By: Jan Soults Walker

Sprucing up your porch is more than a cosmetic upgrade — it’ll boost your curb appeal and help preserve the value of your home. As a bonus, you’ll even get some neighborhood bragging rights. Here are five simple porch pick-me-ups, each costing less than $500.

1. Adding architectural pizzazz

Sweeten your porch’s appearance with a wide variety of architectural trim pieces in weather-resistant wood or low-maintenance synthetics (PVC or polyurethane). They’re readily available at home improvement centers.

Most porch trim pieces install with nails or screws and require basic tools and moderate do-it-yourself skills. Or, hire a handyman for a few hours at $30-$60 an hour.

• Add decorative brackets (starting at $20 each) where support posts meet the ceiling.

• Span the space above porch stairs with a fancy fretwork spandrel ($200 for 6 feet).

• Shapely corbels ($30 and up) lend charm under the eaves.

2. Painting the floor

You’re walking on sunshine when you splash color on a porch floor. Use good-quality exterior paint made for porch floors ($30-$45 per gallon) and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for prepping the surface so the paint won’t peel.

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5 Porch Pick-Me-Ups Under $500