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Add Privacy, Curb Appeal, & Style With a New Door

Updated on March 6, 2017
Reclaimed antique wooden and glass front doors really make an entrance.
Reclaimed antique wooden and glass front doors really make an entrance.

Door Styles and Sidelite Ideas

Sometimes we take doors for granted.

They protect us from the elements, provide privacy, and hide our clutter. But they can also add beauty and style.

Whether you're building a new home, remodeling, adding on, or simply want to add some style to your existing home, the examples below will spark some ideas.

A pop of red makes this front door a focal point on a small cottage.
A pop of red makes this front door a focal point on a small cottage.
A stained front door in an arts and crafts style on a 100+ year old cottage.
A stained front door in an arts and crafts style on a 100+ year old cottage.

Front Doors

Many of us may enter our house through the garage or a side or back door, but our front door is still the greeting for visitors to our home. We want it to stand out and have personality.

Consider searching for an old door that can be refurbished, such as the one to the right, to give your home a grand entrance. If replacing the door isn't in the cards, a fresh coat of paint in a distinguished color can really draw the eye to the front entry. Reds work great with white, grays, or blues. Choose black for a more formal look and tie it in with the shutters, lights, and gutters. Or consider a less common color— olive green, burnt orange, or sable brown to add even more interest.

Stained doors add a sense of warmth to the home and can match other wood tones on the exterior or be a complementary color that stands out.

Rain glass in the upper panels allows light to enter but blurs images to the inside.
Rain glass in the upper panels allows light to enter but blurs images to the inside.
The decorative glass in the door and side lites add interest and a bit of privacy without blocking light. Ornate beveled glass create a "picture" in the door as well as the side lights.
The decorative glass in the door and side lites add interest and a bit of privacy without blocking light. Ornate beveled glass create a "picture" in the door as well as the side lights.
Clear glass side lites covered by sheer drapes add privacy and still allow light to shine through.
Clear glass side lites covered by sheer drapes add privacy and still allow light to shine through.

For security and weather protection, the front door should ideally be solid— either solid wood or metal— but there are many options that allow for consideration of privacy and light preferences.

A solid front door might be flanked by clear glass side lights. They can be left unadorned for unobstructed views and light, covered with sheer fabric to impede the view and still allow light to filter in, or fully covered to block all views and light. The design of the glass provides some level of privacy while allowing all of the light in. There are many types of glass to choose from that add style and also create interesting light patterns inside when the sun shines through.

Door from kitchen leading to screened-in back porch.
Door from kitchen leading to screened-in back porch.

Other Exterior Doors Options

While front doors get a lot of attention, they are not the only exterior doors in a home. Oftentimes, homeowners don't realize that it can be relatively simple to add a new exterior door.

Each of the examples pictured had a need to access an exterior space that wasn't met with their current layout. Facilitate entry to courtyards, gardens, patios, and other elements that may have limited access. Sometimes there is a window where the door should be, which makes installation even easier.

When you add a door, you can also add a screened-in porch or a covered entryway to ease the transition from outside in.

Side door from master bedroom leads to private courtyard.
Side door from master bedroom leads to private courtyard.
Double doors leading to balcony from master suite.  A second floor master suite was added on. Rather than extending the room the full length of the garage below, a few feet were stolen for a private balcony accessed via French doors.
Double doors leading to balcony from master suite. A second floor master suite was added on. Rather than extending the room the full length of the garage below, a few feet were stolen for a private balcony accessed via French doors.
Instead of a gate on a fence, consider using a door instead.
Instead of a gate on a fence, consider using a door instead.
This small study saves space with a pocket door and avoids conflicting with the front door on the other side of the wall.
This small study saves space with a pocket door and avoids conflicting with the front door on the other side of the wall.

Interior Door Options

Have you ever thought about the square footage you give up in your house to allow for opening and closing of doors? Or the multitude of doors in places like bathrooms and closets, where one can't be opened until the other is closed?

Pocket doors are a great solution to regain much needed square footage as well as allow the doors to be hidden from view when not in use. In case you're not familiar with the term, a pocket door slides into the wall between the studs. It is pulled out of the wall when needed and can be locked if necessary. Since there is no need to allow for the door to swing open, floor space can be gained and they prevent the issue of several doors conflicting with each other.

Standard 6 Panel Closet Door.
Standard 6 Panel Closet Door.

There are many different options for pre-made doors on the market today. Consider the style of your home when choosing so that everything works well together. While the exterior doors don't have to match each other or the interior ones, you will want all of the interior doors to be of the same style if possible. This includes closet doors. A uniform look allows the doors to complement the style, and not compete with it.

The majority of interior doors are most commonly painted white (or the color of the trim), which is a neat, clean look. But you might also consider painting your doors black for a crisp look that stands out or even the color of the walls to allow them to blend in.

When separating rooms for sound privacy rather than visual privacy, French doors are a great option to close off a room as needed but still allow for an open feeling throughout the main rooms.

Interior French doors add privacy to a den without creating a closed-off feeling.
Interior French doors add privacy to a den without creating a closed-off feeling.
Pocket doors come in a variety of styles - like this one in the laundry room.
Pocket doors come in a variety of styles - like this one in the laundry room.

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