In feng shui, the front door is the "mouth" of the home through which all energy enters. In real estate, the front door is the centerpiece of your home's "curb appeal," your house's visual appeal from the street. To everyone arriving, including you, the front door sends a powerful message about who lives inside and how meticulously every detail of the home has been considered. When the door color coordinates successfully with the house color, it offers an irresistible Welcome message instead of a carelessly posted Do Not Disturb sign.
Grapes and Plums
Your older townhouse is a patchwork of aged and replacement bricks, charming but definitely trending toward dowdy. Slather white paint over the trim to lighten things up and then paint the front door a rich, plummy purple to signify that exciting and untold stories are within. Plums and purple can be neutrals when applied in the right context -- stick to a purple with red undertones to integrate well with the warm colors in the varied bricks. Choose fruity colors from the vineyard for a door in a house with cream, oyster or ivory siding. Marsala is a rich, earthy wine red, deepened by a touch of grape. It's too red to work well with brick, but its shadowed warmth grounds an otherwise light exterior.
Sea, Sky and Shingles
Coastal homes, whether saltbox or beach shack, sport gray shingles that look either neat or shabby, depending on context. Capitalize on the casual appeal of gray shingles with a door that conjures up the ocean on a sunny day, the iridescent feathers of a brace of mallards, or a clear, cloudless sky. A glimpse of a robin's-egg blue door in a facade of gray is as exciting as stumbling across a nest revealed in a tangle of branches. The deeper, more vibrant teal of a duck's wing turns the door into a shiny jewel in a plain setting. An almost-navy door is the color of the Gulf Stream as it curves away from shore far out into the Atlantic.
Palette for Period Architecture
Your period home comes loaded with character but drained of color when the walls are painted traditionally. Kick it up a bit with the door color to signify that time marches on, and you know how to mine the best from history. Your English Tudor with its gables and unmistakable half-timbering is typically whitewashed but might turn up in putty or cream. The timbers are almost always dark, and the default door is wood. If Shakespeare wouldn't have graced your nondescript door, slick on a couple of coats of pumpkin, glossy black or brick red to punctuate the bland facade and counter the standout wood detail. If your Tudor is brick, give it a gray door for balance. A lime-washed cottage with a thatched roof, or a graceful, pale 19th-century Queen Anne calls for an inviting color accent. Try yellow, a bright unexpected touch that pulls visitors up the walk and into your period-style gem.
Green is a welcoming, relaxing color that will usher guests into your peaceful parlor, a refuge from the cold, cruel world. Paint your door a sober or a shocking green hue so it's a standout against the house color. A lime door is easy to find in the middle of a vast expanse of white walls; when your neighborhood is awash in white paint, a juicy door is one way around restrictive homeowners' color guidelines. On a more exuberant block, your periwinkle cookie-cutter suburban abode with its lime front door declares your bohemian bona fides. A subdued and sophisticated contemporary development, with stucco facades in various shades of sand, buff and tan, can handle a house with an olive-, avocado-, cactus- or asparagus-green door.