How to Make an Entrance

Once you’ve purchased a new home, it’s time to make it yours. Creating a welcoming entrance is a lovely way to start: it will be something you and all your visitors can enjoy for years to come. Chances are, having just closed escrow, you’re not in the mood to spend a whole bunch of money. Happily, several small, inexpensive changes can add up to a big impression.

First, be sure people can identify your home by adding house numbers to your mailbox and your house. This is convenient for visitors and essential for emergency responders. I like reflective numbers on mailboxes and beautiful, but prominent numbers on the house itself. It’s best if the house numbers are visible at night, so place them under a sconce or get numbers that illuminate.

Next, consider the walkway to your front door. A walkway should be at least three feet wide, and preferably four feet, to allow two people to walk shoulder-to-shoulder as they approach. Trim shrubbery away from the path and fix any tripping hazards (cracked concrete or bricks that have moved out of place).

Once the path is clear, it’s time to light it for guests (and family members) who come and go after dark. Solar landscape lighting not only improves safety, but adds beauty. Mendo Mill and Friedman’s offer lights that cost only a few dollars apiece and are easy to install—simply stick them in the ground along the path. The sun charges them during the day and they add a nice glow at night. While we’re on the subject of light, consider motion lights outside your front door. This will prevent you from fumbling for your keys in the dark, and it dissuades those who prefer to lurk in the dark.

As you arrive at your front door, planter boxes or flower pots on your front porch can add a bit of cheer. Whether you choose a subtle terra cotta or colorful pots that coordinate with your decor, planting flowers says, “I care about my home.”

Many people like to make a statement with the color of their front door. While it’s often a good idea to fit in with the neighborhood and keep your exterior house colors neutral, a bright front door color can make you smile each time you come home. Use a high gloss paint and consider popular colors like crimson, royal blue or forest green.

Color isn’t the only way to make your front door stand out. You may consider a fun knocker. You can choose a big, brass knocker, if you’re on the traditional side, or a silly, fun knocker that reflects your personality, if you prefer. The great thing about knockers as opposed to door bells is that knockers never run out of batteries.

If you have clear windows as part of your front door or immediately adjacent to your front door, consider improving privacy and safety with after-market decorative film. The film can create a faux stained glass look or simply a frosted window look. Either way, people won’t be able to look into your home before you invite them in.

Before people accept your invitation to enter your home, they should be able to wipe their feet on a door mat. Here’s another opportunity to share your style. Coir mats (the ones with the firm bristles) are wonderful for removing dirt from shoes of all descriptions. You can choose the classic “Welcome” message or create a custom option; you’re only limited by your imagination. Finally, although your mailbox isn’t necessarily part of your entryway, it is one of the first things people see as they approach your home. You can have a big mailbox or a small one. It can lock or not. And it can be almost any shape or color.

Making your house a home is great fun. Enjoy!

If you have questions about getting into real estate, please contact me at or call (707) 462-4000. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.


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