Decorative window films & my front door transformation

Lead shot of front door with film in an Art Deco pattern

First impressions are so important, I think – regarding people and property, especially at Christmas, Which is why I’ve always had so many misgivings about the appearance of my front door. So, I thought I’d spend some time on updating this neglected part of my home in time for all the festivities. It seems my reservations regarding the state of my front door are well founded. Did you know that according to a survey conducted by lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves, 57% of homebuyers said the front door had an impact on their first impression of a property? Not that I’m thinking of moving anywhere, but you can see my point. And 55% of homeowners admitted to judging a person based on the state of their front door!

Front door painted in Sapphire paint
I started looking at various options when it came to transforming my front door

Our project home

As many of you know, the husband and I have been painstakingly renovating our 1908 Edwardian semi since we moved in back in late 2017. One of our first projects was installing a garden studio, so I could work from home more effectively. We have also completed an extensive open-plan kitchen makeover. More recent projects have included revamping our tired guest bedroom. But I’ve been itching to sort out the awful glazing installed in our front door, which must have replaced a beautiful, original stained glass window.

Detail shot of pattern on glass on door
I knew this glass had to go – window film shouldn’t be applied to textured glass so remember to replace yours with smooth glass before you begin

Our front door transformation 

Unfortunately, replacing my property’s entire front door just wasn’t a feasible option in terms of costs. And even replacing the existing patterned glazing was way beyond my budget – this sort of work involves a specialist and it’s hugely time consuming. Materials and installation are so expensive. However, I’m still keen for all new purchases to be in keeping with my period property.

 Considering decorative window film

I’d tried local reclamation yards to find replacement doors with the original window intact, but with no success. Even so, I’d still have to find someone to fit it, which all adds up. So I went back to my (figurative) drawing board, and researched possible alternatives. That’s when I discovered decorative window film, which has been an absolute revelation.

More about decorative window film

Decorative window film can be the ideal way to upgrade both window and door glass, for a fraction of the price of replacing it. There are lots of different types available, too. I sourced my window film from a company called Purlfrost. In addition to decorative window film, they also offer versions designed to enhance privacy, safety and solar control. If you’re not sure which pattern to choose, you’ll find there are sections to suit the period of your property. And I’m all for window film, which is not only cost-effective but it will instantly enhance a room.

Inside front door view from hall
Our hall now looks so much better with some colour!

 The porch door

I actually made some changes to our awful uPVC porch front door last year. Now, I had hoped to replace this with a wooden version, however the space is so narrow, we discovered we would have to source a carpenter to make a bespoke door from scratch. I prefer to spend larger sums of money inside our home where we can really appreciate the decor, so I decided to knock that idea on the head!

Window film for the porch

For my porch front door, I chose Purlfrost’s Stafford Patterned Window Film for the bottom window. The pattern on these window films can be ordered in colour or transparent on a frosted background. I love this design as it still lets plenty of natural light in. I also chose an arched house number sticker in frosted film for the top of this door. This means the postie and visitors can easily see where we live and it has really helped to lift the look of this unattractive door.

Repainting our front door

So far, so good. But I really wasn’t sure about what to do about our original door. I was so relieved the wooden door was still intact so, to start, I painted my front door in Royal Sapphire by Victory Colours. As you know, I try to shop organically and sustainably, and I’m a big of this eco-conscious paint, which is made without solvents and VOCs. The shade is gorgeous, but if anything, I felt it made the awful glazing even more noticeable! So, I knew I had to do something about this window and glass film could provide the perfect way forward.

Repainted front door
I love my Royal Sapphire paint from eco-conscious Victory Colours. The front door was originally a pale grey and this has made a big difference

Replacing the window

I knew the awful patterned window would have to go so I enlisted the help of a local glazier. He simply removed and replaced the main window and the one above the door in a couple of hours. The labour and materials cost £175 in total, which I felt was money well spent. However, you could see directly into our hall and I didn’t want to have net curtains installed so I knew I needed to act quickly!

Clear glass without film on front door
Our glass was replaced with a clear toughened version to make way for the application of the film

 Window films sample selection

Samples of film for windows
You can remove the backing from any samples you order to see what they will look like if you already have smooth glass

I ordered three glass film samples – Beardsley, Sapphire and Kyanite -and held them all up to my front door. Then I tried to envisage how the full-size versions would look. You can actually stick this window film in small sample form onto your glass to see how they look, too.

The process

I asked the husband’s opinion, and posted all three options on my Instagram stories. Thanks so much to all of you who voted for your favourite style. Eventually, I selected Sapphire, which features a gorgeous pattern. It’s nearly the same name as the paint I’ve used on the front door by pure coincidence too! I absolutely adore the Art Deco stained glass effect of this film, and I’m pleased to report it was easy to apply.

I’m really pleased with my choice of film for our front door – it has literally transformed our entrance and hall

How to apply decorative window films

Purlfrost can even resize patterns to fit, and I got my window film cut to size by them before I installed it, to minimise potential complications. But I needn’t have worried. All you need to do is prep your glass, by cleaning thoroughly, removing any specks of paint or stickers. Then wet your glass thoroughly with a slip solution (water mixed with washing-up liquid). Spray the adhesive side of your decorative window film with the slip solution, as you peel off the protective liner. I used the husband to hold the film steady, while I sprayed.

Front door detail shot of film
This film measured 57cm by 92cm and this size costs £51.72 (incl.VAT) – just make sure you measure carefully, so you order a design, which will fit!

Sticking the film to windows

Then you apply the film’s adhesive side onto your glass, wet the face of it, and squeeze out the solution from under the film, working from top to bottom. Pat dry with a paper towel, double check for any air bubbles, and voilà! One completely transformed front door.

AD: This is a collaboration with Purlfrost window film who kindly gifted this design to me

Interested in other refurbishment projects for the new year? Click here to discover my master bedroom makeover ideas.