What makes iron or steel doors pleasing to the eye?
It's an interesting question to ponder because we often throw around terms like "aesthetically pleasing" without really thinking about what they mean. For instance, the presence of a window in a door may make it more pleasant to view. But why is that?
Is it the window itself?
The light that it allows to stream through into your house?
And that's just one aspect of door design. Colors play a role, too, as does the way the door appears to your eyes when contrasted against the rest of your home. There's the battle between modern and traditional, too - one may look better to you than the other.
With these questions and considerations in mind, we've decided to explore what "aesthetically pleasing" means, both in terms of door design and to the world in general.
So, What Does Aesthetically Pleasing Mean Anyway?
Cambridge Dictionary has a great definition of aesthetically pleasing:
"Something that is aesthetically pleasing is enjoyable to look at because you think it is beautiful."
And that is really what it comes down to. You could read books upon books on the theory and philosophy of aesthetics - or esthetics, as some philosophers call it - but it really comes down to how something looks to you.
In the context of doors, aesthetics become more complicated because it's not just the doors themselves that you're considering. That door has to beautify your home's entrance and match the colors (and style) of your building. The walls surrounding the door have aesthetic qualities of their own, and those qualities must complement or properly contrast those found in your door.
So, searching for beautiful doors alone is often not enough.
It's how those doors look within the confines of their surroundings that often have a much larger impact on whether they're pleasant to your eye.
The Components of Attractive Doors
Let's face it - you have near-limitless options when choosing doors for your home. But you also know what it feels like to look at a door and think, "Ugh, that's not for me," or "Wow, that door is stunning."
The existence of these contradicting thoughts leads us to a question - what are the components of something that's aesthetically pleasing?
Let's break them down.
Balance and Symmetry
Humans crave balance in everything they do in life. And that applies to everything - your personal life, your work, your finances. All that you are needs to be in perfect balance for you to feel satisfied. And you can feel the impact of something falling out of balance and creating ripple effects in other areas of your life.
Take an unexpected expense, such as an HVAC repair in your home.
If you don't have the savings to cover that repair, you have to pull money out of your regular income or take out a loan. That, in turn, upsets the balance elsewhere in your life – a rent payment may become overdue, or you can't buy something that your kids need. Chaos, even if it is on a small scale, results, and you won't feel comfortable again until you've restored the balance - i.e., you're back on a more stable financial footing.
If you're wondering what this has to do with the inspiration behind modern door design, just take a look at almost any front door.
You'll see balance.
For instance, a PINKYS door isn't some hodgepodge of misshapen glass panels and irregular metal lines. There's a symmetry in these doors (and most others) that represents the balance that we all crave in our lives.
Hence, it’s why balance and symmetry create something aesthetically pleasing - we all want balance, and a good front door provides it.
A Word on the Golden Ratio
Those who've studied the science behind aesthetics may have come across these numbers before - 1:1.618.
That is the Golden Ratio (sometimes called the Divine Ratio), and it demonstrates our desire for symmetry in design. It's a ratio that we see everywhere, even when we don't know it. It's in nature. It's in some of the most famous works of art (the Mona Lisa is a famous example), and it's a ratio that is often used in architectural design.
Some even believe that this ratio is hard-coded into our brains. In other words, the desire for symmetry that aligns with this ratio is simply part of being human, making it a key influencer in what we find aesthetically pleasing.
A door doesn't need to match the golden ratio to be aesthetically pleasing. But the closer it comes, especially when combined with the other elements of your home, the more beautiful the door will appear to you.
Rhythm and the Sensation of Movement
A door is a static object, except of course, when it's being opened or closed.
You're not learning anything new there, but the fact that doors are static may make you wonder how rhythm fits in the equation. After all, rhythm is a term more closely associated with music and movement. The beat that underscores a song. The way that somebody walks. There's obvious rhythm in those things, and the ability to create a strong rhythm is what makes a song or the way somebody moves appealing to your senses.
So, how does rhythm apply to door design?
It's all about creating a sense of action that draws your eye in a specific direction. For instance, the bold straight lines in many PINKYS doors draw your eye to them, only for you to follow the lines to reach the glass panes and the door handle. It's subtle, but it's there - a rhythm that encourages you to follow the lines and take in the entire door.
Rhythm can also be used in the design features around the door. For instance, the pathway leading toward your home's entrance has a rhythm because it guides you to the door - hence why most houses have some form of pathway or entrance design rather than having a door standing stark against a wall.
A Focal Point
Closely related to rhythm and its role in aesthetically pleasing design is having a focal point. And the previously-shared example of a pathway leading up to a door serves us well here, too - the door is the focal point of the exterior design.
But you'll see this with almost any entryway.
For instance, you may have a porch with a lot of plants. The plants themselves are aesthetically pleasing in their own right, especially because they can add a touch of color (more on that soon) to a porch that might otherwise feel dark or drab.
However, they're not the focal point of your home's entryway.
The door is.
In the context of creating an aesthetically pleasing door, the manufacturer has to consider how it'll act as a focal point, as do you or your home designers. Take a PINKYS door as an example - most make heavy use of glass and sleek black lines. While this combination creates an interesting contrast between light and dark on its own, it comes into its own when implemented into your entryway design.
The "light" aspect, coming from the glass panes, complementary plants, and light-colored decorative elements. The black contrasts those elements, drawing your eye to the door as the entrance's focal point. And because a PINKYS door so expertly combines light and dark, the same applies in reverse - the door becomes the focal point in a dark entryway thanks to the light coloring of the glass.
And therein lies the secret of a focal point - contrast.
