Front Door Colors

Sally Painter
Example wrong color choices

Front door colors can be bold or subtle. It all depends on your personal design style.

Importance of Your Front Door

In driving through local neighborhoods, you've probably seen quite a few homes with front doors painted various colors, some a good match for the outside house colors, while others simply don't look as though they belong on the house. The front door is an important feature of your home. It's where your visitors will enter and will provide them with the first impression of your home and what's inside. You want visitors to readily identify your front door and be confident they are approaching the right door for entering your home. If your home is designed with a front door and a service entrance beside the garage, you'll want to make the distinction between the door clear enough so guests don't debate which door to use.

Front Door Colors: Mistakes

You've probably seen front door colors that have made you cringe while others have incited envy. Some of the most common mistakes people make in outside color selections are

Feng Shui Red Door

Some people paint their front doors red, without regard to the other exterior paint colors because they read somewhere that it's good feng shui practice. This is a fallacy of misinformation. In feng shui, a red door is used only when it's appropriate and your home faces the correct direction for this color use.

Make It Red to Sell

Other myths about a red door became popular in the late 1970s as a marketing ploy to draw attention to a home placed on the market. The philosophy was that a red door will be more noticeable when a person is driving past the house than an off-white or brown door. Many times people select a door color simply because it's their favorite color. Granted, this is certainly their right as the homeowner, but it doesn't necessarily make for a good design choice to have your blue house accented by a hot pink or brilliant purple door.

How to Choose a Door Color

The best way to choose a color for your door is into consider other house colors and the colors found in your landscaping. If you have red flowers that bloom throughout summer and red maples trees or shrubbery, then repeating these colors sprinkled throughout your yard will be a natural progression from the yard to the door. There are many choices of red from which you can choose the perfect door color.

Complementary Color Choices

One way to really give your house a wow factor is to utilize complementary colors for your door choice. A complementary color is the color that's a direct opposite of another color on a color wheel. Using the primary colors, below is an example of complementary colors. You can, however, substitute a blue for any hue of blue or any hue of orange, and so on.

  • Yellow and Purple
  • Blue and Orange
  • Red and Green

The hue, often called shade of color, can vary from very light to very deep. It can also be mixed with other colors that are beside it on the color wheel for a blended color. These colors also have complementary colors, so as you can see the possibilities are endless. Using a complementary color choice for your door is a good choice when you want to create a dramatic appearance.

Historical Palettes for Exterior Color Choices

There are certain colors that are traditionally associated with specific period styles of architecture.

Southern Architecture

For example, a Southern antebellum homemade out of wood siding is typically painted white with green shutters, green porch and a green front door. Many people break away from tradition and paint the front door red as a complementary color to the green trim. Some period homes are painted soft pastel colors like green or yellow. Federal designs use bricks instead of wood siding. The trim is traditionally white or an off-white with green trim, shutters and door. Often a federal blue makes an excellent choice for the door, especially if the shutters and trim are black. A burgundy door color also goes well with most Federal designs.

Victorian Architecture

A Victorian home is a collection of multiple colors, sometimes as many as seven different ones. This gives you many options to highlight a specific color you've used for exterior house colors. Popular house paint choices are neutral colors like tan and gray, but many of the newer homes go for brighter palettes like those of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco, which use pastels and vivid colors. Authentic Victorian colors included deep hues of red, mauve, purple, green, yellow and blue. If you painted your exterior siding a mint green with yellow, mauve, pink and blue trim, play around with the colors and experiment with samples to get the best match by starting with the existing colors on your house. Decide which one you want to highlight and use it for your door paint color.

Contemporary Homes

Many of the homes on the market today are made out of vinyl siding and have a standard tan or beige color. This color can be changed, but it would be very expensive, so many people opt for safe trim and shutter colors that create a very neutral color palette. In this type of situation, almost any color will blend with a neutral color scheme. Use your landscaping colors to help you narrow down your choices as well as your personal favorite colors. A deep burgundy is always a good choice, as is a forest green.

Beyond the Front Door

One of the things you'll want to keep in mind when selecting your front door color is what lies beyond. You'll want to make just as a dramatic statement on the inside as you do the outside of the front door. This can be accomplished with a complementary color (opposite color on the color wheel) or a lighter hue of the same color.

Front Door Colors