How to Decorate Your Front Door for the Holidays
For most of the year, your front door is home to window boxes, porch swings, and flowerbeds blossoming with color and personality. But by the time December arrives, they’re often empty and retired for the season.
Although a front-facing garden may be destined to lie dormant through the winter months, your front door needn't be. Trimmed with greenery and lights, it can become the focal point of your outdoor decorating. Let nature be your inspiration: If you live in a northern climate, the world around you has been stripped to its foundation, most leaves and flowers gone. What remain—bare branches and twigs, evergreens, the hardiest shrubs—are winter's natural decorations. Many of the projects demonstrated here use foraged twigs and branches as a starting point. You can get the materials you'll need from nurseries, florist shops, and craft stores, although with a few exceptions, most can probably also be found in abundance on your own property. Or use boughs trimmed from the bottom of your Christmas tree, bundling them into a window basket. Hang up a wreath or prominently display a pair of stately urns with evergreens for the front porch. And when day turns to dusk, the Christmas lights will shine brighter than anything you've showcased earlier in the day.
Most of these projects have an added advantage: The structural underpinnings can be saved and reused. After the holidays, you can dismantle the displays, discard the faded greenery, and save the base decoration. Next year, when winter returns once more, you can unpack your creations, and dress up your doorway for the holiday season.
Frost the Glass
Visitors will be in awe of these instant etchings—vines and fauna. And as intricate as it looks, this artwork is easy to create: Start by printing out the template, which comes in sections, onto paper. Trace onto the back of white vinyl using transfer paper; cut out with scissors, and align to form the larger design. Static holds the pieces in place on a glass or mirrored surface without the need for adhesive, so you can reuse this snowy silhouette for years to come.
Dazzle with Evergreen Stars
The front exterior of the home? Think of it as a blank canvas. Pictured here, these eight-point stars are staggered, making the front door its focal point. Evergreens are formed on simple bases made from wooden strips; using varieties like rosemary, juniper, cedar, boxwood, or white spruce. (Our tip: When choosing cuttings, opt for cedar, which can withstand wintry weather.) You can also gather trimmings from your backyard.
Keep It Pretty and Practical
Even the smallest front porch and its door can be an efficient use of space. On the front porch of Jenni Kayne's Lake Tahoe home are the most important items for the weekend: sturdy boots, firewood, and extra pinecones and moss for the weekend projects. The lush wreath requires no complicated tools for assembly—just floral shears and wire.
Offer a Signature Greeting
Simple craft and garden supplies, and a coat or two of matte-finish white chalk paint, turn this stoop into a stunner. The monogrammed plaque is entirely customizable (that includes the laurel accents). To give a pair of lightweight composite planters a stately makeover, spray them with chalk paint as well.
Upcycle Your Treasures
Among all of the holiday guests who come flocking to your door, none are as charming as the feathered ones who already inhabit your backyard. An idea that caters to them is easy: Prop a weather-worn basket onto the door with a bundle of greenery and perhaps a pinecone or two coated with peanut butter as a special treat for the birds. And then? Sit back with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the show from your window.
Add Greenery and Shine
Wreaths are considered the darling of any front door, but why not exaggerate its grandeur with a trailing greenery of laurel branches and silver baubles. For a cohesive look, you can enliven an urn or potted planter that's empty for the winter with any leftovers of laurel and a gazing ball.
Invite Familiar Characters
Charm and tradition go hand in hand for the holiday season. At this Christmas open house in Wilmington, North Carolina, the front door is decked out in merry red and green colors. On either side: ribbon-tied topiaries with poinsettias, glass lanterns, and a larger-than-life Nutcracker standing at attention.
Craft a Whole New World
The most well-decorated front door offers your house guests a few telling clues about what awaits them inside. Pictured here, Martha and the Living editors transformed this one-room cottage on the Bedford property into a winter wonderland. Outside, a welcoming sight of mushrooms, woodland gnomes, and bottlebrush animals greet those who approach to enter.
Get the Party Started
If you're playing hostess to a crowd, here's a sweet idea to greet your guests: roll out a bar cart with your signature cocktail and a few decorative elements. At this whimsical Christmas party in Southern California, a lifesize Nutcracker stands nearby, offering a fun photo-opp as people enter the party. And if you didn't the transformative power of paint, just check out that cotton-candy pink hue.