Design an eye-catching front door and hallway to create a winning first impression.

hallway grand entrance - how to create a grand entrance to your home - home improvements - 

Image: Urban Front

A welcoming entrance sets the tone for your entire home. Replacing an inefficient front door with a smart new one, building a modern porch or remodelling the hall not only makes financial sense but it will enhance your homes aesthetic too. 

Update the outside

solid wood front door - how to create a grand entrance to your home - home improvements -

Image: Urban Front

Front doors and porches add character where there may previously have been none, whether they’re done in a period style to match the existing architecture or for a modern contrast.

Adding a porch, and moving or changing the front door, can be done under permitted development with no planning permission. ‘A well-designed porch can offer extra internal space and light in a hallway and improve the appearance of the building. But the joinery needs to be of good quality, and doors should lock securely and be draughtproof,’ says Jerry Evans at architectural practice Southpoint .

Remodel the hallway

hallway with crittall screen - grand designs

Image: To create better sight-lines on the ground floor, the entry to the entrance vestibule in this project by XUL Architecture was replaced with a Crittall-style glass, helping this space stay bright and open. Photo: Matt Clayton 

It’s not just about quantity of space, but the quality. People can be prepared to sacrifice a bedroom or shave space off a reception room to remodel a hallway as a larger, light-filled entrance. Adding overhead natural light with a roof light (or a sun-tunnel, running through the attic space) creates a feel-good environment.

Being able to ‘read’ how spaces connect, and having a layout that flows well, are both important. Resiting the hall can have a big effect on how the whole ground floor looks and functions. For example, creating sightlines through to the rear garden can make a house feel larger, drawing you through the space. 

Read more: 4 ideas for reconfiguring an internal layout to maximise natural light

Statement staircase

staircase design - how to create a grand entrance to your home - home improvements -

Image: Bisca 

A statement staircase can give the hallway serious design flair. There are several companies that specialise in show-stopping bespoke examples, but remember to allow for this in your budget as custom-built models can cost 10s of thousands of pounds. Architects and joiners can also design staircases.

Another option is to renovate what you have by adding modern balustrades in metal, glass or wood. ‘Fitting a new staircase in an older property can maximise the illusion of light or openness, add storage or work around room entrance and exits,’ says Richard McLane at bespoke staircase company Bisca.

Read more: A practical guide to choosing a new staircase

Front door checklist

modern house with cladding and black front door - grand designs

Image: Kloeber

According to Secured by Design, door sets (with the frame and door bought as a package) are more secure. Specify a door with low U values to maximise energy efficiency. You can find suppliers of energy-efficient doors on the British Fenestration Rating Council’s website (

Glass should be laminated and toughened, for security and safety. If you’re opting for an oversized statement door, make sure there’s enough room inside to manoeuvre around it, and think about which side it should open (so it doesn’t block an internal door, for example). 

Read more: How to pick the perfect front door for your project


For more ideas to improve your home's layout and renovating key areas, read Grand Designs magazine digitally for free now by registering your details



6 things architects want you to know about your self-build or renovation

Is hardwood flooring right for your home?

How to choose a roof light for your extension

Kevins Column

Grand Designs Live: Ask an Expert Weekend 22-23 May 2021

Discover free home project advice and product recommendations from the comfort of your own home. Register now to express your interest.
Home Improvements

How to plan your kitchen storage

Follow this guide when planning the storage in your new kitchen to ensure your scheme is well-organised, easy to use and has room for everything...
Home Improvements

A view to thrill – a stunning Surrey home with weathertight sliding doors

Sliding doors and windows can open up a home and deliver security, weather protection and incredible views. We look at a beautiful case study from...
Home Improvements

Grand Designs launches a sustainable sofa collection

Discover what is available in the Grand Designs collection of sustainable and stylish sofas, armchairs and accessories, manufactured by furniture retailer DFS.
Home Improvements

Which is the best front door to buy?

Choose the best front door for your property with this guide to selecting the best design
Home Improvements

Add a sense of space and light with sliding glass doors

Whether you’re extending, self-building or improving, discover how sliding glass doors can create a sense of space and flood your home with natural light
Home Improvements

Let a wood fired oven revolutionise your al fresco lifestyle

Putting the right wood fired oven at the heart of your al fresco entertaining can enrich your weekends and evenings, if you get it right....