This is the big front door mistake that's killing your curb appeal – says HGTV’s John Gidding

The Curb Appeal designer urges a focus on design, color and 'house jewelry' – for a façade that showcases your 'design sensibility'

exterior of white wooden Dutch style colonial home with gambrel roof and red front door
(Image credit: Paul Brady/ Alamy)

When it comes to curb appeal, you could do far worse than following the advice of John Gidding. The presenter of HGTV's (aptly-named) Curb Appeal is renowned for his ability to make a home look more attractive – from your front door – to your railings and mailbox. So, if you're wondering 'what adds the most curb appeal', we recommend beginning with John's advice. 

Throughout his career, John has inevitably encountered a host of front-door ideas –including those that you need to avoid. Therefore, in his exclusive with H&G, we had to ask – what is the biggest front door mistake you can make? His answer will elevate your home's curb appeal instantly.

The biggest front door mistake you can make – according to John Gidding

John Gidding

(Image credit: Masonite)

'The biggest mistake people make is not making their front door eye-catching because it's a missed opportunity,' John begins. '[Your front door] does more than just make a façade exciting or invite people to the entrance. What it does is activate how enthusiastic you are about your house. By making the front door highly visible and highly attractive from the street, you've almost created the best possible scenario for a great first impression.'

Failing to explore new front door color ideas is the biggest mistake when it comes to improving your curb appeal. But where should you begin with the transformation process? 

'I always tell homeowners that I have to focus on the process of getting from the sidewalk to the front door to find the things they should improve,' John says. 'What are you seeing, and what do you touch when you walk from the sidewalk to the front door? Those are the first five things you should improve.' 

Conventionally, these first five things are your front gate, path, mailbox, house numbers, and your front door. 'Most people just leave their front door that drab green or black that it comes in, and it's really a missed opportunity.'

Front door

(Image credit: GettyImages)

What color should you paint your front door?

John Gidding urges you to elevate your front yard landscaping ideas by changing the first five things you see – including your front door. But which hues does he favor? The answer, according to the Masonite curb appeal designer, is personal.

'Unlike the rest of the façade that really should be based on the identity of the architecture and less on trends, the door can follow color trends if there is a tone that's really in this season, feel free to paint your door that color,' he says. 

If painting your front door in a bold, trendy color feels risky, the designer reinforces that your choice is quickly reversible. 'If it's not working with your façade or your plantings, or you don't actually love that color, you can always repaint it,' he says. 

Front door

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Plus,  the process doesn't stop with your chosen hues. John Gidding urges you to add decorative details like a wreath or another fixture you can change throughout the seasons. 

'Also, matching metal finishes is a great way of showing you've got a design eye,' he explains. 'If your door has, for example, matte black hardware, you can also have a lighting fixture next to the door. It's almost like the jewelry of the house when the metal finishes imply you have a design sensibility about you.'

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.