The entrance to your home is often its public face, communicating your sense of style to the world. It’s also a transition space that can be either inviting or forbidding — a source of pleasure or frustration.
“I think of it as an outdoor room, and it’s the first room you come into contact with, which sets the stage for everything you’re going to experience in the house,” said Scott J. Sottile, a partner at Ferguson & Shamamian Architects, a New York-based firm whose latest book, “Collaborations: Architecture, Interiors, Landscapes,” will be published next month.
So getting the design right, Mr. Sottile said, is “incredibly important.”
The front entrance is also a place where a few inexpensive changes can boost a home’s overall value. “In a very direct way, we think curb appeal increases property values,” said Prentis Hale, a principal at the Seattle-based architecture firm Shed. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics estimated that curb appeal alone could account for up to 7 percent of a home’s sale price.
So it’s nice to have an attractive front entrance, but there’s also a strong financial incentive. Mr. Hale and other architects and designers offered some advice about how to proceed.
Philip Gorrivan, an interior designer based in New York, painted the door to his London townhouse high-gloss black to make it stand out. “I love a lacquered door,” Mr. Gorrivan said. “It adds a little personality.”
If you’re feeling more ambitious and have a front porch, consider painting the ceiling. It could be a traditional light blue, long popular in Southern states like South Carolina and Georgia, or something unexpected, like a light yellow, said Lindsay Anyon Brier, the founder of Anyon Interior Design in San Francisco.
But choose “a really subtle shade,” Ms. Brier advised, “so there’s just a little pop of color.”
Beth Webb, an interior designer based in Atlanta. “Exterior lighting is so incredibly pivotal. You want that soft glow.”
A large hanging lantern is a good way to provide general illumination while making a statement, Ms. Webb said, as is a pair of wall-mounted lanterns.
When choosing decorative fixtures like that, think carefully about scale. Fixtures that look big in a store, or inside your home, can sometimes appear diminutive when you move them outside. Depending on the size of the house, bigger is often better.