As we become more aware of residential density and as lots shrink, our garages are more often sited closer to the road, as opposed to behind or next to our homes. Naturally, we would like our homes to have curb appeal, and the increasing variety in garage door design reflects this. We are no longer limited to white, gray, or brown; nor are we confined by building material or an absence of architectural flourishes. The sky – or at least the roof of the garage – is the limit.
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Thinking Outside the Box
When many of us think about garage doors, we imagine hitting that magical button that raises the door for easy entry. However, garage doors do not have to move up; they can move out as well. Swing doors are available in an incredible variety of designs and impart a certain old-fashioned or vintage appeal, compared to their vertically rising counterparts. Nevertheless, they are largely overlooked. This system is actually comprised of two doors that open out, much like the doors of a barn (and they can be made to look like them, too). They don’t require the overhead track necessary for a standard sectional garage door but rather use heavy-duty hinges for easy operation. If you think that these doors are dated, think again: they can be fitted with automatic operators as well. Those without interest in the possibility of a swing door, however, still have countless options beyond the standard white, paneled garage door to consider.
Moving Back to Move Forward
In the 19th century, garages did not exist, but they had a precursor in the carriage house. Carriage houses (or coach houses) sheltered horse-drawn carriages from the elements. Today, architects have drawn upon the styles used for carriage houses to give modern homes a taste of classic elegance. Although carriage house-style doors were originally attached in the swing door fashion, some overhead doors reflect design elements common to carriage houses. Carriage house-style doors come not just in wood these days but in metal, which requires minimal maintenance.
Becoming More Transparent
Garage doors are generally made from one of three materials: steel, wood, or aluminum. These serve as a solid foundation for the door, but incorporating more glass is a great way to make the garage feel less like an enclosed “extra” and more like a part of your house. Glass breaks the monotony of the door, and a set of glass panels can look incredibly sophisticated, as exemplified by the mixture of wood and glass in French doors. These suit contemporary homes, and a holistic look is created when the garage door matches the windows of the house. If you’re concerned about the visibility of the contents of your garage, translucent panels will give you the same look without the worry.
When rethinking our garage doors, we needn’t be so flat. Choosing a door that is designed with raised panels or scored designs creates depth and personality and certainly catches the eye. Although this style has become somewhat of a modern classic, the look can certainly be updated. Raised panel garage doors can be made with wood or metal, which allows some flexibility in the color scheme or an entirely different look. Wooden panels with carving or scoring are incredibly versatile and can be deeply sophisticated in their simplicity.
Adding a Little Something
A whole new garage door may not even be what is necessary to increase your home’s curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint could dramatically alter the look of your home or the replacement of old, worn hardware with something a bit newer or eye-catching. So many options are available, covering a wide range of tastes and styles, from the simple (adding a window) to the striking (affixing a billboard with an image so lifelike your neighbors may think there’s an alligator in your garage). (We don’t necessarily recommend this, but the option remains.)
Home improvement has become a vital project these days. The challenges in the housing market have led more homeowners to stay put and do what they can to increase the value and appeal of their homes. Regardless of your goals, understanding your garage door design options is a great way to put your home’s best face forward.