
Too bad the vacation must end, and you have to return to your boring home. Or do you?
It turns out, you can live in Colorado and still give your home a little East Coast flair. Or vice versa.
“You can infuse the look of just about any city with a few simple enhancements,” says Los Angeles designer John Linden.
Read on to find out how some simple changes can transport you to a different place altogether.
Photo by Francis C Klein and Associates
There’s a reason the New York City brownstone is considered a unique, historic icon: duplication isn’t really an option. But you can make some modifications to the entryway of your home to add a tiny bit of that brownstone style to the neighborhood.
Brownstones get their name from the material with which they are constructed, so you’ll want to focus on replicating that.
“Add natural stone tile in a rust-colored sandstone around the door frame or garden rill, and use sand beige colors to paint the rest of the house,” suggests Richard Trujillo, design expert at Tampa Tile.
Depending on the tile, this can be done for anywhere from $300 to upward of $1,000. Of course, for this to work, the space around your front door needs to be a blank slate. But there are other ways to bring that Brooklyn charm to your home. For instance, consider changing out your front door.
“You can radiate the classic, yet East Coast, feel by choosing a reddish-brown door with glass inserts,” suggests Anne Rodriguez, home design expert at Zabitat.
Since brownstones typically don’t have yards, the stoop offers the perfect place to add a little character. Not to worry—you don’t have to reconfigure the front of your house to make this happen.
“Add in a little decoration with potted plants to the porch area if you have one or near the front door,” Linden says.
Then add decorative iron railing for a front porch or entryway (as long as this suits the current layout of the front door area), Linden suggests.
Photo by Errez Design Inc.
Miami is known for its splashy colors, beach vibe, and 1920s art deco flair. And with a little paint and a few accessories, you, too, can evoke the 305.
“Art deco was known for its aversion to subtlety, so grab onto some of that flavor with lavender, gold, or other rich colors, as an accent or primary color for the exterior,” Linden suggests.
“Miami is all about the breezy summer spirit,” says Trujillo, so the brighter the better when it comes to accents. Think coral, yellow, and aqua. Adding in these colors through plants, pottery, or outdoor wall art is a great way to achieve a South Florida flavor.
Let’s not forget outdoor furniture. To achieve that perfect year-round summer vibe, consider bright colors for pieces—turquoise blue or salmon pink, for instance. If you’re hesitant to go all in on the Miami look, you can simply choose neutral colors for the furniture and decorate with colorful pillows, rugs, and outdoor accessories.
Photo by Blue Horse Building & Design
With its patented rep for quirkiness, Austin is a hub for artsy types—and its homes are no exception.
And luckily, a bold, artistic touch to your home is easy to achieve. Consider a funky design using outdoor tile or stone, Trujillo suggests. You can also add some art through mosaic tile work, vibrant outdoor rugs, or wall hangings. Or simply swap in an eclectic front door.
“You could use customized door glass options or incorporate metalwork for stylish accents,” Rodriguez says.
Typically, changing out the door, plus the installation, costs around $900. Customization can add anywhere from $300 to $800 on average.
Asheville cozy cabin
“Consider a yard or porch swing,” Linden says. “It’s a really simple touch that gives a home an inviting, outdoorsy feel.”
Create a woodsy vibe with a firewood rack, or use woodlike tile for the porch and add an old table with wood chairs, Trujillo suggests. (Rocking chairs make for a great forest feel.) Then consider a dark wood stained door, or put up a dark wood railing if you have a large front porch.
Palm Springs midcentury modern
Photo by Robert D. Gentry Photography
If you’ve ever spent any time in Palm Springs, CA, you know this desert landscape is a hotbed for cool, atomic-era homes. (It’s part of the culture there, including twice-a-year Modernism Week events.) And if you dig it, this iconic midcentury modern style is actually rather simple to infuse into the exterior of your own home.
First, start with the paint.
“The perfect color palette for this style consists of olive green as the main color, with accents in yellowish gold, dark brown, or burnt orange,” Trujillo says.
You don’t have to paint the whole house; you can achieve a midcentury modern look by choosing a bright door against the muted tones of the home’s exterior, Linden suggests.