Wouldn’t it be nice to approach your
home’s entrance with a grin instead of a grimace? Take our tips for
beating a clear, safe, and stylish path to your front door.
First impressions count — not just for your
friends, relatives, and the UPS guy, but for yourself. Whether it’s on
an urban stoop or a Victorian front porch, your front door and the area leading up to it should extend a warm welcome to all comers — and needn’t cost a bundle.
Here’s what you can do to make welcoming happen on the cheap.1. Clear the way for curb appeal. The path to your
front door should be at least 3 feet wide so people can walk
shoulder-to-shoulder, with an unobstructed view and no stumbling
hazards. So get out those loppers and cut back any overhanging branches
or encroaching shrubs.
2. Light the route. Landscape lighting makes it easy to get around at night. Solar-powered LED lights you can just stick in the ground, requiring no wiring, are suprisingly inexpensive. We found 8 packs for under $60 online.
3. Go glossy.
Borrow inspiration from London’s lovely row houses, whose owners assert
their individuality by painting their doors in high-gloss colors. The
reflective sheen of a royal blue, deep green, crimson, or whatever color
you like will ensure your house stands out from the pack.Related: Pictures of 10 Great Value-Add Exterior Paint Jobs
4. Pretty up the view.
A door with lots of glass is a plus for letting light into the front
hall -- but if you also want privacy and a bit of decor, check out decorative window film.
It’s removable and re-positionable, and comes in innumerable styles and
motifs. Pricing depends on size and design; many available for under
A way to get the look of stained glass without doing custom
work or buying a whole new door: Mount a decorative panel on the inside
of the door behind an existing glass insert, $92 for an Arts and Crafts-style panel 20-inches-high by 11-inches-wide.
5. Replace door hardware. While you’re at it, polish up the handle on the big front door. Or better yet, replace it with a shiny new brass lockset with a secure deadbolt. Available for about $60.
6. Please knock.
Doorbells may be the norm, but a hefty knocker is a classic that will
never run out of battery life, and another opportunity to express
yourself (whatever your favorite animal or insect is, there’s a
door-knocker in its image).
Boxwoods are always tidy-looking, the definition of easy upkeep. A pair
on either side of the door is traditional, but a singleton is good, too.
About $25 at garden centers. In cold climates, make sure pots are
frost-proof (polyethylene urns and boxes mimic terracotta and wood to
8. Numbers game. Is your house number clearly visible? That’s of prime importance if you want your guests to arrive and your pizza to be hot. Stick-on vinyl numbers in a variety of fonts make it easy, starting at about $4 per digit.
9. Foot traffic.
A hardworking mat for wiping muddy feet is a must. A thick coir mat can
be had at the hardware store for less than $20. Even fancier varieties
can be found well under $50.
10. Go for the glow.
Fumbling for keys in the dark isn’t fun. Consider doubling up on porch
lights with a pair of lanterns, one on each side of the door, for
symmetry and twice the illumination. Many mounted lights are available
well under $100.
11. Snail mail. Mailboxes run
the gamut from kitschy roadside novelties masquerading as dogs, fish, or
what-have-you to sober black lockboxes mounted alongside the front
door. Whichever way you go, make sure yours is standing or hanging
straight, with a secure closure, and no dings or dents. The mail carrier
will thank you.
Related: A Dozen Foyer Ideas Under $100
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