Though we crave symmetry, we're also drawn to things that look "different" from the way we expect them to look. So, the decorative and design features in your entryway can set the stage for what you expect to see, only for your door to flip that expectation, turning it into a focal point that's attractive to your eye.
Color is an interesting aspect of aesthetics because your color preferences may not be the same as another person's - we all have a favorite color, after all.
But taken on a more general level, there are many colors that appeal to the eye, and almost as many that are off-putting to the point where you'd never use them when designing or creating painted doors.
Pantone 448 C is a good example of the latter.
This sickly and drab brown coloring is so unappealing that some governments have mandated that it should be used as the color for all cigarette boxes. The idea is simple - make the cigarettes look so unappealing that people are less likely to buy them.
On the opposite end of that color spectrum, you may notice that a lot of fast-food restaurants use red in their branding. That's because red is an attractive color that conveys energy and, supposedly, makes people feel hungry, even if they didn't feel hungry before they saw the color. Incidentally, the reason why so many people love the bougainvillea plant may have something to do with its red and energetic coloring.
And therein lies the reason why color has such an important role in aesthetics - it affects our emotions.
So, some people may choose bright and bold colors (such as red or white) for their doors because they want to convey the same feelings of energy and brightness that fast food companies want to encourage. Others, like many PINKYS customers, will prefer black because that color is sleek and stylish - it makes you feel cool when you see it.
That brings us back to the concept of people having favorite colors. Your choice is usually your favorite because it makes you feel a certain way - calm, energetic, happy, or whatever it may be. So, for you, an aesthetically pleasing door may be one that uses that color, or that contrasts well with other design elements featuring your favorite color.
Proportion and Scale
Contrast can serve to make a door aesthetically pleasing, especially when it plays into turning the door into a focal point when set against other design elements. But failing to meet somebody's expectations in a visual sense can also lead you down the rocky road of terrible aesthetics in another sense - proportionality.
For instance, imagine that you have a small and cozy home.
The front door, along with your windows and every other design element, matches the home's small stature. Nothing seems out of place, so you have an attractive home. Now, remove the small front door and replace it with a much larger double door or a sliding door that has several large glass panes.
The door on its own may look gorgeous.
But when viewed within the context of its surroundings, it's completely out of place because it's not in proportion with the rest of the property. That massive door speaks of grandeur and excess - neither in keeping with a small and cozy home.
Of course, this principle works in reverse, too. A single door used in the entryway of a mansion creates a similar proportionality problem because it gets lost among its surroundings. That's a double whammy for aesthetics - improper scale and the lack of a focal point.
The onus is on you, as the homeowner, to choose a door that is in proportion with the rest of your home. A good manufacturer, such as PINKYS, will offer enough options for homes of any size.
Harmony is an interesting aspect of aesthetics.
On one hand, it seems to go against the ideals of contrast, especially when creating a focal point. After all, you can't have your doors be the center of attention if they blend into the background - as a green door may do when placed in an entryway that's surrounded by plants.
On the other hand, harmony goes hand-in-hand with symmetry in that it encourages us to create order rather than insert a little chaos.
That makes harmony an aesthetic choice, perhaps more so than an aesthetic principle. It may not be ideal for your front door, especially if you want to have a focal point contrasting against the house, but it's a concept that you may apply to the rest of your entryway.
For instance, coming back to plants used as patio decorations, you can create harmony by using planters and pots that have softer shades. Thus, they mesh with the plants. Emphasize that harmony with the siding or painting of the walls, perhaps in a shade of green different from that seen in your plants.
Then, turn your door into the focal point by having it contrast with the harmony you've created. And thus, you see how harmony and contrast can work alongside each other to create attractive doors.
As harmony is linked to symmetry, so too are patterns linked to rhythm.
Patterns are about tempo. Creating a certain "vibe" with your design through repetition and geometric shapes. In that sense, you could argue that pattern is also similar to symmetry in that the patterns created must match to make sense to the eye.
But it's tempo that's often more important here.
Take geometric shapes as an example.
Look at a PINKYS iron door and you'll see heavy use of geometric shapes (typically squares and rectangles) throughout. The doors combine several of the principles of aesthetics - symmetry in glass pane size and bold black lines to create rhythm, but they all, ultimately, share a pattern.
In other words, though the door may contrast with its surroundings, its actual design doesn't subvert your expectations. There's a pattern that you can identify, making the door more alluring and visually spectacular.
PINKYS Iron Doors - Examples of Beautiful Aesthetics in Action
Exploring aesthetic principles is interesting for two reasons.
First, it explains why PINKYS doors look the way they do. You'll see many of these principles in action in a PINKYS door - patterns, colors, symmetry, and rhythm, in particular - and you'll notice that there's nothing random about how a PINKYS door is designed. They're all based on the principles that make something aesthetically pleasing.
But second, you'll also see that some of those principles appear to contradict one another. The dueling desire for harmony and contrast is a great example - perhaps indicating an unconscious desire to achieve balance while also injecting a touch of chaos into the design.
This all suggests that "aesthetically pleasing" is as much in the eye of the beholder as it is in following strict principles. But the two work in harmony - there are things that automatically look good regardless of who you are, but there's an obvious element of personal preference when it comes to deciding if you like how something looks.
Find Your New Door at PINKYS
PINKYS sets itself apart by focusing on modernist views of what is aesthetically pleasing. Bold black lines. Geometric shapes. The interplay of darkness and light, creating contrast nestled within the beautiful symmetry of the design.
You can see all of these principles at work in a PINKYS door and, better yet, you can apply the principles yourself as you work on your exterior and interior design. Create further contrast by using light colors on your porch, for instance, or turn an interior door into a focal point of a wall by using painting and pictures to draw the eye to the door.
It's all in your control.