Front door ideas have the potential to completely change how your home is perceived. Kerb appeal and a good first impression work wonders so taking the time to enhance your home with this simple fixture is worth time and effort.
However, not only do front doors give the first glimpse into our home styles, but also play a role when it comes to the security of our homes and energy efficiency. So both need to be considered alongside aesthetics.
From different styles and designs to what you need to look out for when choosing materials for front doors, your hardware and even outdoor lighting, we've complied essential front door ideas to help you create the perfect entryway.
Front Door Ideas: What to Consider First
“The first question to ask yourself about any entrance is how it fits into the existing building design (if you’re renovating) and whether that doorway/entrance could have a strong impact on the balance of the building,” says Elizabeth Assaf, co-founder and designer at Urban Front.
“Should the door be large, small, match the windows above it — or should it blend with the frontage? Materials used on the outside of the building like window frames, cladding, render, plus zinc, copper or stone details, all have an impact on the door you’ll choose,” she adds.
It's not just aesthetics which are key — energy efficiency is an increasingly important factor. Keeping your home well insulated is all part of achieving a thermally-efficient home so you will want to prevent any heat loss through your front door. Old, badly-fitted front doors may allow heat to escape easily so make sure you fit something new and effective. The best front doors address this issue.
“Replacement doors and new doors in extensions should have a U value (measure of heat loss, where lower numbers are better) of 1.8W/m2K, and in new builds between 1.1W/m2K and 2.2W/m2K,” says Mark Lester, internal door manager at Hörmann UK.
1. Choose a Characterful, but Modern Timber Front Door
Timber front doors blend together the appearance of a traditional front door, perfect for period properties, with modern benefits such as security, thermal efficiency and style.
“Timber is an extremely strong and durable material with excellent insulating properties. Wooden doors can be painted and stained in any colour, and there’s a number of timber types to choose from,” says Matt Higgs, director/co-owner of Klöeber.
Traditional-style timber doors work well with modern dooring fittings and lots of glazing so don’t be afraid to mix up your style ideas.
Remember, some of the cheaper softwoods can be prone to twisting and warping over time and need to be properly treated and looked after.
2. Install a Stylish Aluminium Door
Aluminium front doors tend to be light, strong and extremely durable with a huge range of designs and powder-coated colours. Victoria Brocklesby, COO at Origin says: “Aluminium has a strong, yet lightweight structure, making it the most secure and low-maintenance option on the market.”
Aluminium could also be a good choice for those living in harsh environments, such as on the coast, who may be concerned about the effect of the strong winds and salt water.
This stylish aluminium door by Origin has a large handle and a vertical glazed panel which complements the square motif running down the centre.
4. Prioritise Kerb Appeal When Choosing a New Front Door
"Selecting a design that complements and enhances the appearance of your house is an important step," advises homes journalist Rebecca Foster.
Creating 'kerb appeal' is a term that gets thrown around a lot in reference to selling a house, but a front door can really make or break the overall look and first impression your home sets.
Good ideas could include a contrasting colour for a front door, organising landscaping to show it off and fitting the right door furniture. Here, symmetry is created by well-placed glazing, planters and lighting either side of the front door.
4. Paint an Old Front Door for a Fresh Look
Painting a front door is a great option if your current entryway is still good quality, but needs an update.
While timber front doors are the easiest to repaint, painting a uPVC door and an aluminium door is also possible if you follow the right prep and use the right products.
In this design, the front door and windows have been painted in the same shade — Valspar's Peaceful Place in exterior wood and metal paint. This colour lends a country-cottage aesthetic.
5. Composite Doors Can be a Good Alternative to PVCu
If you're asking 'what is a composite door?', you're not alone. This new range of front door is made from a variety of materials (include glass reinforced plastic, steel and polyurethane), for a strong, efficient and durable option.
While more expensive than uPVC front doors, they perform well when it comes to thermal efficiency. "These doors can be cost-effective and can perform well for security, insulation and weathertightness,” says Matt Higgs from Klöeber.
