How can I brighten a dark entryway without painting the door?

Cindy Rubin
by Cindy Rubin

I have to sell my parents home ASAP. Realtor said make the front look 'post card' beautiful. Landscaping crew is coming to renew and refresh the yard. My problem is that the front main entry is very dark/shadowed and to me says "stay away from this cave"! ( This pic was taken on a very sunny day!! )How can I brighten this area? My parents love the wood doors ( which means no painting ) and adore the Japanese Maple to the left side of step ( which means it stays ) I want this area to be welcoming and appealing when a prospective buyer looks at the house. Desperate for ideas!!

sorry, area is hard to see but you get the gist I'm sure

  12 answers
  • Trixie Trixie on Jun 15, 2019

    The thing that stands out to me is the giant green bushes, especially the one on the right. Would you consider getting rid of that? It would seem like it would make the whole area get more light. It's a big change but that's the first thing that I saw.

  • Karen Brunck Karen Brunck on Jun 15, 2019

    I agree with Trixie. The tree is blocking the available light and also encroaching on the walkway. With the tree gone, I would add a bright yellow bench with some potted flowers alongside the door as a happy destination. Yellow sells houses!😊

  • Cheryl Gillman Cheryl Gillman on Jun 15, 2019

    You could try adding some sort of lighting, also try adding a mirror of some sort, t will help reflect the light into the area

  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Jun 15, 2019

    The Japanese maple needs to be pruned and shaped. I'm confused as to why your parents are insisting on things if it won't be their house!?! But, I get that they feel they need input. So, once the tree is reshaped, add a rocking chair or other seating in front of that small window. As Cheryl suggested, a nice reflective object (I'm thinking a shiny metal sun or something) could hang on the wall. And/or you could use a set of string or rope lights behind the chair, perhaps shaped into a star and keep it plugged in to soften the effect of that deep shade.

  • Grandma Teresa Grandma Teresa on Jun 15, 2019

    The trees are beautiful and I have two just like them in the corner of my front area. These trees like mine take yearly care and are fast growing. All the ladies are correct on the trees blocking the entry area, if can't just bring yourself to cut them down - cut them down to 2 1/2 - 3 feet and stand back and check out the view. You'll be amazed what a difference it will make and how much more balanced it will look and the home will stand out instead of being hidden from view. Good Luck!

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Jun 15, 2019

    I agree to remove the bush on the right. It also appears that the front may be symmetrical meaning the one on the left is also blocking the view of the front and a set of windows on that side. Take it out.

    I agree that painting and lighting for the front door is in order. Have the realtor speak with your parents about it - they are selling and should want the fastest/highest price, not just to sit home with a wood door.

  • Rymea Rymea on Jun 15, 2019

    Paint the area under the roof around the door the brightest white you can find. It won't look too white since it is in the shade and the windows are trimmed in white. You might even paint it with semi gloss to reflect light. And yes, remove the giant tree/bush.

  • Doesn't matter what your parents like anymore. You are putting the house up on the market and need it to appeal to a wide variety of buyers - especially if you want to sell asap! Do what your realtor tells you to do, or get a new realtor that can guide you through the process. If a home has too many things to upgrade or change, it may scare potential buyers off. You need to remove your personal feelings and get into the mindset that this is a business transaction if you want to get the best price in a short period of time. I know it is hard to do, as most people have emotional attachments to their property. If I see $$$ that will benefit them in the future it is just plain foolish to push their taste onto prospective buyers.

  • Linda Linda on Jun 15, 2019

    Yes, remove the large bush and trim the Japanese maple back. Maybe plant another smaller shrub to match the one under the window. here is a rough pic to give you an idea of the change it would make. I like the light string idea.

    • Cindy Rubin Cindy Rubin on Jun 16, 2019

      How did you make that change in the pic? If I could do that, giving my parents examples of the possibilities they just might be open to changing the area!!!

  • Linda Linda on Jun 16, 2019

    I copied your pic and used a program called Paint 3D. I copied little pieces of the brick area and flipped them to mirror the other side and “painted” some of the other spaces. The program lets you take a sample of the color from an area and use it to help blend areas. I guess one could spend a lot more time on it to get it smoother but I was just going with the idea.

  • Elena Elena on Jul 04, 2019

    I like everything !! Door colour is great,,big trees are perfect, no need to change anything I would like to live there or at least to plant roses. Perfect place!!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 04, 2021


    From where the pathway is straight, make a line on the lawn up to the planted areas near the house. Remove the grass and plant up pretty flowers to lead you in. Widen the area up and to include the planted areas near the house. Add a hanging Basket or two at Entrance. Hope that helps