A door that invites all

A door that invites all

You may not judge books by their covers. But homes are often judged by the first impression they make. A splendid front door is sure to wow one and all. You just need to be prudent and ensure that it matches your home’s aesthetics, writes Aruna Chandaraju.

Many years ago, I remember being surprised when one of our neighbours invited everyone to come and see her ‘new front door’. A new door?! I can understand being invited to see a new house, but an invite to see a new door was something unusual. After visiting her home though, I understood why. The utilitarian door had been replaced by a custom-made teak one that had carvings of her favourite goddesses, ornate door knobs in brass and an equally fancy door knocker. On either side of the door were large brass planters, with the greenery complementing the new door.

From merely providing safety and security, doors have come a long way. Today, they are widely seen as style statements, an expression of the home owner’s taste. And for the believers, they are also indicative of Vastu tenets. Of course, fancy doors and tastefully done entrances are not new — they have been used for centuries, especially in mansions, castles and big bungalows. However, in recent times, more and more homeowners across categories are going in for special doors. Naturally, there are more manufacturers of fancy doors and accessories, both online and in brick-and-mortar markets.

Myriad choices
Wooden or glass, decorative or plain, with or without shutters, sliding doors or
regular ones...one is spoilt for choice.

But, whatever door you choose for your home, keep in mind that it should be solid in make — something that will provide you adequate safety and protection from the impact of natural elements like the sun, wind and rain. It should also be wide and tall enough for comfortable exit and entry.

Having said that, the front door is often used to make a good first impression.
Radharamani Rachuri, Hyderabad-based homemaker, says that a dull piece of wood functioning as a door with rough metallic knobs may not have an aesthetic appeal. “However,” she adds, “an intricately crafted door creates a wow factor and a positive impression about the house even before entering it. Anything visually appealing soothes the senses and it is the same with a well-crafted door.

The door can be in contemporary or classic design, but it has to match the architectural theme of the rest of the house. Also, its size should be in sync with that of the house, say experts. A large, ornate door would be perfect for a sprawling old-style home, but it would be out of place as the entrance to a simple apartment.

Readymade doors are widely available in wooden and glass. Restored antique doors as well as fancy contemporary ones are some of the other popular choices among today’s homeowners. Doors with stained glass have a huge fan following as well. As architects and interior designers are trained experts in this area, it’s a good idea to seek their guidance, when in doubt.

J S Venkatesh and his wife Sreelatha, a Bengaluru-based couple, say they were amazed by the variety of doors that are available in the market when they went looking for a fancy door for their villa. “We got a teakwood door that was specially designed for an antique haveli look. The guests at our housewarming party were very impressed. Two of them later went shopping for new front doors for their own homes. Of course, they got different designs, but both told us they realised what a difference an impressive front door can make to a home,” they reveal.

From plain to glamorous
If you want to enhance your doors, you can use door accessories like handles, knobs and knockers that are available in a variety of designs. These make the doors look
attractive, as they come in ethnic, contemporary and animal-inspired designs.

Indian tribal designs and colonial designs are popular in door knobs and knockers.
At a home that I recently visited, there was a beautifully chiselled face of Buddha atop a door handle. Among the gods and goddesses, Ganesha and Lakshmi are considered to be the popular design choices.

If you find it impractical or too expensive to change your doors, there are still many ways in which you can enhance your front door. A perfect way to make your home’s entrance more warm and attractive without changing it in any way is to have potted plants flanking the entrance. These can also be placed beside the steps leading to the front door. From large brass planters and cement pots to simple terracotta containers, you have plenty to choose from. A beautiful rangoli will complement this and enhance the space. A pretty door mat also makes a difference.

A decorative lamp above the front door or a pair of them with one on either side of the door also enhances the entrance.

Another way to make the door more attractive is to hang torans or decorative door hangings. Made of wood, clay or cloth, these are widely available across our country, especially the bright and colourful ones made by artisans of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Sreeprada Murthy of Chennai says that the nearly 40-year-old bungalow they live in is not easy to change in terms of structure. “Our front door is both very old and staid-looking. Five years ago, we placed a variety of flowering plants alongside the steps leading up to the entrance and hung ethnic-embroidered torans in bright red and green over the arch of the door. And, we have been changing the plants and
torans before Deepawali,” she says.

One often finds mirror-work, sequins, beads, zari borders, the words shubh and laabh on torans. The auspicious kalash design is another favourite and is often found on embroidered cloth torans. They are made to hang horizontally over the top of the door, while some are vertical ones which hang by the two sides of the door.

There is also a simple and natural way to do this. A beautiful Indian tradition is to make a simple string of marigold or fresh mango leaves, and hang it over the door,
especially during festivals. A beautifully-embroidered or embellished full-length curtain can be hung over the front door. Many homes also hang chillies and lemon outside their doors.

How about giving the door a new and bright coat of paint? Neelima Singh of Pune recalls the time she went on a tour of the rural areas in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar for a professional assignment; she came across many brightly-coloured doors, which perked up the simple rural homes. “On my return, I gave my door and archway a fresh coat of paint in a bright blue colour, which really enhanced the entrance,” she says.

Vastu has many prescriptions for the perfect front door. Vastu experts have
advice on aspects like what direction the door should face, the right material and the perfect door accessories to ensure good fortune for the home-dwellers. Feng Shui is another popular belief among many homeowners. Whatever your needs or beliefs, there are many options to help you design your door. Finding your perfect front door will be worth the effort.

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