Front doors

The Old House Web

Your front door is more than just the main entrance to your house: It is atangible part of your home's personality, whether formal and dignified or exuberant with color. Small details often make a significantdifference in the way the front entrance to a home is perceived. You can makeyour entrance a focal point of your home by concentrating on the front doorsize, style and applied finishes.

The Paint Quality Institute, an educational and research organization, offersthese pointers ongetting the look of your entrance right.



The front doors of these two houses are painted in a two-color scheme, with dramatically different results. The Victorian cottage at left is warm and fanciful in shades of rose, while the Italianate at right is more somber in it's blue and white color scheme.

Painted wooden doors can be color coordinated with existing exteriorpaint color schemes or blended with the regional landscape palette.Monochromatic color schemes can help draw attention to a distinctive outsideelement such as a colorful flower garden surrounding the perimeter of the home.In a monochromatic scheme, the same hue on the front door is used in varioustones throughout the entire exterior color scheme,

Complementary color schemes such as red doors with green shutters can alsocreate a dramatic focal point to the entrance of your home.

Always use a high quality paints and primers for these projects soyour doors will look good longer. Top quality, 100% acrylic exterior trim paintshave excellent durability and color retention. Top quality alkyd paints can alsobe used. These paints have excellent adhesion, but may fade sooner.

Oversized doors. In addition to the standard height of 6 foot 8inches, oversized front doors are available in 8-foot heights or larger, withenlarged widths. An option to incurring the expense of a custom door, is toinstall a standard sized double door. This creates the illusion of an expandedand dynamic entrance.

Front door fabrications (including various grains of wood and wroughtiron) can be treated to a fresh coat of exterior paint, resulting in aninnovative transformation through the use of color! Think outside the box whenexploring color selections for the exterior front door. For instance, visualizenot only traditional black on an iron door, but consider eye-catching newcomerssuch as antique bronze, pewter or burnished gold.

Interesting front door design details include squared or archedstyles. Distinctive designs can be hand carved into the interior or exterior ofwooden doors. Stained glass inserts can be set into wood to produce a uniquedesign, as well as accommodating natural incoming light. Full pane glass doorssurrounded by wood or iron are ideal choices for dark front entrances orhomeowners desiring a greater abundance of light.

There are numerous creative ways to enhance an existing front door. Byreplacing existing hardware, the door style can be altered to spotlight adecorative finish or distinctive theme. Contemporary locksets and handle setsadd beauty and elegance to the front entrance, converting an often-nondescriptdoor into a stylish focal point.

Prior to tackling a front door makeover, do-it-yourselfers may wish toconsider consulting appropriate sections of paintquality.com, shelter magazinesand books, paint swatch cards or paint professionals for assistance withexterior paint type and color selection to ensure an attractive and qualityfront entrance.

Below, from the OHW files, are some different treatments of entrances.

St Louis
Molding details on this St. Louis Victorian are highlighted by a contrasting color scheme. Note the imposing effect created by double doors.

St Louis
Another St. Louis doorway.

(Click any picture for a larger view.)


Similar doorways painted in contrasting colors.

This series of photos shows the dramatic effect of a new door and color. In the first photo, this 18th century house is covered in white asbestos shingles and a modern metal door with aluminum screen.

Here the homeowner handrubs a finish onto a new door more in keeping with the age of the house.

Still a work in progress, the house now sports an entry way featuring a natural wood door, colonial trim, and painted clapboards.

The owners of this Ferndale, California house chose to paint the front door a single color in order the emphasize the fancy porch trim.


Natural finish makes this doorway the focus of this Richmond, Maine house.

Oak Park
This elaborate multi-color paint scheme is a real show-stopper in Oak Park, Illinois.

The Paint Quality Institute is sponsored by Rohm and Haas Company, a leading supplier of chemicals usedmanufacturing paint and paint-related coatings.

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