Home & Garden

Colorful front doors make a statement

A bold yellow works great for an energetic young family or anyone with a zest for life and fashion.
A bold yellow works great for an energetic young family or anyone with a zest for life and fashion. Tribune News Service

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to brighten up the interior of a home.

So why not open up your front door to bold and exciting colors, too? A well-chosen front door color can make a strong first impression.

Paint colors for the front door can alter the way you feel about your home. And it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to spiff up.

This year, bold and confident shades are gaining popularity as homeowners are becoming more optimistic about the future and in turn want to stand out from the crowd.

A yellow door can be the ultimate statement, say the color experts we consulted. A bold yellow works great for an energetic young family or anyone with a zest for life and fashion.

“It can take a leap of faith to paint your entry door yellow, so in turn your door will tell the story of you and your home’s daring personal style,” says Nathan Fischer, Ace Hardware’s national design expert, based in Laguna Beach, Calif.

An orange shade or a joyful color like berry can help achieve this effect, too.

“Finding the perfect color for your entry door is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to add instant character to your home,” says Fischer. “Unfortunately, most people miss out on this opportunity to express themselves.”

Many homeowners can wind up with the most common colors: beige or brown. “Their home may have come with this color already, or because of all the choices, it ends up being the easiest route,” adds Fischer.

Amy Fix of Oakville, Mo., had her husband paint their front door red. “Actually, it’s more like a candy cane red,” says Fix. “When we first moved into the home the front door and the shutters were black. Nothing popped.”

Now, the red splash of color is like the lipstick on her house.

Real estate surveys show that homebuyers say they prefer doors that are white or red. The next most popular colors are shades of brown and black in St. Louis. Blue and green follow right behind.

Colleen Lawler of Coldwell Banker Gundaker works with homebuyers, and front doors are often the topic of discussion during a showing.

“If I walk up to a white door, I’m going to see an engineer’s house. Everything is going to look tidy and everything is in its place,” says Lawler.

White works great if you are going for a simple, clean and updated look. A home that is well-decorated and artistic, with a mix of exterior materials, will look great with a white door. This can add a simple but stylized appearance.

When Lawler shows a home with a red door, her clients either love it, or really don’t like it at all. “A red door is a welcoming sight,” says Lawler. The majority of home buyers she works with like red shades.

“Black is formal,” adds Lawler. It’s usually not objectionable to buyers, but at the same time it does not leave an impression.

Fischer agrees. “Black is classic and so sophisticated. You can never go wrong with a black entry door. It goes with any style of home and gives an established feel that can work with modern or more traditional homes.”

Lawler says when she walks through a blue or green door, she’s walking into a house where the homeowner may have a creative or artistic side, or the homeowners could be outgoing.

Lowe’s spokeswoman Natalie Turner says consumers are breaking away from traditional door colors and transitioning to expressive and independent shades like a teal or a welcoming green. Even a softer approach with a light blue provides a fresh look.

And for all you purple lovers, painting a door a purple shade will let your guests know that you don’t take things too seriously. It’s an attention-grabbing color that brings in glamor, fashion and just plain fun.

Color choices from the experts

Color experts from Lowe’s and Coldwell Banker Gundaker offered these paint color suggestions.

Red brick home: A great way to complement the warm color of a red brick home is to look opposite the color wheel with an elegant dusty blue green.

Peach brick home with white siding: Analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel) bring a no-fail approach for a successful color scheme. A terra cotta used on the front door and also incorporated into large planters can bring a cohesive restful effect to the peachy-color brick.

Gray siding home with black shutters: Make a statement with a fresh yellow or play it safe and sophisticated with a rich red.

White vinyl siding: Choose a really rich red, if you want your home to say “I’m here.”

Tan brick home: Paint the door black. These two colors would be a house that Ralph Lauren would call home.

Forest green and gold brick home: Here’s your chance to achieve a gorgeous earth tone by painting the front door yellow. A yellow shade will tie in with the gold and green.

Dark brown brick home: Choose a light tan for the front door. The contrast will draw attention to your entryway, making the door the focal point of your home.

Cream brick home: Forest green on the front door will give the house a bit of a twist, and it won’t look like others on the street.

Preparing the front door for paint

1. Remove the door and all of the hardware.

2. Sanding and priming may be needed for old wooden doors. Scrape off any peeling pieces and use grit paper to sand down the old paint until the surface of the door feels even all over. If the door has cracks, repair them by dabbing small amounts of caulk into the cracks and working the caulk in with a putty knife. Let the caulk dry, then sand the repaired spots until they’re smooth.

3. Vacuum away extra dust, and wipe the door with a tack cloth. Dampen the cloth with mineral spirits to remove stubborn dust.

4. Apply paint and primer in a dust-free area so that no particles ruin the door surface. Brush on a single coat of primer with a wide paintbrush, covering the front and all side edges of the door. Primer prevents the door from absorbing moisture and helps smooth out its texture. Once the primer has dried on the front of the door, flip the door over to prime the back. If the primer drips or goes on chunky, lightly sand the surface to smooth it out.

5. Once the primer has dried completely, stir your paint. Paint the door from the top down, using a wide brush for corners or crevices and a small roller for flat panels. Make long strokes with the brush, and clean any visible lines on the front door with a dry cloth. Just as with the primer, let each side of the door dry before turning it over to work on the other side. (Fischer says his preference is to paint both the outside and inside the same color. However, if the color on the outside doesn’t work with the inside decor, then it is best to paint the inside of the door either black or white.) Add at least two coats of paint to the door, using three or more if you want to increase color saturation.

6. Let your front door dry before reinstallation. Once the paint no longer feels tacky to the touch, replace all hardware.