First Impressions Matter: A Bright Entryway Before and After

Lissadee on Lake Drive shares her first remodel project in their new home. She tackles her entryway and updates from a single front door to a double front door making a dramatic impact.

After a full year in our new home, my husband and I started thinking about doing some remodeling. Turning a simple house into a family home takes time — time to space plan and select finishes and furnishings that function the way you need them to — while also reflecting your personal style. All while trying to save money to purchase everything on your growing wishlist. Before jumping into the entryway before and after, I’d like you to get a feel for the style of the home.

I have always been drawn to the modern and Scandivan style home and design aesthetic. Although the home has a more traditional exterior, the interior felt traditional as well. With a few coats of Behr white paint, we were able to update the traditional feel to a much lighter and brighter Scandanivan look and feel.  

before and after of front door remodel project - single door was the before and double front doors in the after

When we purchased our home, we knew the spacious entryway had beautiful potential. The house already had maple wood floors, natural light, and high ceilings. The outdated entryway hanging light fixture had to go, and it became our first remodeling priority.

This was a pretty easy fix and made a dramatic difference in the room. We were able to install the light fixture ourselves and found our favorite fixture quickly allowing us to pull the trigger fast. Shortly after updating the entryway light, we discovered mold on the front door. This prioritized the project to the top of the list. It isn’t a remodel project without a quick detour (wink, wink).


As you can see in the before pics, solid design bones were already in place from the quality maple wood to the high end builder grade material. The house was built custom and with high quality. . The space needed a few thoughtful design tweaks and the right materials.


We started our entry remodel by replacing the 80s, shiny-gold pendant light fixture. Our family spends a lot of time in this space, which opens up to a sitting or reading room. We found the perfect industrial light at Lamps Plus. As we looked for this fixture, we took into consideration scale, high ceilings and style.

The structure of the fixture was also important. We wanted the structure of the light to carry the linear shape we intended for the rest of the space. Changing out a tired fixture made a dramatic and immediate impact. The minimalist lines of the matte black updated light fixture  added a modern flair to the pared-down Scandinavian theme we were going for, and the interior brass finish tied into the warm wood throughout our home.

We kept some of the existing design elements in our entryway makeover. For example, I found a matte black frame for a work of art from a thrift store. Our wooden bench with a lot of character from Findfurnish, a vintage goods reseller in Minneapolis, added some quaint flair to the space. (Writer’s Note: The bench is only for “show” and isn’t sturdy, which can be a challenge for guests who want to sit on it!). I love beautiful and functional designs, but the bench is worth the occasional awkwardness with visitors.

During the remodel, we realized how important it was to find the right size rug for the space. By understanding scale, this will help ground and pull the room together. If you miscalculated the size by a few inches, it can really chop up the room rather than pulling a space together. We chose a rectangular, neutral-colored rug to tie into the artwork while avoiding being matchy-matchy.

The rug is thick and has a geometric design to complement the modern with a Scandinavian twist repeated throughout the home. To ensure the perfect size, I measured and used the existing rug to help envision how a square shape would maximize the space and coverage. After visiting various websites, I found the best price and design option at Overstock.

For any major home project, I keep a spreadsheet of potential options and then monitor price changes, so I’m ready to buy at the optimum time. Over time I’ve noticed markdown descriptions can be confusing. For example, one month my rug was priced at $500 and the next month it was listed 50 percent off at $400. So, keep your eye on this marketing play.


Next up was our hero of the space, the front door. We went with a matte black, 1-Provia Legacy Series double steel door paired with black Emtek hardware to replace the existing single door and two side windows. I was hoping for an 8-foot high door, but it wasn’t possible because of an upper window and the stucco surround. So, though our HOA greenlighted a standard double door, we had to go “skinnier.”

This change ended up being a benefit because the narrow doors give the illusion of increased door height. We upgraded to steel for the custom work around the stucco to fill the gaps. We had done a lot of research online (Writer’s Note: Pinterest alert!) for the specific design and wanted an understated, simple look and stain to match the existing trim.

two large black front doors with emtek modern hardware, square rug at the foot of the door

The entire door process took around four months to complete, concept through production. The longest lead time was waiting for the door to arrive and for the team to install it. Once the install date was set, the old door was out, and the new door was in place in under eight hours. The transformation was stunning.


My favorite design element of our entryway remodel is how the lines move throughout the space. The light fixture, picture frame, and wood grid in the bench echoes the linear aesthetic of the front door. The rug anchored the space and tied everything together.

Creating our home’s first impression was worth the time we took to research and test our options to get the design just right. Our entryway has evolved into something that reflects our family’s lifestyle and aesthetic, and is a warm and friendly welcome to all who come to our house.

Find the sources below for this project. If you’d like to see more work by this team, read about another project here.


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