How to make this front entry better?

Jodi Coburn
April 11, 2012
We are getting new siding and a new roof but this street level door is driving me nuts. We don't really have alot of funds to work with so how do I make this look better? We have all new replacement windows and a new doors. I will be painting the front door to match the new house colors which are not even picked out yet. I do have some landscaping done in the front but I really dislike the door on the street

Comments (47)

  • teb1
    Maybe add flowering shrubs along the front, a bright colored door and nice storm door, with unique door numbers handleset and kick plate and mail box that adds to the overall look. Uniform window coverings and plant boxes would also work. Come back with after photo
  • PRO
    Hi Jodi, the existing greenish color is quite unique, I would tint it a shade to the blue side, and you can enhance the windows by painting a different color trim such as brown to compliment the siding. I would also paint the foundation blocks to a solid dark grey color. A new storm door is a definite must, and like the previous comment, some landscaping will help as well.

    Good Luck.
  • Related Discussions

    Front Door Dilemma- How to make an inviting entrance


    Comments (15)
    How about a carport/pergola over the cement area in front of the door? Add vining plants, pavers and a chandelier and you may never want to leave it. It would add interest to the whole house and create a private cozy entry. Also, If you painted your eaves a darker color .. something that blends with the brick chimney, you will ground the house and give it a more interesting facade. I would then either step up or down on color for the window trim and the front door.
    ...See More

    How to make the front entrance more welcoming? !


    Comments (8)
    Suggest you create a pathway from the street to the doorway, rather than require your guests to use the driveway. I think your neighbor's landscaping is attractive, but I'm not sure about the fenced-off patio -- not very neighborly. If you have a private backyard, I'd vote for a more open patio area in front to make it more welcoming. If you have young kids and/or pets, maybe a lower, less opaque fence. And yes, move the tree. It will get too big for that space in a few years.
    ...See More

    How do I make a single front entry door look bigger?


    Comments (2)
    This will be the door.
    ...See More

    Front door entry better?


    Comments (6)
    I think that I would paint that front wall área that protrudes forward, that is…………the walls that surround the front door and front upstairs window in a darker shade of grey and also a cooler shade of grey and then paint the molding that surrounds all the gllass transom windows either in a white or in a stain to match the front door stain. If you distress that door slightly it will take on a more modern approach. Also try getting a modern door knocker for it. Perhaps an extra bold wrought iron hammered ring or something to that effect. If you want to use burshed nickel then thats great but then you will need to change out those house numbers and door's hardware. You can also try adding nailheads or CLAVOS in the dark iron finish to surround the door panels which makes for a fantastically stylish upgrade which you can do yourself on a Sunday afternoon without having to change the door stain. I would add some very modern elongated tubular lamps to the outside walls where that frame the front door………………You may have to reposición the house numbers then…..but it will add light and great impact. And lastly add more plantees to that front approach, plus an exterior rug to add interest and glamour to that área. Overall…………..the HOuse looks terrrific! HOuse MOuse, Miriam Mainieri Miami
    ...See More
  • Jodi Coburn
    The green is asphalt shingle siding and will be covered up with new siding but having the same color on porch makes a huge difference already!! I have replaced the front door with a steel entry door but we will be adding a screen door. Most of the work is being done through a grant so our choices will be limited.
    I am hoping to get a contrasting color on the new window trim but since we had the trim redone when we bought the place in white that might not be an option with the grant.

  • Jo Jo Baldwin
    Is the side entrace white vinyl siding? Can it be primed and painted to match house.There are some beautiful house numbers available on internet. House is looking nice.
  • Bond Girl
    In Houzz, search the pics for "front door overhangs." Putting something over the door will make it look taller, not so low. I realize you don't have a lot of space between the door and window, and you have the detail in the roofline. The overhang could mirror the angle of that detail. There is a picture in Houzz from Kevin Quilan that might work well. You have room on the second-story windows for shutters, and that will make them feel grander. I would paint the front door something bright, and paint the side door something muted (same or slightly darker shade as new siding color), so it is obvious which is the front door. I'd also move your mailbox to the other side of the door to help balance the spacing of the door.
  • Christine W
    Think about putting a long window box all along those front windows and keep them planted. Paint the cinderblocks on the bottom of the house. You show 2 doors at street level so I am not sure if it is the one opened (with stairs) or the screen door one you are referring to. But if you need only one entrance I would cancel out the screen door one and dig up the grass along the front and maybe put pavers or a nice bluestone pathway that wraps the entire front and that leads around to the other opening with the stairs. Put a nicer mailbox and if that is your yard on the side then get some adirondack chairs in a bold color like robins egg blue or bright yellow and create little areas in the yard so that you have a more expansive indoor/outdoor feel to the entire space. And girl... pray for sun. The church behind you should be able to help with that one. Have fun and make it your and please post b4 & after shots.
  • Bond Girl
    Another way to make that door seem taller, and less at street level, a transom above.
  • Jodi Coburn
    This photo is before the new siding and roof...we are planning on replacing the side porch siding to match whatever color we end up choosing. We are leaning toward a shade of green, nothing pastel. We have replaced the mailbox but it is still in the same place since it dumps the mail into an inside bin so we do not have to go outside and get the mail. It is white but will be painted to blend in with the siding.

