Welcome Visitors: Inviting Exterior Front Entry Ideas

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front door welcoming front entrance

New Concept Exterior Doors – Pre-Hung Steel Mini-Blinds Collection: “White” (Pre-Finished Left Hand Inswing 32″x80″ / 4 9/16″ Jamb / Brick Mould) from BuildDirect.

Your front entry as defined by front doors, walkways, and porches is an important part of making a good first impression. Here’s how to create an exterior front entry that says, “C’mon in”!


The old saying is that first impressions are the most important. We shower and dress up for first meetings of all kinds, because we want to make a good impression.

Your front entry is the first meeting for anyone coming to your home, whether it is the pizza delivery guy or a neighbor coming to visit. Make your front entry inviting, so all visitors feel welcome.

The walkway

How do people get to your door? On the walkway! Start your upgrade there.

The pathway to your door should be clearly visible so visitors know where to go. Have you ever gone to someone’s house, and saw the door but no clear way to get to it? Make it easy for people to reach your door.

Grafton Exterior Wrought Iron Glass Doors Fern Collection

Grafton Exterior Wrought Iron Glass Doors Fern Collection from BuildDirect.

A walkway should be at least 3’ wide so people can walk next to each other. Make the surface as smooth and level as possible for ease of movement.

A curved shape is informal, interesting, and intimate, whereas a straight shot from the street to the door has a stiffer and more formal feel. Match your walkway to the design of your home.

Low growing plants along the edges will soften the hardness of the walkway material. It will also give visitors something to look at. Trim back overhanging trees and shrubs.

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The porch

At the end of the walkway is the porch. You may or may not have steps up to it. Nevertheless, the walkway, steps, and porch should be tied together visually and to the exterior of your house. Use the same materials and design for unity.

If you have enough room for at least four people to move around comfortably, encourage social interaction with a furniture grouping. A front porch can be an extension of your indoor living area. Make it welcoming with seating and a coffee table.

porch wicker furniture swing

A covered porch will keep you and your visitors out of the elements. A simple overhang above the door serves the same purpose while drawing people to the front door, which is the final destination.

Use colorful containers of flowers on the steps and the edges of the porch. Again, make sure people have room to move around. Hang planter boxes on the railing, if you have one. Adding color to the porch makes it visible and a pleasurable place to be.

The front door

Your front door is the focal point of your entryway. It is the target people are aiming for when they come into your yard. Make it visible and memorable!

Don’t be afraid to paint your front door a bright color that stands out from the rest of the front yard. It shouldn’t clash with the surroundings, but should complement them. If your house is a medium dark slate blue, a door of bright yellow or deep orange with white trim would be attractive and visible.

On the other hand, a monochromatic color scheme can be equally appealing. For that same slate blue, use a very light tint for the door with either white or very dark trim. Contrast makes the door stand out.

Grafton Exterior Wrought Iron Glass Doors Vine Collection from BuildDirect

Grafton Exterior Wrought Iron Glass Doors Vine Collection from BuildDirect

I love glass doors. I have two of them! Glass lets in light for the foyer, and maybe there’s a bit of passive solar gain as well. Choose frosted glass or stained glass for privacy. Flank a heavy wooden door with sidelites for seeing out and letting light in.

A doorknocker is more personal and interactive than a doorbell. A large unique knocker loudly says, “Use me! We want you to come in!”

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Do it for yourself!

A lot of us do not use our front doors on a daily basis. Back doors or those from the garage are often more practical. Making the front entry attractive and inviting might seem like a big, expensive effort the home’s residents may not see often.

But remember! A pleasing first impression is good for resale value (it’s a must, actually) while it beautifies the neighborhood. If you use a back door, spruce up that entrance, too. Put in a new walkway, plant some flowers, add a small porch and an overhang, and install a new door. There’s no reason you should not be enjoying your walk into the house after a long day at work!

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.