Front doors are first impressions. Like initial meetings that show people to be spotless, boring, or a complete wreck, a home’s entrance can say a lot about what may be lurking inside. Yes, everyone can have their own interpretation of “clean” but there is a line to be drawn.

So take note –don’t take chances. All kinds of people come to your front door from the mailman to the pizza delivery boy to the in-laws and even if they’re only making a delivery they should at least come and go without wanting to run away. You also don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention, as sometimes the exterior shabbiness of a home can make it a target for unwanted solicitation.

In essence, the entrance to a home is the portal into the homeowner’s world making it an important focal point. Here are a few considerations when assessing the nature of yours:

1. Basic cleaning: Make a schedule to dust, sweep, wipe, and wash the door and surrounding areas so it’s comfortable to approach. If necessary, clear up the address as it may be difficult to see. Sometimes not being able to identify a home’s address can be an extremely trying experience.

2. The door itself: Cosmetically, how is it standing up? If your best exterior paint is pealing give it a new coat. Sometimes doors become rotted from water damage and need replacing. Squeaky hinges need oiling but may be a result of structural settling, which may not be a DIY job.

3. The “WELCOME” mat. Visitors feel better when able to wipe their shoes on something before entering a home. After all, they don’t want to track dirt on an interior rug or hard wood floor. Whether a mat, rag, or carpet sample, leave something near the entrance for feet but clean it often as residue accumulates over time.

4. Windows: Can a message be written with your finger on a door-window pane? If so you’ve got a problem. Not only are you blocking precious sunlight from entering your home but every time you open the door those dust particles are entering with you. Give it a good clean shine.

5. Screen door: If you have one what’s its condition? Are the screens torn or the storm windows cracked? Do the screens need to be cleaned?

6. Steps: Broken steps are a hazard. Always keep them clear and fix cracks in masonry. The last thing you want is someone hurting themselves because of a loose brick or stone.

7. The Threshold: If there is one make sure it is secure. Loose thresholds can be a hazard as someone could trip and seriously hurt themselves.

8. An awning: Awnings give protection from the elements. In the winter it shields from rain and in the summer a visitor doesn’t have to wait in the blaring sun. Is your awning sturdy? Does it do the job?

9. Plants: They are a nice addition to any front door giving off the impression that your home is living and inspiring to others. Some can add a pleasant fragrance and others simply add color and character to an otherwise tame setting.

10. The Vestibule: Keep it from becoming a storage area and be careful not to make it a home for your recycling or trash which will render the entrance uninviting. An assortment of plants and some ornaments can be nice but sticking with a minimalist approach results in little upkeep and better results transforming your front door into a pleasure to walk through.

Author's Bio: 

Jakob Barry writes for He covers various home improvement topics including green lighting ideas, barn style garage doors, and home safety awareness.