    I actually dislike both doors since they sit at street level and the stairs are enclosed inside the porches. I was speaking about the front door on the left side of the picture next to the mailbox though. I think it is a weird design and leaves too much space above the doors. Without any overhang it looks funny. We talked about extending the roof with the eagle to extend over the door a bit but not sure we have the time to do that before the roof and siding work begins on the house. We could also remove that 4th window and that would center the door in the space better. The sidewalk already extends from one door to the other but it is boring concrete. The upgrade to nicer pavers or something would have to be put off a bit but I was thinking of extending the pavers out (getting rid of that little grassy rectangle) and surrounding it with some wrought iron or small picket fencing to give the idea of a porch if we couldn't extend the triangular portion of the roof...maybe do both?

    I should give you a more recent picture of the house now with the little landscaping it has and the changes since we bought it. This is the photo we took before we actually moved in.
  • Jodi Coburn
    We talked about adding a transom! Thanks for reminding me of that option!
  • shead
    Can you extend the siding down a little bit? I think because the cinderblock/siding transitional line hits the doorway pretty high up, it makes the door appear even more ackward. It appears that you could come down at least two more runs of siding. Then paint the cinder blocks and siding the same color.

    Also, adding a transom, or even better, a door overhang (think portico without columns), that would break up the "dead space" above the door.

    Lastly, landscaping along the front will help "hide" the transition line and make it appear less obvious as well.
  • Jodi Coburn
    Extending the siding down is brilliant! Will have to talk to the contractors as they come through. We have to have six bids on the project for the grant. I just cut and pasted the over hang mentioned on the front of the house and liked it...maybe just a portico would be more doable and not infringe on front so much. We don't have much space to work with before we are on the sidewalk!
  • PRO
    Airoom Architects-Builders-Remodelers
    Definately eliminate the fourth window next to the door. When you have the siding done it can easily be covered up. Side the whole house the same color, but use a contrasting color for the corner boards, a white or cream would look nice. Then put a flat piece of trim on the left of the door, equidistant from the corner board to the door on the other side. This will make it look like the plane with the front door in it is bumped out a little and break it away from the windows. Add some white pilasters to the sides of your front door, and a nice piece of trim above, like a decorative mantle. If you can add a transom, go for it. (Here's a photo that's close, but not exactly what I'm thinking of:
    New York City townhouse · More Info
  • shead
    I played around with this a tiny bit in Photoshop. I extended the siding down and added a simple door overhang, which, I think, dramatically changed the feel of the house. Definitely paint the siding a neutral color with contrasting trim (beige/cream with warm white trim). Maybe consider adding the tin to the lower roof portion as well. I'd add nice light beside the front door, run a row of colorful shrubbery under the windows, and, finally, paint the door a color that "pops".
  • Jodi Coburn
    I wish I had photoshop too...I am loving all your effort and ideas....we are getting new siding and roofing so feel free to do whatever to the colors!!It is really a blank canvas and as long as the changes can be done on a low budget DIY style before the contractors come I am game for any ideas you have!! Removing that window for example is moving up on my list in order to center the door to make it more of a focal point.
  • mmonika
    While the colors themselves aren't perferct, I like that the bottom and top are different colors. When everything is the same color, it feels bland. How about continuing to use different colors for top and bottom ? ( Same color but different shades.. or grey & green?)
    It would also be really interesting, and help to pull some height to your entry, is to use a different material for bottom porch peak entirely. Shake in another color?
    As for your door, I think you need to ditch the screen door. It is not helping in "classing" up your look.
    I think your door on street level is fine, it just needs some height next to the windows.
    I'd investigate the cost of a transom. It will require you to have to reframe this door and the cost of the transom and maybe that is too cost prohibitive right now.
    Look into a pre-fab overhang that you could install over the door way, as head9806 shows.
    Or, if you decide to go with a different material in the peak, use that same material for over the doorway right up to the peak to tie the 2 together. Then put in some nice house numbers and a light fixture in that space.
    I would definitly put in a row of sleek planters lined up under the windows with plants that reach up to the bottom of the windows.
  • Jodi Coburn
    The door is already ditched and I have a plain steel entry door that will be painted in a different color. the inside of the porch is rather unfinished so adding a transom will be easy except for the cost of the window itself. I think a trip to the local Habitat reuse store is in order.
  • shead
    If you really wanted to do the transom on the cheap, I had a decorator share a tip of hers....she created the "look" of transoms above garage doors by purchasing sheets of glass, painting the back side black and then framing around them as if they were actual windows. She said it was done VERY economically.
  • Jodi Coburn
    I was thinking maybe some glass block...or a recycled stained glass window.
  • PRO
    Shirley Bovshow
    Start by adding architectural detail to the house before tackling the landscape and plants. Raise the vertical profile of the door to make it look taller by adding a triangular pediment that mimics the gabled roof. Add a couple of pilasters or posts for dimension and to lead the eye up.

