f you want to get your front door summer-ready but are also busy with lawn care and your new container garden, turn to these front door ideas. Starting with a thorough cleaning and working your way up to attention-grabbing planters, this mini front door makeover can be achieved in just one day and with one trip to your local garden center.
Step 1: Wash the door.
If you’re trying to tackle a one-day makeover, you likely don’t have time to repaint the door and wait for it to dry. But if you haven’t scrubbed your front door in several seasons, a thorough cleaning is enough to dramatically change the color of your door. You may realize that your white front door has actually turned a dingy shade of gray without you even noticing.
If there is a lot of debris, start by vacuuming or sweeping the door, especially around the base and near the corners where cobwebs collect. In a spray bottle, combine equal parts water and white vinegar (yes, vinegar really can clean almost everything). Spray the door and wipe with a clean cloth. If you have a glass window on your door, wipe it down with glass cleaner, spritzing the cloth rather than spraying directly on the window. While you’re at it, disinfect the doorknob — it’s a germy area of our homes that we often forget to sanitize.
Step 2: Spruce up your doormat.
Adding a new doormat to your front door is the curb-appeal equivalent of switching out your pillow covers: It provides a fresh new look, without having to spend a fortune. It’s also an easy spot to add color and a bit of personality in a place visitors are sure to notice. Check out the quirky, colorful options at World Market and Anthropologie, or pick up a classic monogrammed mat when you go to buy new house numbers and plants at your local home improvement store.
Step 3: Upgrade your house numbers.
If you’ve been living in your house for many years, it’s likely you don’t even notice your house numbers anymore. Consider switching them out for pretty brass numbers or some modern steel ones. Choose a font and finish that matches your home’s style, whether that’s rustic or ultra-modern. If you have tarnished brass or lackluster stainless-steel house numbers, carefully remove them and polish them. Make a paste from a few tablespoons of white vinegar and equal parts salt and flour. Apply with a soft cloth, rinse and dry.
Step 4: Add an impossible-to-kill plant.
We all add plants to our front stoops with the best of intentions: to make a good first impression. But if we don’t follow through with proper care and watering, those wilted flowers make a worse impression than no flowers at all. To avoid this scenario and make your chore list a little lighter, only add hardy plants that are suited to the conditions in your front yard. Consult a plant guide to help you find the right variety, whether you have a sunny, shady or drought-prone area.
To accomplish your makeover in one day, opt for a small container garden rather than planting in the ground. Depending upon how much space you have, set a large pot on one side of the door or flank both sides of the door for a symmetrical look.
Step 5: Choose a wilt-proof wreath.
While wreaths are more popular in the fall and winter months, there’s no reason you can’t show off some door decor this summer — just be sure to choose a heatproof style. Look for a dried or preserved wreath rather than a fresh wreath that will quickly wilt in the summer heat.
(Real Simple magazine provides smart, realistic solutions to everyday challenges. Online at www.realsimple.com.)
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