Open and shut case: how to make over your front door

Your front door is often the key to your house’s personality, and whether or not it feels welcoming. Faded, chipped and scuffed paint work or dark, dingy colours are a real turnoff, and will make a first impression that’s hard to shift even if the rest of your house is impeccable. Here are our tips for how to make over your front door.


How to makeover your front door for a great first impression

First and foremost, your door needs to look smart. Even if the paint’s in good condition, think about changing the colour to give the whole look a lift. Don’t be scared of using colour, either – yellow, aqua blue, red and green all create a bright, welcoming feel.

First, remove all the door furniture, for example the letterbox cover, any house numbers, door handle or knob and door knocker, and decide whether or not you’re going to put the same items back again. If necessary, fill any screw holes with a suitable filler, and rub down the old paintwork with a coarse grain sandpaper followed by a fine grain sandpaper. This will help remove any flaking paint and provide a roughened surface for the new paint to stick to.

Do use a paint designed for exterior use. Gloss or satin finishes tend to last better, as the smooth surface is less susceptible to damage. Apply the number of coats of paint recommended by the manufacturer (usually at least two) and allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next. If you’re putting the original door furniture back on, give it all a wash and polish first.


A practical way to upgrade your door could be to improve its security. The easiest way to do this is to replace the door entirely, but if you want to keep your old front door, there could still be small improvements that you can make.

One example could be to change the lock. If you’ve currently got a single cylinder deadbolt lock on your front door, consider swapping this for a double cylinder lock.

Other features can be added to front doors to provide extra security from the inside. This includes latch chains or peepholes.

Of course, adding some electronic features could also be worthwhile. Video doorbells can allow you to see who is approaching your home and are usually installed on the door (if you want to monitor your home’s entrance from another angle, CCTV  installation may be better suited). Burglar alarms can also be added to doors to help detect a break-in. Both video doorbells and modern burglar alarms can be linked to an app on your phone.

Door furniture

An easy way to update any door, exterior or interior, is to replace the fittings.

Lion’s head door knocker, £125 from Grace & Glory

This lion’s head door knocker, £125, in polished brass, made in the West Midlands, will age gracefully over time, however, it can be polished to retain its shine. Also available in a range of different finishes, from Grace & Glory.

Traditional brass letterplate, £46.40 from Grace & Glory

Smarten up your letterbox with this high quality solid letter plate in unlaquered polished brass, with a good sized opening flap which is large enough to take A4 envelopes. Was £58, now £46.40, again from Grace & Glory.


Dressing the surrounding space can be as important as the door itself. If your door is bright, shiny and newly painted but the path and steps are weed-strewn and untidy, the whole effect will be spoiled. Finish off your new look with colourful planters on either side of the door, new doormats and perhaps a new external letterbox.

This twin pack of coir mats (one poppy, one iris) is a great value buy and will add instant colour. Although these mats are rubber-backed to reduce slipping, coir won’t last forever outside – but at this price, you’ll still get your money’s worth out of it! Was £14.95 for the pack, now £8.96, available from House of Bath.

Galvanised doormat, £50 from Garden Trading

If you’re looking for something really heavy duty that will stand the test of time, this large galvanised metal doormat should fit the bill. Perfect for scraping away the mud and dirt after a wet day outside, it’s solid enough to last for years and is easily cleaned with the garden hose. £50, available from Garden Trading. 

Galvanised metal boot scraper, £17.45 from The Farthing

If mud is a problem, you might like to think about a separate boot scraper as well such as this galvanised spike version. It pushes into the ground, ideal for scraping off mud and dirt from your shoes and boots and keeping your home and pathways clean. £17.45, available from The Farthing. 

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