The front door is what takes you into a house. Welcoming, intimidating, bold, meek, or charming, the front door says a lot about the homeowner. It contributes to a home’s curb appeal and is part of the first impression.
What dictates the look of the front door?
Many times it can be the structure of the home. But details such as color (see blue front doors here), texture, planters and foliage, door handles and knockers, style, finish and size are all part of the effect.
The fact is most people don’t think about the front door all that much until faced with having to choose a new one for your home, whether a renovation or building from scratch. Then you’re faced with all kinds of door decisions.
Below is our table of contents for this “types of front doors” article which gives you a bird’s eye view of the many considerations when choosing a front door.
Table of Contents
- A. Updated Front Door Photo Gallery (100+ Photos)
- B. 3 Main Types of Front Doors
- C. Front Door Configurations and Anatomy Chart
- D. Styles
- E. Glass vs. No Glass
- F. Dimensions
- G. The Swing
- H. Materials
- I. Door Decor
- J. Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the Standard Front Door Sizes (Height and Width)?
- Are Front Doors Hollow?
- Are Front Doors Reversible?
- Can Front Doors be Painted?
- Why are so Many Front Doors Painted Red?
- Are Front Doors Painted on Both Sides?
- Are Front Doors Insulated?
- Can Front Doors Open Outwards?
- What are All the Different Materials Used to Make Front Doors?
- Can Front Doors be Repaired?
- Can Front Doors be Replaced?
- Can Front Doors be Recycled?
- Can Used Front Doors Be Sold?
- K. Pricing
- L. Gallery Photos (Original Gallery)
A. Updated Front Door Photo Gallery (100+ Photos)
B. 3 Main Types of Front Doors
The starting point is choosing one of the 3 main types of front doors. They are:
Single with Sidelites
Single doors are by far the most common.
Check out our diagrams illustrating the different parts of a door here and the 10 different types of door locks here.
C. Front Door Configurations and Anatomy Chart
Learn more about the different parts of a door here.
Another decision to be made is the style of door you wish to have. Like all things home-related, there are many to choose from. Here are the main style options:
E. Glass vs. No Glass
Another obvious consideration is whether to get a door with or without glass.
Glass is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s nice to see who is at the door. Glass also provides more light in the front entry area, which is a really nice advantage.
On the other hand those at the door can see inside your home. This boils down strictly to personal preference. In general, you should consider the front facade of your home when deciding to get a door with glass or not.
There are a surprisingly large variety of door sizes; however, typical sizes are illustrated with the following door dimensions image:
If standard sizes don’t work for you that’s okay because retailers like Home Depot offer a huge variety of door sizes from 24′ to 70′ wide and 78′ to 98′ tall.
G. The Swing
There are 2 aspects to the front door swing. They are:
- Inward vs. Outward swing (inside vs. outside); and
- Left vs. right door handle placement which dictates the direction of the swing.
By far the most common swing is inward swinging to the inside of your home.
However, left vs. right handle placement, which dictates the direction of the swing is equally popular. It really boils down to what works best in the area through which the door will swing. There is no universal preference.
What material are front doors made of?
Door materials include:
- Fiberglass (less expensive);
- Solid wood (more expensive);
- Wood and glass combination;
- Wood and iron combination; and
- Fiberglass and glass (i.e. windows).
I. Door Decor
There are 2 main elements to door decor. They are:
- Color; and
- Panels (or lack thereof).
1. Door Color
This is an opportunity to make your front door POP or blend in. I tend to like bright colored doors that stand out, especially homes with neutral exteriors. Popular brightly colored doors include red, yellow and blue.
On the flip side, it’s hard to not like natural wood doors which can look great on any home.
Finally, if you prefer the more sedate look, going with a more neutral color such as gray, white, beige or black will do the job.
Like most decor decisions, it’s a personal decision.
Here are some examples of different door colors:
The main decorative element adding texture and depth to a door are panels. The number of panels range from 0 to 12 (could be more if customized). The lack of panels is also a design decision. The following are examples of doors with varying numbers of panels:
J. Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to commonly asked questions about front doors.
What are the Standard Front Door Sizes (Height and Width)?
