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Front Entries

A house's front door and the decoration around it give visitors a strong sense of the building's style. Take a look at this interesting collection of architectural first impressions.

Arched Shutters

Photo by Leah Vinluan

The front door of any house says volumes about its style—and the tastes of its occupants.

With its twin sconces, urns, and half-moon shutters, this arched doorway is a study in symmetry—with one exception: one panel of the six-panel door is glazed to create a clever peephole. Limestone voussoirs—wedge-shaped stones that form the arch—anchored by a prominent keystone provide depth to the portal, which is counterbalanced by the cheery red door.

Tudor Arch

Photo by Leah Vinluan

Alternating smooth and roughly cut quoins topped by a hood mold frame this masonry doorway. The wood-panel door with wrought-iron scrolled strap hinges tucked within the entryway echoes the pointed arch.

Elliptical Fanlight

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Leaded sidelights, window, and fanlight brighten an otherwise dark wooden door. The broad arch of the doorframe contrasts the steeply gabled entrance and vertical lines of the Tudor Revival house's half-timbering.

Cottage Dutch Door

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A tongue-and-groove Dutch door, painted an earthy shade of teal, is a perfect complement to a stone cottage—complete with vine-like scrolled strap hinges.

Ornate Ironwork

Photo by Nancy Andrews

An enclosed pentagon-shaped portico makes for a dramatic, formal entry, with a ornate iron balustrade and security gate. Arched windows echo the wheel window in the gabled facade.

Gothic Gable

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A Gothic-style gable is set into a corner of a stone house, changing the perspective of the entry. Red trim highlights the way the collar board and Celtic-cross cut-out are the mirror silhouette of the door's top lights.

Mission-Style

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Simple unadorned archways characterize this Mission-style entryway.

Recessed Arch

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A wooden screen door becomes the focal point of a masonry house's front door, its clean lines contrasting with the facade of random-coursed stone and stucco. The quatrefoil on the screen door's bottom panel works well with the house's half-timbering.

Mediterranean Surround

Photo by Nancy Andrews

The intricately woven terra cotta panels framing the pointed bring a Mediterranean feel to this entry. The five-light double doors are repeated in the twin balcony doors, which echo the curves in the tiled arch.

Bedecked with Roses

Photo by Nancy Andrews

This bracketed gable overhang provides a perfect place to hang plants. A simple trellis with climbing roses to add color and interest to an otherwise plain door.

Georgian Elegance

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A broken pediment—also known as a swan's neck—and fluted pilasters create an elegant entryway. The four-panel door, which has a six-light window, is understated by comparison.

Bay Window

Photo by Nancy Andrews

An unusual two-sided bay window plays off the triangular shape of the steeply arched gable. The casement windows, with their many rectangular lights, echo the double wooden doors. Twin sconces and bushes add to the symmetry.

Iron-Clad

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Security as haute design: Wrought-iron gates are crafted with a potted urn pattern and Greek key border. The effect both enhances the entry and protects the double doors with glass panels. Above the lintel, a tympanum set within a pointed arch contains the address and a light fixture.

Medieval Balconet

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A Tudor arch frames a recessed panel front door—both painted the same neutral shade of green to unify the design. The arch points toward a quatrefoil pattern wrought-iron balconet, also painted green, that serves no real purpose other than decorative—a typically Victorian-era juxtaposition of differing colors and textures.

Spanish Colonial Revival

Photo by Nancy Andrews

The arched doorway of this white stucco house leads to a covered porch, which also has a slightly arched window opening through which you can see arched wooden glazed double doors. The red-tiled roof, window sill, and steps provide accent color to the simple architectural lines.

Paint and Decoration

Photo by Nancy Andrews

This entryway borrows from several architectural traditions: The bracketed arched overhang and shingles are Italianate, while the raised panel door with recessed molding and oversized sidelights are Colonial Revival. But the elements tie together thanks in part to the bold use of forest green accent paint on the trim.

A Study in Simplicity

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A simple recessed-panel door with three lights across the top is framed by equally simple brickwork. Vertically placed stretchers form a lintel on top while the irregularly coursed headers and stretchers along the sides serve as symmetrical "drapes." Note the further understated house number and light fixture.