Color of front door is reflection of homeowner

Dear Gail: I have a wood stained front door, which has taken a bit of a beating from the heat. I thought about having it refinished, but I’m really looking for a change. So I want to paint it a fun color. I have no idea where to start. Any advice would be appreciated. — Claire

Dear Claire: First, yeah on wanting a color! Your front door is a reflection of your personality and says a lot about your home. Whenever I see a fun colored front door, I always think that fun people must live there. Not saying those with white or wood doors aren’t fun, too.

Your front door is an important part of your home’s exterior architecture but small enough that you can take a color risk and have fun with it. So here are some tips to help you make that colorful choice.

n Keep the warm or cool undertone of the color the same as your body and trim colors. So if your home is a cool beige and you wanted to be adventurous with a purple, look for a blue-purple versus a red-purple. And yes, some homes can pull off a purple door. Just stay toward the darker tones versus lighter.

n Not sure what color? Let the undertone of your body color be your lead and consider its complementary color. If your body color has an orange undertone, look at blues. For a red undertone, check out some greens. The color wheel will rarely steer you wrong.

n Some will say that the color of your front door must coordinate with your interior. Not so. You don’t have to paint the back of the door the same color. The back needs to work with your interior colors, where the front needs to be cohesive with your exterior color scheme.

n When going with a bolder color, try to repeat the color in your landscaping, whether flower selections or landscape pots.

n Pull a color you like from any stone or brick cladding on the house or in the hardscaping, such as pavers. If your stone has an orange tint, look at your orange options. Maybe use a terra cotta or vivid marigold.

n Make sure to take into consideration your landscaping colors. If you have a lot of brushes and greenery at your front door, green would not be the best choice, as it will end up blending into the background. You want it to make a statement and stand out.

n Since most of us don’t have samples of our roof tiles, stone, pavers or even current paint samples, make sure to test the color on a sample board. Four pieces of poster board will be large enough to see how the whole door will look during the various times of the day.

n If your door is set back, watch going too dark with the color so it doesn’t appear as a black hole.

n Be careful using any colors that are too pale in color or too light of a tint of a color. You’re better off in a midrange to deep hue or even vivid. The pale lighter colors will look faded and can look like they are better suited for a child’s room.

n If your body color is dark, the door color needs to match up to the intensity of the color. A light yellow door would get lost with a dark caramel color scheme.

The exact color depends upon your personal preference, although it must work within your color scheme. You want to make a tasteful, colorful statement. Which of these colors call to you?

Yellow is a cheerful color that will welcome your visitors. It’s about happiness, energy, warmth and a burst of sunshine.

Red is actually the most popular color for front doors. It’s about life and passion and makes a bold statement.

Orange is a high-energy color, as it’s a combination of red and yellow. It’s considered one of the most social colors.

Green is nature, growth and life. A green front door can have a fresh feel, being it’s associated with nature.

Blue stands for strength and security, sky and sea. With blue, look to the deeper or more vivid hues than any in a pastel range so it doesn’t come across as baby blue.

Purple will have you standing out in the crowd. It’s about royalty and confidence. If purple is your color, paying attention to the undertones is key.

Black should never be underestimated. It goes with everything and will make a classy, elegant and dramatic statement. If black is too dark for you, grey can be a nice alternative.

Lastly, for those in a homeowners association, submit your Architectural Review Committee application for approval before painting. I review paint variance requests for HOAs and always try to be reasonable, as I know that it’s someone’s home.

Now, purple trim won’t be passing approval, but an eggplant door may. It’s better to ask for permission first than forgiveness afterward. Otherwise, you just may be paying to repaint your door.

Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by email to Or mail to 7380 S. Eastern Ave., No. 124-272, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Her web address is

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