If you look around at different houses, you’ll see many different styles of doors. Most homes have a single front door. But you’ll also see others that have two doors that sit next to each other, fanning open. And you’ll even see some doors that are rounded on the top.
Most front doors are 36 inches wide and stand 80 inches in height. But, depending on how the home was constructed, you will see them as narrow as 30 inches and as tall as 96 inches. You’ll typically see narrower doors with a double-door option and taller doors for homes with higher ceilings or expansive entryways. And you can always have a front door custom-made to fit a particular size.
Are Front Doors Hollow?
Since the front door takes the full force of Mother Nature’s wrath, they tend to be well-constructed and solid. And there’s also the safety factor to think about. A hollow front door might not be strong enough for its purpose.
Any reputable company that installs doors will advise you to only use a strong and durable front door, although there are front doors out there that are hollow, usually because of financial considerations.
Are Front Doors Reversible?
Technically speaking, a front door would be reversible. But, once the door is hung, it could be a bit of a challenge to pull it off. For one thing, the hinges, door-knob, and locking mechanisms would have to be considered. And, the finish on the interior of the door might not work well as an exterior home surface.
You also would need to consider which way the door would swing, and whether or not it would function effectively. And if you are reversing the door because of a cosmetic issue, the change of environment could make the problem worse.
Can Front Doors be Painted?
Just about any surface can be painted using the right technique. And front doors are no exception. Since there are so many different materials used to make doors, there would be a slightly different process for each surface along with certain types of supplies needed to paint each one.
Basically, all you would need to do is rough up the surface on the old door a bit so that the new finish would hold. Then you’d want a good coat of primer, followed by a few coats of paint. It’s also a good idea to finish it off with a high-quality sealer for protection.
Why are so Many Front Doors Painted Red?
Front doors that are painted red do seem popular, don’t they? A lot of the time, it’s simply red because that’s the color that the homeowner prefers. But there is quite a bit of history concerning front doors that are painted red.
- Passages in the Hebrew Bible talk about slaves smearing the blood from a lamb on their front doors to ward off the angel of death from taking their first-born children.
- In ancient Catholic times, red doors represented the blood of Christ, and signified the sanctity of being on holy ground.
- The Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui believes that a red front door creates a welcoming energy.
- Early American settlers would paint their front doors red to let travelers know that they were welcome to stop and rest. In times of horses and buggies, hotels and inns weren’t always available for weary travelers.
- Some people believe that having a red door will protect them from evil.
- Homeowners of Scottish descent sometimes carry on a tradition of painting their front doors red when their mortgage is paid off.
Are Front Doors Painted on Both Sides?
There is typically some type of finish on both sides of a front door. The exterior would be finished to withstand the elements, and you’d want the interior of the door to match its surroundings.
The final look of either side of a front door can be either a manufacturer’s finish, paint, or stain, depending on what type of material the door is made of.
Are Front Doors Insulated?
Having a good-quality, well-built front door is vital both for your home’s safety and comfort level. Some doors are built out of solid materials, requiring no insulation. And other types of manufactured doors will usually be insulated by some type of weather-resistant material.
Can Front Doors Open Outwards?
A front door can swing in any direction that you want. But it generally makes more sense for the door to swing inwards.
For one thing, if the door swings outwards, there is a chance that the wind could catch it, causing damage. But most importantly, they swing inwards for your safety. If the door is installed to swing out, the hinge pins will be exposed on the exterior of the door frame, making it very easy for someone to remove the door from the outside.
What are All the Different Materials Used to Make Front Doors?
There are a few different types of materials used for front doors, and each has its own appeal, benefits, and downsides.
Front doors made out of wood are the most common type. You can choose from a wide variety of types of wood ranging from oak, pine, or maple to mahogany and fir. Wood doors can also be finished with a variety of finishes or paint colors. It’s also the easiest of all of the materials to be custom-sized.
The only real downside to hardwood is that it can wear over time if it isn’t maintained, causing it to warp or crack. Some wood doors are also constructed using a wood-veneer outer coating to cover a cheaper wood. And if it’s not a solid wood door, is hollow, or isn’t adequately insulated, a wood door won’t be a good insulator.
The cost of wood front doors can also vary quite a bit, depending on the quality of the wood. But overall they will be the one of the most expensive front door material options.
