When someone visits your home, they instantly notice two things before they even walk inside -- curb appeal and your front door. The entryway creates the “first impression" because it plays the role of welcoming your visitors. In addition, entry doors must be able to securely stand up to the elements -- wind, rain, blistering sun -- and potential intruders while serving double duty by being lovely enough to make a positive first impression.
Don’t forget a front door also impacts your home’s value, and not just in terms of curb appeal. An energy-efficient model can add to the overall property value while also helping to save as much as 10 percent on energy bills.
Should the front door be in keeping with the overall house style? Should it stand out to some degree? Basically you don't want the door to blend in completely, leading to a bland appearance; you do want it to speak to your personality and the home’s décor. Rule of thumb: The door should complement and add to the house’s aesthetic.
Some key factors to consider when installing or replacing a door are:
- Do you want a single door, double door, or door with transoms or sidelights? Keep in mind an entry’s width and ceiling height may restrict these options.
- Do you want light and/or glass in the door?
- Is the entry durable and secure?
- What is your material of choice? Paint-grade wood, stain-grade wood, fiberglass, or steel?
- What are your maintenance tolerances? If your door is unprotected with no roof overhang or covering, you should seriously consider the least-maintenance choices such as a steel, aluminum-clad, or fiberglass door.
- Do you desire a custom door or one “off the shelf”? This hinges on your specific needs and budget.
After you determine the material you like, the fun begins. It’s time to think about color, style, overall appearance, and what type and color of hinges and door handles or knobs you want. For door color, experts agree you should stay within the general style tone of your house, but don't be afraid to go bold, either. Think about the kind of statement you're trying to make about your home, and make sure the color or door style makes this clear. For example, an orange or red door can really make a house’s appearance “pop.” Think past simple black and brown choices. Here’s an interesting link on various door colors you may not have thought about and what they represent: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/20608/list/What-Does-Your-Front-Door-Say-.
If you’re thinking of installing a new door, it pays to start a file of magazine or online photos that appeal to you; this will make it easier when working with a professional because you can convey your style and the look you aim to accomplish. Since the front entry is the transitional part of your home’s facade that makes a statement about who you are and what family and friends can expect when they walk into your house, it’s worth putting some thought into the options to best bring your new door to life!