The door is not only the entrance to your home, but also an opportunity for some creative decorating. Small touches make all the difference, and a cheery doorstep makes for a happy homecoming. For many University City area residents, the door is the primary area for creative expression. So, use it! Two UCity locals who always keep their doors in top form let us in on their secrets. Jane Corbin in Avalon Townhomes describes her process of hunting down bargains. She frequents consignment stores and Goodwill to find the perfect pieces of “door décor” at great prices. “My favorite store is Pier 1, but I always go the day after a holiday. Everything is marked down 50 to 75 percent, but you have to go the very next day or you don’t get the best stuff.” She also suggests paring down an old piece like a Christmas wreath and using a glue gun and new craft supplies to make a unique decoration. Because Corbin has so many wreaths that she doesn’t want to get damaged in storage, she hangs them all on the inside of her garage. She remembers fondly that a group of little girls walked by once and said, “You have the prettiest garage in the whole neighborhood!” Corbin says, “It’s like all the seasons rolled into one. It’s my claim to fame, I guess.”Sonja Mareske in the Radbourne community focuses on simple pieces that add pops of color to her doorway. “A nice splash of color makes a lot of difference,” she says. She recommends choosing colors that contrast with the color of your home. If you have a white home, for example, choose darker hues. “I love perennials because you save a lot of money when you don’t have to replant year after year. In the south, lots of plants make it through the winter very well. I’m a big believer because they save money and hard work.” Mareske also reminds us that we shouldn’t be afraid to do things a little differently. The important thing is to choose decorations that will complement your individual home. “A lot of people do round wreaths, but because I have two doors I don’t want to add two round wreaths. I use something long and tapered, instead. That way, the effect is nicer and not so symmetrical.” When it comes to Halloween, the Mareskes are famous for their spooky creations. “It’s definitely a family activity, especially since the kids are older,” she says. “We make a lot of the decorations ourselves, like making a mummy out of old, stuffed panty hose and torn sheets. We also like to stuff old kids’ Halloween costumes to make goblins for the yard.” When you combine materials you already have with new (or new-to-you) items, great doorway decorations are just a trip to the craft store away. And remember, it’s all for fun. Keep it personal and simple, and limited resources can go a long way. Corbin summed up the importance of a decorated doorway when asked why she puts so much effort into keeping things colorful. “It makes things cheery, and it makes me happy. A lot of people walk in our neighborhood. It just brightens everything up and lifts your spirits. I try to celebrate everything, celebrate life.” TipsEntryway ideas-Horn. $1.99. Goodwill. 5511 Poplar Tent Road, Concord.Design Master Colortool Spray (Robin’s Egg, Brilliant Gold, Deep Blue, Raspberry). $6.99 each. Michael’s Arts & Crafts. 8716 JW Clay Blvd., Charlotte.
-Ashland Home Accent Container. $10.19. Michael’s Arts & Crafts. 8716 JW Clay Blvd., Charlotte. Flower container. $9.99. Garden Ridge. 7965 Lyles Lane, Concord. Flowers. $2.99 each. Garden Ridge. 7965 Lyles Lane, Concord.
-Gardener’s Eden solar powered garden light. $24.99. TJ Maxx. 8712 J.W. Clay Blvd., Charlotte.
-Wreath. $75. Custom wreaths range in price. Gallery of Flowers. Shoppes at University Place, 9009 J M Keynes Drive, Charlotte.