IF YOUR home's exterior looks drab and unloved with peeling paint, a shabby door and overgrown garden, it won't just lower your spirits but could also cost you money.

An external revamp can work wonders for the value and appeal of your property, according to new research from Dulux Weathershield. The paint company says one third of people are willing to pay up to 25 per cent more for a home or rental property with a freshly painted front door, smart brickwork, a well-kept garden and clean windows.

With the average UK home valued at £220,00, giving your home that extra bit of TLC could translate into a hefty £55,000 return.

Property expert Kate Faulkner, who worked on the research, said: "In recent years we've seen the importance of kerb appeal intensify, with buyers and renters moving from unconsciously judging the appearance of home exteriors to consciously judging them, so it's becoming increasingly important to refine aesthetics even before the agent takes their photos to secure viewings and the best price."

Yet Brits generally ignore their home's exterior for more than eight years, while a neglectful 20 per cent haven't decorated for more than 15, according to the survey.

So, who better than TV property expert George Clarke, to give us some tips for a late summer spruce-up?

First and foremost, consider a new front door. "Your front door is the face of your home - it's the first thing people see, so don't follow the crowd, design your own look and really go to town," urges the architect, presenter of Channel 4's George Clarke's Amazing Spaces and ambassador for composite door brand Truedor.

"With your front door, you have more freedom to express yourself, perhaps picking a colour you wouldn't normally choose for your interior. Changing the front door is a quick win, but a real game changer in terms of how people perceive you and your home."

George added: "If you're feeling adventurous, go for strong, bright colours, but choose a shade that complements your own personal style and the rest of your house. If you're not feeling brave, black's always a safe bet, or opt for darker shades of blue, plum and green, which will still make a design statement."

Truedor, whose bespoke doors start from £700, identifies the top colours trending for front doors this year. For traditional settings: jet black, steel blue, pine green and crisp white. And for contemporary homes: bright yellow, cobalt blue and purple. Pastels are having a moment too, with shades such as primrose yellow, duck egg blue and light violet.

Symmetry and simplicity at the front of a house are always a good idea. Position plants or tubs in equal numbers on each side for entrance impact. Outdoor lights also generally look better in pairs.

"Highlighting your home's best features can only enhance its appearance - it's rather like make-up for the home," says Sally Storey, design director at John Cullen Lighting.

"Set a scene with lighting by layering different effects using different fittings. A lantern either side of a door conjures a warm, welcoming effect, while a hanging lantern is practical for a porch. Fit a dimmer switch so you can subtly alter light levels. Create another layer of light by using Lucca uplights [£110 each] for door surrounds, to focus on architectural features, or light steps."

Keep doors, pathways, steps and open porches free from dust, dirt and other debris, and if you have a front doormat, make sure it's smart and clean. Disguise recycling and refuse bins in a small shed or shelter if possible.

Create floral displays to boost your entrance's appeal. Flowers, shrubs, hanging baskets and window boxes can really lift the outside of your home, especially if they complement the colour and style of the front door.

Invest in the details that make a difference, with good-quality door accessories, such as letterboxes, doorknobs and knockers, and try to ensure door furniture is in keeping with the style and age of your property.

Lastly, don't forget a fresh lick of paint. "With the average homeowner living in their property for 21 years, many simply 'forget' over time to maintain their home, especially on the outside, because our major focus is on the interior," says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux Weathershield.

"Do your research before deciding on an exterior decor scheme. Take inspiration from neighbours' homes and check out images on Pinterest and Instagram. Take a copy of your favourite image and use the colour picking tool on the Dulux Visualizer App to find a nearest match to the exterior finish you want.

"Bear in mind paint colours will look different at different times of the day, depending on the light and whether the property is north or south-facing. Buy a tester pot and paint a small area before committing."