Exterior Door Ideas

Help your home make a strong first impression by installing one of these exterior doors.

Use Your Exterior Door for a Pop of Color

When it comes to brick homes, it's difficult to exact a drastic refashioning of the exterior color scheme—unless, of course, you use your exterior door to your advantage. Take note here of the subtle green undertones in the brick patterning; that color cue was pushed to the edge of the bright and light spectrum with a bold lime green door and accents. To make the entryway feel finished, carry your color choice into everything including the outdoor rug and flower pot (and even a welcome on the mailbox). 


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Turn to Tradition for Exterior Doors

When in doubt, tradition is a good guide to selecting a front door that endures and offers curb appeal. Here, stylish side lights mimic the central front door. If the exterior of your home is painted or stained a darker color, consider a lighter door for a pop of brightness. For neutral-theme exteriors, play with bright and light hues to supply visual variety. On this home, a secondary glass door offers an added layer of protection from outside variations in temperature, but its design allows the simple beauty of this exterior door to shine. 

Play with Proportion

Although symmetry is a good tool for choosing an exterior door, it isn't the only design principle in your toolbox. For homes that are less about centuries-old proportions and more about a contemporary expression of shape and form, an unbalanced—although no less pleasing—exterior door choice is a good solution. Here, the low-slung ranch home offers subtle texture in its exterior material palette, a variation which is repeated on the front door. In place of matching side lights, a single window is accented with reflective glass.

Try a Dutch Door on the Front Facade

Many exterior doors that face the curb are solid or solid complemented with a separate screen. It's a traditional solution that works well, but there are other options, too. For example, a Dutch door, where the top half opens separately, is a pretty, architecturally flexible solution that works with a variety of home styles. Here, the door is accented by side lights, which mimic the glass patterning and color scheme

Add Vintage or Vintagelike Details

Like any other space on the outside of your home, your exterior doors—and the space around them—supply wonderful opportunities to accent your home's architecture and showcase your personal style. Case in point: the historic riff on this front facade. An aging technique on the front shutters and door offers vintage charm. But the pair also provides a secondary purpose. In warm weather the shutters are stand-ins for a traditional screen door. Up above, a delicate stenciling supplies pattern and a tiny hint of color. Other ideas for painted-on images include your family's last-name initial, a flower from a favorite plant, or detail picked up from exterior ornamentation.

Learn how to choose house paint colors and give your exterior a colorful makeover.

House Paint Colors

Learn how to choose house paint colors and give your exterior a colorful makeover.

Include an Extra-Wide Opening to the Outdoors

When it comes to breaking down the barriers between outside and inside, there are very few things that can top an oversize sliding door—unless it's an oversize accordion fold door. This version opens up and slides away to free up nearly a whole wall, but its clever placement near a shaded area prevents the sun's rays from heating up the living space on warm-weather days. For best use, place an exterior door such as this in or near an oft-used interior space, such as a kitchen or family room joined to deck or patio.

Pick Up an Exterior Accent Color in a Front Door

The complementary hues in an exterior color scheme are a great source of inspiration for the color of an exterior door. Here, the front door—styled to pick up on the size and shape of the home's windows as well as the elongated proportions of its front entryway—deftly ties together the subtle red horizontal trim that appears on the rest of the home.

Capitalize on Unique Exterior Doors

Exterior doors might not, in fact, offer direct entrance to a home but instead be used as a passageway, allowing a moment of discovery and supplying interesting elements in the details of a home's exterior. Here, a small entrance area can be shut off from view, thanks to a matching pair of oversize wood and metal doors. Because the passageway doesn't need to be completely closed off to the outside, a lovely metal grate at the top stands in for a traditional transom glass window.

Pay Attention to Symmetry and Scale in Exterior Doors

A shake-shingle house is a classic architectural style, one that often reflects attention to balance and understated materials. Those are guiding design principles for an exterior door on a home such as this—but there's another element to consider. Your home's heft and scale might require additional details to help the exterior door become a focal point. Here, the millwork surrounding the door—nearly half as wide as the door itself—is a good match for the proportions of the home and the surrounding windows. Placed to the both sides and chosen for their unobtrusive styling and material, a pair of exterior sconces accents without overpowering.  

Match Your Exterior Doors to Your Home's Style

In a home such as this—a contemporary stunner that's all painted brick, steel, and glass—a traditionally sized door made of traditional materials would look out of place. It's a good example of why it's important to pay close attention to both proportion and scale when choosing complementary exterior doors. In addition, include a spot for people to stand outside the door; it's another opportunity to introduce a bright spot of color or a contrasting pattern, too.

Surround Your Exterior Door with Ornate Accents

Think about the homes that look as though every piece is in place; what you're probably noticing without realizing it is the power of details. For more traditionally minded, ornate homes, surrounding pieces can accentuate the style and beauty of exterior doors; here, an arched stone surround provides a grand entrance.

Use Subtlety to Distinguish Exterior Doors

Although symmetry is a natural choice for more classically styled homes, there's no reason to be stodgy and boring with your exterior door choices. Even a slight curve or an accenting color can provide movement, texture, and direction for the eye. Here, the top of this paned glass door picks up on the curve of the windows, while the dark stain offers a graphic aide to people looking for the front door.

Enhance the Facade's Aesthetic with an Exterior Door

Your exterior doors don't have to be a vision of polished wood and clear glass, particularly if that's not your home's style. Exterior doors can make a more dramatic statement, such as this steel opening that shows its lifetime in the weathered material. Size is another way to turn your exterior door into a declaration of style, too: With an oversize version there's a sense of discovery and drama that standard-size doors often lack.

Focus on Small Details as Exterior Door Enhancements

An exterior door needn't be bold and flashy to be a worthwhile design element. Take this traditionally influenced piece. A subdued hue—the first hint of the design restraint at work—picks up on the cool undertones in the home's gray-blue plaster work. Horizontal metal accents contribute to the classic feel, as do the matching side lights. For a pop of color on a mostly unostentatious setup such as this, turn to plants: Bright berries in a tall neutral vase add welcome contrast.

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