Beautiful Doors for Traditional Home Styles

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for Direct from the Designers

Selecting the perfect front door will help set the tone for your entire façade, so make sure yours supports your architecture and design vision! The traditional category is particularly diverse given the wide variety of home styles developed over time and across continents before the advent of modern design principles—you won’t lack for options whether you’re shopping for European, colonial, Victorian, farmhouse, cottage, etc., aesthetics. Here are the key points of traditional doors to keep in mind!

Therma-Tru Classic-Craft Founders Collection

Need a solid choice for a historical home? This Classic Craft® Founders Collection™ Opaque Six Panel (Style. No CCM60) door offers authentic wood tones and textures as well as the formal character of a raised panel design. The PrismaGuard Windflower Honey stain is durable for consistent appeal through the seasons, and it fits the traditional vibe perfectly!

Classic Raised Panel Doors

Whether you look at old-world or early American homes, you’re sure to find plenty of raised panel door designs. Not sure what that means? Imagine cabinetry. Raised panel cabinets have been the go-to option for traditional homes for quite a while because they can be done simply or extravagantly to suit different needs. The panels appear to be routed out of the door surface, such that the interior parts of each panel are at the same level as the base of the door surrounding them. They are defined by the shape, size, and complexity of the routed borders.

Given the size of an entry door, they typically offer multiple panels whereas a cabinet door would only have one. That increased visual interest can really grab the eye, so make sure to consider your options carefully. In general, having multiple smaller panels will give off a more old-fashioned vibe than fewer larger panels. If you intend to have a door lite, it can be worked into the door in all sorts of ways—glass up top with a panel or two below, a narrow centered window surrounded by panels, etc. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with original examples of your home’s architectural style to see what sort of door will complement it best; while there’s plenty of opportunity to add traditional character to your façade, there’s also room for error when you mismatch features. Never be afraid to ask a professional for guidance!

Therma-Tru Smooth-Star Shaker

Those looking for an unpretentious door solution will also find plenty of variety within the recessed panel category. This Smooth-Star® Shaker (Style No. S4814) door in the PrismaGuard Estuary paint finish has two tall panels beneath 2x2 divided lites with clear glass—it’s a neat and tidy look given some additional presence thanks to the coordinating sidelites.

Simple Recessed Panel Doors

While raised panels have sunken borders, recessed panels are built around by rails and stiles. This means the level of the panel is deeper than the rest of the door surface. Additionally, the panels have modest square edges—you won’t find any fancy edge profiles with varying dips and slopes here. Recessed panel doors are often referred to as Shaker-style after the religious movement that developed the look—the Shakers came to be known for their high-quality yet relatively plain and straightforward cabinetry and furniture designs that are still popular centuries later.

If your traditional home errs on the informal side—think farmhouse or Craftsman rather than Victorian—a recessed panel door would make a great choice. They might come off as basic compared to raised panel designs, but recessed panels actually come in a good breadth of patterns, too. Want the simplest of the simple? Try a large single panel. There are also two-panel versions with one shorter panel under a taller one and narrow, side-by-side panels beneath a top section with glass. A stack of three, four, or five full-width panels would fit a transitional scheme wonderfully, or you might like a six-panel version with three rows of two for more traditional flair. Finally, crossbuck patterns offer the opportunity to add a unique rustic touch to your exterior. You won’t find that in the raised panel category!

Therma-Tru Fiber-Classic Oak Collection

With two small raised panels, a ¾ lite with Salinas® glass, and a moody Raven PrismaGuard stain, this Fiber-Classic® Oak Collection™ (Style No. FC115) door definitely makes an impression. The combination of wrought iron and a bold dark finish is perfect for today’s new traditional style.

Finishes That Define

The construction of your front door provides a solid foundation for its style, but you can further tailor the look with your choice of finishing features. Explore different types of decorative glass for lites—with designs inspired by all kinds of architecture, rest assured you’ll find a fitting pattern for every home. Your choice of a wood-look or painted finish will also give your entry personality. Both raised and recessed panel doors are made with stain and paint in mind, so you can make your panels as rustic or refined and understated or bold as you like. Once you have the door itself squared away, the last thing to do is choose hardware. Keep your design scheme through to the handleset—it may be a relatively small feature, but it is a focal point!

Whatever sort of entry door you’re looking for, rest assured you’ll find great options with Therma-Tru®. They have a huge catalog of traditional as well as transitional and modern door designs and finishes. See their recommendations for popular home styles and explore their inspiration gallery to get a feel for the possibilities. A local dealer will be happy to help you bring your door goals to fruition whenever you’re ready!

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