10 Dos and Don’ts for Choosing the Best Front Door Color

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Your front door is likely the first thing people see when they visit your home. Ideally, it should set a welcoming tone, enhance the curb appeal of your home, and show off a bit of your personal style. “Think about what you want the door to say about you,” says PPG color expert Dee Schlotter. “Is it a happy and welcoming yellow or a classic and sophisticated blue?

You also need to take into consideration the color and architectural style of your house. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your door has to blend in with those elements, unless that’s your goal. Lots of people choose to use a front door to add a hit of playful, statement-making color to the front of the house.

Although you could paint your front door any color, and there are thousands of them, you’ll want to pick the color for this prominent spot carefully, and we’ve got the advice and visual inspiration that will help you do just that.

Werner Straube

DO Embrace the Classics

You can’t go wrong with a neutral front door color, but opt for one with visual presence. A basic but strong and dark color like black, dark gray, or dark brown will always work and never go out of style. If you’re looking for a little more color, think about a deep red front door or a dark blue. Both are versatile, classic colors that act like neutrals. That means they work with many different house colors and materials. And if you change the color of your home, any of these neutral hues will adapt.

Brie Williams

DON’T Be Afraid of Bold Color

Most houses have exteriors that feature earth tones, whether they’re clad in brick, stone, or siding. These neutral house colors can benefit a front door painted a showstopping color. Plus, putting a bold color on a front door is less of a commitment than painting an entire room, so why not experiment? A splash of orange, yellow, or lime green makes a statement against a neutral house. If brights are too much for you, try a color that’s darker and more subdued, such as such as burgundy, forest green, or eggplant.

Kevin Miyazaki Photography

DO Purchase the Right Paint

Since your door is exposed to the outdoors, it’s imperative to choose paint that will stand up to the elements. Opt for high-quality exterior-grade paints. They are less prone to peeling and grime buildup than interior paints and have UV resistance to prevent fading, so you won’t have to repaint for nearly a decade. Some even have antimicrobial properties to ward off mildew, which is important if your region gets a lot of rain or snow.

The type of door you have determines the type of exterior paint you need. Water-based latex paints are best for most wood species and fiberglass. Oil-based enamel paints prevent rust on metal doors. Use a corresponding primer and opt for a gloss or semi-gloss finish; they are the hardest-wearing.

Kim Cornelison

DON’T Forget About the Screen Door

Lots of houses have a storm door or screen door, but it doesn’t have to cover up or distract from the front door color. Paint the frame the same color as the front door to make them blend into each other and create a cohesive visual statement. For even more curb appeal, take a lesson from this cottage, where the cheery pale blue of the front and screen door repeats on the risers of the front steps.

Brie Williams

DO Speak to Your Home’s Style

The overall architectural style of your home can and should give you a cue for the right front door color. On this front door, basic black or dark blue would have worked, but the lime green does a better job of nodding to the modern architecture. But don’t be afraid to break the rules. An unexpected color can enliven and update even a very traditional facade.

Brie Williams

DO Consider Your Surroundings

If you’re stumped on a color for your front door, look to nature and your home’s surroundings for inspiration. “Draw inspiration from your landscape,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. Think about picking up a color from the plantings in front of your house, the green of the surrounding trees, or the blue of the sky for your front door color. Using natural colors has the bonus of making your home look like it belongs in the landscape.

Think also about what color will jibe with the other houses on your street. If your neighborhood has a homeowners association, you may need to have your front door color choice approved before you paint.

DON’T Stay Indoors to Pick a Color

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

Jeff Herr

DO Match Your House Color If You Like

If you have a small house, this trick is for you. Painting the entire exterior, including siding, trim, window frames, and the front door the same color can actually make your house look larger. A monochromatic color scheme also provides a sophisticated-looking backdrop that lets accessories such as sconces, planters, and house numbers shine. If you go all one color for door, trim, and siding, use a slightly different color to subtly highlight other architectural details. Here, columns painted in pale gray offer a bit of visual interest against the creamy white facade.

Greg Scheidemann

DON’T Ignore the Trim

The trim around your front door is also a candidate for painting. White is classic, but another option is to make a colorful door pop even more by using a contrasting trim. Its the same effect as putting a frame around artwork. Here dark brown trim stands up to the visual heft of the emerald green door, helps with the transition to the stone facade, and makes the whole scene look nicely finished.

DO Consult the Color Wheel

There are thousands of paint colors out there, which can be overwhelming. The color wheel—a diagram that shows all the colors and their relationships with each other—is a shortcut to figuring out which colors go together. Remember that the color of the facade, trim, and any shutters on your house is the background. You want to treat the front door as an accent, like choosing the right throw pillow for your sofa.

To use the color wheel to help you pick a front door color, first find your house color, then look to the other side of the color wheel to find candidates for an accent color. For example, if your house is dark blue and you want your front door to pop off that background, look across the color wheel to yellows and oranges. Colors directly across from each other on the color wheel are called complementary colors. They give you the maximum contrast and drama but still look pleasing together.

If you want less contrast, look at colors adjacent to your house color on the wheel. For a dark blue house, that would be greens and purples. This is called an analogous color combination. Analogous color schemes are more subtle and harmonious than complementary combos but still work together because they are neighbors on the color wheel.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does it cost to have a front door painted?

    On average, having your front door painted costs between $100 and $225, but that cost could be more if you have double doors or if your doors are made of a material that requires a little more prep work (such as fiberglass or steel). 

  • Should I paint the front door myself?


  • How long does it take to paint a front door?

    If you choose a quick-drying paint, you should be able to paint a typical paneled wood door in a day. Start in the morning, work fast to wipe away any drips or globs as you go, and you’ll finish by nightfall.

  • How much paint do you need for a front door?

    For the average-size front exterior door (80 inches tall and 36 inches wide), you will need about one quart of paint—even less if you only paint one side of the door.

  • Should I use the same color of paint for all surfaces of the door?

    If the door is the same color on the outdoor and indoor sides, the answer is yes. But if the door is one color on the exterior and a different color on the interior side, the answer is no. In that case, the hinge edge should match the exterior door color and the latch edge should match the interior color.

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