Have you been telling yourself for too long that any day now, you’ll take care of your old, weathered, paint-stripped front door? Front doors and entryways are easy to neglect–we’re busy, rushing around and often entering and exiting the house through other doors in the home like the garage or a side entry. And it’s easy to let a deteriorating front entryway slide with all of the focus that warmer weather brings to lawn maintenance and landscaping. But warmer days provide the perfect opportunity to give your front door the makeover it needs, and preserve your investment in your home’s energy efficiency and safety at the same time.

This week and next week, we’ll look at some simple upgrades you can make to give your existing front door a little TLC and improve its form and function!

Front Door Upgrades: Beautify & Freshen

There are so many aesthetic upgrades that you can take advantage of for your entry door. Here are a few ways to get started.

Tidy up! No matter what kind of front door you have, chances are the small spaces around it are strewn with debris. Use a broom to remove what you can, and then enlist a wet-dry vac with crevice attachments to achieve a thorough cleaning of even the tightest spaces. Clean underneath decorations that have been sitting a while, and use a brush attachment on your vacuum or wet/dry vac to remove cobwebs that have accumulated on light fixtures, exterior molding, and nearby siding.

Wipe away dirt and grime. Your front door tolerates a lot of neglect, and it weathers all types of weather, especially if you don’t have a storm door. Because it happens so gradually, it’s hard to notice the buildup of dirt and grime. In order to restore the original beauty of your front door’s finish, use a soft cloth and your favorite all-purpose cleaner or a 50/50 water-vinegar solution in a spray bottle. For wooden doors, enlist a furniture polish instead, but don’t spray it directly on a painted wood door (this could damage the finish). Instead, use a diluted formula like Murphy Oil Soap. And don’t forget to polish your door’s hardware with the cleaner that corresponds to your door’s hardware material (brass and steel are common).

Repaint your door. Wooden doors are beautiful, but their natural beauty comes with a cost. The best way to upgrade an existing wood door, especially one flanked by exterior molding, is to repaint it. As the author of this article notes, you can either take your front door off its hinges to paint it (if you have a storm door) or paint it where it is. Either option is fine, but be sure to take precautions to avoid paint splatters on your steps or other parts of your entryway if you leave the door on its hinges. Choosing the right paint color is a matter of preference, but do consider the architectural style of your home, too. Here are some good tips to help you decide.

Adorn your entryway. A fresh doormat or wreath can go a long way toward making your entryway more inviting. But don’t stop there. How long has it been since you’ve replaced your house numbers? (Have you ever replaced your house numbers?!) Swapping out dated-looking address numbers with a new set will be an instant pick-me-up for your entryway. You can browse some more modern options here, or even go the DIY route.

Next week, we’ll share some ideas for upgrading your existing front door to improve your home’s security and energy efficiency.