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Perhaps the easiest way to create a welcoming entrance is to match your front door to the style of your home.
If you have an older home, you may be fortunate to still have the original door. Having a period home with the original door is one of the hottest home trends right now, as it adds an air of authenticity to your house. The detailing and craftsmanship of older doors can make repairing and refinishing worthwhile, instead of buying a replacement door that may not have the same unique flourishes and finishes as a true period door.
Should You Match Your Front Door to the Style of Your Home?
But what if your door is not original, or it’s in need of replacement? Your best solution is to understand the style of your home. From there, you can easily determine the door styles that have traditionally combined with your home’s style. Choosing an appropriate door style will help with cohesion and consistency of decor.
Do you need to match the style of home and door precisely? Not necessarily, but you should choose a door with design factors that are consistent with the home’s style, even if they do not match exactly the period of your home. When the overall feel is consistent, you can modernize the door with paint or stain, or use accent decor to add extra personality.
Why is it helpful to coordinate the door and house style? Just imagine how out-of-place a contemporary, geometric door would look on a colonial or Georgian home with grand and ornate features. Or, conversely, how jarring a heavy, highly decorated, and iron-clad Mediterranean door would look on a simple cottage style home. Coordinating styles provide a more pleasing appearance for the exterior of your home.
What Are the Most Popular Home Styles, and What do Their Doors Look Like?
In the U.S., homes come in many different styles. This can vary by region of the country, such as the popularity of the Mediterranean style common in Florida or the Cape Cod homes of the Northeast.
Even new builds tend to take on characteristics of period homes, in modernized versions designed to better respond to today’s lifestyles. Some of the most common home styles, found in both original form and modern builds, include:
- Cape Cod
- Modern Farmhouse
Cape Cod Style Homes and Front Doors
A small, one or one and a half story home with a centered front door, symmetrical windows with shutters, and a steep roof is known as a Cape Cod home. Dating back to the seventeenth century, these compact homes are still popular today. They are designed to be simple and functional, without many embellishments.
Historically, the door of a cape cod was generally rather plain, especially compared to the ornateness of a Victorian or Georgian house. There may have been two to four simple panels, perhaps topped by a row of small square glass panes. Traditional colors were basic white, black, and red.
Today, due to the simplicity of the house design, Cape Cod homes look good with these same classic colors. They can also stand out with more unusual colors as well. Although Cape Cod doors can handle strong shades, try to avoid ornate decor and stick to simple black or brass hardware for the best look. Extremely ornate doors will look out of place against the simple design of this home.
Learn more about front doors for Cape Cod style homes.
Colonial Style Homes and Front Doors
Mention a colonial home, and what comes to mind? Most people will immediately picture a two-story, symmetrical house with a centered front door and a row of multi-paned windows spaced evenly across the second floor. The exterior walls of the home will be either red brick or white paint, and you’ll find at least one chimney, if not two.
Colonial homes have changed a bit over the years, but the colonial style is classic, and homes look best when front doors emphasize those clean, classic lines. Panels, flattened columns alongside the doors, sidelights, and decorative millwork in red, white, ivory, black, deep blues and greens highlight the style of a typical colonial front door.
Learn more about front doors for Colonial style homes.
Georgian Style Homes and Front Doors
The Georgian Period took place during the eighteenth century. Homes were generally large and imposing brick structures with rigid symmetry, ornate details, and a general feeling of weight and strength. Common construction methods made them very similar in appearance, and homeowners often looked to their entrances to add unique touches to set them apart from their neighbors.
A typical Georgian period door would be large and heavy with a six-panel design. The panels could be simple or ornately carved. Elegant fanlights above the doors allowed light into the home, and later in the period, sidelights also became popular.
Popular front door colors matched the heavy feel of the home, and included black, dark green, or red. Hardware was polished brass or chrome. Doorknockers were large and ornate, offering both a decorative touch to the door and, more practically, helping project the sound of the knock into the interior of the house.
If you live in a Georgian-style home, your front door should reflect the style. Consider a large, six-paneled door with a fanlight and perhaps sidelights. Choose heavy brass or chrome hardware and make a statement with a vintage doorknocker. Keep paint colors dark and classic. Black, navy, red, burgundy, and deep green would all fit this style of home.
Learn more about front doors for Georgian style homes.
Victorian Style Homes and Front Doors
The Victorian Age followed the Georgian period. Homes of this time were two or more stories tall with a steeply pitched roof and an asymmetrical facade. Architectural details were plentiful with multiple gables, turrets, wrap-around porches, multiple entrances, and excessive detail on trim, posts, and window frames. Form definitely took priority over function for these homes with their emphasis on romantic and abundant details, patterns, and colors.
And the doors? Also romantic and detailed, and almost always incorporating multiple panels and decorative etched glass. Doorknobs were frequently set into the center of the door, and address numbers would be etched into the glass of an upper door panel. Oak was the wood of choice, and was frequently stained to bring out the grain. Classic colors were also popular, including rich tones of red, blue, and green, as well as black and white.
A Victorian home today will look best when it maintains a combination of wood panels and glass. Stained or etched glass adds to the traditional look, especially when set into a stained oak door. A Victorian home today can handle many different paint colors on the exterior, including the front door, so options are nearly unlimited.
Learn more about front doors for Victorian style homes.
Craftsman Style Homes and Front Doors
Early in the twentieth century Craftsman homes became extremely popular, and they have seen a major resurgence in popularity again in recent years. Craftsman homes typically have extensive woodwork with a chunky, geometric look, often trimmed with dentil moldings. They are known for low-pitched roofs with wide overhangs, exposed rafters, thick beams, and deep porches.
