Boost Your Curb Appeal By Heading For the Door

It's only 7:15 on a rainy Tuesday morning, and you're already behind the 8 ball. You're running late for work, one of your kids is sick, and you have a new client who doesn't seem to understand the concept of office hours. Given all the mini-catastrophes you have to manage today, it's understandable that you wouldn't expect to add “scour internet for new front door ideas” to your to-do list.

Until you actually go to open your front door.

You give the doorknob a tug, just as you always do. But this time, that motion is followed by an odd splitting sound. You look down and see the unmistakable line of a crack, running right down the middle of the old faithful wooden door that's been guarding your entryway for… how many years?

Too long, apparently. This day just keeps getting better…

Fortunately, searching for new front door ideas isn't hard, and it isn't as complicated as you might think. And while you may not have had to worry about this in the past, sooner or later most homeowners have to think about replacing theirs.

Wood can warp and get old. Styles change. Even a door that isn't falling apart in a dramatic fashion will need to get replaced eventually if you want to keep your home looking its best.

Why? Simple. The most effective way to make your home look its best, right from the start, is by having an eye-catching and amazing front door.
Don't believe me? There's actually a key reason why. But it's not architectural at all. It's psychological.

It's All About the Curb Appeal

If you're selling your home, you have almost certainly heard the term “curb appeal,” referring to the attractive quality a house might show you from the street.

And where does your eye drift when you're looking at a house from a distance? We might notice certain bits and piece, especially if the designer has created something truly eye-catching. But most of the time?
We look for the front door.

There's a fairly simple psychological underpinning this. We typically seek out the first thing that would require our action.

When we meet a person, we make eye contact. That's how we make certain that their attention is on us. That's how we establish that we're having a conversation.

large front door

Image: by Pixabay, via Pexels

Looking at the doorway to the house is a little like making eye contact. This is the point of entry.

The stats on curb appeal tend to back this up. Real estate agents receive calls on attractive houses all the time (and as many as half of these calls are from people who were just driving by and had their interest piqued).
An attractive doorway is almost always one of the things mentioned… and one of the biggest turnoffs if it's in bad shape.

A doorway that's got a rotting frame or is falling apart at the hinges is obviously going to make a terrible impression on anyone looking at the house. No matter how great the rest of the home is, the viewing is off to a bad start.

But a beautiful entryway, with a fresh coat of paint, an attractive color on the door, and a few well-chosen accents to give it that little bit of charm? This can add thousands to the value of your home, and won't require you to spend that.

Here are the pieces you want to look for.

The Key Qualities of Any Good Door

blue front door with arch architecture

Image: by Pixabay, via Pexels

So when you're gathering front door ideas, what do you look for?
Obviously, there's the “curb appeal” or attractiveness quality. That's going to have an impact on the value, and in a lot of ways, it's the most “fun” part of finding your perfect door. But it's not the only consideration.

Aside from having it look great, you want your front door to accomplish three other things:

Your front door should be secure. It should be properly installed, and it should not be something that's easily broken.

Your front door should be durable. This is different from just “not breaking.” Will your door survive the years and decades without warping, rusting, or cracking? The material you choose will have a big effect on this.
Your front door should be saving you money on your energy costs. Some doorways don't do this well as others. Having the right door can make a noticeable impact on your gas and electricity bills.

red front door with stairs

Image: by Lina Kivaka, via Pexels

These are all important considerations.
It's possible one of them might seem pressing to you than the others, but it's a good idea to at least look at what your options are in all of these categories.

Here's why each of them matters.

Shut the Front Door!

Of course, you don't need to be told why this one is important. But you may not have considered all the ways in which a front door needs to work.
Obviously, a front door should keep out unwelcome strangers. It should be heavy enough to make forced entry difficult and should be strong and have a good lock, doorknob, and bolt.

It also will protect you from the elements. This means you want something that will be able to seal well enough to deter the rain and snow. A good seal is going to be important here too.

Front doors are safer when they swing out (away from the house) for two reasons. For one, it's easier to get out during an emergency with the door swinging out. When the door swings in, it makes it easier for a traffic jam to form as people try to get the door open.

entrance door with lion head door knobs

Image: by 3dman_eu, via Pixabay

But the other key reason is that these doors are a lot tougher to kick in. If the door is hinged so that it swings inward, a few strong blows in the right place might knock the bolt loose. Swinging out? That's a bit more difficult.
Reinforce your door locks, and install a deadbolt lock on your front door if it doesn't already have one. Deadbolts may not stop a really determined burglar from getting it, but it may deter a casual break-and-enter.

If your door is on the older side, replacing it may be one of the best ways to improve your home security. The locks may have needed upgrading for a while.

Doors themselves aren't typically that expensive. Consumers usually spend anywhere from $400 to $1000 on the door itself. Installation costs more, but unless you're a trained carpenter, it's usually best to leave this one to the professionals.

