6 Clever Ways to Transform Outdated Front Doors

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They say the eyes are the windows of the soul, and perhaps the same can be said for the exterior doorways into our spaces. Your front door is the portal between the chaotic outside world and the cozy calm of your home, so when your doorway is inviting, it can make all the difference to you and your guests.

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Transforming your front door not only refreshes the look of your space — it also increases its value, which is helpful if you plan on selling down the road. Or, if you host an Airbnb, a refreshed doorway can also up the ante, allowing your space stand out to prospective renters. But even if you don't plan on putting your home on the market, your new doorway will renew your home's energy, making you feel like you're living in a space you truly love.

Beyond aesthetics, newer front doors are both more energy-efficient and provide a level of safety your old doors may not (looking at you, hollow, warped, plank-like doors of the '90s).

Here are some expert-approved ideas for an updated front door:

1. Let the light in.

Some front door upgrades are going to require swapping out your entire front door. Jamie King of JLK Interiors says it's worth it, though, if you have the means. "While it requires a bit more work, I do like to explore the idea of replacing an old door entirely — if it will change the design of the home dramatically enough," King tells Hunker. With a brand new front door, you have an opportunity to let lots of light into the home, which can make your space feel instantly more modern.

According to Gian Moore, who is an interior designer as well as partner and marketing director at Mellowpine, light is king. "Open up your front entry with full-length windows on both sides of your door," she tells Hunker. "This lets additional light into your home, making your entry seem larger. And choose a window grid design that underscores your home's architectural style."

If you don't have the capacity to create full-length windows on either side of your door, go with a glass window center or a Dutch door, which is marked by a closed bottom half and an open-top half. The top either opens entirely or, instead, can be designed with a large window or a few smaller windows.

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For extra privacy, opt for textured glass. Feeling crafty? Blogger Making It Feel Like Home even DIY'ed her own frosted windows using contact paper.

2. Add a pop of bold, bright color.

Gone are the days when a dull brown door was the norm. Today, people are embracing bright, bold, inviting colors — colors that say, "Come on in!" If you've got a fun or playful style inside your home, a bold door will set the tone for the rest of your space, while elevating your home's status in the neighborhood.

"Our front door on the original Shabby Chic House was a boring dark brown and offered very little visual appeal," Mike Katona, founder of Shabby Chic House, a DIY house blog, tells Hunker. "We painted it a fun and bright aqua blue, which gave our house a pop of color and boosted our home's curb appeal."

Exterior home colors that are popular in 2021 include corals, greens, and teals. Think about what will work with your home. If you've got a classic architectural style, why not shake it up a bit with a pale coral front door? If you've got a green thumb and a gorgeous front yard, go for a striking green door, which can play up the hues and textures in your landscaping.

3. Embrace the seasonal wreath.

Katona also recommends adding a seasonal wreath to your door, which means you'll be able to call on the colors of fall, winter, spring, and summer. "[This is] a great way to spice up your front door and also keep it fresh," he says.

As we head into autumn, this Fall Berry Foliage wreath will add a dashing pop of red color to your home. Or, you can keep it a bit more neutral with this White Pampas Grass Wreath or this Light Autumn Wreath.

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4. Think about energy efficiency.

While your front door's aesthetics matter, so does the make of the door itself. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "Your home's exterior doors can contribute significantly to air leakage, and can also waste energy through conduction, especially if it's old, uninsulated, improperly installed, or improperly air sealed."

Yep. Old doors can cause your home to be less cool in the summer and less warm in the winter. If you want to totally replace your door, go for an energy-efficient door. Be sure to check the door's energy performance ratings, too, especially as it relates to your local climate. You should specifically seek out the "Energy Star" label — the seal of approval from an energy-efficiency program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy — when shopping for a new door.

You'll also want to aim for fiberglass doors, which are great for homes since they look like real wood and are often made with glass windows. They are less likely to warp and crack, as wooden doors often do, thanks to the effects of nature and time. Fiberglass doors are also strong, meaning they offer added security to your home as well.

5. Organize your greenery.

More and more people are embracing the cottagecore aesthetic and taking inspiration from pastoral living, but that doesn't mean your front yard or porch should be full of disorganized greenery. Moore recommends tidying up any overgrown greenery that might be obscuring your front door or making your porch seem messy. "Cut back overgrown plantings that block views of the front door or spill over onto walkways," she says. "To keep landscaping under control, focus your planting efforts on just a few key areas that offer the most impact."

Moore's suggestion for embracing clean, organized greenery? "Flowers and plants in containers are easy to maintain and can be rearranged at any time." Aim for potted plants, which you can place on either side of your doorway. Pots also provide a chance to add some personality to your front door. If you've got the space, try flanking your door with these bright blue Gardener Select planters or these French, 16th century-inspired planters for a more rustic feel.

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6. Update your hardware.

Not everyone can get a brand new door, which is why Malfa Helft of Think Chic Interiors recommends modernizing your hardware. "You can instantly transform the look and feel of your front door with updated handles, locks, house numbers, or even a gorgeous brass knocker," she tells Hunker.

Some ideas for refreshed front door hardware:

  • Install a smart lock​: A smart lock provides added security and ease (aka no more digging around in your bag to find your keys). Plus, smart locks look clean and modern, and they can improve your home's overall value. They're also more convenient for guests who may be staying at your home.
  • Update your door knocker​: Add an elegant, modern new knocker to the door, like this streamlined, chic Jerico Door Knocker or this Dragonfly In Flight door knocker for a bit of panache.
  • Get a new doorknob:​ Get rid of the old round knob and opt for a sleek handle, like this minimalist Bowman Brass Lever or this Baguette Amber Knob.

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Lisa Marie Basile is a freelance writer, author of several nonfiction books, and editor.