Help your doorway set the tone for the rest of your home

One of the easiest ways to upgrade an older front door is with a new coat of paint or finish, says Tim Carter of Painting or refinishing the front door can make it look new without having to replace the door.

Timeline: Anywhere from four to five hours, depending on how many coats you apply.
Needs: A gallon of primer; gallon of glossy paint; sandpaper; painting tape; 1-inch and 3-inch brushes; wiping cloth; screwdriver.
Cost: Depending on quality of paint, this project should cost about $50.

Storm doors offer your entry door protection from the elements and can extend the life of your front door, says home improvement expert James Dulley of Cincinnati. They can insulate and weatherproof the entryway, and they offer an added layer of protection for the front door. They also can add style to your front entry. Screened storm doors will allow ventilation on nice days.

Timeline: One to four hours depending on skill level.
Needs: Door, hammer, drill, screwdriver, level, hacksaw, tape measure, nails, wood shims.
Cost: $300 to have it installed; $225 for materials only.

Even if you don’t have children, adding a kickplate to the bottom of the front door is a quick and cheap way to make it look nicer, says Danny Lipford of If you have kids, it can help prolong the life of the door. Knockers
can be functional, and can replace a doorbell. Or they can just make your door look nice.

Timeline: Fifteen to 30 minutes.
Needs: Kickplate, knocker, drill, screwdriver.
Cost: Kickplates range from $20 to $75. Knockers range from $5 to $20 with custom ones running into the hundreds.

Saving energy is the trend in windows, says Don Vandervort of Double-pane and triplepane
windows with low-emittance glass have emerged as energy-saving replacements for single-pane windows.

BOTTOM LINE: Double-pane windows will save the typical homeowner from $126 to $465 a year, depending on your locale, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

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