Of all of the doors in your home, it’s the front door that visitors will see first – and so special consideration should be given to choosing the appropriate colour. Traditionally, certain colours carry certain symbolic weight and significance. Some of these traditions come in a heavily-structured set of guidelines, such as those found in Feng-Shui, which recommends that doors facing different compass directions be painted accordingly. Moreover, properties of a certain vintage might benefit from colours in keeping with the era – so owners of Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian homes might wish to select colours to match.
Let’s examine some of the colours you might use to paint your front door!
Orange is a colour which has long been associated with autumn. It’s the colour of carotene – the substance found in pumpkins, carrots, and the leaves of deciduous trees (which become visibly orange once the chlorophyll stops flowing). The colour also has significant religious connotations, since it’s the colour of robes worn by Buddhist monks, in emulation of the Buddha himself in the 5th century.
It’s a popular compromise between red and yellow, as it’s a great deal more subtle and reserved than the colours from which it’s drawn. That said, it’s still got the potential to be eye-popping, particularly if contrasted with a darker or paler surroundings.
Yellow is the colour of all things fresh and citrusy, and so it’s a perfect way of indicating to the outside world that your home is full of energy and zest.
In China and other parts of the Far East, it conveys huge historical and cultural significance. That said, it’s not a particularly popular colour in the western world, with reds, blues and greens being preferred by most. Yellow is often thought of as being an obnoxious or clownish colour – or as a ‘safety’ colour that’s used as a warning to avoid a certain area, to wash one’s hands, or to stop committing professional fouls in football.
It’s therefore perhaps unsurprising that so few westerners choose it for their front doors. But if you’ve a fondness for the colour, then why be a slave to convention? A bold, vibrant yellow door might be just the thing to set your home apart from those of your neighbours!
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to mark your front door apart from those around you, it’s a lick of hot pink front door paint. But the colour is also capable of great subtlety, with paler shades being evocative without being overpowering. In Japan, pink is often associated with springtime, thanks to the flowering cherry trees found there. But in the west, it’s more often associated with romance and saccharine sweetness.
Pink is slightly out of the norm for house decoration – and so it’s rarely chosen as a front door colour. Those that do favour pink, however, are almost certain to be unique on their street in choosing it for their front door. It makes for a great contrast with a pale-white cottage, or with a darker brick building.
Blue is among the most popular colours in existence, and it’s easy to see why: it’s found everywhere in nature, from the sky to the sea, and has a soothing effect on the human mind – that’s why it’s so often chosen for bathrooms and children’s bedrooms. It’s traditionally associated with loyalty and with nobility (as in blue-blooded) as well, paradoxically, as with the working class (as in blue-collar).
Blue is a colour that’s capable of tremendous diversity. A sky-blue door will have a markedly different impact on the look of your home than a navy-blue one. Is a blue front door lucky? Many consider them to be so – but it’s probably luckier still if you happen to like the colour!
If there’s a leading rival to the title of world’s favourite colour, then green is undoubtedly it. It’s the colour of everything vibrant and living, and it’s associated with environmentalism and gardening. It’s also a colour of particular religious significance, especially in Islam, where it’s the colour of robes worn in paradise.
Green is a particularly popular colour for a front door because it’s reserved and classic. But it’s also perhaps popular thanks to its associations with safety and good-health – impressions that you’ll want to create when returning from a hard day spent at work! It comes in many different shades, ranging from bright apple-green to more subdued olives and mint colours, all the way down to darker wine-bottle-greens.
Red is the colour of passion and warfare, and so it’s perfect for those looking to add a little fire to the exterior of their home – especially if the rest of the building consists of more reserved, paler shades.
The colour has special significance for the Chinese, for whom a red door signifies sanctuary and prosperity. Chinese New Year is therefore marked by painting one’s front door red. This association with sanctuary is widespread. Red doors were used in 19th century America, in order to demark a house as a member of the Underground Railroad, and offering sanctuary to escaped slaves fleeing northward. Similar methods were used during the reformation, with Protestant and Lutheran churches painting their doors red to signify their defiance.
Most people who paint their front door red, however, do so for far more practical and aesthetic reasons. A red door done right can look the part – whether it’s a burning scarlet or a deep burgundy.
Grey is synonymous with reservation and modesty. One might imagine that a grey door would be – well – a little bit dull. But sometimes it’s necessary to dial back the colour of one’s front door in order to highlight the rest of the house. Grey doors help to lend a property uniformity, and help the eye to focus on the shape of the door and its surrounding architecture rather than the colour scheme.
As every bibliophile should be know, the human eye is able to perceive quite a few different shades of grey – and so it’s possible to be very precise when selecting one for a front door. While grey isn’t a colour that many homeowners will immediately warm towards, it’s one that can provide a building with much-needed class and subtlety – helping to provide balance to an otherwise overbearing exterior.
When it comes to a front door, few colours carry the same implications as black. It is, after all, the colour of what is arguably the most famous front door in the world: that of 10 Downing Street. It’s the colour of power, authority, mourning, solemnity, darkness and evil. It’s therefore perfect for homeowners with a macabre streak – but also for those looking to make a power statement.
If you’d like to reduce the impact of your black door, then you might like to opt for one with embedded windows – in order to avoid the monolithic impression. But if you want to make a statement, then a solid black door will do just that!
White is the colour of purity and chastity. It’s a popular choice for front doors – the advent of uPVC has meant that entire neighbourhoods consist of white doors. But for those looking to paint their wooden front doors, the shade is similarly popular.
A white door calls to mind feeling of cleanliness and peace – but it requires care if it’s to maintain its sparkling brightness long into the future, and periodic top-up coats in order to guard against wear-and-tear, which will be all the more visible with a white door.
Brown is a colour that’s extremely popular when it comes to front doors – though we needn’t break out the paint in order to achieve it. A better option is to invest in a high-quality, solid-wood door, and the select the appropriate finish to accentuate the wood’s natural beauty – emphasising the quality of the underlying grain, as well as shielding the wood against the elements.
For those who prefer a solid-brown look, however, there are a number of different shades of paint available that will help to create that earthy, grounded impression for the front of your house. Brown matches nicely with a number of different exteriors – it’ll look at home whether set into white stone or dark-red brickwork, and so it’s a flexible option that’s taken by many.
Decorating your front door is an important undertaking, as your choice of colour will have a marked impact on the overall look of your home. While each of the available options has a wealth of history, psychology and symbolism fighting its corner, the truth is that the decision will rest largely on your personal preference, and on the look of the surrounding building. If you feel strongly enough that a certain colour will look the part, then it’s often best to follow that instinct – you can always repaint the door if you later decide that the decision was mistaken!