The Dos and Don'ts of Choosing Front Door Colors

Ready for a front door refresh but not sure where to start? Look to these expert color tips and discover a happy hue for your home.

Ready for a front door refresh but not sure where to start? Look to these expert color tips and discover a happy hue for your home.

Your front door color shouldn’t be an afterthought. After all, it’s the first thing people see when they walk into your home. It should serve as a welcoming beacon to greet guests. You can paint your front door anything you’d like, but a few tips will help your door stand out or blend in, suit a design style or bend the rules, depending on your vision. And if you live in an older home, repainting a worn front door is an easy weekend refresh that’ll score you major curb appeal points.

DO: Stick with the Classics

Use a neutral hue such as brown, black, or gray for a look that will withstand the test of time. Even deep reds and navy blues are classic front door colors that act as neutrals. If your style changes or you alter your home’s exterior later, neutral hues will adapt with you. Another neutral option is to stain your door instead of painting it. A wood stain will emphasize the door's natural material or grain pattern.

DON'T: Be Afraid of Color

Some people are nervous about using bright colors in their decor, but a door is a smaller commitment than painting an entire house or room. Why not experiment? If you have a hue that really speaks to you, try it out! A splash of orange, yellow, or lime green makes a bold statement on your front door. If brights are too daunting, try a dark version of a color, such as burgundy, forest green, or eggplant.

DO: Purchase the Right Paint

Since your door will be exposed to outside elements, using the proper paint will prevent peeling and fading later. Latex exterior paints provide weather-resistant coverage. If your door is metal, look for one with built-in rust protection. No matter what you choose, you will need to go over the door with an exterior primer first. Door-friendly exterior paints are available in a variety of finishes—matte, semigloss, glossy, etc. A glossy finish will bring out architectural details, if desired.

DON'T: Neglect Your Screen Door

If your front door features a storm door or screen door, you can paint it's frame a contrasting hue for a second punch of color. This charming cottage home uses cool-tone pastels to its advantage. The cheery pale blue of the screen door gets a repeat appearance on the window frames and as a step riser accent. As the mostly green house blends into the surrounding greenery, the blue accents lead guests up the stairs and through the door.

DO: Speak to Your Home's Style

Your home’s overall style can help you pick out a front door color. A bold, unusual hue like the teal on this home is a nod to its modern exterior. Don’t be afraid to break the rules though. Using an unexpected color can add personality and liven up a traditional façade.

DO: Consider Your Surroundings

If mother knows best, then Mother Nature knows best of all. If you’re stumped on a color for your front door, look around for inspiration. Greens, blues, browns, and other tones that appear together in nature will also work well on your house. Using natural colors has the additional bonus of making your home look like it belongs in the landscape.

DON'T: Pick a Paint Color Indoors

To fully understand how a paint color will look, you need to see it in its planned environment. Colors can look very different in different lighting conditions. Tape paint swatches to an exterior door and observe the color throughout the day. If you want to get an even better idea of how it’ll look, paint a small swatch directly on the door.

DO: Make it Monochrome

If you have a small house, this trick is for you. Visually expand your home by painting the door, trim, window frames, and exterior the same color. A monochromatic color scheme also provides a neutral backdrop for accessories to shine, such as the planters and sconces around this farmhouse front door. Use it to highlight other architectural details, too—here, columns painted in a darker shade frame the front door.

DON'T: Ignore the Trim

Your front door trim is also a candidate for painting. White is classic, but another option is to make the door pop with contrasting trim. Rich brown tones warm up a cool-colored door. On this house, dark trim prevents the green door from fading into the surrounding stone.

9 Comments

  1. How about showing a semi-attached home with yellow brick surrounding the door?

  2. I agree! No videos

  3. I also agree with Linda.

  4. I agree with Linda Sutton. No videos. Please. Slide show is better.

  5. No videos please. Slide shows are much easier to study. I also agree with ginger_g1 that the written commentary impedes visualizing the door experience.

  6. Each of these homes look great though these houses each have architectural interests. I live in a BOX type home. A small ranch with a circular driveway to the rear to the garage. I have been trying to choose new colors for 2 years. I

    1. we also live in a ranch style home, on a corner lot, the orignal color when we bought was sun dried tomato/a very dark red. I hated it, i updated to a teal bright color, everyone in the neighborhood commented how bright it made our whole yard look, the dark Red made it look very dark at the tiny porch area. Im parcel to Teal, greys myself. but i think any color looks great lol, besides red. good luck.

    2. Pick up some swatches of colors you like and tape them to the door. Then just pick one. Paint the door- if you hate it, it really isn't that hard to reprime and repaint it, but just doing something can really help.

  7. The full effect of the doors could not really be seen as they breezed by with writing all across them. Suggestion: Why not let someone give their thoughts on it as you get a good look at each house. Someone took a lot of time on this. It is a shame the effect was wasted by covering up the views of the doors.

  8. I love the red door. I have one and makes me feel happy to be home.

  9. I like the red front door on the gray house very much



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