We went all-in on an update that real estate pros say can make or break a sale.
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Small Planters Front Porch
Credit: Alison Miksch

We have a tidy little three-bedroom, two-bath cottage—the photo you see above is not it, but wouldn't that be lovely? The shoe box closets and squeaky floorboards are nostalgic treasures that I know my husband and I will reminisce about years from now if we ever find ourselves taking up another address. Little by little, I've made our once bare-bones dwelling into a cozy little space that we're rather proud of. Not because it's impressive for its size or impeccable decor choices (we can't claim either), but because it has a warmness about it. Though I love our cozy house, there was something that had always been a point of contention for me: the front door.

Our front door was a typical craftsman-style door with a row of three small lites at the very top. It was warped and you could feel the cold coming through the space at the bottom during the winter, and the heat would start to hit you before you even opened it in the peak summer months. Energy efficiency (or lack thereof) aside, the thing that bothered me most was that it closed off our living room. The bulk of our seating faces the front door, so it was essentially like staring at a wall. If the weather was nice, we would oftentimes just leave the door open to make our space feel a little less closed in—forget the mosquitos.

We finally decided to take the plunge and get a new front door just before Christmas. The process of selecting the door was very straightforward mostly because I knew what I wanted: a 4-lite wood door. It would open up our space in an instant. My husband trusts my judgment (hallelujah!), so no compromising was necessary.

The glass didn't bother me primarily because our front door doesn't face the street. I also knew that adding a Roman shade would be no problem if it winded up feeling too open. I opted to paint it white (detail note: our house is brownish-gray with white features that include our porch pillar, window casings, etc.) and decided on a traditional knob in a dark bronze that reads black from a distance. Done, done, and done. No regrets, I hoped.

Coming home the day of install was exciting, but the unfinished wood made me itch. I hate a partly finished project. Once my husband got two coats of paint on it that weekend, I was in love—with him and our door. Our house instantly became so much more charming, and the style put a stamp on our cottage appeal. It was a combination of the new, lighter and brighter style paired with that crisp white that took it to the next level.

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I've read that a front door upgrade is one of the most economical home updates you can make because it can potentially increase resale price. We don't plan on moving any time soon, but it's definitely reassuring to know that our money was well spent. Now I can personally attest to the transforming power of a new wood door and a bucket of paint.