15 Sep 2014
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First Impressions Count When it Comes to Home Sweet Home

Does your entryway say 'welcome home?' These design tips can help create cheerful greetings.

From your driveway to your walkway to your front door, there are several eye-catching ways to welcome guests, family, and, heck, even yourself, in style.

I went the Irish route when sprucing up my entryway. If you’ve been to Dublin, you’ve seen the renowned “doors of Dublin,” which pop with pretty and unique colors. I think the Irish would approve of my front door, which is a bright blue, as are my shutters.

On a recent trip to Ireland, our guide told us with a wink that legend has it that residents paint their doors a unique color so they can immediately recognize their home when they’ve had one too many pints of Guinness at the local pub.

Others told me that actually the Irish tend to paint their doors in pretty colors due to the large amount of Ireland’s overcast days. The doors (and often shutters, even on shops and businesses) shout with delightful hues that range from cherry red to kelly green (of course) to cerulean blue.

A stunning stoop starts with a great front door, said John Kline of Grosse Pointe, who runs John Kline Color Design and has refinished and refined doors all around the nation.

“One of the most important things when designing an exterior look is door color and how it corresponds or complements existing elements,” Kline said. Although this may sound obvious to many, Kline notes that more often than not homeowners choose a color swatch they love only to bring it home, apply it and then wonder, what were they thinking?

“Colors change depending on light," Kline explained, "and how surrounding colors reflect on them, and how the color reflects on the color itself.”

Homeowner JoAnn Murtland of Farmington Hills likes to welcome guests to her home of stone before they even see the door.

“I’m a lover of blue and right now have blue, purple and white pansies in pots outside and leading up to my front door,” Murtland said. She complements her four pansy-filled ceramic pots (from , some are blue, some a slate-gray) with metal chairs in white with mosaic seats, blue-and purple solar torches along the driveway and a little table on the porch from in Farmington.

Here are some additional tips for sprucing up your home’s first-impressions:

  • Be color smart: “I see a lot of houses with the wrong color, especially with greys and browns,” Kline said. “These are tertiary colors (those that contain a significant amount of all three primary colors). When you have the proper colors that correspond and or complement existing elements, like stone or brick colors, you will end up with an elegant and visually pleasing exterior.”
  • Get on the Grain Train: One of Kline’s favorite techniques is to “wood grain” a front door. “You can strip and stain a door, or you can paint it to look like any kind of wood you choose,” he explained. “Wood-graining provides you with more options and ultimate control over color, contrast and technique.”
  • Accent on style: “Another option is to use an accent color on the door that complements the rest of the house,” Kline said. “Or, paint a door to look like wrought iron or different metal that has been exposed to the elements.”
  • Beyond the door: Once you get the door right, add more complementary accents, including, perhaps, a new doormat, door numbers, a new mail drop, pathway lanterns or solar lights, a new doorknob (antiqued are unique), planters with flowers that enhance the color scheme. Check out a color wheel; if your shutters and door are blue, try blue's complement in a flower pot, like bright orange ... marigolds, anyone?
  • Stay a while: Nothing says “sit back and enjoy the lazy hazy days of summer” more than wicker furniture. The classic styling continues to be popular, but is now super affordable, thanks to wicker look-alikes, including s’ natural-look synthetic rattan woven over a sturdy metal frame. Sized for patios or porches and stackable for easy storage, they’re not only pretty, but practical, too.
  • Show your personality: Like the beach? Have fun with a unique, themed doormat such as those at . “The Mohawk Relaxed Beach Doormat, for example, will make your guests will feel like they're stepping into a tropical paradise, thanks to its relaxing beach scene,” said Rachael Risinger, Bed Bath & Beyond’s public relations manager. Into birds or unusual prints? You’ll like Pier 1 Import's Damask Print Doormat and Love Birds Doormat.
  • Door do-over: Is it time for a new door? Take a good look at yours and check for wear and tear. A wide variety of styles are available at home improvement stores such as Lowe’s and .

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