    Raise the level of the yard by constructing a raised garden planter so that the foundation of house is less exposed. Raising the levels on both sides of the walkway will make it appear to be recessed. This will give the door more prominence and make it a focal point.

    You can run a beam across the front (over the windows) and plant a vine.

    A drew a crude image but gives you idea of how I would tackle this project.
    See more of my designs at

    Shirley Bovshow
  • Jodi Coburn
    Thanks for the pic...I was trying to see what another peak below the two existing ones would look like. Thinking of putting some sort of fence or visual at the sidewalk line. We have 6 feet between the front of the house and the sidewalk. A call to the local code officer needs to be made to see how much permanent structure can actually go in front of the house and not violate city code.
  • PRO
    Shirley Bovshow
    Hi Jodi,
    Codes are tricky. You can probably get away with building a raised garden planter and then planting it with a tall hedge to avoid building a fence. This would create a courtyard effect. Place a fountain, potted plants for easy care. Sitting area.

    I would add the pediment to front door as well as to the door in the back.
    Shirley Bovshow
  • ej610
    How about doing the top section in a composite cedar shake and the bottom in a clapboard? Or the top could be a board and batten instead of the cedar shaker look. Paint the top a darker color than the bottom, and trim it all out in white. The windows could use a thicker trim to give them more presence. Maybe a simple trellis over the door will give it some depth and shouldn't cost too much
  • ej610
    Here's a picture of a trellis over a door.
  • Jodi Coburn
    I like the contrasting sidings but we are limited in what the grant can cover and what we can add.

    I am hoping to get some input from the siding company/contractor when it comes to those little architectural details like the crown over the windows.

    I think we are leaning toward things that have lots of impact but little construction. We are going to cover up that 4th window. Hubby liked the idea of a contrasting corner boards and adding one equidistant to the left to mimic the bump out on the second floor. We are going to add some bulky trim and possibly some transom or transom like feature to expand the door. Moving the mailbox to the other side then becomes a neccesity. Adding some lighting and just a simple door overhang will finish the house part.

    We have plans to fancy up the concrete walks and relocate the landscaping I have added to compliment the changes. I will post a new pic when we complete our redo!!
  • johnruskin
    Get rid of the 4th window and add light fixtures on each side of the door.
  • Bill
    Why do you have two doors? What about putting the door on the side, up at floor level and then use a small set of steps or porch to pair the two entrances. That'd leave only one entrance to dress up. Then re-space the windows along the front wall. You'd eliminate the inside steps down to the door and gain more at-level floor space. Since you're doing the roof, if you move the door you could eliminate the peaked segment of the porch roof. That'd eliminate the unmatched angle of the porch compared to the roofline.
  • Jodi Coburn
    Not sure why...unfortunately we don't have time for such a major overhaul before the grant work begins. The side porch can't be raised or it will block the door inside the porch leading to the basement. It sounds like a simple idea but will lead to a major reworking of basement access inside the house. Gotta keep it like it is and just do some cosmetic changes outside to make it look less awkward. Thinking of tying the two doors together with some sort of patio though. It will be nice to have an outdoor place to sit on the front side since the back is all fenced in now.
  • Jodi Coburn
    Work is underway and I will post the transformation when it is complete!
  • TanCalGal
    What kind of a house grant do you have? How did you find out about the house grant? Others might be interested!
  • Jodi Coburn
    It was a 'small cities' grant and it was written up in the local paper.
  • TanCalGal
    Very interesting, thanks!
  • Jodi Coburn
    Here is the almost finished product. We still have some landscaping and some masonry work on the front cement block. The weather has not cooperated here in ny so it will have to wait until spring. The entire grant took a lot longer since we had to switch contractors halfway through the job.
    Thanks for all your help!
  • victorianbungalowranch
    Well, I must say that does look a lot nicer and is in keeping with the style of the house and you had to make a lot of decisions rather quickly. Congratulations! Some landscaping and new house numbers would really finish it off and help cover up the exposed concrete block.

