A well-chosen front door speaks volumes. We look at all the best front door trends, from a grand entrance at the front of your home, to a sublime color scheme for a bold first impression.
A stylish front door will add to the curb appeal of your home and can set the tone for what visitors might expect once inside. If you are lucky enough to have an original period door, you’ll know just how appealing they can be, but there’s more to upgrading your door than simply hankering for good old-fashioned good looks.
Investing in a new front door allows you to take full advantage of the latest advances in materials resulting in strength, efficiency and security. There are plenty of options that mimic classic good looks but do consider modern designs too – a great contemporary design can be every bit as impressive and welcoming as an ornate Victorian one. And don’t skimp on the details. The color you choose will have impact, with fashionable tones and classic gloss shades capable of brightening the entire street.
Front door trends
1. Repair an original period door
If you live in a period property and your current door is the original, it’s always worth trying to preserve it for as long as possible. Repair, re-glaze and re-paint before considering replacing it. But if your door is more recent and not to your taste, there are several options – to choose from, from modern designs and bespoke joinery to reproductions and reclaimed originals.
2. Choose a front door to suit your property
Preserving your homes' architectural history is currently the most prolific front door trend around. Period homes would have originally sported one of the following styles;
Georgian (1700-1800) – Large and imposing with a simple six panel design and decorative fanlight above. Popular colors at the time were white, black, or dark green. As the period went on, glass panels became more popular.
Victorian age (1837-1901) – Everyone wanted Oak but many doors were made of softwood and painted, or stained to imitate it. The doors would have been panelled into four or six sections and often featured elaborate stained or etched glass and heavy door furniture. White, brown, dark blue, dark red and olive green were popular colors.
Arts & Crafts (1880-1920) – Look out for gothic designs with iron hinges, simple carved designs, art nouveau and Queen Anne detailing.
Edwardian (1901-10) – Two tone colors, wider entrances, glazed decorative side panels added to the grandeur. Elaborate stained glass was also popular.
Art Deco (1910-1939) – Oval or square windows occupying the top third make this period instantly recognisable. Door handles were also fitted higher up with three vertical panels in the lower two thirds.
Modern – Horizontal lines, geometric shapes, side lights and Hollywood inspired chrome all influenced early modern designs.
3. Work in a wooden front door
Wooden doors look beautiful and enjoy an unmatched reputation. Look for FSC hardwood to ensure it is sustainably sourced. Wood can be re-painted and trimmed, but requires maintenance. Modern designs are thermally efficient, but reclaimed doors won’t last as long or keep out the draughts as well.
Timber doors have been proven to add value to a home. ‘Timber patio doors, for example, offer some of the best sightlines, as timber is an inherently strong material which means frames can be slimmer and less chunky, which enables more light to filter into a property,’ says Chris Miller, Product Manager at JELD-WEN.
4. Paint your front door
Make a statement and hint at what’s hidden inside. Gloss black, navy, white, racing green and pillar-box red are the classics, but thanks to softer shades and eggshell finishes you can stay on trend even in conservation areas.
Get inspiration from your neighbors, and try for a unified look. A street with complimentary tones looks more appealing than a hotch-potch of colors.
It’s important to coordinate the door with the rest of the house, suggests Rebecca Thompson, Dulux’s Colour Designer. ‘Look closely at the underlying hues within your walls and natural surroundings to ensure they don’t clash. Red brick goes best with charcoal or earthy tones. Bricks with a yellow/cream hue work with classic blues or greens. Neutral or grey exteriors allow you to be even more adventurous with vibrant shades of red and blue.’
5. Dress with door furniture
As a rule, choose door furniture that’s in keeping with the style and age of your home. Large ornate letter plates and knockers will look odd on anything other than a similarly proportioned door.
Simpler contemporary designs in a classic finish such as polished brass or nickel will freshen up period doorways. Modern designs tend to be simpler, based around brushed aluminium and steel finishes. For a more rustic country feel, wrought iron is ideal.
‘It’s important to decide on a style and finish and keep this consistent across all fixtures,’ advises Vanessa Allan, Marketing Manager for Samuel Heath. ‘Contemporary door furniture is often defined by its simplicity, with clear-cut lines and a streamlined finish, whilst classic pieces often have ornate detailing and sculpted features.’
6. Look for an original fixture
With 2020 being such a tumultuous year, it is unsurprising that many people are looking to the past for nostalgic trends.
If you’re looking for an original door the salvage yard is a perfect place to start. Often rescued from demolitions, you can find beautiful designs with natural ageing that could fit your house like a glove. Pick up original furniture and accessories to complete the look too.
‘If you find a front door in a salvage yard it will generally be in good condition as it will have been rescued from a demolition project,’ explains Amanda Garrett from architectural salvage experts Lassco. ‘At first sight they can seem expensive but they will always be cheaper than a custom made one,’ she says.
