I'm loving designer Keller Donovan's front porch makeover in House Beautiful. His ideas are universally applicable and easily replicated.
The first thing he did was take off the screen door. "I don't believe in screen doors on the front of a house. They always open out, and I just don't think it's welcoming to have a door shoved in your face as you're trying to get in," he says. Then he painted the house a nice beige (Sail Cloth by Benjamin Moore) and the front door Black Forest Green (also by Ben Moore).
He replaced a small, overhead lantern with a pair of over-sized lanterns from Home Depot.
New hardware on the door -- including a pretty ring-shaped knocker -- makes it shine. I bought paint for our front door yesterday, and we're shopping for new lanterns (and a drill bit that will work on the stripped screws holding the screen door to the house!), and I'll definitely be taking Keller's advice:
"Some people might think the lanterns are hung too low, but they're the same people who always hang pictures too high. I like a sconce down near your face. Conventional wisdom says it should be 68 inches from the middle of the fixture to the floor, but I'd still eyeball it.
I went for the "lifetime finish" on the brass hardware. Who has time to polish?
I chose a mail slot instead of a mailbox, because I can go away and the mail is all safe and sound and dry inside the house. Nobody sees it piling up.
Even a door can use a little jewelry, like a door knocker. This simple ring couldn't be more classic. Don't all the sexiest girls have hoop earrings?
A wrought-iron railing should be dark, not light. Forget the white paint."
Photos by Michael Price for House Beautiful