Durability

red and blue front doors

Image: by falco, via Pixaby

Front door ideas should always include a look at durability as one of the main features. Front doors get a lot of wear and tear, not just from people entering and leaving, but also from the day-in, day-out beating that it gets from mother nature.

The sun and the rain both take turns wearing down doors. It will take years, but after enough time has passed, wooden doors will ultimately need to be replaced, as they will warp from the temperature fluctuations.

If durability is a main concern, you may find it helpful to consider other building materials. Although wooden doors remain the common option, there is also a considerable market for fiberglass and for steel, both of which will can weather the elements a little better.

Energy Efficiency

Did you know that when you change out one front door for another, you can lower the energy cost in your home as much as 10%? A lot of heat can seep through a low-quality or poorly installed door.

There are a couple of reasons for that. First off, newer doors offer better materials and are more likely to have been engineered with efficiency in mind. “Going green” may not have been something that was much talked about when carpenters built your original door (you know, the one that you're replacing).

So the door itself may be the issue… but it might also be what's surrounding it.

Older doors don't typically form as tight a seal as your replacement will. Part of this is that newer methods are more accurate, but another reason is that over time, the shape of your door changes with the elements. Wood especially will change over time (and it's the most common material).
So it's more difficult to form a seal with poor materials, and it's also common for that seal to become less effective as time goes on. Loss of cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter will eventually add up to a noticeable amount.

How do you make sure that your door takes care of these issues? Well, it depends on what's important to you. It also depends on what type of door you're considering, and what materials you use.

Breaking Down the Front Door––Metaphorically, Of Course

ancient wooden front door

Image: by Pixabay, via Pexels

Once you've given some thought to what you want your door to do, you want to start shifting your attention toward what you want it to be.
So let's break it down! Time to start coming up with front door ideas that answer the following questions.

What type of door is this? Is it a standard single door? Double doors? French doors? Every door has a type that describes its overall shape.
What style of door is this? This is more about the aesthetic sensibilities. Is this door a traditional style, or something more modern? Is it a craftsman? Is it arched? Usually, the style of your home will dictate the style of the door, at least to some extent.

What is the door made of? We need to decide on our materials. Most doors are made of one or some mixture of a few common materials. In addition to wood, fiberglass and steel are two popular choices.

What color is the door going to be? This is one of the more fun questions and one that you will give a lot of thought to. And it's important for curb appeal; most people have a strong reaction to the door's color when they first see it! We'll look at a couple of approaches to choosing the right door color for you.

And lastly, what are some of the other elements that the door will have? Do you want a door with a window? Or just solid all the way through? Also, things to consider are the various “bells and whistles” that might seem insignificant but can add a lot of character. This includes choosing your doorknob, knocker, lights, and possibly a doorbell as well.
So let's tackle the type first (everything else is going to stem from that choice!)

Shapes and Sizes

If you're replacing your door (rather than building your home from scratch), you already have a little bit of the work done for you. You've got a frame, and you've got dimensions that are dictated as a result.

Most people will be looking at a standard single door. This undoubtedly gives you the most flexibility and choice. Because it's the most mainstream style here, it also comes with the most options.

Perhaps you have double doors as the entryway to your home. Many larger homes use these, especially if we're talking about homes that do a lot of entertaining and see a lot of company coming and going. Sometimes it can help to have that extra width in your main entryway!

The thing to know about double doors is that they are basically two single doors that are working together. So what you choose for one will usually be what you'd choose for the other, both in style and material.

Double doors typically come in two styles: French doors, and Patio doors. French doors and Patio doors both have the same basic concept: two separate doors with the handles in the center.

The difference here is that Patio doors have a little strip down the middle so that there is a divide between the two doors. French doors allow for greater flexibility in terms of moving things in and out, whereas Patio doors provide more stability and security.

Sliding doors are rarely used for a front door, and are much more often seen opening to a backyard, garden, or pool area.

front door with antique art in a door knob

Image: by Pixabay, via Pexels

Sliding doors are often made of glass, and as such are typically less secure. But if you're not particularly concerned about that, they can make an attractive, simple, and welcoming option (and are very easy to maintain!)
As for the size of an entryway: the standard entry door is 80 inches tall (6'8”), and 36 inches wide (3'). There are some variations here that are considered standard. 30 and 32 inches wide, there will be many options on the market as well.

Many modern homes use a standard design that should be easily replaceable. But if you've got an older home, you may happen to have a door frame that's an unusual shape, as builders were less particular about consistency (and many building codes had not yet been established, if you go back far enough).

If you've got an older home, check and see if your door is a standard size. If it's an unusual shape, you might need a custom design, or you might need to consider altering the frame to some more commonly seen dimensions.

oor (rather than building your home from scratch), you already have a little bit of the work done for you. You've got a frame, and you've got dimensions that are dictated as a result.

