INTERIORS

KNOCK, KNOCK: YOUR FRONT DOOR HOLDS THE KEY TO BOOSTING CURB APPEAL

Want to increase your home's value?

October 5, 2021

Too many people ignore curb appeal until it’s time to move. Then they spruce up the place for the next residents. How does this make sense? Get a jump start on freshening your home for now, indoors and out. First impressions matter, even in today’s red hot real estate market, and designing a great entrance can make a big difference.

A few inexpensive changes can boost curb appeal — and your asking price. The exterior curb appeal has a strong psychological effect on people, boosting your mood, every time you come home as well as setting visitors’ and buyers’ expectations as they walk through the door. If visitors or buyer start out with a strong first impression, they’re in a better frame of mind to have a good time or pay a higher price.

Want to get top dollar for your house? Mow the lawn.

The entrance to your home is often its public face, communicating your sense of style to the world. It’s also a transition space that can be either inviting or forbidding — a source of pleasure or frustration. Think of it as an outdoor room, and the first room you and visitors come into contact with, which sets the stage for everything you’re going to experience in the house. Read more, ‘Curb Appeal.’

It’s nice to have an attractive front entrance, but there’s also a strong financial incentive.Photo: @habituallychic

So getting the design right is incredibly important. Don’t be hesitant to spend so much effort on the exterior. It will pay off. Curb appeal will lure your next buyer. In today’s market, sellers might think they can turn a big profit without having to do much. But agents say that’s not the case. Read more, ‘What Home Improvements Will Add Value to Your Home.’

The houses that are flying off the market are the ones that are done well.

When you have a house where you forgot about the front yard, that sets the tone. Consider the experience from when someone parks their car until they reach the front door. A buyer usually knows in the first eight seconds if they’re going to buy a house. The front entrance is also a place where a few inexpensive changes can boost a home’s overall value. So it’s nice to have an attractive front entrance, but there’s also a strong financial incentive.

The entrance to your home is often its public face, communicating your sense of style to the world. Photo: Jardin Provencal by Howard Design Studio, Howard Design Studio

Break Out the Paint 

Paint is the easiest, most affordable way to transform a room. Painting the front door is even easier.  To give your front entrance a new look in a hurry, paint the door a color that is different from the rest of the house and the trim, making it a focal point. Read more, ‘What The Colour of Your Door Says About You.’

It’s something that causes the eye to stop, so you say, ‘Yes, that’s where I’m supposed to go.’ It can be a strong, contrasting colour, or a fun colour such as a bright red or yellow. Or maybe it’s a lush green, to blend in with the plantings. Even if you choose a subdued color, changing the sheen can make the door appear special.

Paint the door to your house to make it stand out. A lacquered door adds instant personality.Fresh paint is an easy and inexpensive way to upgrade a front door but choose wisely.

Bright colours are made for Instagram, but a 2018 Zillow report found that homes with charcoal or black front doors sold for more than expected. Deep greys like Farrow & Ball Plummet and Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur for front doors or Dulux Timeless Grey which Melissa used at her own country house front door, and recommends a high gloss finish for darker neutrals. It adds elegance. If you’re feeling more ambitious and have a front porch, consider painting the ceiling. It could be a traditional light blue, or something unexpected, like a light yellow. But go for a subtle shade, so there’s just a little pop of colour. Read more, ‘The Best Paint Colours According to Dulux.’

The front entrance is also a place where a few inexpensive changes can boost a home’s overall value. Photo: Mark D Sikes

Add a Perch

If you have a big front porch, there might be room for a fully furnished seating area. But even with a smaller front entrance, it’s usually possible to add a single small stool, chair or bench. It doesn’t have to be a whole seating arrangement. It could be a ceramic, timber or metal pedestal that provides an offers a place to sit or or pop bags, shopping and luggage on.

Plant It

Placing a few containers planted with greenery around the entry is an easy way to make it more attractive. Just putting some plant material out there always makes a difference, whether it’s boxwood, bougainvillea or something else. One way to add containers is to install a matching pair of tall pots or urns on either side of the front steps. Read more, ‘How To Create a Garden That The Whole Family Enjoys.’

