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An Easy Formula for Dressing Up Your Front Door

Simple yet beautiful is the theme of this West Hartford front entrance. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Halloween may be over, but you can still have a beautiful autumn theme to your front entrance thanks to these tips from Deb Cohen of West Hartford.

Simple yet beautiful is the theme of this West Hartford front entrance. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Simple yet beautiful is the theme of this West Hartford front entrance. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

By Deb Cohen

When I began taking photographs of front doors, my original subjects were homes in my West Hartford neighborhood. West Hartford has such a wide variety of interesting architectural styles, and charming streets lined with sidewalks and trees.

I had one main criteria for selecting front doors to photograph. The entryway had to have something about it that showed the homeowner had put some effort into creating a welcoming entry, whether it be a wreath, a brightly colored door, potted plants or a combination of elements.

A seasonal wreath and mums in a variety of planters dress this doorway. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

A seasonal wreath and mums in a variety of planters dress this doorway. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The door itself didn’t need to be fancy. I was on the hunt for everyday entryways that had nice style. I quickly learned that a surprising number of homes have nothing decorating their front door. No wreath, no door knocker, no flowers.

However, for every five or ten homes I would pass that had nothing special going on there would be one gem where the owner had taken a bit of time to dress things up.

A bright blue pot, a variety of pumpkins and a music note for a door knocker really “jazz” this door up! Photo credit: Deb Cohen

A bright blue pot, a variety of pumpkins and a music note for a door knocker really “jazz” this door up! Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The easy formula for dressing up a basic door is a wreath or door knocker, one or two pots with flowers and a welcome mat. One of these elements looks nice but is still a little sparse, two is great but with all three you have a home run!

Like anything, when purchasing items like wreaths, door knockers and pots you will find a wide range of prices. You can invest in something more expensive like a brass door knocker, or buy a wreath from Target. Either way, the end result will make you happy as you return home every day.

An elaborate fall wreath, mums in bushel baskets and a collection of pumpkins look great with this burgundy door. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

An elaborate fall wreath, mums in bushel baskets and a collection of pumpkins look great with this burgundy door. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

If you want to take your door game up a notch, there are a number of ways to do that by adding or subtracting from the basic formula.

Take house numbers as an example. The blue house #62 up above has standard house numbers. However, in the next photo, house #32, the numbers are made in a classic French style on enameled blue tin.

Placement of house numbers can be interesting as well. #71 above has the standard placement to the right of the front door. #62 has its number above the front door, and #32 has center left. In the feature photo, the house number is on the mailbox – love that idea!

A classic red front door with brass accents and harlequin door mat brightens up this colonial. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

A classic red front door with brass accents and harlequin door mat brightens up this colonial. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The example above has two of the three formula elements with a wreath and a door mat. However this door has what most doors don’t – amazing color! There is nothing quite like a bright red door on a white colonial. It’s a striking look.

The brass sunflower door knocker is a great touch along with the brass light fixture and door handle. And notice the matching sunflower brass doorbell! I love the harlequin door mat, and although the wreath looks great the door would look just fine without it as well.

The door of this house is charming on its own with the stonework detail around it. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The door of this house is charming on its own with the stonework detail around it. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

While most homes have what I would consider “ordinary” doors for New England (such as #71 above) we are lucky in West Hartford to have a number of unique doorways. When you have a door with unique architectural style, such as #22 above, covering it is almost a shame.

The above door has that little circle window and the black iron work straps across it which are features you wouldn’t want to hide. The door in the feature photo is similar, but the small, simple wreath accents it perfectly.

The bright blue pots really stand out and add some interest to this entry. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The bright blue pots really stand out and add some interest to this entry. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Mailboxes, light fixtures and door handles are other ways to make your entry pop. There are endless mix-and-match opportunities and different looks for different seasons. That could seem overwhelming to some, but if you stick to the wreath + pots + welcome mat formula you can’t go wrong!

Your front door deserves the extra attention. It is the focal point of your home and the first thing people notice when they come to visit. In the end, how your front door is dressed really isn’t for you – it’s for your friends, family and neighbors.

Dress up your front door and see what happens. My guess is that you will inspire one of your neighbors. It’s contagious!

Deb Cohen of West Hartford started The Front Door Project in the summer of 2014 as a way to motivate herself to get outside, exercise and pay more attention to her surroundings. She began photographing homes with a primary focus on the front door, which is a welcoming focal point. Social media provided the means to share the photographs and a ready audience to follow along, and her new-found interest soon led to exploring other local area towns in my free time. The “project” has led to deeper interests in architecture, local history and historic preservation and came at a time in Deb’s life when she needed some inspiration. Please join Deb as she continues to share her everyday travels and explorations of other towns and places! You can find her other posts at www.thefrontdoorproject.com.

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