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Front Door Face Lift

September 30 2009

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” does not apply when it comes to selling a house. In real estate, first impressions can make all the difference, and nothing makes a first impression like the entrance to your home. Luckily transforming a lackluster entrance can sometimes be as simple as applying a fresh coat of paint, so, if your home’s front door currently says “go away,” have no fear. The guidelines below will help you have your entrance say, “come on in and stay a while,” in no time.

Choose a Theme

Your front door serves as an introduction to your home, so it should reflect what visitors can expect to find inside. It’s also important to take into consideration your neighborhood. With these things in mind, you might choose a modern theme with clean lines, silver or chrome accessories, and matte colors. Or you could go for something more traditional, with deeper hues and brass or antique-white fixtures, complete with features like shutters and flowerboxes.

Add a Splash of Color

A bright purple door can certainly make your house the block’s stand out, but think carefully before you select your paint. In some instances, as with a stone house in the mountains perhaps, a deep raisin with undertones of gray and brown could be the perfect choice. The front door offers a great opportunity to add a splash of originality and warmth to an otherwise buttoned-up exterior.

In general, however, it’s a good idea to steer clear from extremes in your choice of front door paint. Instead, choose a distinctive shade that still promises universal appeal. Steely blues, deep reds, or a sunny yellow – chosen to complement the house itself and any other trim – all make good choices. But don’t overlook classic white as an option either. For some homes – traditional brick, for example – a clean white treatment for the front door helps add welcome contrast while freshening and updating the house as a whole.  


From door knockers to mailboxes, this is your chance to have some fun. Remember your theme and select accessories that fit it. For a modern look, choose sleek metal and modern glass. Want something more traditional? How about wrought iron or brass? If yours is a casual bungalow, unfinished wood planters and simple pewter accessories might be just the thing.

If necessary, replace the house number, too, so that it accentuates the house’s overall look. Do your visitors and delivery people a favor by selecting a style and size for numbers that is clear and large enough to easily be read from the street.

For finishing touches, add fresh flowers in a flowerbox or a seasonal wreath on the door. A stylish doormat that plays off the color of the door can complete the front door facelift.

Shine a Light on It

In your front entrance remake, be sure to remember lighting. Choose a lighting fixture that fits with your theme and adequately illuminates the front door and house number for easy visibility at night. An antique lantern could illuminate the beautiful brass hardware on a traditional entrance beautifully. Or, for a more modern look, try a fixture with straight lines and angles in etched glass. Some designers recommend installing identical light fixtures on either side of the door to provide a sense of balance, a technique that also serves to make your entrance appear larger.

Select energy-efficient light bulbs intended for exterior use, and remember that brighter is not always better. Too much light can create glare and make surrounding areas appear dark and unappealing. Low-wattage bulbs (around 40W) cast a warm, inviting glow while still illuminating the entrance adequately and safely. Compact fluorescent bulbs (around 15W) make an even better choice, because they can last up to 10 times longer and use only a third as much energy as incandescent bulbs to produce a comparable amount of light.