How to Dress Up Your Doorstep

Photography courtesy of Frank Neely Design.

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so when welcoming guests to your home, a thoughtfully composed front doorstep can set the tone for the rest of their experience. Spring is an excellent time to reconsider your entryway, so to assist those who might be thinking of embarking on a refresh, we asked three experts for advice on how to beautify, enliven, and elevate this important exterior space. Here, they share recommendations on everything from selecting a door to planters that will stand the test of time. To find a home expert or store near you, browse The Scout Guide Directory.

Utilize natural materials. To maximize curb appeal, Frank Neely of Frank G Neely Design Associates in Atlanta, Georgia, always gravitates toward natural materials. In the image above, heavy limestone steps, spindly ironwork, a salvaged lead roof, and hardwood door add warmth and character to a classic entrance thanks to their texture, patina, and substance.

Allow your front porch to be an extension of your home’s style. When considering your front doorstep, take a cue from your interior decor and extend that onto your porch or stoop, advise Britt Herrera and Jess Lowrey, co-owners of Spruce Design in Denver, Colorado. They add that decorative touches like lanterns and pillows will make this space much more welcoming, and when the style is borrowed from your interiors, it will create a cohesive look for your entire home.

Invest in a custom door. While smaller details certainly matter, your actual front door is a key factor, and should be high-quality, says Neely. “It’s the one piece in your home guests are certain to interact with. They will feel the weight of the door, touch the hardware, hear the thud of its heft when it closes.” He recommends investing in a custom door, which, while not a small expense, can elevate the value of your home by as much as 6%, making it a potentially worthwhile investment.

Ground your space with landscaping. In conjunction with the other elements mentioned above, well thought out landscaping will complete the look and create a truly elevated entrance, says Neely. “The ultimate goal is to make the landscaping look like it’s an incorporated design component, not an afterthought,” he explains. The landscaping work featured above was done by Atlanta, Georgia-based Floralis Garden Design, and utilized foundation creeping fig to soften the front steps, while sculpted boxwoods add interest without stealing the show.

Photography courtesy of Monte Cristo Ironworks.

Consider a more modern door style. For those seeking an update or an element of the unexpected, creating an opening for a single, larger door instantly imparts a more modern feel. Dustin Chilcoat, owner of Monte Cristo Ironworks in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, says that while this type of door is traditionally used in more modern homes, it can be adapted to add a wow factor at any abode. “When you work with a company like ours, we don’t just replace the door, we offer solutions to make it look like the house was built around the door,” he says.

Add a refreshing juxtaposition. If you love the look of a modern door but are worried it being too statement-making, there are tricks to incorporating it into the overall look, such as by softening the appearance with the strategic use of planters. “The raw beauty and wabi sabi feel of pottery can help make a door often perceived as modern feel both current and timeless,” Chilcoat explains. As illustrated in the image above, you don’t necessarily have to add greenery, as certain planters can stand on their own, but adding in plants is always an option.

Photography courtesy of Spruce.

Embrace the power of potted plants. Perhaps the easiest way to elevate your front door space is to add plants, according to Herrera and Lowrey. “We love potting anything from low-maintenance greenery to fragrant flowers and fresh herbs,” they note. Even when composed of the simplest elements, full and flowing pots will create a beautiful, fresh, and welcoming first impression.

Choose greenery that will thrive in your climate. Set yourself up for success by sourcing from local nurseries whenever possible to get plants that will thrive in your environment. For example, the Spruce Design team based in Denver favors boxwoods in the warmer months and mums in the fall. Potted trees are also unexpected and can truly be beautiful on a front porch. Talk to your local experts about what you’re trying to achieve, and ask them to recommend options that will best suit your space and lifestyle.

When in doubt, go with a classic vessel. Herrera and Lowrey recommend grouping two or three pots together to easily (and cost-effectively) make a big statement. For the look and versatility, classic terra cotta pots are their top choice, and they can easily be painted or lime-washed to match the aesthetic of your home. Another popular choice if you have a porch are lined, all-weather hanging baskets. These timeless vessels are easy to work with and can seamlessly translate throughout the seasons.

TSG Tip 415 from Britt Herrera and Jess Lowrey, co-owners of Spruce Design in Denver, Colorado; Frank Neely, of Frank G Neely Design Associates in Atlanta, Georgia; and Dustin Chilcoat, owner of Monte Cristo Ironworks in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Spruce Design is featured in The Scout Guide Denver. Frank G Neely Design Associates is featured in The Scout Guide Atlanta. Monte Cristo Ironworks is featured in The Scout Guide Oklahoma City.