Entry Door Style Guide
Help to define your home's character by choosing the right door.
Synopsis: The right entry door helps to define a house’s character. In this style guide, architect Reid Highley examines a variety of door styles—traditional, Victorian, modern, Southwest, and Craftsman—and describes the qualities of each style in a series of full-color illustrations. Highley also discusses materials, including wood, fiberglass, and steel; the use of glazing, or windows; and the right way to determine the appropriate size for the entry door on your house.
At its best, an entry door is a condensed reflection of a home’s design, projecting the outward attitude of a house to visitors and passers by. A door can convey an image of formality or playfulness, solidity or lightness, privacy or hospitality. The choices you make about door size, placement, and materials define a personality that sums up the character of your home. For this reason, entry doors are often placeholders in an architect’s drawings until late in the design process, when the character of the home is more fully developed. The first design decisions for a new door include careful consideration of its size and its location in plan. These choices establish the door’s impact on views, privacy, traffic patterns through the house, and the transition from outdoors to indoors.
It is also important to consider that each historical house style has an accompanying entry door style that is a time-tested complement to the design characteristics of the period. Of course, part of the beauty of architecture lies in its endless variations. While historical precedents provide a good starting point for the design of an entry door, you should not feel beholden to them. Ultimately, a careful reading of the character of the house will be far more informative than a strict historical interpretation, and it is most likely to lead…