6. Opt for a Pivot Door for Wow Factor
Increasingly popular, pivot doors rotate on a pivot rather than traditionally swing open and closed. They are best suited to large door openings and are often taller and wider than most standard-fitting front doors.
“The real benefit of pivot hinges is the fact that you can have a very large, heavy door on them,” explains Elizabeth Assaf designer at Urban Front. “Nowadays, I think a lot more people would rather have one large door instead of double doors because it looks much more contemporary.”
7. Tie a Front Door into a New Exterior Design
Combine a brand new front door with your favourite exterior makeover and porch ideas for a show-stopping entryway.
“If the entrance is in a small porch, then neutral colours can make it seem bigger and additional glazing can help add light,” says Rob Owens, sales manager at Westbury Windows & Joinery.
In order to add character to their unappealing cottage, this home was enhanced with a new oak porch (matching the new side and rear extensions from Welsh Oak Frame) and the front door mirrors the pale green colour of the new windows.
8. Upgrade the Front Door Inside the Home, Too
While we tend to think of the impact of a new or updated front door's on the exterior of our homes, the interior is just as, if not more, important.
Not only will your front door design influence how you enter the home, but also the immediate areas around it so why not keep preferred hallway ideas on your mind while door-hunting.
Think about how to door swings open and how keys, bags and coats naturally get set down. Also, glazed panes and panels alongside a door will let more natural light into the hallway and make it a more appealing place.
9. Look at What is Trending for Front Doors
If you really want to stand out from the crowd why not include cutting-edge trends and styles?
One of our favourite trends we have seen in recent years is a metallic door finish. There are many ways you could approach a metallic design, but consider that shiny, polished metallic surfaces are prone to fingerprints, so opting for something like a textured, hammered metal will be more practical and effective, suiting a contemporary self build perfectly.
10. Keep Security at the Heart of Front Door Decisions
Security is a top priority when purchasing a front door. “The main idea is to delay someone from getting into the house for as long as possible,” says Elizabeth Assaf from Urban Front. “The longer they spend trying to break in, it’s more likely they’ll be caught in the act.”
There are lots of ways you can opt for a secure door but the two main factors will be the door material, like wood or aluminium, and the door lock.
Everest Windows recommends to always look for British Standard (BSI) Kitemark and PAS 24 accreditations when buying a front door. Plus if you have glass in your front door make sure it’s toughened, security glass.
Secured by Design, a police security initiative, is a good accreditation to look out if security is a particular concern.
Finally, if you want to incorporate some smart technology in your door security, then considering items such as a video doorbell can be a sensible move.
11. Go Big (or Go Home) With an Oversized Door
A large front door will add an instant style statement and is particularity suited to architecturally-striking homes.
You can create an oversized front door by introducing double doors, or you can take a large pivot door and add lots of glazing around it.
Bear in mind that not all large front doors are oversized. Depending on the scale of your property a standard front door may look proportionately too small, in which case you can afford to be bold with the size of your front door.
12. Create an Entrance with Front Door Steps and a Porch
The approach to the front door is just as important as the door itself — and there are various entrance design ideas to help you make an impact.
Here, a clean, clear footpath provides a sense of arrival. A place for guests to shelter before entering – as shown – will make all the difference in wet weather (plus a chance for them to admire the new hardwear!).
13. Don't Forget to Light Up Your New Front Door
Porch lighting ideas are important for your front door — not only improving its kerb appeal at night time, but also for security and safety reasons, ensuring you can find your keys without fumbling around in the dark, and also warding off would-be burglars.
A good quality outdoor wall light is your best bet — make sure you find a design that's at least IP44 rated, and casts an illuminating, but not harsh, glow around your front door area.
14. Add a Modern Front Door with a Burst of Colour
“There is a growing trend for choosing a front door that has an unusual, striking or pastel colour,” says John Evans Managing director of Stormclad. “If you are feeling bold, a mustard yellow or vibrant teal can make a real impact and for something more subtle, pastel greens and blues can brighten the front of your home without being too excessive.”
Look at how your front door colour can complement the rest of your home's exterior. Does it work alongside your windows? Or your house rendering or cladding? Do you have a certain colour scheme around your front garden that may impact the choice?