    Be careful to make sure the soil still slopes away from the house and don't plant too close to the foundation, or it will trap water. Also be sure to plant species that stay a certain size--I made the mistake of buying some pretty bushes that only grow to 4 ft tall, but get very wide! Fortunately I planted them where they had room to expand, but they crowded out some other plants I had. Since your foundation is so high, a slightly raised planting bed could be nice.
  • TanCalGal
    Amazing! A real Cinderella story outcome. I especially like the 3 windows on the lower left. Removing the 4th window was a great idea.
  • nevadan
    The problem you have now is that the windows on the left as you face the house are much too small. An arcitect can help you select windows that will look good inside and out.
  • olldcan
    Sure enjoyed reading this thread in it's entirety. Signifigant improvement Jodi, you must be pleased.
  • bdennison
    Love this transformation. It was like reading a novel going throught the whole post. Great Job.
  • Jodi Coburn
    Nevedan the problem we had was the door being on street level made everything look weird. I am hoping to add some window boxes underneath to lengthen them cheaply since we just replaced those windows with the largest we could afford. We didn't want to go with anything taller or longer since the floor on the inside of the porch is about even with the bottom of the siding. We had a limited amount of time and a limited cash budget, no major structural changes could be made. I think it will look great once we stone in around the door and landscape under those windows!
  • Jodi Coburn
    We made the local paper for our grant transformation. the before and after pics were part of an article about the grant!
  • PRO
    Pebble and Co. Mosaics
    A bright red door and continuing the siding all the way down to ground level will go a long way to pulling it all together. Considering the house front is so close to the sidewalk, I suggest a period style white picket fence to separate the house from the street visually and physically.
  • Jodi Coburn
    Thanks for the new suggestions but we just finished the siding and doors. There is still some stonework that will be done but we did all we could do through the grant. Next up is some landscaping. It is hard to see what we did have growing in front since it is winter now in WNY.
  • TanCalGal
    R U doing the landscape yourselves? Do you want some suggestions?
  • Jodi Coburn
    We will be, I already have some plantings there but we need to extend the walkway and move a bunch so the mailman can get to the mailbox since we had to move it over to make room for the fancy door trim. The section around the door is getting faux stonework or maybe the real thing(depending on our mason friend's opinion). I want to add things that will block the ugly block or paint it to blend better with the siding. We couldn't get it extended lower in the grant. I need to convince hubs to put in window boxes under the three windows too!
    Any suggestions would be great!
  • TanCalGal
    Let me tell you what professionals do here in SoCal. They plant the exact same evergreen shrub all along the front. It looks very attractive (& is easy to copy). Landscaping is not as fussy as it used to be. Plant easy to care for evergreen shrubs that grow well in your area. Maybe 5 on left side and 2 on right side. Here they like India Hawthorne. Not sure how high the block foundation measures, so choose an evergreen shrub that does not grow higher than the block. Nurseries often have people who can help you. If you are having decorative stone, I might not plant anything in front of the stone (why hide a beautiful feature?) or perhaps choose a lower growing shrub on each side of door-stone area.

    Along the sides weed cloth and Japanese style smooth stones are nice (Mexican River Rock is sold in Home Depot). You might have to dig down and remove some soil so the stone stays in place.
    Mediterranean Back Garden · More Info

    If there is space on the sides and you want shrubs, plant all the same along the sides. Not the same shrub as in front. Here they plant Wheeler's Pittosporum.

    If you bought several flats of Pachysandra ground cover you might not need grass in the front. Drive around various areas in your planting zone and make note of shrubs you like.
    Foundation painted same color as house might work
    Distant Island Home · More Info
  • Jodi Coburn
    I like the stone. I am going for more of a cottage garden look and trying to grow as much of my own food as possible so I am adding some more herbs and perennials. I already have two roses one all the way to the left and one on the side by the driveway. Hostas and thyme and chives are planted but need to move. I want to replace all the grass in front with plants! I have a 12 foot strip of shade to the left of the house that I need to do something with too! I do like the idea of stone and will have to look for more ways to incorporate that in my landscaping. Thanks!!
  • Sharon McLeod
    Wow! What a transformation!!!
  • TanCalGal
    Great idea for edible landscape! Borrow from library Rosalind Creasy's book: Edible Landscaping.
    Edible Landscaping, by Rosalind Creasy · More Info

    Below are some links to various gardens.

    In the center of my back yard I have a round rose garden and down one side of the house an herb garden. For the herbs: don't plant just one herb, plant 3-5 together for a better look. On the other side of the house are stones and a broken concrete path. Gardening brings much joy.

    edible landscapes

    edible garden

    cottage garden

    herb garden

    rose garden

    hosta garden

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).