Most people will be looking at a standard single door. This undoubtedly gives you the most flexibility and choice. Because it's the most mainstream style here, it also comes with the most options.

Perhaps you have double doors as the entryway to your home. Many larger homes use these, especially if we're talking about homes that do a lot of entertaining and see a lot of company coming and going. Sometimes it can help to have that extra width in your main entryway!

The thing to know about double doors is that they are basically two single doors that are working together. So what you choose for one will usually be what you'd choose for the other, both in style and material.

white color french door design

Image: CC BY 2.0, by Donaleen, via Flickr

Double doors typically come in two styles: French doors, and Patio doors. French doors and Patio doors both have the same basic concept: two separate doors with the handles in the center.

The difference here is that Patio doors have a little strip down the middle so that there is a divide between the two doors. French doors allow for greater flexibility in terms of moving things in and out, whereas Patio doors provide more stability and security.

Sliding doors are rarely used for a front door, and are much more often seen opening to a backyard, garden, or pool area.

Sliding doors are often made of glass, and as such are typically less secure. But if you're not particularly concerned about that, they can make an attractive, simple, and welcoming option (and are very easy to maintain!)
As for the size of an entryway: the standard entry door is 80 inches tall (6'8”), and 36 inches wide (3'). There are some variations here that are considered standard. 30 and 32 inches wide, there will be many options on the market as well.

Many modern homes use a standard design that should be easily replaceable. But if you've got an older home, you may happen to have a door frame that's an unusual shape, as builders were less particular about consistency (and many building codes had not yet been established, if you go back far enough).

If you've got an older home, check and see if your door is a standard size. If it's an unusual shape, you might need a custom design, or you might need to consider altering the frame to some more commonly seen dimensions.

Enter In Style

As you continue to come up with front door ideas, you'll want to start exploring what style you want your door to be. This is less about the actual function and more about the aesthetic qualities of the door itself.

This is where you decide things like: “will my door have panels? If so, how many?” or “will the door have an arched or rounded top?”

Ultimately, while it can be good for the color of your door to contrast (more on that in a bit), you want the style of your door to match the style of your home. It would be pretty jarring to have a Mediterranean-style home, with an “Italian Villa” look to it, to incorporate a woodsy, Craftsman-style front door.

Classic​​​​​​

classic front door of a building

Image: by Lina Kivaka, via Pexels

This is what many of us think of when we think of a “typical” front door. Not a lot of frills, some panels, and usually in wood. Because this style is so commonly used, fiberglass and metal options are usually available (in steel or iron). Six is a fairly typical number for panels, but one can have as few as two and as many as a dozen; it simply depends on your personal taste.

The nice thing about the classic look is that it's simple and sturdy. It fits with many contemporary homes, and for those seeking privacy, the lack of a window may be seen as a blessing instead of a missed opportunity.

These are also among the least expensive options, as the minimal features make it comparatively simple to produce and install. In addition, this may be your best bet if you have an unusually proportioned front door frame. Doors with windows can be a bit more of a headache to re-size, but the classic door style can be tailored much more easily.

Craftsman

The craftsman style conveys a certain woodsy charm, popular in homes in the midwest, mountains, and Pacific states. It's common to see a window at the top, either paneled or in one piece. The craftsman is a popular choice for cabins as well as family homes.

Arched

arched door

Image: CC BY-SA 2.0, by Spencer Means, via Flickr

An arched doorway is one that transcends other types and styles. One can have an arched doorway that is rustic or modern; single or double. This particular style is more about evoking a bit of old-world charm and works well with both sophisticated and rugged designs.

Modern

modern front door locks

Image: by neshom, via Pixabay

With modern doors, there are few hard-and-set rules, so examples of a modern style will range widely. But sleekness and simplicity are generally key aspects. You will often see a mixture of materials (wood, glass, or metal) combined with a minimalistic sensibility.

Speaking of materials… what should we make this door out of?

Pick Your Material

front door green

Image: by Pixabay, via Pexels

It's not always possible to tell the material of a door simply by looking at it. The choice will often be dictated by budget and the durability needs of the homeowner.

In addition, while some people dislike the look of metal but want the added security that comes with it, it's not uncommon to see steel doors have a wood finish. Others are unapologetic and show off their true nature in ornate metalwork.

Wood

old blue front door

Image: by Fotoworkshop4You, via Pixabay

Wood remains a popular choice for its variety and relative ease of installation. There are so many attractive options, you're sure to find one for your home, and many hardwoods make excellent choices here.
The one downside to owning a wooden door is the maintenance. Most will require a new coat of paint and finish every couple of years in order to protect them against the elements.