Aluminum doors are also commonly used for front doors, although they are a more popular material for rear-entry doors, storm doors, or sliding, patio doors. It’s extremely durable, well-insulated and can have a finish mimicking wood-grain. They’re also fairly inexpensive and require very little maintenance.
It’s also a lightweight option that is commonly manufactured from recycled aluminum. Unfortunately, aluminum doors are extremely vulnerable to heat, making them less energy-efficient than other door materials.
Fiberglass doors are manufactured using composite materials. They are extremely durable, insulated, and energy-efficient. They can also have a finish that is solid-colored or with a faux wood-grain. And they’re just as low-maintenance as aluminum.
The finish on fiberglass doors can fade over time, and the cost is about the same as wood. But high-quality, fiberglass front doors are made to last.
Most commonly used for windows and door trim, vinyl is also used to make front doors. It’s lightweight, low maintenance, and a great insulator. And it’s very affordable.
However, you don’t tend to see it on too many front doors for a few reasons. Direct sunlight for lengthy periods of time can challenge the integrity of the vinyl, causing cracks or other damage. It’s also not the strongest material for security, nor is it the most attractive option.
It may be the strongest of all of the door materials. Steel is extremely durable, easy to maintain, and it’s a great insulator. And it’s ideal for security because of its heavy-duty construction.
And though they won’t warp, steel doors can be damaged, and they aren’t very resistant to rust. The finish can also fade, requiring maintenance. But steel doors are a more cost-effective option.
Can Front Doors be Repaired?
It really depends on how bad the damage is. It’s always in your best interests to weigh the options between repairing and replacing before making a decision.
If the damage is minor or cosmetic, a professional who’s skilled with door repairs can easily take care of it. But if the damage is more severe, especially if there is any water damage, repairing it might not be an option.
Can Front Doors be Replaced?
Not only can they be replaced, but it’s one of the most common home improvement projects. New doors will give a home more energy-efficiency and better security, not to mention the aesthetic curb appeal that they’ll add.
Can Front Doors be Recycled?
That depends on what it’s made out of. Wood that has been painted or stained cannot be recycled. But the hardware is recyclable, and sometimes the wood can be reused for something else. Fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum, and steel are all able to be recycled.
Can Used Front Doors Be Sold?
Many times, homes are updated and the doors are replaced to match the new look. If the old doors are still in good shape, they can be sold. It’s just a matter of finding someone looking for the same door size. And there are plenty of buy-and-sell resources out there for used items.
How much do front doors cost?
As with most things in life there are inexpensive front doors, medium-priced doors, expensive doors and outrageously high-priced doors.
Decent front doors will run you at least $400, but expect to pay more if you’re looking for a great door. At the high end they can cost more than $5,000.
A solid wood front door will cost around $900 to $3,000.
L. Gallery Photos (Original Gallery)
Below you’ll find a selection of 29 front doors to consider. Some may be to your liking; others you may find off-putting. Focus on the details as well as the structural components of the front doors to find what creates the feel to which you most aspire.
Double red front door with porch by chango & co.
The sweeping curve of this entryway that surrounds a rectangular door is echoed in the curve of the steps leading to the door. The dramatic – but still muted – entrance is further enhanced by the sconces and planters flanking the door. The browns and creams complete a very natural, earthy look.
The first thing you may notice about this door is the beautiful inlaid glass. The blue and red of the glasswork pairs well with the blue paint chosen for the entry itself. And the glasswork in three panels – two flanking the door and the door itself – showcases a beautiful geometrical design. The door handle in the center of the door completes the look.
The below entrance would be a lot of fun to invite guests into. Almost hobbit-like, the rounded wooden doors are at the same time humble, but very interesting. With the skewed-set window, the effect is actually a little mysterious.
The window in the door itself mimics the window to the left of the door. The stone-work sets off the woodwork beautifully, and the classic geraniums piled into the window complete the considerable charm of this entrance.
In all, it makes you want to know what lies behind that door.
This door has an elegance to it that can’t be duplicated. It is surrounded by a darker green doorway, which sticks out next to the light green foliage and light-colored brick. This door can look good on any home.
This statement door makes your home stand out. The contrasting colors of the flowers around the walkway and doorway are absolutely gorgeous. This color red pops when it’s next to the grayish color of the siding.
