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What Are The Different Styles of Exterior Doors?

Your house’s exterior doors are essential portals between your cozy home and the outside world. Your selection of door will define the style of your home and may provide a distinctive focal point for the face you present to the neighborhood. When you’re choosing a new door, keep these options in mind.


The term “traditional” is rather sweeping and may conjure up different images for different people. The door that led you into your childhood home may be the very definition of tradition to your mind, as you fondly recall the smell of mom’s meatloaf wafting your way as you cross the threshold. However, in interior design terms, traditional doors have a particular style with some key features that may have everything (or nothing) to do with the home of your youth.

Traditional exterior doors typically have:

  • Between two and 12 raised panels
  • Pre-hung hardware
  • Wood, metal, or fiberglass construction

Traditional doors may feature a glass insert and might even include colored panes of glass and decorative scrollwork. This is a broad category that applies to most simple, symmetrical doors.

While traditional doors will typically come in neutral colors, there are many things you can do to dress up this type of design. Try painting the door an auspicious shade of red, or insert a pop of green that coordinates with your surrounding landscape. Painting the trim around a traditional door can update this look as well. The versatility of this style makes it a good choice if you’re updating your home for resale.

Make It Modern

Modern exterior doors are recognizable by their sleek, straight lines and geometric details. You won’t find a lot of scrollwork, artistry, or embellishment here. Modern styles typically emphasize a more minimalist approach to exterior designs. This type of door is most appropriate on a contemporary home and will look starkly out of place on a historic dwelling.

Modern doors are often oversized and may be easier to install when you’re first constructing a home than when you’re making updates. Some characteristics that you’ll notice with modern exterior doors include:

  • Long, straight door handles
  • Square or rectangular glass panes, often repeated
  • Bold circular shapes if curves are used
  • Stainless steel features

Black and white are common colors for modern doors. These typically coordinate well with the overall design of a contemporary home exterior. Modern double doors are not uncommon, and will certainly add a striking pop of interest to your home that’s sure to draw the eye of those passing by.


If you have a cabin, lake house, or cottage, a rustic exterior door is what you want. Homes that are nestled in the woods, sitting cozy in lush gardens, or perched by the creek just beg for this type of natural, homey design. Rustic doors are the perfect complement to dramatic exposed porch beams, charming stonework, and wood siding.

Rustic doors are often heavier, hearkening back to a time when you needed that heft to keep the wilds on the other side of your walls. They often feature similarly sturdy hardware that’s larger and more dramatic than what you’ll see on a more traditional design. Some common elements of rustic doors include:

  • Wood construction
  • Arched or rectangular shapes
  • Raised panels or score lines
  • Simple windows

Rustic doors can be painted, but nearly always fit in better when they’re left to show off their natural grain. Match your door to the woodwork featured in the rest of the home for that cohesive design that lends the idea that this home may have just been constructed from trees felled right on the spot.


Arched doors are just as the name suggests — distinctive doors with a curved shape to the top rather than flat lines. This style can overlap with many others. You might find an arched rustic door or an arched craftsman style. This is a more elegant and dramatic approach to your exterior entry that’s sure to make an impression on those approaching the home.

Arched doors can give the home a more historic or vintage look, even when you’re working with a new construction. Flank the door with greenery to make guests feel like they’re stepping into a secret garden, or incorporate an arched exterior door surrounded by windows for a light, airy feel.

Arched doors may feature some of the following:

  • Bold windows
  • Double doors
  • Intricate or vintage-style hardware

If you’re looking for a dramatic focal point to add to your home, an arched door will certainly do the trick. If you invest in this style of door, don’t attempt to upstage or even complement it with similarly dramatic features. Make sure you let it take center stage.

Storm Door

aluminum door
Storm doors do not stand alone on the home. Rather, they complement another door which sits behind this added layer of protection. Storm doors do indeed help protect your home from storms, but they can serve other purposes as well. A storm door will help your interior door last longer by protecting the paint, glass, and fixtures from rain, snow, ice, and other elements. When you have both a storm door and a standard door on your home, you get the perk of energy efficiency as well.

On mild days, you may want to keep your interior door open, using just the storm door. A screened storm door allows a breeze into the home while keeping bugs and other unwanted pests out. You can also lock your storm door even while your interior door is open, so you’re not exposed to intruders when you want to let that extra air and light into the house.

Common features of storm doors include:

  • Aluminum, wood, or fiberglass construction
  • Interchangeable glass and screen inserts

Updating your home’s door is a bold way to enhance your exterior. Your door can help define the architectural style of your home and offer your visitors a peek at the signature style they’ll find on the other side. It’s a relatively affordable choice that can make a huge difference in both the value and appearance of your home.

Exterior Doors





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