Front Doors: Your Home’s First Impression

Windows may be the eyes of a home, but the front door is the smile. You have endless choices in how to create that welcome that perfectly reflects you.

The door’s size may be a given, but if it’s still in the planning stages, consider the right proportions with the house, porch, and landscape. If you can’t change a doorway’s size, you can expand the space by adding a transom above, sidelights, or glazing (glass).

You have four basic choices in materials:


Metal covers insulation in this choice, making it secure. It won’t rust or rot, and is cheaper than premium steel choices. On the other hand, it’s the least energy-efficient. It comes in limited colors and can’t be painted.


It is very durable at a reasonable price. Its surface is either smooth or embossed to look like wood grain. But it can dent, and it can’t be painted.


This can be stained, presenting a convincing wood look, and it can be painted.  Inside, it is a composite of wood and insulation. Fiberglass is pricier than the above choices, but durable.


Favored by those who demand the warmth and versatility it offers, wood is the best material choice for cutting to fit it into older frames that may be imperfect. The door may be solid or have a veneer over an engineered wood core. Whether stained or painted, it needs some upkeep to avoid warping or any unwanted natural aging.

Shapes and styles abound.

Do you want an arched door, panels, double doors, or even a pivot door which revolves at the center? The architecture of the home will give you clues. Carved wood might add the craftsmanship you crave, or a chic enamel surface could set a cool tone for a contemporary entrance.

You can accessorize with a door knocker, brass kick plate, bell, wreath, wrought iron, mail slot, and a dizzying array of glass options—beveled, stained glass, fanlight, or glass-brick squares. Quaint and quirky curtains on the other side, or a gingerbread screen door lend character. Your choice of doorknobs or handles can reinforce the style of the home, and are often the first thing a guest touches at your address. Add plants and the right doormat to complete the look.

Colors are calling.

Door color can cooperate quietly with trim and exterior paint, or make a surprising statement.

Both pastels and bold hues work with white or gray homes, while black and a variety of whites and creamier tones connect the entry to homes with warm exteriors. If there’s an overhang at the entry, a pop of color on the door or fresh lighting may draw the eye more dramatically.

Yellow can help your door step out of the shadows. Navy is a great foil for décor. Do you want to relate to the greens of the lawn, the deep blues and cherry of local history, or the mint and aqua of the coast nearby? It’s your call.

The ambiance of your unique place is conveyed by your choice of front door. Welcome to the possibilities!

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