Houses By The Numbers: Why Your House Numbers Should Be Visible and 3 Ways to Give Them Personality

May 4, 2021
Photo by Storiès on Unsplash

“Numbers are the most certain thing we have.”

Andy Rooney

Any self-respecting, home-safety checklist (a subject we will cover in more depth on a future blog) will tell you about the importance of VISIBLE house numbers. Why, you may ask, if you don’t know already? It’s for the fire department and other emergency responders. No one wants to have to call these brave women and men, but when you need them, it’s not usually because you can’t find your reading glasses. You need these folks in a hurry; if they can’t see your house number (and it’s not the house that’s up in flames) you may add a needless delay to their arrival on the scene. House numbers also help your guests, delivery and service people. You get the idea. They are not just a niciety but they are essential! But, and there’s always a but with me when it comes to issues of design, these numbers don’t need to be boring or ugly just because they are utilitarian. The following are some ideas to help you to add style and personality to good old number 10 Downing, or wherever you call home…

1. Give It Garden Flair

Whether they are real (my preference, but not to practical for winter in New England) or artificial, who doesn’t like flowers and greenery? So why not incorporate it into your house number display? It’s easily done by attaching a weather-resistant vase to a piece of slate and hanging it by your door or attaching a planter box or basket to a piece of wood and then mounting that to your house. Make sure the numbers you choose are in a contrasting color to the background and that are large enough to be visible from the street. If using fresh flowers you can cut them from your garden in season. If artificial, you can change them with the your whims and holidays.

2. Capture a Coastal Vibe

Living on the coast in Rhode Island (USA) I readily admit that this is my hands-down favorite for house numbers. I list it here, not as much to advocate it, as to get you thinking about any real theme for house numbers. Live in the mountains? Use an old snowshoe. Live in the plains? Use some old barn wood. You get the idea. Almost any relatively flat object can give you a surface to add your house numbers onto. Go with something that makes you smile. Again, remember the rules of high contrast and size for the actual numbers.

3. Make It Elemental

Metal, stone, slate, wood – all make great backgrounds to highlight your house numbers. If you go this route, choose something that harmonizes with your home’s esthetic. Farmhouse? Maybe slate or a wood slice work best. Modern or mid-century house? The metal cutouts’ sleek lines coordinate. Lots of lawn? A big rock in your front yard is a great space for the numbers.

What Else is Good About Styling Your House Numbers?

No one will mistake your house from another, even in a condo or planned community, if you can say, “it’s number 7, the one with the oar.”

Now For a Little Music Before We Go…

“By installing highly visible address numbers, residents can help fire, police, and medical personnel improve emergency response times.”

Rhode Island Southern Firefighters League

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