Fiberglass

fiberglass front door

Image: by Pixabay, via Pexels

Fiberglass is a popular option for its unwillingness to warp and bow. It can easily be given a wood-stain finish, but unlike real wood, it won't require constant maintenance to protect it from succumbing to the local climate.
Fiberglass doors also typically come with an insulated core, making them just a bit more energy efficient. For the “lowest fuss” option, fiberglass may be the best choice.

Steel

keys hanging on a door

Image: by George Becker, via Pexels

Steel doors are an affordable option and plenty strong, but they do come with their own drawbacks. In hot climates, the metal can get so hot that it starts cracking any paint that's been put on it. The door itself, on the other hand, is very resistant to long-term wear and tear.

Does It Come in Red?

stairs leading down to a red door

Image: by Gerritt Tisdale, via Pexels

There is a lot more to getting front door ideas than simply asking about the color. That said, this is one choice that people agonize over. No one wants to put in all the work of buying, installing, and painting a door, only to find that they hate the color!

When it comes to curb appeal, your color choice can say a great deal. There are few rules, but it's generally a good idea to pick a color that contrasts with its surroundings.

So if the area around the door is light, pick a dark or a bold color. If the area surrounding the door is dark, choose something lighter.

This contrast will add a little extra pop to the way the house looks. You want to be cautious in your choice, though, as contrast should not mean “clash.” Pick something that is consistent with the color scheme of the house.
(We don't have time for a deep dive on color theory here, but if you're interested, take a look here).

People also have certain emotions associated with specific colors. The color of your door will cause certain reactions, and are a sort of code for both values and feelings. What message do you want your door to send?

A red door will communicate youth and boldness. Yellow is generally associated with the sun, and cheerful optimism. Orange is friendly and welcoming.

mini  houses with different door colors

Image: by Mikes Photos, via Pexels

On the cooler end of the spectrum, blues communicate dependability and honesty, while purple contains a bit of wise mystery and perhaps even regalness.

Whites and blacks are both solid, dependable colors. A wood finish will work with almost anything, as it's commonly what people expect to see in a door, but it won't turn any heads unless it's got a unique design.
Lastly, green is one of the most popular color choices for doors, because of its associations with health and rejuvenation; exactly what you want a home to be.

Of course, if you're looking for visual front door ideas, doing a few searches on Pinterest will also get your mind working on what types of color will work best.

Bells and Whistles

door handle with old architectural design

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Once you've picked out your type, style, material, and color, you can add even more character with your selections of door handles, knockers, and windows.

Windows are the most important here, because what you do will drastically affect the look and cost of the door. A really fancy window or glass plate in the door will up the cost significantly (and lower the safety of the door as well). But sometimes having that front view is worth it.

The fact is that a glass front door does a couple of things really well. It lets you see out, and it lets light in. The natural light adds so much life to the inside of a house that it's worth considering.

Other pieces like the doorknob and door knocker are more for function, but you can inject a lot of personality into a door with these elements.

Especially if you have a simple door, having a unique or surprising door knocker can be a way of giving it some understated charm.

But what will pair appropriately? If you're trying to get ideas, the people at Schlage have created this handy tool that lets you match your new handles with the color of your door

There are tons of front door ideas to be found on the web, but this one does a great job letting you personalize your search.

Making an Entrance

yellow door with number 27 on the top

Image: by Lina Kivaka, via Pexels

Of course, the door is not the only element of your entryway. It's just one piece. Arguably the most important, but a few other accents can go a long way to saying “welcome!” to guests who are entering the space for the first time.

Plants are a time-honored favorite. The greenery surrounding an entryway can tell a lot about a person. Rose bushes, ferns, or Japanese potted maple tree will all create a different aura about the place.

If you are planting flowers by the entryway, make sure to consider the foot traffic and also the flow of water (if you live in a rainy climate). If you're going with potted plants, match the pots with the color scheme of the house and door.

Doormats should also follow this rule, and there is a nice selection at Wayfair, although these are easy (and you can even keep a few and swap them out!)

Finding the Door

iron door knockers

Image: by jeonsango, via Pixabay

Where you go to buy a door will depend on what you're looking for. If you're seeking an impressive cast iron centerpiece, for instance, you will probably be seeking out a specialty designer, whereas, for a simple, classic wooden or fiberglass door, you don't need to look too far.

Home Depot and Pella are both well-known options. Pella, in particular, has a great website that's packed with great front door ideas to spark your imagination, as well as resources and articles for first-time buyers (and plenty of pictures!).

The e-commerce site Wayfair sells a wide number of doors, as wells as tons of home decor and entry-way accessories.

Still not certain what to pick? Home Depot also has its augmented reality app, which lets you match a door to your own entryway, so you can visualize what it will actually look like.

So many front door ideas to choose from! For most of us, the problem isn't finding a door we like… it's narrowing it down to just one.


Featured image: CC BY-SA 2.0, by Paul McIlroy, via Wikimedia

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