Whether you're coming or going, you probably cross over your front step several times every day. It's also the first place you greet your guests, welcoming them into your home and providing an idea of your sense of decor. While many homeowners place a decorative mat or plants on their front steps, you've got a blank canvas and the opportunity to transform the step in a number of ways.
One way to welcome your family members home is to get them involved in the process right on their own front doorstep. Instead of generic "Welcome" mats, you can create a painted design of your family's hand prints on the front doorstep. Even the littlest member of your family will enjoy seeing his growth over the years, every time he steps across the entrance to the house. Painting hand prints on your cement front door step requires a few supplies; each member of the family can take over a job of rolling, priming, scrubbing and mopping. Speciality concrete-compatible paint is available at hardware stores; you can choose a different colour for each family member or just one or two colours that go with the outside of your home. When the concrete is ready for the hand prints, adults can help kids dip their flat palms into a tray of paint, then press down steadily onto the concrete. Old towels kept on hand nearby helps ensure the paint doesn't get onto clothes, furniture or faces.
When your next visitors arrive at your home, they may find a raging river, sandy beach or even a field of gumdrops right at your front door. Tricking the eye through painting techniques is called trompe l'oeil (the French translation literally means "to trick the eye") and can be used to transform your front doorstep. Whether you decide to paint on your own, hire a trompe l'oeil specialist or purchase premade designs, there's no end to the possibilities you can try out. If you're a big beach-goer, you can deck out your front step with sand, shells, pails, an odd crab or two or even a few lapping waves. Because it's your home, you get to decide the design---racing fans might paint the step to look like the tar tracks at a speedway, for instance. Trompe l'oeil even works with other types of material; you can paint a block of concrete to look like bricks, ice or pebbles.
If you need a little bit of motivation to get out the door in the morning, an inspirational message greeting you with your first step may be just the way to get going. If you've got a favourite phrase, song lyric or religious passage, you can use stencils, spray paint or concrete paint to emblazon that message across your front doorstep. It will be the first thing you notice as you step out the door, putting food for thought into your head as you begin the day. You can also consider creating a "mirror" effect; choose another message to paint across the doorstep facing away from the door, so it greets you as you walk up to the house at the end of the day.