The 5 Senses of Your Front Door

Typically curb appeal is all about how things look when your design comes together. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Some experts say you should be focusing on all five senses: sight, touch, smell, sound and even taste. We asked Scott McGillivray, master renovator and star of HGTV’s hit series Income Property, how you can use ‘sensory design’ to highlight an entrance. “We all know that when it comes to curb appeal the front door is the main attraction,” says McGillivray. Since your front door is the first thing people interact with, it’s the perfect place to boost your curb appeal. Check out McGillivray’s techniques for tapping into your senses below.

Two things come to mind when I think about front doors and the sense of sight. One is color. The main thing here is to choose a color that compliments the rest of the house. It can be bold or it can be subtle, but just make sure it’s complimentary. The other is the house numbers. Have you ever tried to find a particular address and the numbers are so small you can’t read them from the street? Yeah, me too. So make sure they’re large and clearly legible from a distance. From a design perspective you’ll want something that reflects the style and era of the house, and don’t forget to include an overhead light so they can be seen at night.

I’ve always said that hardware shouldn’t just look good; it should feel good. So when you’re choosing a handleset for your front door you want something that feels secure and comfortable to hold. Sound silly? It’s not. Imagine walking up to a front door and grabbing a handle that’s flimsy and hard to grip. It immediately indicates a certain amount of carelessness, which can put people off.  If a person’s first interaction with your home is a negative one, it won’t bode well for the rest of the experience.

The sense of smell is incredibly powerful and has the ability to evoke all kinds of thoughts and memories. When people walk up to your front door you want them to have nothing but good feelings. So consider pots of fragrant flowers on your front stoop next to the door. And if you’re selling your home and holding an open house make sure to cut the grass the morning of. Not only will it look great, but the smell is one that most people associate with happiness and contentment.

Have you ever knocked on someone’s door, or rung a doorbell, only to hear a weak or muffled sound come out? That’s the sound of poor quality, and it’s just as bad as a flimsy handleset or hard-to-read house numbers. So just like with the other elements, you want to invest in something with a commanding presence. Door knockers like this Modern Style from Taymor, make a statement both visually and aurally.

Ok, I’m not being literal when I talk about taste and your front door.  In this case it’s all about your personal taste in decorating. There are certain guidelines when it comes to curb appeal and return on investment that you should take into account, but it’s also important to impart a bit of your own style. A house that looks the same as the ones next door to it won’t stand out in a bad way, but it won’t stand out in a good way either. It’s the choices you make when it comes to colors, styles and even sounds that sets your home apart from the crowd and ensures it will stand out in the best possible way.

All tips courtesy of Scott McGillivray