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Best Homeowners Insurance for Veterans in 2020

Home with American flag. iStock

Some homeowners insurance providers either offer a military discount or only serve veterans or active-duty military personnel. Read this guide on homeowners insurance for veterans to learn about the top companies.

Part of the cost of owning a home is paying for a home insurance policy to protect it against accidents, like fire and theft. As you begin your search for a homeowners insurance policy, you’ll find that many insurance companies want to acknowledge your military service to the country with a discount on your premium.

The This Old House Reviews team has compiled a list of the companies that offer this type of discount and provide tips to help you find the best home insurance policy for you.

Best Homeowners Insurance Companies for Veterans

To find the best home insurance providers for veterans, we looked at companies that are either exclusive to military members or veterans or offer a military discount. Here are the three companies that stood out in terms of perks, coverage options, and pricing.

1. USAA: Best Membership Perks

Only current military members, veterans, or their immediate family members are eligible for a USAA membership. As a USAA member, you get to enjoy unique perks, like banking and financial services through USAA and discounts on security systems and car rentals, on top of affordable insurance coverage.

Here are the five discounts available through a USAA homeowners insurance policy:

  • Bundling auto insurance or another type of insurance with your home insurance policy
  • Being claims-free
  • Having home security systems
  • Insuring your home for the full amount of the rebuilding cost
  • Having a new home

2. Armed Forces Insurance: Best Endorsements

Like USAA, Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) is only available to current or past military members and their families. The defining feature of AFI is its long list of endorsements. While USAA and Geico offer only a few endorsements, AFI offers 15 to customers, including coverage for earthquakes and floods.

Here’s a list of Armed Forces Insurance discounts:

  • Central station burglar and fire alarm
  • New home
  • Gated or guarded community
  • Building code effectiveness grading
  • Windstorm mitigation feature
  • IBHS-fortified for a safer living home
  • New roof
  • Companion policy

3. Geico: Best Customer Service

Geico isn’t exclusive to service members like USAA and Armed Forces Insurance, but the company does partner with military associations, like the Association of the United States Army, the Navy League of the United States, and the Armed Forces Benefit Association to offer a 15% discount to military members and veterans.

Geico is the only provider in this review that offers 24/7 customer service and provides a customer portal, online chat, and mobile app to round out the customer experience.

Aside from the military discount, Geico offers three additional discounts to customers:

  • Multi-policy (bundling car insurance with home insurance)
  • Having smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the home
  • Having home security systems

Note: Where you live will determine the underwriter for your Geico policy, and that underwriter may offer more discounts than the three provided by Geico.

What Home Insurance Companies Offer Military Discounts?

Aside from Geico, here are some other home insurance companies that offer discounts to past or current military members:

  • Farmers
  • Progressive
  • Liberty Mutual

How Does Deployment Affect Homeowners Insurance?

While this review is geared toward military veterans, insurance companies often lump current and past military members into the same category. Here are a few factors to consider if you’re a current military member getting ready for deployment.

Vacancy or Occupancy Clause

Most insurance companies won’t cover a home if it will be vacant for more than 30 to 60 days. This is because your home is at an increased risk of an event, like theft or vandalism. Here are a few options if you’re deploying:

  • Contact USAA or AFI—If USAA or AFI is your insurance provider, you may be able to work with them to come up with a solution to avoid losing coverage during a short deployment period.
  • Get a vacant and unoccupied insurance policy—If you work with a different company that isn’t tailored to military members, like Geico, you may have to purchase a separate policy to cover your home when no one is living there.
  • Rent out your home—One way to avoid leaving your home vacant during deployment is to have someone rent it. This allows you to continue your homeowners insurance policy without interruption.

War Exclusion

Under normal circumstances, your personal property is protected no matter where you are. For example, if you bring your belongings with you on vacation or leave your personal belongings in your car, your policy will cover them. However, acts of war are often listed as exclusions on home insurance policies, so if you get deployed to a war zone and your belongings are damaged while there, your policy will not pay to replace them.

Our Conclusion

To make owning a home more affordable, some insurance companies offer a military discount and other perks to military families. The three insurance providers that serve veterans best are USAA, Armed Forces Insurance, and Geico. We recommend getting quotes from these three providers to see how much you could save.

Frequently Asked Questions Homeowners Insurance for Veterans

What is a VA home loan?

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs works with private lenders to help military members, veterans, and their families get a loan to buy a home. The loan usually doesn’t require a down payment, and the interest rate is low. Similar to other home loans, VA loans require homeowners insurance for the length of the loan’s life.

How does homeowners insurance work?

Whenever a covered peril damages the structure of your home or your personal property, file a claim with your insurance provider immediately. It usually takes about 48 hours for your claim to be approved. Once your claim is approved, you’ll pay your deductible and the agent assigned to your claim will walk you through the rest of the process.

How much is homeowners insurance?

In 2017, the average homeowners insurance policy cost about $101 per month, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, the total cost of your premium will depend on the following factors:

  • Number of pets
  • Home susceptibility to natural disasters
  • Condition of your home
  • Square footage of your home
  • Cost to rebuild your home
  • Credit score
  • Claims history

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at

Best Homeowners Insurance in Florida 2020

Large, yellow home in Florida. iStock

With a Florida homeowners insurance policy, you can receive dwelling, personal property, and liability coverage for an affordable monthly price. Read this guide to learn which companies offer the best homeowners insurance policies in the state.

Homeowners insurance is a type of property insurance that will cover the cost to repair your home or replace your personal belongings after an unexpected event, like a fire or water damage, destroys them. This type of protection is especially important in a state like Florida where natural disasters are more likely to occur. Read our review to learn how to get the best homeowners insurance in Florida.

Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Florida

After comparing coverage, cost, customer service, discounts, and more, these three companies stood out as the best home insurance providers in Florida.

1. Allstate

Allstate is the only provider in this review that provides 24/7 customer service. While Amica and Liberty Mutual have a claims center that’s open 24/7, Allstate has 24/7 departments for sales, billing, claims, and policy questions. Customers also have access to a mobile app and customer portal.

To help Florida customers save money on their policy, Allstate offers the following homeowner discounts:

  • Multi-policy
  • Easy pay
  • Claims-free
  • Protective device
  • Early signing
  • Welcome and loyalty
  • Home buyer
  • 55 and retired

Allstate also lists a category for “additional benefits” on its website, which encompasses smaller discounts, like ones for having a new roof or for not smoking.

2. Amica

Amica has some of the best personal liability coverage in the industry. Unlike other companies that start their personal liability coverage at $100,000 and cap it at $500,000 or $1 million, like Geico or AAA, Amica offers as little as $25,000 worth of liability coverage, allowing you to customize your liability protection.

Amica has five discounts to help customers save on their premium:

  • Loyalty
  • Multi-line
  • Claims-free
  • E-discount
  • Auto pay

3. Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual has more than 100 years of experience providing insurance products and services like renters, life, homeowners, and car insurance. Similar to Amica and Allstate, Liberty Mutual offers six standard areas of coverage—dwelling, other structures, liability, medical payments to others, loss of use, and personal property.

Liberty Mutual offers 10 discounts to bring down the cost of an insurance premium:

  • Claims-free
  • Safe homeowner
  • Early shopper
  • Newly purchased home
  • New/renovated home
  • New roof
  • Multi-policy
  • Insured to value
  • Preferred payment
  • Paperless policy

Florida Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Florida home insurance policies will include these six areas of coverage, along with optional add-ons called endorsements:

  • Dwelling—This type of coverage covers the cost of rebuilding your home as new and includes all of the parts built into the home like your walls, foundation, and flooring.
  • Other structures—This protects the detached structures on your property like a shed, fence, or garage. It usually comprises 10% of dwelling coverage.
  • Personal property—This protects your personal belongings while they’re in your home, in your car, or on a trip. If they become damaged by a covered loss, your policy will pay to replace them. Personal property coverage is usually 50% of dwelling coverage.
  • Loss of use—Loss of use, or additional living expenses coverage, kicks in when you have to temporarily live elsewhere during home repairs. It pays for living expenses that exceed the typical amount you pay in a month, like the cost of a hotel room or meals. This type of coverage usually comprises 20% of dwelling coverage.
  • Liability—If you’re responsible for someone getting injured or damaging their belongings, your provider will cover the costs. This includes medical bills, replacement costs, and legal fees. A standard amount of this coverage is $300,000 for homeowners.
  • Medical payments to others—Your policy will cover medical bills if a guest is injured in your home. A recommended amount of this coverage is $1,000 per person.
  • Endorsements—Insurance companies will have at least one endorsement that you can add onto your policy. Common endorsements are identity theft protection, earthquake coverage, water backup, and valuable personal property.

How Much Does a Homeowners Insurance Policy Cost in Florida?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average rate for Florida homeowners insurance in 2017 was about $162.50 per month, making Florida the second-most expensive state for home insurance coverage.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Homeowners Insurance

Consider these factors as you search for home insurance in Florida:

  • Natural disasters—Florida’s location along the coast increases its susceptibility to hurricanes, tropical storms, and floods. Most insurance companies won’t list natural disasters as covered perils in a base policy, but they will usually offer endorsements for them. We recommend looking into Amica or Liberty Mutual because of their catastrophic coverages and hurricane add-ons.
  • Deductible—If cost is an important factor for you, consider choosing a higher deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower your premium will be. This saves you money every month, especially if you don’t have to use your high deductible.
  • Payments—Another way to lower the amount of your policy is to pay once, twice, or four times per year instead of in monthly installments. Insurance companies tack on interest to payments if you don’t pay it in a lump sum at the beginning of the year, so decreasing the number of payments you make will save you money by the end of the contract term.

Rebuilding cost—The cost to rebuild your home is the deciding factor for dwelling, other structures, personal property, and loss of use coverage, so that number should accurately reflect your home. You can determine your rebuilding cost by using the number generated by an insurance quote, talking to a local appraiser, or purchasing $100–$155 worth of coverage per square foot.

*Based on quotes our team received

Our Conclusion

Allstate, Amica, and Liberty Mutual offer the best standard and natural disaster coverage to Florida homeowners and protects your home at an affordable monthly price. Before choosing a provider, use our tool below to get quotes from all three companies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Homeowners Insurance

Why is Florida homeowners insurance so expensive?

The biggest reason your home insurance rate may be high is because of the state’s susceptibility to natural disasters. For example, your home may be more susceptible to flooding or hurricanes, so your insurance provider considers your home to be riskier to insure than a home in a state without a natural disaster risk, like Colorado.

Another factor to consider is the cost of living—Florida’s cost of living is slightly higher than the national average. Since housing costs are the biggest factor that goes into determining the cost of living, homes may be more expensive in Florida, which could increase the rebuilding cost, insurance coverage, and premiums.

What is an umbrella policy?

An umbrella policy is a type of insurance policy that increases the amount of liability coverage you have for other insurance policies. If you’re responsible for an event that costs more than the liability cap on your regular policy, your umbrella policy will kick in and cover the rest. Since homeowners insurance companies usually cap liability coverage at $500,000, an umbrella policy could offer extra protection to individuals with expensive assets.

How long will it take for my claim to be approved?

Most companies have a 24/7 claims center, so you can expect to receive a response regarding your claim within 48 hours. If your claim is approved, you’ll pay your deductible and have an insurance agent walk you through the rest of the claims process.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at

Best Homeowners Insurance in California 2020

interior of a home Adobe

To protect your home and personal belongings from earthquakes and wildfires, consider investing in a California homeowners insurance policy.

If you’re looking to purchase homeowners insurance in California and want more than just industry-standard coverage, you’ll have a wide range of options among potential providers. Because of the state’s susceptibility to natural disasters, you’ll want a policy that protects your home from all possible perils.

To see which companies offer comprehensive coverage, keep reading our review of the best homeowners insurance companies in the Golden State.

Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in California

We rated top insurance companies on coverage, benefits, customer service, and pricing. These are our picks for the best homeowners insurance companies in California.

1. Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual has close to 110 years of experience in the home insurance industry. While you receive comprehensive coverage for dwelling, other structures, personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments to others, Liberty Mutual premiums stay low because of 10 different discounts, like ones for having a new roof or safety features in the home.

Here are some other Liberty Mutual benefits:

  • Claims center that’s open 24/7
  • Up to $1 million of liability coverage
  • Earthquake add-on for earthquake-prone areas of California

2. Allstate

While Liberty Mutual and Farmers have 24/7 representatives only in their claims centers, Allstate allows you to contact them any time for any reason, whether it’s regarding claims, sales, billing, or policies. Additionally, you can review your policy or open claims within the customer portal and mobile app.

With an Allstate policy, you get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Nine discounts, including ones for being a new customer or for being retired
  • Choice of 60% or 75% of dwelling for personal property coverage
  • Protection for valuable items like musical instruments, scheduled personal property, and extended coverage on jewelry, watches, and furs

3. Farmers

Farmers offers customizable coverage for other structures, personal property, and additional living expenses, unlike Liberty Mutual and Allstate which offer a set amount based on dwelling coverage. While Farmers protection is based on dwelling coverage, you can purchase up to 200% of dwelling coverage for other structures and personal property and up to 30% for loss of use.

Here are some other benefits of a Farmers insurance policy:

  • Offers up to $2 million of liability protection
  • Deductibles are split by peril
  • Provides an ordinance or law endorsement, which isn’t usually covered under home insurance

California Homeowners Insurance Coverage

There are six parts to a standard home insurance policy:

  1. Dwelling—This covers all of the built-in parts of your home, like the cabinetry, foundation, and heating and cooling systems. If an event were to destroy your home, this part of your policy would pay to rebuild it.
  2. Other structures—This covers the structures on your property that aren’t attached to the home, like fences and sheds. Most companies give you 10% of dwelling coverage for other structures coverage.
  3. Personal property—If a covered event damages your belongings, your provider will pay to replace them. This part of your policy not only covers your items while they’re in your home, but it also covers your items if you go on a trip or leave them in your car.
  4. Loss of use—Your insurance company will reimburse you for living expenses incurred if you have to live elsewhere during home repairs. This typically includes the cost of a hotel room, the cost of eating out for every meal, and the cost of doing laundry. Loss of use coverage is usually 20% of dwelling coverage.
  5. Liability—If you cause bodily injury or property damage, your insurance provider will cover the medical bills and replacement costs, along with any legal fees if you’re sued. While most companies offer as little as $100,0000 for this protection, we recommend purchasing at least $300,000.
  6. Medical payments to others—When a guest is injured in your home, your policy will cover some of their medical fees. A typical amount of this coverage is $1,000 per person.

How Much Does a Homeowners Insurance Policy Cost in California?

California homeowners insurance cost around $84 per month in 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This price was lower than the national average, and California one of the least expensive states for home insurance in the country.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Homeowners Insurance

Consider these factors when looking for a home insurance policy:

  • Natural disasters—California is susceptible to a variety of natural disasters, but two of the biggest ones are earthquakes and wildfires. Fire is usually listed as a covered peril on a home insurance policy, but earthquakes are not. If you live along a fault line, consider buying an earthquake endorsement from Liberty Mutual, Lemonade, Geico, or Amica. If you want more comprehensive earthquake coverage, you can purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy from an insurance company like State Farm.
  • ACV vs. RCV—Personal property coverage is either considered actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cash value (RCV). ACV policies will replace your items with items of a similar value, while an RCV policy replaces your items with new ones. Most home insurance policies start out as ACV policies, but you can change them to RCV for an additional cost.
  • Dogs—If your dog is a certain breed, like a German Shepherd, or it has a history of biting people, an insurance company will either charge you more for liability coverage or deny you coverage altogether. If the latter happens, you’ll have to buy a separate pet insurance policy.

Condition of home—How well you maintain your home plays a role in how much your insurance rate costs. If your home is in poor condition and has an old plumbing system, leaky roof, or other faulty element, an insurance company will consider your home more risky to insure and increase your premium.

*Based on sample quotes our team received

Our Conclusion

Liberty Mutual, Allstate, and Farmers are some of the best homeowners insurance providers in California. Use our tool below to determine how much each company will charge to insure your home.

FAQs About Homeowners Insurance in California

Will a new roof lower my homeowners insurance?

Yes. A new roof lowers the risk of water damage caused by a leaky roof, which decreases the likelihood that your insurance company will have to pay a claim. Some companies, like Liberty Mutual, may even offer you a new roof discount on top of your already low premium.

Who has the most affordable home insurance in California?

Amica, AAA, Lemonade, and Travelers all gave our team members quotes that were lower than the industry average of $101 per month. However, your insurance rate could be higher depending on property features, like the age of your home and its proximity to a fire station, and personal information like your credit score and claims history.

Do I need homeowners insurance if my home is paid off?

No. The only time home insurance is mandatory is if your lending institution requires it. However, we recommend buying homeowners insurance because it will protect you from structural and property damage and liability claims.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at

Roof Shapes

A roof on a house

From gable to shed to barn-shaped, discover the different types of roof designs that give each house its distinct character.

All roofs, even ones that look flat, need to slope to some degree so that snowmelt and rainfall can drain off. But beyond that basic requirement, architects and builders have a lot of leeway, and they’ve used that creative freedom to invent a wonderful array of roof designs.

From gable to mansard, read on to learn about the various roof shape types that add character and style to homes.

Gable Roof Shapes

Gabled roofs are the kind young children typically draw. They have two sloping sides that come together at a ridge, creating end walls with a triangular extension, called a gable, at the top.

Gable Roof

Gable Roof On A House Nancy Andrews

The house shown here has two gable roofs and two dormers, each with gable roofs of their own. The slant, or pitch, of the gables varies, an inconsistency that many builders try to avoid.

False-Front Gable

False-front Gable Roof Nancy Andrews

This house appears to have two gable roofs, but only if you drive by quickly. The real roof has a very low pitch. The gables are false fronts, similar to the showy facades often found on small commercial buildings. Their only purpose is to change the look of the house.

L-Shaped Gable

L-shaped Gable Roof Nancy Andrews

Gabled roofs take many forms, including this L shape. When the floor plan calls for a T-shaped house, the roof is called "cross-gabled." If one of the sloping sides ends in a wall that's shorter than the wall on the other side, it's a "saltbox."

There are also terms to distinguish gabled roofs that show their slanting side on the front ("side-gabled") from those where the pointed wall is prominent ("front-gabled").


Gambrel Roof On A House Nancy Andrews

Gambrel roofs are a type of gabled roof. Commonly associated with Dutch building traditions and barns, they break each sloping roof section into two parts—one close to the ridge that is relatively flat and one closer to the eaves that drops down steeply. This design makes maximum use of space under the roof.


Shed Roof On A House Nancy Andrews

Shed roofs, shown on the three dormers of this house, slant in only one direction. They fall within the basic category of gabled roofs, provided you think of them as half-gables. Shed roofs are easy to build because all rafters are identical.

Gabled but Curved

Curved Gable Roof Nancy Andrews

Because most gabled roofs consist of flat sections, you can cover them with virtually any roofing material. Gabled roofs with eyebrow dormers, shown here, or other curved details are the exception. Shingles made of wood, stone, tile or metal work fine. But metal roofing that comes in panels isn’t suitable.


Curved roofs usually require a lot of skill and time to create today, but when builders had only primitive tools and natural building materials, it was often easier to bend branches into curved shapes than to force them into straight lines.

Curved Roof On A House Nancy Andrews

Perhaps that's why curved roofs, even this slate-covered example, often take on a look that resembles thatch.


Octagon roofs have eight sides, as the term implies. Builders often choose this shape when they need to roof a building that’s round or nearly round.

Octagon-style Roof Nancy Andrews

Instead of dealing with the awkward fractions that another shape might require, they simply divide 360 degrees into half, then half again, then half a final time, winding up with the 22 1/2-degree angle that’s needed to build an eight-sided roof.


Hip roofs slope back from all four sides. If that’s all there is to the roof, the roof winds up looking interesting and yet it is still free of complications, such as valleys where leaves collect.

Hip-style Roof On A House Nancy Andrews

Hip roofs can also be linked up to fit L-shaped buildings or combined with gabled roofs, such as on this house.


Mansard roofs are a type of hip roof where each sloping section is divided in two. To create maximum space under the roof, the section near the walls rises steeply. Then the roof continues at a milder pitch toward the center.

Mansard Style Roof On A House Nancy Andrews

Standing on the ground, you see only the steep section and may think that the house is flat on top. Mansard roofs are common on buildings with styles borrowed from France.

13 Door Décor Ideas

Exterior front door. MK Creative Photography/Rockwell Custom

Enhance your entrance with these projects to amp up curb appeal and boost your mood every time you come home.

If you consider your front door the smile of your home, you’ll want it to look as attractive, inviting, and unique as possible—just like the smile on your face!

To make that impression, door décor should complement the architecture of the house and reflect the personality of the owner. So, go beyond the same-old seasonal wreath and really refresh your front door, gaining inspiration from the ideas here. Then everyone who sees it—from neighbors and passersby to family members—will do the natural thing when met by a lovely smile: They’ll smile back!

13 Door Decorating Ideas

Get in the mood

Deep green exterior door. iStock

The most obvious and affordable way to refresh door décor is with an impactful paint job. While bright colors such as orange or red have been popular for the past few years, there’s lately been a shift in front door trends toward bold, dark, and moody hues such as eggplant, midnight blue, and charcoal—all shades that work well with a neutral facade.

Remember that paint isn’t for wood doors only; check out This Old House’s top notch tutorial on painting a metal exterior door.

Save that screen

For a quick upgrade, you could simply do away with a dated screen door, and then paint the front door a striking new shade. Of course, screen doors do serve a purpose, allowing you a secure way to let air and light in while keeping bugs out.

So if your model has seen better days, replace it with a new decorative screen door (peruse the attractive assortment at Dea Vita) or tackle the task of repairing a vintage one (with tips from An Oregon Cottage).

Perk up the panels

If you’ve got more than one favorite color, why not let a few of them welcome you home? After prepping and priming, paint the entire surface a base color, going in the direction of the grain, which will likely vary on different parts of the door. When painting additional colors on the panels, employ painter’s tape to help ensure precise edges.

Stencil it in

Front door stenciled with a damask pattern. Courtesy Allison Cosmos/

The spectrum of stencil patterns is so vast, the hardest part of this door redo may be choosing one! For stenciling success, dip just the tip of the brush into the paint and remove excess; if your brush is too wet, paint will ooze under the stencil and fuzz the lines. Apply paint with a “pouncing” technique: tapping the brush against the stencil with short, quick motions. (Resources such as Royal Design Studio Stencils offer good tutorials.)

Give it a raise

Instead of a flat stencil design, why not literally take it up a notch by embossing the door to provide a texture that feels as good as it looks? Apply a heavy-bodied, water-based acrylic product like Wood Icing. Once dry, paint, stain, or glaze to suit your fancy, then top with several coats of water- or oil-based polyurethane for a durable finish.

Embrace ombré

A popular paint technique for furniture and accent walls, ombré can create a delicate tri-color effect for a front door too.

Pick up two shades of paint, one lighter, one darker, and then mix the two to obtain the middle hue. You’ll achieve the transitional effect by blending still-wet paint with a dry brush. Tip: For a front door, you may wish to have the darkest color on the bottom, because that’s where the door may collect more outside dirt.

Install handsomer hardware

Gold circular door knocker on a white door. iStock

Knock, knock! Who’s there? The trendiest finishes in front door knockers, knobs, and handles. These include brushed metal, gunmetal (graphite nickel), satin brass, vintage pewter, and champagne bronze.

If replacing the hardware isn’t in your budget, consider spray painting it with an on-trend metallic tone. For best results: Before spraying with metallic primer and paint of choice, clean the hardware with steel wool, then sand, and stick a piece of painter’s tape in the keyhole to prevent clogging.

Glass it up

Glass panels at the top of a light wood door. iStock

Front doors with glass accents are coming on strong—not just as an aesthetic touch, but as a way to let in natural light and bring a spacious feeling to your entranceway. Adding a window or other glass element to an existing wooden door can be a DIY project, if you’ve got a circular saw.

Tip: When cutting an opening for the glass, don’t attempt to go through the entire door in one shot; instead, go in just about an inch, then flip the door and repeat on the other side. The resource Zabitat offers tutorials on installing a glass panel or window in your door.

Deck It out with a decal

If a full-on DIY project isn’t on the agenda, make a statement instantly with a vinyl decal from a resource like Wallums. Fill any cracks or holes in the door’s surface, get it clean and dust-free, then simply peel and stick.

Distress to Impress

Everything old looks great again. Giving a wood door a weathered, rustic vibe involves stain, two contrasting shades of paint, and a crackle finish. The secret to an authentic look lies in applying stain to areas of bare wood you’d like to be visible in the finished product, then daubing it off with water, and coating the spots with petroleum jelly (find a tutorial here).

Take a letter

Adding a large initial or monogram to your door is simple and stylish. How big? Go for 600-point type and no one in the neighborhood will miss it! The blogger at In My Own Style shows you how to DIY a three-letter monogram with foam board—no power tools or Photoshop required.

