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January 26, 2019

First Impressions Begin With The Front Door

What is the first thing home buyers come into contact with when they visit your house? The front door, of course! You know what they say about first impressions. The front door is one of the most important features on a home, and one of the simplest ways to make a good impression.

Is your front door a warm and memorable “Welcome! We’re glad you’re here!” or is it a regrettable limp handshake that sheepishly avoids eye contact? Here are a few questions to run through.

Can you see the door from the street?

First and foremost, I think you should always see the front door from the street. Sounds rather obvious, but this can be a challenge when working with a narrow footprint. If you don’t have a front facing front door, at least create a portal that addresses the street and creates that sense of entry and welcome.

Is it protected from the rain?

Next, let’s make sure its covered. Owners and guest standing at the front door need protection from the rain. Also, be sure the path leading to the front door isn’t a giant water fall either as discussed in my Don’t Drown the Pizza Man Blog.

Does the style of the door match the style of the home?

Have you ever noticed how many six panel front doors are on houses today? I can’t know for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the figure at around 80%. Not that there is anything wrong with that door style – it’s just fine on a traditional home – but please stop putting it on every style home!

Door manufacturers have done a fantastic job offering a variety door styles to complement and augment any exterior style. Don’t suddenly abandon the architectural style of the home at the front door. This means if you are using two over two windows on a farmhouse, prairie style doors are an obvious “No”!

What color is it?

The front door is something we want our buyers and our guest to see, right? I’m not even leaving that up for debate – of course it is. So why not paint it an accent color? If you have other elements on the front elevation, like shutters, you can match that color or even pick a color all on its own – but let’s think beyond just white.

What does it weigh?

It’s important that the front door feel substantial, giving buyers a sense of safety and security. I think a flimsy front door sends the wrong message. But be careful it’s not too heavy so it discourages entry into the home.

Glass or no glass?

Should there be glass in the door? Above the door? Around it? This can be a wonderful source for light but does that glass diminish the owner’s sense of security? Perhaps the glass can be obscure, so creepy guy can’t look in. Or perhaps there’s a transom above the door adding light without compromising security and privacy.

Single or Double?

I’m personally not a fan of double front doors, but I have many builders who insist upon them. They say their customers prefer the double doors, believing it to be a symbol of luxury. I find double doors to be confusing. As a guest, I never know which door is operable. They are also not as secure. I won’t say “Never use double doors”, but think long and hard before installing them.


There are some great looking front doors that simply don’t do well in Florida weather. Select a door that will require little or no maintenance, especially for 55+ buyers. A weathered looking front door not only diminishes sales, but it also hurts the overall look of the streetscape.

Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The front door is one of the easiest ways to elevate (or ruin) that impression. Take pride in it!

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters