Design Front Doors


Your front door means different things to different people who approach it. To friends and family, it should be welcoming. To strangers who visit, it should make a good first impression. You want your front door to be strong enough to protect you against the outside world while serving as the focal point of the front of your house.


  • The style of the door should complement the style of the home. For example, Victorian, Georgian, Neoclassical and Italianate style homes often have elaborate doors with decorative features on them and surrounding them. Transom windows, arches, architraves are all important aspects of this design. Modern and ranch style homes often feature windows on the sides of the door. From a security point of view, make sure a burglar cannot break the window, reach inside and unlock the door.


  • An overhang for the door is an excellent way for people to get out of the weather, while waiting for the door to be opened. Some homes feature the front door recessed. Others feature a canopy or overhang extending beyond the structure.

    It is relatively easy to fix or replace a canopy or overhang, but considerably more difficult to add a new one. Consider hiring an architect when adding a new one to ensure that the overhang is appropriate to your home style and is affixed to the home in a way that makes it appear original and not an afterthought.

Color or Finish

  • Color and finish often relate to the style of the door. Late Georgian style homes were often painted black or dark green. Victorian style homes were often green, but could also be found in dark blue, brown, dark red and olive-yellow green. Edwardian doors were painted in two-colors with lighter shades outlining the panels. Aside from wood, the most popular colors are gloss black, dark green, red and white. In modern homes, pale colors are becoming more popular.


  • Hardware pieces are the jewels of the door and should match the style of door. The hardware includes the door handle, lock and hinges. It may also include a knocker, house numbers and other design elements. If your hardware is dated, consider updating it as a way to spruce up your home and add appeal. Although the hardware is decorative, keep in mind that it is also designed for security.


  • The door should be made of solid wood or metal, although a metal door can be clad in wood if desired. The frame around it should be made of the same material as the door, not the soft jams that are easily broken. The door should be at least 2 inches thick.

    Locks on the door should be of the highest quality. The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) establish standards for a variety of hardware, including locks. The ANSI/BHMA standard A156.13-2002 rates locks from 1 to 3, with 1 being the best.

    A peep hole can be inserted in the door and a security chain installed. If you have small children, consider adding a peephole at their eye level. For additional security, add an additional door, in front of the wooden door, like a screen door featuring metal bars. This can be accomplished attractively with an ornamental ironwork design.

Feng Shui issues

  • The door is an important element in Feng Shui design. Even if you don't subscribe to Feng Shui, many of the ideas are just good common sense. One rule is keeping the path to the door clear. Have good lighting by the door and visible house numbers. Feng Shui design recommends a solid door without windows. Painting the door red offers positive symbolism, attracting wealth, power and protection. Green offers good health, calmness and connection to nature.

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