Iron it out

Wrought iron decorative piece over glass window in door. iStock

To bring beauty and brawn to a front door, nothing beats wrought iron. Adding a decorative wrought iron insert can lend stateliness while beefing up security. And wrought iron isn’t just for old-house appeal—you can find modern versions too (view an assortment here).

Top It off

With all this attention paid to the outside of your front door, you’ll likely start scrutinizing the inside, too! Installing crown molding to the interior frame can add drama to your entranceway.

The trick is to cut the molding at 45-degree angles while it’s upside down (with the curves that are the bottom of the crown facing up). Once the molding is cut, cut small side pieces to fit between the molding and the wall. For more details, see how the DIYer at My Cottage Charm pulled off the doorway re-do.

Fall Flowers to Plant This Autumn

Fall flowers in garden iStock

Learn about standout new varieties of old favorites you can put in the ground and enjoy now, and for many seasons to come.

If your summer garden is looking a bit spent, have a look at these newly released blooming perennials that flower now and right into autumn.

7 Fall Flowers to Plant in Your Garden

Updated twists on garden classics from aster to tickseed, these fall plants and flowers offer unusual hues, longer bloom times, or easier care; there's even a fragrant pachysandra.

Many of these fall flowers to plant might still be at your local nursery, or can be ordered online. So whether you're seeking a late shot of color for a woodland setting or a sunny border, one of our favorites here will fill the bill.

1. Big Bang Cosmic Eye Tickseed

Tickseed Fall Flowers iStock
Coreopsis x ‘Cosmic Eye’

The first of the fall flowers to plant is this tickseed. It has striking burgundy flowers with bright-yellow petal tips and golden centers. Blooms summer through fall; use shears to remove old flowers for more blooms. Full sun; water regularly in extreme heat. Grows to 16 to 20 inches tall, 12 to 24 inches wide. Zones 5 to 10; Monrovia

2. Peachie's Pick Stokes' Aster

Peachie’s Pick Aster flower iStock
Stokesia laevis ‘Peachie’s Pick’

Cornflower-like violet-blue flowers on a compact perennial that performs well in containers or beds. Blooms summer to fall; clip spent blooms to promote continued flowering. Full sun; water regularly in extreme heat. Grows 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. Zones 5 to 9; Monrovia

3. Berry Bright Saxifrage

Saxifrage fortunei GAP Photos/Neil Holmes
Saxifraga fortunei ‘Magenta’

Small, bright-magenta flowers clustered over compact mounds of bronzy foliage make a splash well into the cold months. Blooms late fall to late winter. Grows 6 to 10 inches tall and 8 to 12 inches wide. Full to part shade; needs regular watering. Zones 6 to 9; Monrovia

4. Early Bird Gold Gloriosa Daisy

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Early Bird Gold’ Daisy iStock
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Early Bird Gold

Golden-yellow petals curl back from brown centers. A sturdy, upright contender for a mixed border. Blooms continuously from early summer to mid-fall; neaten by removing spent stems. Partial to full sun; regular watering in extreme heat, otherwise drought tolerant. Grows 18 to 24 inches tall and wide. Zones 4 to 10; Monrovia

5. Windcliff Fragrant Pachysandra

Windcliff Fragrant Pachysandra iStock
Pachysandra axillaris ‘Windcliff Fragrant’

Lacy, uniquely scented flowers appear in early spring and repeat in autumn on this unusual form of the classic evergreen groundcover. Blooms early spring and in autumn. Full shade to partial sun; needs regular watering. Grows 4 to 6 inches tall in a spreading, dense carpet. Zones 6 to 9; Monrovia

6. Rock 'N Grow Pure Joy Stonecrop

Sedum hybrid iStock
Sedum hybrid

Pink flowers on light-green leaves, followed by attractive seed heads. Blooms late summer to late fall. Full sun, drought tolerant. Mounded growth to 12 inches tall, 16 to 20 inches wide. Zones 3 to 9; Proven Winners

7. Prairie Winds Desert Plains Fountain Grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides iStock
Pennisetum alopecuroides

The last of the fall flowers to plant is this large fountain grass. It forms showy bottlebrush flowers, emerging as red and aging to tan, over tall vase-shaped green foliage that turns red, orange, and gold in fall. Blooms early to late fall. Full sun; average soil and water. Grows to 4 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. Zones 5 to 9; Proven Winners.