Another photo of a statement door. Again, the blue goes great with the red brick wall and cement. The color makes it pop and can guarantee you the best front door on the block!
The classic red door will never go out of style. Here it is in all its glory, featuring a humble door handle that works beautifully with the glass inset adorned with minimal embellishment. The mostly blue and green foliage alongside the door help to provide a striking contrast. The bell and light fixture feel whimsically charming. If you like this red door, you’ll LOVE our special gallery!
An old and faded wooden building can still set the stage for a charming entrance. The blue doorway against a backdrop of yellow is classic and welcoming. The white helps to emphasize the blue, while the walkway up to the door matches the door, giving the look a planned cohesiveness.
Note the fabulous planters adorning the sides of this beautiful old wooden door. The angular planters – coupled with rounded nature of the plants – emulates the doorway itself with its angular structure and rounded arch at the top. The light fixtures add to the charm.
This glass door with its horizontal panes works beautifully with the horizontal beams leading up to it. With the sun casting shadows on the walkway that repeat this horizontal pattern, the look is unifying and edifying for the viewer. The pattern is further strengthened with the horizontal lines along the wall to the left, with a planter softening the strong look.
The geometrical pattern of this wooden door surprises with its one square adornment alongside the circular ones. The brass knocker completes the look.
An old metal door can work in many settings. It evokes a look of mystery and hints at an interesting interior.
A beautiful wooden door helps to offset the earthy charm of this clay home. Rustic, but not worn, the look is tidy but inviting. The planters add to the charm.
An aluminium front door has a sleek and contemporary look:
Double front doors in glass give a grand but contemporary impression. The frosted glass with the black metal casings completes the sleek and clean look.
A bold look, this door with blue inset glass and a rod-like handle is dramatic without being overwhelming. The blue pairs well with the red hued brick-like tilework.
The blue planter alongside the door mimics the blue in the glass, and the white paint grounds the look. A sleek mailbox emphasizes the contemporary nature of this front entrance.
For many people, ivy that surrounds an old wooden door will always look worldly. Slightly academic in its demeanour, this look requires some maintenance to remain looking inviting, but the changing nature of the ivy leaves give it a look of controlled chaos.
This glass door and entrance way surrounded with ivy and free of any adornment has an angular appeal. Perhaps too severe for some, this look will appeal to those who enjoy a stark contrast between nature and construction, with the ivy playfully fulfilling its role of “nature”.
We include this old wooden door with carved stone surround simply because of its beautiful craftsmanship.
Another door that showcases the classic, but powerful appeal of red, offset by a beautiful covered porch:
The ivy-clad stone building with its traditional look is enhanced here by a planter box in the upper window, beautiful creeping plants to the right of the doorway and a whimsical display to the left:
Although traditional, this front door works so well because of its updating. The craftsman-like detailing on the wooden door adds a heft to the look. In contrast, the windows surrounding the door and inside the door add light and airiness. The light fixture evokes art-deco styling, in keeping with the entrance-ways nod to the craftsman era.
This wooden and glass door, with its strong horizontal lines, juxtaposes the solid strength of the wood with the lightness of the unfrosted windows. The curved door handle adds some interest and softens the sturdy look, as well as keeps to the contemporary style with a brushed metal finish.
This is newly constructed doorway, looking quite medieval. Note the chandelier of the same ironwork as the doorway:
Red, glossy and grand, this doorway is not for the faint of heart. Actually the doorway to a hotel in Italy, this strong entrance way is unapologetically glamorous and flashy.
Here the door fades into the background, with only the doorknob and mailbox providing the clues as to its location. The three large windows are what give a hint of possibility kept very private. This is an interesting look, if only because of the hidden nature of the doorway coupled with an unabashedly non-traditional look for a front entrance.
The mailbox for this front door matches the brushed metal of the inset to the door. The thin strip of glass in the door provides visual interest, and the strong monochromatic look of the black and the white lend a bold contemporary look to this front door. Click here to see how black doors can add to your curb appeal!
Another contemporary look, the geometric patterns here are playful, but without a hint of whimsy. The rod-like door handle itself becomes part of the pattern and the white and grey color scheme match the frosted glass and brushed metal.