I’ve been doing some house hunting lately, and I’ve realized just how much that initial feeling I get when I pull up to a home affects my attitude toward it. A home’s front entry is often the first thing visitors see, but perhaps even more important, it’s often the first thing you see when you come home. The way you set this stage can have a drastic effect on the way you feel when you arrive. A front entry with well-maintained accents and personal, familiar touches will appeal to you much differently than an entry with cracked paint, overgrown weeds and spotty windows.

You can maximize your entry potential by following these simple steps:

1. Light it up. Lighting serves multiple functions here. It provides a safer walkway for arriving guests and helps add a layer of security, while also beautifying the space and adding character.

2. Incorporate a container garden. Decorative containers hold limitless possibilities for incorporating style, whether it’s rustic, modern, beachy or nearly anything else. Containers also hold an endless array of alternatives for plants and flowers.

3. Deck out the door. Paint your front door a fresh, bold color that will grab attention and lead guests to the entrance. Add a decorative doorknob and hardware for a nice finishing touch.

4. Clean. Wash the windows and power-wash the exterior. If you have the resources, consider giving your home a fresh coat of paint.

Enhancing your home’s first impression does not have to be expensive or hard. Prioritize what you think needs immediate attention and work from there. You will create a warm, inviting space and potentially increase your home’s value in the process.