By Tara King
Your front door design is an opportunity to make a great first impression. Read our tips for making the best choice to enhance the look of your home and keep your property safe and secure.
- See: Front door ideas – colors, materials and looks for external doors for the perfect entrance
What you need to consider when choosing a new door
The most common deciding factors are thermal efficiency and durability. But style details can also have a beneficial effect on your home.
If your hallway is dark, it makes sense to choose a door with windowpanes that bring much-needed light into the space. Or, if you have large windows, you might want to think about a solid door for extra privacy.
Front door materials
Timber is a great fit for country properties. Oak, iroko, larch and cedar are all popular for their dense grains but, unlike other materials, wood can be prone to warping so regular maintenance is required. In general, you can expect to pay around $350/£250 for a veneered timber door bought off the shelf, but bespoke solid wood designs can easily exceed $2,800/£2,000 depending on the quality and specification.
Composite doors made with glass reinforced plastic (GRP) come in stylish wood-look designs – choose a solid core construction over ‘hollow’ polystyrene. While not as authentic as real timber, composite has all the benefits of modern technology, so requires less maintenance. It can be tough on the purse strings, however, due to its superior build structure, with a standard door starting from around $1,770/£1,250.
Metal such as steel or aluminum offers a stylish, architectural look, paired with great thermal performance, strength and durability.
‘For one of our premium designs with a guarantee of up to 20 years, you’d expect to pay from $2,500/£1,800,’ says Victoria Brocklesby, chief operations officer at Origin.
UPVC is the budget-friendly choice and is available in both coloured and wood-effect finishes. Despite its thicker frame, it lacks strength when compared to other materials, which can be an issue when it comes to security.
Whatever material you decide on, bear in mind any additional costs, such as door furniture (hinges, door handles) delivery, disposal of your old door and taxes. Installation of doors with side windows and panels tends to cost more, too.
Choose the best front door design for your house
Choosing a door design that’s sympathetic to your property is the best way to achieve that all-important curb appeal.
It’s worth doing your research to achieve an authentic feel as small details can make a difference. For instance, late Georgian homes added fanlights, while those earlier in the period tended to be solid wood.
‘In some cases, mixing old and new can work well,’ says Ryan Schofield, managing director at Thames Valley Window Company. ‘An aluminium door can look incredibly eye-catching on an older property, particularly if it’s been modernised elsewhere as well.
It is important to think about re-sale value, as a front door is the first thing they’ll notice. Don’t forget door furniture. Beardmore and Classic Brass are treasure troves of fancy ironmongery in various finishes.
The best front door colors
Make a bold impression with a strong colour, or take a tonal approach to the colour of your front door design.
‘Many period or country homes feature white and stone-based tones on their exterior,’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director, Little Greene. ‘Warm neutrals and soft shades of blue and green are the perfect complement, although if you want your front door to stand out, darker colours provide a strong contrast.'
For double the impact, pick up the colour of your external front door within your hallway interior. This could be on the flooring, paintwork, or a detail that draws your eye into the property.
- Read: How to paint a front door according to the color experts at Farrow & Ball
How to incorporate glazing
Positioning is important. For panes at eye-level or below, frosted or painted panels work well, allowing light in while retaining privacy. Choose toughened or laminated glass for added security.
‘I would recommend that homeowners include multiple glazed sections where possible to boost the kerb appeal of their property,’ says James Upton, managing director, Westbury Windows & Joinery.
‘Using both fanlights installed above the door, plus sidelights, will create an eye-catching entrance and help to flood the space behind with natural light.’
Original versus replacement front door designs
A period property tends to lose some of its character without an authentic front door, so if you are lucky enough to have an original in good condition, do your best to preserve it.
If you live in a listed building or a conservation area, restoration might be your only option – always check with your local authority or historical services.
Having a bespoke front door design is best for an older property as it offers the opportunity to choose the exact design and achieve the perfect fit.
Locks and security
Check that the front door is equipped with a multipoint locking system, heavy-duty hinges, a high-quality cylinder and handles.
If you’re buying new, check that the door is compliant with insurance company requirements. In the UK, front doors can be accredited with the police-approved Secured by Design standard for extra peace of mind.
Best pillows: 9 top options that will transform your sleep
Our edit of the best pillows will help you sleep better and solve any aches and pains
By Jaclyn Turner •
Dining room ideas – 32 decor, layout and design tips for dining areas
Our inventive tips for revitalising casual or formal dining room ideas will make them sing out effortlessly
By Jennifer Ebert •