A bold front door colour can be a really easy way to change the look and feel of your home as people approach so take the time to choose carefully.
15. Respect the Period and Age of the House
"Traditional designs can be sub-divided into a plethora of categories, from Edwardian and Victorian period models, to characterful stable designs," says Rebecca Foster.
"If you’re building a contemporary new home, however, a sleek and bold solution with side glazing may be a better fit. There’s also a range of retro options if you’re keen to incorporate a quirky design."
If you own a listed property or live in a conservation area you may want to go for a timber front door to maintain the charm and character of your home.
16. Incorporate Glazing to Flood Your Home with Natural Light
Front doors with lots of glazing are an effective way to open up a dark hallway and create a stylish entrance.
Sidelights and fanlights allow you to add lots of design elements to a modern house, while smaller square panes and stained glass can enhance a period property.
There are lots of ways to add glass into your front door, and doorway, so make sure you speak to your supplier to check out all the options.
Remember to make sure all glass in (and around) your front door is made from strong safety glass.
17. Add Character with Decorative Flourishes
Whether you're buying a new front door or renovating an existing one, there's plenty of ways to add character to your design.
One front door idea is to apply decorative elements to the glazing with a window film. Films come in all kinds of designs, including stained glass, reeded glass and even customisable to display your door number when used on a fanlight. Plus, they're usually a low-cost way of adding interest to a front door.
18. Opt for a Stained Glass Front Door Design
Stained glass doors are having a bit of a resurgence as of late, with more contemporary styles leading the way.
While it's possible to buy stained glass doors off the shelf, look for a manufacturer or designer to work with to incorporate your home's history, your exterior or interior colour scheme or even some of your own interests and personality into your front door design for a truly show-stopping entrance.
19. uPVC Doors Can Be Good for Tight Budgets
PVCu front doors have come a long way in recent years and are an affordable, durable front door choice.
“Like with any material, there are pros and cons to PVCu, with availability and price being the main benefits. The downsides would be the movement that occurs with climactic change and sometimes clunky-looking hinges,” says Matt Higgs of Kloeber.
PVCu doors are a great choice for those looking for something low maintenance that gives a good thermal performance and security without the hefty price tag.
20. Don't Overlook the Letter Box
Handles, door-knockers, bells and letterboxes all add to a front door's appeal, so be sure to consider them all at the design stage, rather than as an after-thought.
The letterbox is an essential part of your door hardware, but often overlooked. Not only is it important to make sure you specify a door that reduces the thermal loss through a letterbox, but one that positions it in the right position for your needs.
This modern Urban Front door uses a low, vertical letterbox to striking effect, but this style doesn't allow for the addition of a letter cage later down the line, something that may become important if your mobility becomes reduced at any time in the future, or if you have a dog that's prone to destroying post.
21. Create a Personalised Look with Bespoke Door Furniture
Any front door can be given a makeover with the addition of some new door furniture such as a handle, knocker, bell, house number and letterbox.
There are a huge range of shapes and material finishes to help your door stand out, but be sure to opt for a design that suits the period or style of your door to ensure your hardware doesn't look incongruous.
This colourful front door features a fox door knocker and bold number.
22. Use a Front Door to Signpost a Home
Look at materials such as copper, gold, stainless steel and rose gold to give your front door the design edge over others, and think about having your door number etched into any front door glazing for a striking, personalised finish.
This design incorporates a pivot front door made of the same material as the porch extension to the house. The large number design means that it can be clearly seen from the street, while not appearing too garish.
Get the Homebuilding & Renovating Newsletter
Bring your dream home to life with expert advice, how to guides and design inspiration. Sign up for our newsletter and get two free tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (21-24 March, NEC, Birmingham).
Assistant Editor Amy began working for Homebuilding & Renovating in 2018. She has an interest in sustainable building methods and always has her eye on the latest design ideas. Amy has interviewed countless self builders, renovators and extenders about their experiences for Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. She is currently renovating a mid-century home, together with her partner, on a DIY basis, and has recently fitted her own kitchen.