Front and centre for little improvements
Brits generally ignore their home’s exterior for more than eight years, while a neglectful 20% haven’t decorated for more than 15, according to a survey. So who better than TV property expert George Clarke to give us some tips for a late summer spruce up?
1“Your front door is the face of your home – it’s the first thing people see, so don’t follow the crowd, design your own look and really go to town,” urges the architect, presenter of Channel 4’s George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and ambassador for composite door brand, Truedor.
“With your front door, you have more freedom to express yourself, perhaps picking a colour you wouldn’t normally choose for your interior.
“Changing the front door is a quick win, but a real game changer in terms of how people perceive you and your home.”
“If you’re feeling adventurous, go for strong, bright colours, but choose a shade that complements your own personal style and the rest of your house.
“If you’re not feeling brave, black’s always a safe bet, or opt for darker shades of blue, plum and green, which will still make a design statement.”
Truedor, whose bespoke doors start from £700, identifies the top colours trending for front doors this year.
For traditional settings: jet black, steel blue, pine green and crisp white. And for contemporary homes: bright yellow, cobalt blue and purple.
Pastels are having a moment too, with shades such as primrose yellow, duck egg blue and light violet.
2Symmetry and simplicity at the front of a house is always a good idea.
Consider positioning plants or tubs in equal number on each side for entrance impact.
Outdoor lights also generally look better in pairs.
“Highlighting your home’s best features can only enhance it’s appearance – it’s rather like make-up for the home,” says Sally Storey, design director at John Cullen Lighting.
“Set a scene with lighting by layering different effects using different fittings.
“A lantern either side of a door conjures a warm, welcoming effect, while a hanging lantern is practical for a porch. Fit a dimmer switch so you can subtly alter light levels.
“Create another layer of light by using Lucca uplights – £110 each – for door surrounds, to focus on architectural features, or light steps.”
3Keep doors, pathways, steps and open porches free from dust, dirt and other debris, and if you have a front doormat, make sure it’s smart and clean.
Disguise recycling and refuse bins in a small shed or shelter if possible. Flowers, shrubs, hanging baskets and window boxes can really lift the entrance to a home, especially if they complement the colour and style of the front door.
5Invest in good quality door accessories, such as letterboxes, doorknobs and knockers, and try to ensure door furniture is in keeping with the style and age of your property.
And don’t forget a fresh lick of paint.
“With the average homeowner living in their property for 21 years, many simply ‘forget’ over time to maintain their home, especially on the outside, because our major focus is on the interior,” says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux Weathershield.
“Do your research before deciding on an exterior decor scheme. Take inspiration from neighbours’ homes and check out images on Pinterest and Instagram.
“Take a copy of your favourite image and use the colour picking tool on the Dulux Visualizer App to find a nearest match to the exterior finish you want. Bear in mind colours look different at different times of the day, depending on the light and whether the property is north or south-facing. Buy a tester pot before committing.”
Left, green miniature faux boxwood, £35, from the French furniture boutique Sweetpea and Willow; above from left, the Rembrandt door, in purple; Cezanne door, in Chartwell Green; Matisse door, in zinc yellow, all from the Traditional range; Turner door, in magenta, from the Cottage range; Mondrian door, in middle sky blue, all available from the Contemporary range at Truedor; right, galvanised steel bucket tub, £55, available from Garden Trading
Increase the value and appeal of your home with an external revamp; right, Aslan brass door knocker, £15.99, available online at Dowsing and Reynolds – www.dowsingandreynolds.com