The doors of a craftsman home will be well-designed, symmetrical, and elegant. Made from hardwoods such as oak, cherry, or mahogany, a stained finish is more common than a painted one. Commonly, craftsman doors will have a row of glass across the upper third with trim beneath. Iron hinges and hardware, gothic designs, and squared trims are hallmarks of the craftsman look.
Today’s craftsman home will look best with a door of the same style but may have added transom and sidelights. Just keep the details clean, straight, and squared off and choose stain instead of paint.
Learn more about front doors for Craftsman style homes.
Tudor Style Homes and Front Doors
Common features of a Tudor style house are steep rooflines, narrow windows, and small windowpanes. But certainly the most noticable feature is the decorative half-timbering, pairing rough-hewn wooden beams over white masonry walls. Medieval embellishments abound, such as arched openings, stone insets, bay windows, and an almost castle-like feel to the home.
Front doors in a traditional Tudor home are notable for the rounded tops that come to a small point in the middle, board and batten siding, and heavy black metal hardware.
When decorating the front door of your Tudor home, look for solid, heavy accents in wrought iron or another black metal. Avoid anything feminine or dainty as it will look completely out of place. Your best bet is a dark stained door with solid hardware and a large black or bronze doorknocker to focus the attention of your visitors.
Learn more about front doors for Tudor style homes.
Cottage Style Homes and Front Doors
Charming and cozy, cottage homes conjure up visions of storybook settings and the English countryside. Thatched roofs, stone walls, and tiny windows beside arched doors suggest warmth and intimacy can be found inside this home (or, perhaps a wicked witch that eats lost children…). Like the rest of the structure, cottage doors are meant to promote that cozy, warm feeling.
Today’s cottages do tend to be more open and airy than when the style first came into vogue in the 1920s. Front doors are larger and come in all of the colors of the rainbow. Dutch doors, which split in half horizontally to open just the top half, are excellent additions to a modern cottage. They add light and air flow while maintaining all the charm of a traditional cottage.
Learn more about front doors for Cottage style homes.
Mediterranean Style Homes and Front Doors
Picture the typical look of a house in Florida or California – heavily textured walls made or stucco or adobe, low-pitched red tile roofs, arches, iron grillwork, and orientation to a main courtyard or outdoor area. This is a Mediterranean-style home. Found most often in warm climates, the empahsis is on indoor-outdoor livability and the flow of fresh air.
Intricate carvings and raw iron on a heavy slab of dark wood – that is the typical door. Generally devoid of windows, the designs carved into the wood may run top to bottom in the center panel of the door.
Updating a Mediterranean home’s entry means keeping the essence of the style, but perhaps making it a bit more lively by painting the door in natural desert tones such as clay, sage green, or sand.
Learn more about front doors for Mediterranean style homes.
Ranch Style Homes and Front Doors
The suburban home-building boom of the 1950s and 60s brought about a plethora of plain, single story homes with simple floor plans and attached garages. Built quickly and without a lot of added detail, ranch homes are often perceived to resemble shoeboxes. Given that entire neighborhoods may be built in the same red, pink or tan brick with white trim and black shutters, there is a good reason many people think of ranch homes as “cookie cutter”.
Today, that simplicity can be seen as a positive, offering an unadorned exterior for homeowners to personalize. Ranch homes can look good with almost any style of door from traditional to ultra-modern. Likewise, it’s easy to add a major blast of personality with a bright statement door, and even using less common colors such as yellow, pink, and lime green can work wonders for a ranch facade.
Learn more about front doors for ranch style homes.
Contemporary Style Homes and Front Doors
The term “contemporary” describes houses that concentrate on simple forms and geometric lines. Contrasting materials, large panels of glass, inventive shapes, and flat roofs are all common features in a contemporary home. What tends to be missing is elaborate detailing and ornamentation, allowing the structure’s shape to hold center stage.
Front doors on a contemporary home will be a generous size with simple, clean lines. Clear or frosted glass panels are common, often creating horizontal designs. Doors tend to be flat, without decorative raised panels. Black and white are the two most common colors for contemporary doors. This style also works well with vivid “statement” hues such as orange, bright yellow, or hot pink.
Learn more about front doors for contemporary style homes.
Modern Farmhouse Style Homes and Front Doors
Modern farmhouse style became popular largely due to the show “Fixer Upper”, which ran from 2013-2018. This style of home is characterized by white siding, gabled roofs, carriage-style garage doors, and large, often wrap-around porches. The feel is clean, cozy, and homey, with both rustic and industrial touches accenting the feel of a country home.
In keeping with this hybrid look, oversized front doors will also show both rustic and industrial details. Common colors are black, grey, white or blue. Dutch doors or large glass panels allow air and light to circulate, and encourage the outdoors to come inside.
Learn more about front doors for modern farmhouse style homes.
Key Takeaways on How to Match Your Front Door to the Style of Your Home
Given the variety of home styles, it’s easy to see the challenge in choosing a new front door. Having an exact replica of a period door is not necessary. However, maintaining the overall feel of the home’s style makes for a more welcoming, seamless entrance. Some homes require closer adhesion to their style than others. For example, the simplicity of a ranch style house lends itself to almost any style and color of front door.
Use this information to guide your choices, whether you choose to maintain an original door or find a replacement. And don’t forget to build in your own personality with paint, hardware, and accent decor.
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