IF YOUR home has a painted exterior, it won’t stay looking good forever because, inevitably, the elements will take their toll. The easiest way to give it a new look is to paint it a different colour, using a high quality masonry paint, such as those by Sandtex or Dulux. Even if you’re happy with the existing colour, repainting it can work wonders.

Discoloured, peeling and patchy paint isn’t pretty or practical and can lead to damage that’s expensive to repair and if you intend to put your home on the market a shabby exterior will put off potential buyers and may affect the price.

While you can rarely be as adventurous with the colours you use on the outside of your home as the inside, you don’t have to restrict yourself to white, cream or magnolia. That said, you do need to consider what will go with your neighbours’ houses, if there any restrictions (such as planning ones) on the colours you can use, and what suits the style and period of the building. In Brighton and Hove there are strict rules regarding the exterior colour of the city’s Regency terraces, squares and crescents.

For some homes, though, a lick of paint won’t cut it - and only a radical makeover will do. Sadly, the latter decades of the 20th century weren’t our finest in terms of architecture, and some homes from the 1950s onwards just are not that attractive. If your home is among these, an architect or building company will be able to help you transform the exterior. Detached houses are the best candidates for an extreme exterior transformation, because there isn’t an adjoining reminder of the old look, but properties of all shapes and sizes can benefit from an expert redesign.

Rendering and/or cladding (with wood or wood-effect panelling) can make a big difference to the exterior, as can changing the windows and doors, adding balconies and extensions, and retiling the roof. Adding dormer windows and replacing unattractive concrete roof tiles with slate ones can go a long way to giving your home character and kerb appeal. In fact, exteriors can be transformed beyond recognition and while this type of work often isn’t cheap, it will certainly add value and make your home more attractive and sellable.

Before you start changing the exterior though, remember it’s essential to find out whether planning permission is required .

The area in which you live, as well as the type of building can affect your plans (for example, listed buildings usually can’t be altered without listed building consent from the council). If you live on ‘designated land’, which includes conservation areas, you also may not be able to do what you want with your home’s exterior - wooden windows are usually preferred by the local council.

In some cases, permitted development rights have been removed from houses (flats don’t have permitted development rights), which means everything from fitting new windows to painting the front door needs planning permission. In practice, not everyone will apply for planning for everything they should, but if you break the rules, you risk the council’s wrath.