7. Factor in front door security
Front door security is, and will always be important, so be sure to factor this in before undertaking any front door design projects.
A basic rim or Yale latch isn’t enough, you will also need a 5 or even 7 lever mortice deadlock. The strongest locks are made to British Standard 3621/80. These locks are often found on some front and back doors in the home. Some insurance companies will require door locks to be fitted to this standard. ‘Look for the ‘Secured by Design’ logo,’ says Amanda Garett. ‘It shows security products meet the high standards of the police and insurance industry.’
8. Create a contemporary appeal
The latest generation of folding, patio and bi-fold doors can transform your space, bringing the outside in, illuminating dark corners and creating a fantastic vista.
French doors – A classic feature offering garden access and abundance of natural light, but unlike their modern counterparts don’t invite the outside in as much.
Folding sliding doors – With floor to ceiling fastenings, efficient double glazing and a range of widths on offer you can now enjoy expansive views and allow the home to be opened up to the landscape. The ingenious folding/closing mechanism also means you can just use one single door during bad weather.
Sliding doors – Patio style doors are easy to use and allow huge windows without the framework blocking light. The latest hi-tech designs can be installed so the panels slide away from view and even fitted with remote controls.
What is the most popular color for a front door?
‘To make a feature of your home’s entrance, paint the front door and its complete frame in one color – this will make it look bigger and more imposing,’ explains Farrow & Ball's Color Curator, Joa Studholme.
Using bold color on the outside of urban buildings has become very popular – a strong exterior creates the ultimate in pavement appeal and allows us to indulge in colors that evoke memories of nature and childhood which comfort us.
You can afford to be slightly nostalgic in your choice of front door color as you do not live with it all the time – you only view it when either entering or leaving your house. But the choice can also serve as a titillating pointer to the colors used inside. An earthy color that reflects the colors of nature, will have an organic feel to create the perfect start to the journey through your home.
The architectural style of your property, and the period in which it was built is certainly more relevant when it comes to painting the exterior than the interior – as are the colors your neighbours have used – your choice of a subtly toned white might just appear dirty in contrast to their bright white.
Nature provides so many rich and welcoming colors, which feel comforting as well as discreet. It is a good idea to paint your front door and any neighbouring woodwork, such as garage doors, window boxes and garden gates, all in the same color.
How do you modernize a front door?
Start by taking a look at the overall color of your property – what material is it made from and do you want it to match the window frames? Try to choose a shade that suits the house – it can still be a strong choice but it needs to complement rather than work against the walls.
Check to see if your surrounding walls or porch need cleaning-up and if it’s a dark area, then painting it a pale color will help lighten the area. Investing in good lighting, either in the roof of a porch or on the wall name or number plaque, is also a great way to create a welcoming and modern entrance.
Next, take a look at the front step and path. A step looks great painted (or if it’s tiled you may want to give it a clean), but a pathway may be a project that requires more time and money, however it can make a dramatic difference to the look of your exterior.
‘For those looking to sell, it may come as helpful knowledge to learn that ramping up your curb appeal can increase your house’s value by up to 10%,’ says British brand, Sweet Doors. ‘A lick of paint, a brand new front door or replacement of that rusty hardware can make your home all the more attractive to potential buyers.’
What is the most popular front door?
For security and durability, Accoya (a chemically treated hardwood) and oak are popular choices for front doors. Traditional door specialists like Voysey and Jones will produce doors to match the period of your home complete with ‘antiqued’ brass door furniture for timeless appeal (and less need for Brasso).
For contemporary facades, companies like Silvelox or Urban Front lead the way with wide, pared-down doors in striking unpainted woods such as American Black walnut, Wenge or modish Fumed Oak with glazed panels and pivot hinges completing the look.
‘Always consider the location of your house before you decide,’ says Urban Front designer Elizabeth Assaf, ‘a south-facing house will demand a harder wood and it’s always a good idea to get samples and hold them up to the facade to gauge the effect. ‘
On a similar note, Yolande Hesse of Back to Front architects says: ‘Avoid blacks or dark grey paints on south facing front doors as the colour retains the heat causing the wood to literally boil and crack.’
How do you style a front door?
Painting the front door is a great place to start. There are limitless color options to choose from, but take into account the whole exterior before making a decision.
Even the most modest of front doors can be lifted with a few changes, but if painting your door isn’t an option, small details such as adding frosted or patterned film to glass panels or changing a door number could be all that is needed to make a difference.
Look at simple ideas such as investing in a new house name or number sign, or perhaps a couple of planters either side of the door. A hanging basket can add color as can a new doormat and even changing the door handle will bring a little sparkle to your home.
Give the surrounding area a good clean and clear out any items that might be in the way. Even polishing a letterbox or door knocker will do a world of good.