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4 Easy Steps to Choosing a New Main Door Design

Blue front door with no windows
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First impressions are everything. This doesn’t just hold true when meeting new people for the first time; your home makes a first impression too. Whether it’s guests for a dinner party, visiting family, friends, or potential buyers, your home’s curb appeal leaves a lasting impression. Does your home impress, or lack luster? Your home’s main door design can play a major role in this.

From landscaping, to siding, paint and lighting, there are many things that can be done to make your home’s entrance more eye-catching. But few are more important than the front door itself. Main door design can really tie together other exterior features, or even give a nod to what guests can expect when they step inside. Styles can range from subtle to bold, and be functional or form-focused.

Feeling bold? Add a pop of color to your home by choosing a contrasting front door.

So Where Do You Start?

Choosing the perfect main door design can be broken down into 4 bite-sized steps:

  1. Choose the size and type of door.
  2. Choose the material.
  3. Choose the color.
  4. Choose the hardware.

Let’s go through these in detail one by one.

Chose the size and type of door.

If you are replacing an existing door, the size will likely match what you already have in place. It may be possible to expand the opening to accommodate a larger door, but a contractor would need to be consulted to determine whether or not it is feasible. If the home is new construction, you may have more freedom to choose a size of your liking, but the architect will need to be made aware in case other elements needs to be adjusted.

Some homeowners with more space opt for a double-door, which can add an impressive look. Others choose to add glass panels around the door for a unique look. This is where the type of door comes into play. Some opt for solid doors, while others opt for doors that are mostly glass with just a small outside frame. The possibilities are nearly endless. Whatever style you choose, an installation company should be able to do an onsite visit to determine the exact measurements.

Glass and decorative caming (metal bars in the glass) can add a unique look to your home’s front door.

Choose the material.

Doors typically are made out of wood, fiberglass, aluminum, or vinyl. Each material has its pros and cons. Wood usually provides the most elegant appearance, but is also the most expensive and requires the most upkeep. Vinyl is a popular choice due to its variety of finishes, durability and cost. To determine which material is the best choice for your taste, read our previous blog about door materials.

Wood doors are beautiful, but can require more maintenance than material other options.

Choose the color.

This can be one of the most important and visual decisions. Do you go with a natural wood finish? Or do you go with a bold, contrasting color? Wood doors can be stained to keep the natural grain, but bring out color. Just about all materials can be painted. Some materials such as vinyl are actually dyed during the manufacturing process. Others such as aluminum can be powdercoated for a durable, long-lasting finish. No matter what your vision, you’ll have nearly endless possibilities and are sure to find something.

There’s a color and a finish to match every taste.

Choose the hardware.

Choosing hardware for a door is like picking out accessories for an outfit. The hardware may be an afterthought for most people, but it can make or break a look. Picking the right hardware for your door can take it from good to great. Door hardware consists of the hinges, locks, handles, and latches.

There are many different styles of handles from a simple knob, to a more elegant sweeping handle. Deadbolts are also a popular option on front doors for added security. These come in a variety of styles too. And with the advent of smarthome technology, they’ve become a bit more advanced too. Want a built-in camera to see who’s ringing your door bell? Or the ability to unlock the door for guests using your smartphone? That’s an option.

Door hardware comes in a variety of finishes from polished, to brushed, and a few points in between. Colors can range from gold, silver, bronze, copper, nickel, black, white, and even custom pallets.

Hardware can be subtle and sleek, ornate, or somewhere in between to compliment any style of door.

The Next Steps in Purchasing a New Door

So now you know the steps for picking out a new door, but where do you really start? There are so many options out there. A good first step for gathering ideas is to walk or drive around local neighborhoods. This will give you a better idea of what styles you like and don’t like.

Don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your home? The Internet is a great place to start too. Apps like Pinterest allow you to look at popular designs and save the ones you like so you can go back and reference them again later on. Once you’ve narrowed down the options and have a specific combination of style, finish, color and hardware in mind, it’s probably time to make a trip to your local door dealer’s showroom. Just like with other products, there are different levels of quality and it is best to see them in person to determine cost versus fit and finish to determine the best balance for your wallet and your home’s appearance.

