Exteriors

Extend a Warm Welcome with an Appealing Front Door Design

Your front door… it's the portal to your house, the entrance to your castle. Knocking on the door, or ringing the doorbell, affords your visitors with their first point of contact, the first impression that is tactile as well as visual, and a preview of what lies beyond.

An attractive, well-designed front door can extend a warm "welcome;" a shabby, worn, dirty front door can be the visual equivalent of a shrug, extending the message: "We don't care if you ever come inside. We - and by extension, you - aren't worth the effort."

Of course, it is only to friends, invited guests and well-intentioned visitors that you need extend a warm "welcome." Your front door also needs to be secure and well-designed enough to act as a deterrent to unwelcome visitors and intruders, while at the same time greeting guests and presenting an attractive front to passersby - and to prospective buyers, if you ever wish to sell.

This may seem like a tall order — a lot to ask from a simple design element like a door. But, by following some simple guidelines, you can have a door that strikes just the right note, while expressing your personal design style.

Colorful Options

One way you can express your style - while complementing and accenting the exterior design of the house — is with a well-chosen paint color. The color you choose may be influenced by such factors as climate and locale, as well as the design of the house itself.

Although there are no hard and fast rules, a sunny, tropical or subtropical climate and a Southern or Southwestern locale lend themselves well to intense pops of color. A brightly-painted front door not only can help accent your house's existing color scheme, but can serve as a visual welcome mat, directing visitors to your home's entryway. A bold turquoise,vibrant purple, a radiant orange, yellow or gold - one of these confident colors can be just the ticket for adding charm and cheer to your house's exterior. In general, bold front door colors work best when the primary color of the house is neutral; you want to catch your visitor's eye with color, not assault it.

However, don't be afraid to experiment with unusual options. Painting a door doesn't usually require a large investment of time, and a color that looks attractive in the can but not-so-attractive on the door can be easily changed.

Remember, also, that color can be bold without being blindingly bright. A regal plum, a rich piney green, a sophisticated gray or a dignified navy blue can all be good choices.

A New Classic: Spring Green

Design experts report that a fresh, clear greenish-yellow - the shade of new grass in the springtime - is the front runner for front door color. This hue is subliminally associated with concern for the environment and closeness with nature; it also conveys a sense of optimism, renewal and youth.

Simple as Black and White

And don't overlook white, or even black, as possible options; these two opposites can also charm with their simplicity. A door in classic white looks fresh, clean and inviting, while indicating a sense of timelessness, stability, integrity and value. It also affords plenty of leeway in choosing a color for the trim and surrounding design elements.

Finally, black front doors are becoming increasingly popular, especially when finished to the high gloss of a black piano key. This formerly unconventional choice is surprisingly effective, adding a note of glamour and sophistication to your house's entryway.

Tips for Front Door Painting

Although it may be tempting to make an "end run" around proper painting technique and simply brush the color onto the door, a bit of simple preparation can make for a flawless final result, while saving time in the long run.

The best way to paint the door is to remove it, laying it flat upon an appropriate surface. Hinges should be removed as well, and glass insets or panels should be covered.

After cleaning the door thoroughly, sand it lightly, then use a foam roller to apply a good-quality adhesive primer. Allow to dry, then use a foam brush to apply the color; this affords good coverage on raised or depressed panels. Brush on the paint from the center to the sides, letting it dry well between coats. A second — or even a third — coat may be necessary in order to achieve a perfect finish.

When your front door is back on its hinges, you will see that your effort is more than justified. The door, freshly painted in just the right shade, will send a message to the outside world that is simple, yet eloquent:

Welcome, Friends.

Molly Hilton is the owner of Renaissance Painters in Toronto and has devoted more than 30 years to home renovation, painting, and custom home building. Her unique design concepts bring homes to life with colours and unique pieces that are artfully placed to draw attention to the most powerful and distinctive features of a home.

Do you have any questions? Please ask.