“Curb appeal” — it’s more than a buzzword used by real estate agents. How your home looks from the street, and the first impression it makes on visitors, can say a lot about the home’s occupants — you!

If you’re thinking of updating your interior decor, take the opportunity to spruce up the front door and entry way as well. It’s as good as putting out a Welcome sign! And here are 6 quick tips to get those “decorating juices” a-flowing:

  1. Your front door sets the tone for the rest of your home. Paint it a contrasting color to set it apart from the rest of the exterior (sage green is especially lovely with brick, for example), and then use the same color as an accent in your front hallway, to create a visual invitation.
  2. Express yourself with a decorative focal point beside the front door, if you’ve got a large step or veranda. Never mind what the neighbours are doing! This is the perfect place to use your imagination and creativity. My antique enamel chamber-pot, overflowing with bold fuschia-pink petunias, means that my guests enter laughing — and we always have a topic of conversation to start the visit!
  3. No room on the front step? Decorate the front door instead. A plain grapevine wreath can be decorated with anything from dried flowers and ribbons to pine cones and shiny baubles, and its whole look can be changed on a whim to reflect special occasions and holidays.
  4. Doors with decorative glass panels are beautiful by themselves, so leave them be and look for a nearby window in which to display a bright suncatcher, a pot of geraniums in bloom, or an unusual art object to catch the eye. One memorable old house I know has carried its interior theme of “funky Victorian” out into the porch where a stuffed owl mounts a look-out — sporting a series of little hats that are changed to match the season.
  5. Or go for one spectacular piece of garden art. A friend’s front lawn boasts a stunning iron dragon sculpture, created by a local craftsman, which welcomes guests with a big toothy grin as they walk up the front path.
  6. Landscape lighting is difficult to pull off successfully without professional help, but do consider perking up your outdoor lighting with a single solar-powered lamp near the base of your front steps. It will help guide visitors safely to your door, and adds a little extra note of warm welcome.

As you go about your daily business, take a look at the fronts of other homes and make a mental note of what paint colors and decorative accents appeal to you. Then try a few ideas out at home, to find the style that suits you best. Just think — for the price of a can of paint or a yard-sale treasure, your home can have a mini-makeover every month!

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