How to choose your house numbers — because you can never make a second first impression.
Paint the door. Replace the shingles. Landscape the front yard. We take on these usual home improvements to increase our home’s curb appeal, yet we often overlook one simple feature that everyone sees — the house number.
The right house number can create that French country feel you’re aiming for. Or complement that Italian brass face knocker you treasure. Whatever style you’re trying to achieve, your house number can add that final touch to your home’s exterior. Here’s how:
Choose the Material
Whether you choose a highly ornate Mediterranean tile or a wood-framed cottage country tile, ceramic numbers have such great decorative appeal. Hand painted or printed, tiles are like tiny works of art. Each one is unique and you’ll always find a design that suits your personal taste. Proven to be a practical choice, ceramic numbers do not fade, peel or break. And they can be easily installed into siding, brick, stucco or wood.
The wide range of metal finishes can offer you contemporary chic to rustic appeal. Here’s a sampling:
Brass is an affordable metal with a bright yellowish sheen. It’s corrosive resistant, and has great finishing characteristics. Brass requires a good deal of maintenance since it’s prone to tarnish. If you prefer its shiny state, polish often or coat with a clear lacquer.
Bronze is more corrosion resistant than brass and richer looking with its reddish hue. It’s also more expensive. Like copper, bronze can develop a patina, a green film as a result of long exposure to moist air. Prevent the patina with lacquer or leave it alone — some find it a desirable look.
Nickel is a coating placed over another metal, like steel, to give out a silvery shine — a great choice for contemporary homes.
Cast Iron is ideal for an aged look because it will definitely rust. If you insist on this metal but don’t like the rust, try rubbing off the rust and seal it with a rust-inhibiting paint.
Numbers can be carved in slate, marble, granite or limestone. Considering material and labour involved, this is very pricey. Engraved stone has the tendency to be illegible (unless the numbers are painted on); you need to install ample lighting to create visibility at night. If your home exterior complements one of these stones, it can be a very gorgeous touch.
If you’re not satisfied with the choices from the hardware, there are many alternatives. You can hire a sign painter to spell out your house number (painters painstakingly brush each letter like an artwork). Some plastic sign companies will create a lighted house number for you. Or if you want to be sure your house will not be missed, get a lighting company to bend a few neon numbers for you. These days, you’re only limited by your imagination.
Consider the Font Style
Fonts are divided up into Serif and Sans-Serif types. Serif fonts are fonts that have tails (sometimes called feet) extended at the tip of a letter’s lines. The most common Serif fonts are Times, Garamond and Courier. Serif fonts generally exude a formal, classical and serious tone. It matches well with Dutch Colonial, Victorian, Tudor, and traditional homes in general.
Sans-Serif fonts on the other hand do not have tails like Helvetica, for example. San-Serif fonts have always appeared more contemporary and casual than Serif fonts. It’s commonly used in commercial establishments such as store fronts and office buildings. It can also blend seamlessly in a modern stucco-finished home.
Don’t Forget Size and Location
While there are no rules in choosing the right size of your house number, always consider proportion. If you’re hanging it on a large door, it should be neither so small that it can’t be seen nor so huge that it’s calling out too much attention.
If you’re uncertain about where to hang your number, take a picture of your home’s exterior, then use a clear acetate sheet as an overlay and mark the number in several places until you find the right spot.
Always remember, the house number is the first thing people see. And you can never make a second first impression.