Start Your Search Here can help with this last step. Let us connect you with a reputable door dealer in your area who can guide you in finding the perfect new front door for your home and provide a professional, quality installation.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Daniel Snow

Daniel Snow serves as the Vice President of Operations for and is also a contributing editor. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from George Mason University and has a background in the real estate industry. After high school, Daniel even worked at a family-owned glass shop for a short period of time and is an Auto Glass Safety Council certified installer. In his free time, Daniel enjoys being outdoors, especially around the water where he can be found surfing, fishing, and boating. He has a passion for bringing old vehicles back to life and loves working with his hands to restore cars, boats, and motorcycles. Find out more about Daniel on Linkedin.

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13 Responses

  1. I’ve been wanting to find a replacement door for my home, and I think that being able to read your article will be really helpful for us in that process! I think that you talking about being able to choose the right material for a door replacement is key, and something that we’d have to talk about. I’m going to have to look for some good options for replacement doors, and see if we could find some good options for us! Thanks for the info!

  2. I like that you mentioned that a double door can add an impressive look. I agree that a double door can make a home seem bigger and more elegant. My wife and I want to have our doorway replaced, and we are trying to decide what we want to do. A double door could be really cool, I will have to look into builders and see if anybody does custom doors.

  3. Thanks for the interesting read about designing a main door. You mentioned that there could be a lot of different handle styles, and I’m interested to learn more about what these designs could be. It seems like it could be beneficial to research and see a lot of variety, especially if it can help you know what kind of handle you will want or what handle could fit in with your design.

  4. You were right when you said that each material has their own pros and cons, so it’d best to research the possible materials and decide which was best prior to choosing. I will make sure to let my parents know about that because they were the ones who plan to get the front entry door replaced. Apparently, my cousins were coming over for a visit next month and they want the place perfect before they arrive. They haven’t even decided on the frame yet, so I guess that’s one thing that they need to think about. Thanks.

  5. Front doors can make a first impression on people visiting. I agree that double doors can add an impressive look. They tend to stand out more. Color is also very important to take into consideration. I think this is the thing that people will notice the most, so you should go with something that looks nice, yet stands out.

  6. Thanks for the tip about considering the size and type of a door first. It would be good to consider this because it would show that it will match the rest of your home. My husband and I need a new front door, so we’ll have to consider the size and type.

  7. It really helped when you said that using a powder coated finish could extend the lifespan of an aluminum door. My uncle has been wanting to replace his doors because he said that it was the same door since he was a toddler. It appears that I have found this article for a reason. Thanks for the useful information!

  8. A friend of mine is remodeling her house and is going to replace her front door. She’s asked for my input because she doesn’t really know where to start. I appreciate that this article lists all the decisions to make, like size, material, color, and hardware.

  9. Thanks for the advice about explaining the materials involved with a front door. It would make sense to find something that is secure and also good looking. My husband and I are looking for a new door, so we’ll have to check the materials first.

  10. Thanks or pointing out how vinyl doors offer outstanding durability and aesthetic qualities. Should our old main door give up on us, I definitely want something that can withstand the elements and daily use with ease. That way, I can be sure that we will be enjoying our investment for a long time. It certainly looks like a vinyl door will be an enticing option.

  11. I recently bought a home and I am planning to replace the front door so that I can really make the house feel like my own and so it fits the modern style that I want to create. It makes a lot of sense that you say double doors are a great way to create a fun and impressive look and this would be a great way to make it the centerpiece of my home. Also, I appreciate that you say to think about the different materials that are available. The fact that vinyl comes in so many styles and colors and is durable so it will last for many years to come would make it a great choice.

  12. Thank you for explaining that an installation company can figure out the exact measurements with an onsite visit. My friend was talking about wanting to replace her door, but not really knowing where to start. I think having some consultation or visit from an installation company would be a great place to start for her based off of this.

  13. I ended up getting a black front door (which was my first choice), and it looks great. It’s pretty much the same color as the window trim, so it blends in, but also helps bring some contrast to the house. I would also choose a warm undertone, such as yellow or orange. This will help to balance out the cool street tones. I have a book of color combinations from Sanzo Wada (japanese artist). Called “Dictionary of color combinations”, I don’t know if it’s still on sale (it’s pretty old). The book gives a great inspiration, as he wasn’t focusing on contrast or complementaries to create beautiful palettes. The primary aim was to convey the message, emotions and meaning. I’m in love with his combos. There is an interactive version of those color –
    But nothing really goes into comparison with the printed version

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