Cottage-Style Front Doors

Red door

Underscore your front door's cottage character with these quick-trick updates.

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Stay in Character

Update Door Hardware

Opt for a Dutch door painted in a captivating color that emits cheerful cottage warmth. Throw open the top section to converse with passersby, take in unobstructed views, and welcome in sea breezes. Choose a version with window panes on top so light and vistas can enter even when the door is closed tight.

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Draw the Eye

home exterior

Don't let a recessed door be a wallflower. Carry it into the limelight via a high-contrast scheme and understated accents. This alcove doorway becomes a prominent feature because the door and walls sport colors and surfaces that differ from the home's shingled facade. Add flanking plant shelves propped up with vintage brackets to highlight your home's main entry.

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Set the Scene

Cottage Doors

Give your front entry understated cottage appeal by decorating it with figural hardware, chic fixtures, and arty accessories that allude to sailing vessels and fishing boats. Use ship-lantern porch fixtures rendered in black metal to cast a thematic light on a door accented with an anchor knocker and a shapely iron lockset.

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Amplify Interest

Cottage Doors

Give your front door venerable beach house substance by framing it with deep fluted moldings, decorative details, and dentil trim. Paint the framework in a hue that accentuates the door color, complements the siding, and matches the shutters. Display birdhouses, terracotta pots, and door-hung planters to ease the woodwork's formality.

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Reference the Region

A Colorful Welcome

Establish a sense of place using coastal hues and maritime motifs. Make your front door a seaside standout by painting it a rich blue and framing it with bright white trim. Direct attention and foot traffic to the entry with strategically set blue containers and a subject-appropriate sign centered above your door.

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Attend to Details

Nod to Nantucket

A bright red finish brings a cottage door out into the open, but extra enhancements fashion a better balanced composition. Add a historic dimension by drawing attention to the door with white-painted moldings and framing it with statuesque evergreens rising from curvaceous urns.

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Play the Angles

grey home

Double the impact of an arched front door by adding a curving roof supported by a pair of weighty corbels. Emphasize the roof's curves, which in turn play up the door's arch, by painting its framework a buoyant color that differs from the colors used on your door, siding, and roof.

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Consider Locale

home exterior

Hot-climate cottages call for refreshing hues that take their cue from white-crested waves, aquamarine waters, and stunning sunsets. Showcase the brightest color in your seaworthy scheme on the front door to set your entry aglow; neon citrus shades ensure doors shadowed by deep overhangs or roofs are easily seen.

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Make It Obvious

white home exterior front yard fall

Pen an engaging moniker above your door to fashion a personalized and notable entry. Broaden a black door's impact by adding transom and sidelight windows, raising a corbel-supported dormer, and hanging black lantern fixtures that visually advance off-white trim.

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Favor a Find


Unfinished wooden screen doors, ranging from plainly profiled to fancily scrolled, are available for budget-friendly prices at home centers and salvage stores. Make a cottage-charming statement by painting or staining a wooden screen door a sea or sky color that coordinates with other exterior accents, such as window boxes or garden plants.

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Be Fanciful


Encourage people to stop by with cushy cottage furnishings arranged near your front door. Stencil your house number on a life preserver so first-time visitors know they're at the right place. Hang the lighthearted address sign above a pillow-plumped bench painted the same color as your front door.

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Instantly Age


When building a cottage or a cottage-style addition, select doors and windows possessing period profiles and patinas. Install a pair of arched French doors finished with a dark stain to give your new entry an old-world sensibility. Underscore the been-around-awhile illusion by adding a bronze or iron lockset boasting vintage lines.

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Ignite Curiosity

Red door

Put your hospitable nature on display by painting your front door red. The can't-be-missed hue grabs attention, stimulates appetites, and promotes conversation—all the components of a warmly issued welcome. Carry the color into the landscape via pots and boxes overflowing with red blooms. Hang a ship's bell that guests can ring to alert you to their presence.

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