In feng shui, color is intimately related to direction and the five elements that compose the universe; understanding these relationships is important when designing your house. The front door is especially important, because it's the gate through which the energy of the world enters your inner sanctum. Its color is influenced by the direction it faces, but it should also balance other colors and features in the surroundings, because harmony is paramount.
The Feng Shui Bagua -- North and South
Color theory in feng shui is based on the bagua, a compass map with eight directions. The ancients depicted each direction in terms of a trigram from the I Ching, and each one symbolized a station or process in life, a member of the family, a season and an element. South, for example, is represented by the trigram Li, which denotes fire, summer, the middle daughter and fame and reputation. Its colors are the reds and oranges of fire. The opposite direction, north, is represented by the trigram Kan, which denotes water, winter, the middle son and personal career. Its colors are the cool abysmal colors of water -- deep blue and black.
The Other Directions
Completing the relationship of color and direction, the ancients associated East with the color green, the wood element, spring and the family. West, on the other hand, is white or gray and associated with metal, autumn, creativity and children. The colors for northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast are gray, pale blue, pink and purple respectively; each of these directions is also associated with an element, life process, family member and season. Feng shui consultants often arrange this map into a square divided into nine sub-squares, with the middle square denoting the earth element and physical health.
Choosing a Front Door Color
When choosing the color for your front door, the direction it is facing is an important consideration, but it isn't the only one. You determine direction by standing in the door and looking out -- not the other way around. Feng shui considers the main entry the gateway of chi -- or energy -- and painting the door the color of the direction it is facing is one of the best ways to harmonize it with its surroundings. Houses in ancient China were generally constructed with the front doors facing south, which is the most energetic and active direction, so the Chinese painted their doors red to maximize the chi from that direction.
Balancing the Elements
A home's immediate surroundings also have a bearing on the best choice of color for the front door. For example, a home buried deep in the forest may need the energy of a red door to balance the preponderance of greenery, even if that door faces east. Similarly, the door of a home in an arid climate may face south, but painting it red could create too much hot, fiery energy. Painting it black or dark blue instead introduces the cooling effect of the water element and creates the feeling of an oasis for anyone who enters.