For a more casual approach, cluster two or three pots of various sizes to one side of the front door. Even if you have a house that’s very formal, urns with loose plantings make it feel a bit more friendly.

You’re adding things that bring life and softness. Look for plants that are not just visually appealing but also smell good. Fill pots by the front door with rosemary, for a touch of green and a pleasant scent — as well as a convenient supply for cooking. Or go for orange trees. Read more, ‘Must Have Perfect Planters.’

Think about the journey and prolonging the entry experience, rather than make it an abrupt transition. Photo: @mcalpinehouse

Roll Out the Welcome Mat(s)

It’s called a welcome mat for a reason: A small rug placed before the front door is an inviting gesture that has the advantage of scrubbing dirt from shoes. You can monogram them or have logos on them, but we like to keep them very simple and recommend installing a plain, coarse coir or coconut fiber mat in front of the door. Simple coir mats and suggested choosing the largest one you can reasonably fit in front of the door. The idea is that, with your natural stride, both feet hit the mat before you get into the home.

The focus should be on the door and door hardware not on a quirky mat.

Consider the Journey 

It’s important to focus on an entry’s progression. Think about the journey and prolonging the entry experience, rather than make it an abrupt transition. The aim is to create something layered with a sequence of spaces. Use seating and planters along the front stairs and create a hidden inner courtyard beyond the entry wall. It’s about connecting back to the site and the landscape. It’s what’s directly across the front of your house. It knits it to the landscape.

A house without foundation planting looks a little naked.

A few perennial shrubs can help frame the door. To create a layered look that’s higher in the back, with mid-size plants in the centre, and a ground cover that spreads out in front. It gives the landscape a richness that a single or double row can’t do. Avoid making a front garden look perfect at every moment. Instead, plant something—like bulbs that bloom in early spring or a flowering tree that dazzles every May—to create a landscape that’s really awesome at one point in the season — something to make your neighbours green with envy.

Look for plants that are not just visually appealing but also smell good. Photo: Jardin Provencal by Howard Design Studio, Howard Design Studio

Upgrade Your Hardware

Many homeowners have improved the look of old kitchen cabinets or a bathroom vanity by changing the hardware, and the same technique can be used to upgrade a front door.

Your front door hardware is very important.

It’s your exclamation mark. If the door has a transitional-style, satin-nickel handle but you want a more modern look, for example, replace it with a clean-lined design in matte black. If you want more character, consider a traditional brass or bronze handle with intricate detailing, or one with handmade appeal. But don’t stop at the handle: install a distinctive door knocker, for extra visual interest. They can be wonderful, whimsical and unusual. Other functional pieces can add more decorative flair, like the boot scraper topped by a horse figure. House numbers are also worth attention. Often they’re an afterthought, but they should be chosen and placed with just as much care as any other decorative element in your home.

Change the Lighting

Lighting around the front door can do more than simply illuminate for safety and help you find the lock at night — it should set the mood. You don’t want a blaring security light when you come through the front entry. Exterior lighting is so incredibly pivotal. A large hanging lantern is a good way to provide general illumination while making a statement, as is a pair of wall-mounted lanterns. Read more, ‘The Big Picture Home Design Trends Taking Off Right Now.’

You want that soft glow.

When choosing decorative fixtures like that, think carefully about scale. Fixtures that look big in a store, or inside your home, can sometimes appear diminutive when you move them outside. Depending on the size of the house, bigger is often better. Then look for ways to add accent lighting.  Try layered lighting. Options include step lights above stairs, fixtures that wash textural walls with light, landscape lighting and candle lanterns. A good look is to tuck landscape lighting into the planters flanking the front door. When equipped with battery-powered LED candles with built-in timers, they can provide worry-free illumination every night. *Lead image via ‘Living Well By Design’ by Melissa Penfold. 

When choosing decorative fixtures like that, think carefully about scale. Photo: @mcalpinehouse

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