Sprucing up your front door makes a big impact on a small budget - and can even increase the value of your home, explains Sophie Morris
Alex Stedman’s revamped front door in its first coat of paint
We’re encouraged to focus on what’s on the inside, to look past the surface glitter and first impressions. But when it comes to home decor, say the experts, taking care over your front door can have a significant impact on your state of mind as well as the value of your property.
Kitchens and bathrooms are big budget renovations. A desirable front door needs a much smaller outlay, but has the power to put you in a good mood every time you approach your own home. It can also be the deciding factor in selling your home in a stagnating market.
Alex Stedman has been documenting the renovation of her own house on her lifestyle blog The Frugality. This week she revealed the latest part of her project - the front door. She bought the property in 2016 but at that point there were so many other priorities, including installing heating and a working kitchen, that the front door was overlooked.
“It has made such a difference,” she says now, though at the moment it’s only wearing one coat of Farrow & Ball Studio Green. “For most, it’s the entrance to your entire home and it really changes your mindset when you come home from work, a tough day or a holiday.”
Stedman’s blogs focus on achieving great results on a budget. She has sanded the door down and the stained glass - one of the original features that attracted her to the property - has been reconditioned and reset.
Handily, her family are locksmiths so they could help with rehinging the door and replacing hardware. A distinctive brass plate now hangs over her letterbox. Although she waited for the funds to sort out the stained glass, she says the sanding and painting was so easy she wishes she had done it sooner.
Stedman says she’s seeing a few trends in front doors, such as the popularity of brass and black fittings, and bolder colours such as peach, pink and yellow.
The appeal of a good-looking front door is so strong that they are all over Instagram. If you notice someone taking a selfie on your own doorstep, it might be Bella Foxwell, who documents the best doors in the capital on @thedoorsofldn.
“I’ve always been fascinated by doors, both from an aesthetic perspective of admiring bright colours and unique knockers, but also because I’m always curious as to who lives behind them,” says Foxwell.
“There’s the well-known trope of doors representing new opportunities, but I think for many they also symbolise a kind of nostalgia for former homes, whether that’s from their childhood or the country or town in which they once lived.
“Darker reds, greens, blues and blacks tend to be more common front-door colours. That’s why it’s always so fun to go out exploring to find brightly coloured doors. It’s interesting how often bright doors are grouped together in one area or street. I always wonder whether the neighbours have had a discussion about this!” What part does colour play when it comes to selling your property? “What buyers want to see and therefore what sellers ought to be striving to deliver is a great first impression,” Henry Pryor, a housing expert, says.
“It would be better to have a more traditional colour, although houses with pink and fluorescent yellow doors give us a clue to the character that lives within it. A front door in good order rather than with paint flaking off inspires confidence as you cross the threshold.”
Matthew Brown is a technical consultant with Sandtex, the sister company to Crown Paints that specialises in exterior paint. He says that while many homeowners are braver with door colours, he has recently noticed an interest in sage and olive green, which are muted colours but a step away from sober greys, blacks and off-whites. His main tip is to use a decent primer to prepare your door, which will help the paint last longer.
“Pinks, green and blues are increasingly popular at the moment and work with all styles of property,” Charlotte Cosby, head of creative at paint company Farrow & Ball, says.
“Think about how the colours you choose will work together and consider other dominant features like brickwork, architectural detail and expanses of other colours that surround the house. A down pipe [Farrow & Ball dark grey] front door, for example, will complement a redbrick house, while neutrals work well with stone facades.”
Cosby also suggests considering the light direction if you have precise ideas about the result you want. “A south-facing door will struggle with darker colours. Colours will also go several shades lighter outside so be a little braver.”
If you’re feeling the need for some sort of decorative uplift, overhauling your front door could scratch that itch over the weekend. “Painting the front door is the single most satisfying decorating job you can do to seal your stamp on a home,” Marianne Shillingford, creative director of Dulux, says. “All you need is a couple of good days, some top quality tools and exterior paint.” Anything else? “Don’t skimp on the paintbrush.”