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Open Your Doors To Summer

Most people don't think much about decorating their front doors unless it's holiday time, but design expert Susanna Salk says "refreshening" them is a great way to brighten your home for summer.

Whether you live in the city or country, your doorway is the gateway to your personal style. It can also reflect the season.

Salk visited the flagship store in Manhattan of Early Show partner Pottery Barn (www.potterybarn.com) to show viewers the way.

She stressed that it's easy, and pointed out that the warm weather means we're opening our doors more than ever, so summerizing them is a great way to go.

Front Door 101

1. Your door color is so important, it's as important as choosing your lipstick color.
2. Don't just settle for white: Try a cobalt blue or chartreuse green: You can always paint over it!
3. Just repainting the doorway a different color will help add a different style to your home.
4. Lighting is key: Stylish scones can further your theme; classic, modern, retro, etc.
5. Pick a doormat that's either completely innocuous or has a colorful pattern.
6. Make sure any planters you use have some kind of uniformity.
7. Don't mix styles: Pick a theme or period and stick to it. But don't overdo a theme, either. Less is definitely more here.
8. Use an appropriate floor mat.
9. Maintain, maintain: A doorway is only as pretty as its owner keeps it. Keep the area clean, refreshed and polished, and updated seasonally.

Painting Pointers

Wash the grime off your front door with a solution of water and a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent. Rinse off any soap residue. Remove the door before you paint it, and remove any other hardware. Prime all six sides of the door (the inside, the outside, the left and right edges, and the top and bottom): Any surfaces you don't prime will absorb moisture. Paint the door with several coats, continuing to use the angle brush first, then the roller. Use one coat of acrylic primer on metal and wood doors. After the primer dries, brush on an acrylic-based paint, which flexes with temperature changes. An oil-based paint can crack. Red is currently the most popular color for front doors. But get creative: Try blues and chartreuse green!

European Garden entry

Do you dream of traveling to Europe this summer? Now you can recreate some of its charm right at your doorstep. It's all about mixing rustic, charming accessories that seem to have a sense of dignified history with nature.

Some ideas to achieve the look:

1. Lay down a small outdoor rug.
2. Use appropriate planters.
3. For a lighting choice, Salk suggests Pottery Barn Rustic Glass scones, and one from Ballard.
4. Salk chose a lavender wreath to add to the Provence theme.
5. Decorative urns and faux topiaries are great for people who don't have a natural green thumb.

Also:

  • If you can't find a mat special enough to set your tone, try using a small outdoor rug. They tend to come in more stylish choices.
  • Planters that have a rich color and artisan flavor set the tone.
  • A single monogram wrought-iron plaque has old-world charm.
  • Try hanging outdoor sconces that look like 18th-century lanterns.
  • If you don't have time or enough light to maintain plants at your doorway, try flanking your walkway with decorative urns, OR try faux boxwood topiaries.

    Painted Nantucket Fog

    This beach-themed entryway is a great idea for those who don't have the time or inclination to paint the doorway. Approach this idea as if you were decorating your doors for the holidays.

    1. Put down a textured/raffia door mat
    2. Make a sea shell charger into a wreath.
    3. If you don't want to use a wreath, another great way to indicate the street number is to paint your number on a sand dollar.
    4. Instead of using just any old lights for the pathway to the door, use hurricane lamps filled with sand.