Door Design —Making an Entrance 

Doors are so much more than an architectural necessity, yet their potential is often overlooked. They are a place to play with textural contrast and scale. In a house or flat with few architectural features, doors present an opportunity to add character and make statements.  

The role of the front door 

Your front door gives visitors and passers-by the first impression of your home. It’s a critical fixture both in terms of its style and the level of security that it offers. If your budget allows, hire a designer or architect to create a concept door. Buying off-the-shelf will limit you to conventional sizes. It’s hard to make a statement with a standard sized door. The more you can scale the dimensions up, the greater the impact.  

Ditch convention 

Doors don’t have to be hung on hinges or made of wood. Think of doors as decorative panels that break up the large expanse of a wall. They are integral to your scheme. Every room needs an element of surprise and doors are the perfect canvas for playful design. There are endless ways to create a bespoke look.  

Here are some ideas: 

Replace traditional hinges with a door that slides, pivots, revolves or concertinas 

Cover the surface with leather or a specialist plaster finish 

Add panels of vellum, fabric or marquetry inlays 

Let light in with glass or go industrial with metal 

Create textural contrast  

Doors have more appeal and impact when they are a balance of contrasts. Imagine leather panels within a wrought iron frame or patinated metal door furniture with contemporary dark-stained oak. Pair matt with glossy, smooth with textured and light with dark.  

Treat door furniture like jewellery 

Handles, knobs and knockers add another layer of texture and visual contrast. They are the finishing touches that speak your style — the jewellery of the door.  

generally choose custom-made door furniture but there are endless off-the-shelf options in a range of materials, such as: 

Metals —bronze, brushed steel, nickel, wrought iron and brass 

Natural — rope, leather, wood and horn 

Perspex and faceted glass.  

For maximum impact, choose door furniture that emphasises, shape, textural contrast and proportion.  

Here are some combinations that I have used in my clients’ homes: 

  • The striking silver of Xavier Lebée’s Versailles Bagatelle handles against dark black stained double doors. The oversized semi-circular handles unite as a piece of art when closed.  
  • Custom-made purple faceted glass handles that add the perfect element of surprise and playfulness. 
  • Texturally-rich silver-plated pull plates set in silken-smooth black oak doors. The oblong plates reflect my banners and echo the vertical grid of a room.  


I love to replace stand sized doors with the tallest doors possible. It adds impact to a room of any size. If the space lacks height, take the door right up to the ceiling. It will give the illusion of a taller room.  

Slide a glimpse 

Hallways can look quite utilitarian. Their multiple nondescript doors hide the delights of the rooms beyond. Giving some thought to your door design can switch things up and turn the mundane into the inviting. Oversizing is, of course, an option but you can take it further. Sliding screens make an elegant backdrop for hall furniture and wall art. Imagine the lure of rich red leather panels set within dark wooden frames that hint at the rooms behind them.  


A door can be dressed in any way that you desire. It can scream your style or meld into the background. Whatever design you choose, make sure that it adds to the overall look of your room. It could be the icing on the cake. 



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