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Santa Fe Front Doors: Achieving the perfect look for an eye-catching entryway

There’s something unique about the front doors and entryways in Santa Fe. They’re striking, charming, and so unlike anything you’ll see in another city – even right here in New Mexico!

The rich history of our city and the stories that come with it can be seen in the doors and entryways of our homes. It’s not uncommon to come across a 100-year-old or even 400-year-old house here, and we’re even home to the oldest house in the United States! All that history, combined with our spectacular gardens (thanks to our high desert mountain climate) and moments of gorgeous lighting make Santa Fe exteriors so special.

Today I want to talk to you a little about achieving that perfect entryway – one that’s welcoming, prominent and feels like a breath of fresh air.

The importance of a welcoming entryway

They say you never get a second chance at a first impression, and the same is absolutely true for your home. Your entryway is the first taste your guests have of your decor style and what awaits them beyond the front door. It really sets the tone for your entire house.

If your entryway is messy and uninviting, it sets the tone for a negative experience. Instead, it should be homey, welcoming and feel like a representation of you and your tastes. Your entryway should say “hey, come on in” and hint at what you’re about to experience inside.

Creating a welcoming entryway isn’t just going to create a better experience for your guests, it will impact you and your family too. It should invite a moment where you can let out a big breath of relief and warmly say, “I’m home”.

What’s the secret to an eye-catching front door?

The secret is that your entryway is so much more than a front door. Whether the gateway to your home is a brightly coloured door, a gate or a simple wooden door, it’s important to build it out.

The simple act of adding a chair with some pillows, framing your door with flower pots, or even hanging a door chime will completely transform your entryway so that it feels like an extension of your home. Really think of your entryway as a complete space as opposed to just a place you walk through.  

How to work with the door you have

Buying a new front door for your entryway is, more often than not, an expensive and entirely unnecessary option. There are plenty of things that you can do with your current front door to update it and the space around it. Here are just a few options.

blue door with products shown

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Hand-painted doors

The entryway in this photo screams Santa Fe. Santa Fe is such an artistic community, and hand paintings on houses are something that we see quite commonly here and not necessarily in the rest of the country.

door painted with birds

Alexander Girard used this technique back in the 30-50s – and he did it really well. Though his designs were significantly more graphic than the example we have here, his hand painting style always gave a special touch to the porches and entryways he worked on.

Front doors can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a large area to play with. Including a hand-painted touch is a great, easy way to add personal detail, even if you don’t have a lot of space in your entryway. Depending on what you choose to paint, it can also say a lot about who you are as a family or an individual right at the entry of your home.

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Dark doors

Personally, I love a black door. There’s something so sophisticated and quiet about them, and they really set a strong, grounding tone for the space.

One of the ways I like to balance out a black door (or any dark-coloured door) is to add in natural elements. In the photo, the black door is balanced out with baskets lined up against the entryway. I think it’s a very quiet but interesting way to bring dimension to the space.

Another option is to add lots of colour and pattern to the space. You could put a bench along the wall and add in some vibrant colours with cushions, an interesting welcome mat, or some baskets. A simple pop of colour can go a long way in defining the space.

At the end of the day, what you do to build out your black door really depends on what your own perspective is – whether you want to add vibrancy or go with a simple, understated, pulled-back look.

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Red doors

Your entryway may already have a really loud component, like a red door or a door in another vibrant, bright colour. I think these entryways are really great. Bold doors are really fun and can do a lot for the front of your house.

red door with associated products

There are two ways you can go when it comes to building out a bright door: you can pull back and use natural elements, or you can really go for it and layer on patterns, colours, textures and plants.

No matter which way you go, I recommend adding plants and flowers to your outdoor space. Even a small, simple tree or a single flowerpot can show that you take care of and admire your space and creates a great first impression for your home.

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Wooden and natural doors

A wooden door can look quite plain on its own, so it’s important to build out your space by bringing in some patterns and fabrics.

natural New Mexico door with products

Layering is key to adding dimension to a natural door. Like in the picture, try pairing a signature bench cushion with outdoor pillows in varying scales.

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No matter what you’re dealing with, a few simple changes are all that stand between you and a stunning entryway – one that makes you feel at home even before you step foot inside. Remember that the key to an eye-catching entryway is to treat it as an entire space, and allow yourself to get just as creative outside as you do in your living room, dining room or kitchen.


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