Tips for choosing the best front door paint colour

Last updated on January 20th, 2016 at 02:14 pm

Traditionally, front doors came in three different colours – black, green or red. Streets looked uniform, and the door was simply a way in and out of the house. Modern homeowners are breaking with this tradition, however, having come to understand that the front door is a metaphorical window into the mind of the person who lives inside the house. What does your door say about you?

Colour wheel diagram

Express Yourself, But Make it Match

Your front door should complement the rest of your house. It’s fine to choose a bold and brightly coloured door if that’s your style, but take a look at the colour wheel and make sure you pick a colour that complements the paint you used for the walls. Remember that the first thing people see when they visit your home is the front door. An attractive door increases the value of your home, while a garish door will annoy your neighbours, and could get even you an angry letter from your resident’s association!

Be sure to match the shade of the paint on the door with some other parts of the house, such as your fence, guttering, or window frames, for a symmetrical, stylish look. If in doubt, a pastel colour combined with glossy white is a nice, timeless combination.


Purple painted front door

Choosing the Right Paint

Remember that colours always look stronger on a wall or a door than they do when they’re on a small sample strip. Ideally, you should try to find real-world examples of the colours you are considering, so that you can get a better idea of what they will look like on your door.

There are three finishes of paint which are popular for use on exterior doors. They are matte, gloss, and semigloss. Paints intended for use outdoors are usually either oil based or latex based.

The finish of the paint is usually down to personal preference. Matte paints are a good choice if you are looking for a rustic, weathered finish. However, gloss and semigloss paints are easier to clean, and will keep their “just painted” look for longer. The downside to gloss paints, however, is that their bright sheen makes every imperfection in the wood stand out.

When deciding between oil and latex paints, the first thing you should consider is the type of paint that is already on the door. If you plan on painting directly over the door’s existing coat of paint, it’s a good idea to use the same kind of paint – oil and latex do not mix well. If you want to use a different type of paint, you will need to completely strip the door before you start painting.

Oil based paints take longer to dry than latex based paints, but once they are dried they have a much smoother finish, and the coat forms a hard enamel which resists scuffs and scratches, and is able to withstand day-to-day exposure to the elements incredibly well. Modern latex based paints are also quite weather resistant, but they do start to break down more quickly than oil. You should never use a water-based paint on an exterior door, because the coat will not hold.

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