Dear DIY Doris,
I have recently purchased a house and plan on doing some renovations. The Basement level door is being replaced with a single glass door with 2 sidelights…. it’s sitting in the garage right now….. and the lovely lattice under the window is going and I have a vision of horizontal slats that go all along the foundation, around the basement door, and continue under the window and around the base of the front step. However, what I am really wondering about is what color to paint the doors?
I like something bright but with the green house I am confused. I think a red would look like Christmas and pink has always been in my mind (like a raspberry pink) but I’m afraid that would look red against the green too…. so then I was thinking maybe an eggplant colour but that’s kinda dark….. Oh, help me Doris. I have so many ideas but am afraid I’ll make a huge mistake.
Timid in Tignish
A trend of late is making a bold statement with the colour of one’s front door. We have all walked around our neighbourhood and passed judgement on those who took a risk with their front door, and missed the mark. Sadly, it was such a labour intensive and time sensitive project the owners have either decided to “just live with it… it’s fine”, or have brainwashed themselves into liking it; “It’s stylish and fun! Edgy!” It’s not.
Now, I am ALL about making statements, showing your style and putting it out there, but with a front door I think you need to be smart and strategic. You want your statement to be something like “I am bold, fearless, and have incredible style”, not “I tried to be edgy, and missed and I don’t even know it.” Paint is reversible, and can be changed, but painting the front door is a big project, and not an easy one!
When you are trying to choose a front door colour, don’t limit yourself to traditional colours associated with certain styles of homes. Do be bold, but be selective. Take a little time to do a trial run. Most paint stores sell sample pots of their colours for a few dollars. Buy a few large sheets of poster board, and paint some large samples, at least two coats. Let them dry thoroughly (overnight), and then try them on the door, close to your house and trim colours. Take the time to look at the colour in all types of light, and think about the colours in your landscaping and gardens. You may find that the magenta you thought you loved on the tiny paint chip is really too bold for you. Or not bold enough. Perhaps the 2”x2” square of cheerful yellow that you thought would complement your blue shingles makes you angry on a larger scale. You don’t want angry people entering your home.
A very popular door color is red. It is cheerful, strong, and inviting. Choose a dark red, as opposed to a cherry red. It goes with most styles of architecture, and compliments a wide range of colours. Almost all cultures have a tradition or superstition around red doors. For example, feng shui tradition says that a red front door can attract wealth and good luck and create a powerful entrance. In early America, a red front door signalled to weary travellers that this house is where you will be welcomed to rest. In Scotland, there is a tradition of painting the front door red when you have paid off your mortgage. I am not saying that your front door has to reveal so much information, but it can tell all who pass by “fabulous people with style live here.”
Complimentary colors are always a good idea since they work well together and are very visually appealing to people that see them. For your house specifically, I like the idea of an eggplant door with this colour! It may seem like it would be too dark, but perhaps a “dusty eggplant” would be an easier risk? Try one step down on the paint chip from the deep aubergine you are thinking about. Think about the type of plantings and shrubs you would have around your home. Do you love lilacs, purple cone flowers, and hyacinths? That would bring the purple to other parts of your yard.
If you lean more toward the yellows of daffodils, marigolds, and sunflowers, maybe a rusty red will make the rich statement you are looking for. It won’t seem so holiday specific, and will add gorgeous colour to the front of your home. It would look great with natural terra cotta pots and planters, and easy to maintain plantings of boxwood and hostas. No pressure to be a master gardener! In any case, a front door color value does not necessarily have to be dark or light if you want to bring it out, but it should be different in some way from the surrounding areas
Don’t forget though, decorating is not all about fabulocity. You need to make sure that the paint you use has been treated in such a way as to prevent it from succumbing to the weather conditions in your area. If you fail to do this, you can expect to be repainting your door again in a couple of years or even less if the weather over that time is particularly severe.
To recap, choose a color that makes a statement, and makes you happy. Invest a little time on a week-end trying it out and verifying that it is indeed the color for you and your home. When you have done your prep work, jump in with both feet and put your stamp on your home, and on your neighbourhood!