Wednesday, September 20, 2017  

Front Door Appeal: First Impressions Count!


By Karin Andrews

Throughout our lives we have often heard the old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. This profoundly simple statement was never more-true as it pertains to the front door appeal of our home, which is the most obvious focal point of every house. The front door and entry makes a definitive statement about the homeowner and the home itself. There is no other exterior improvement that we can make to our home that will have a more profound and powerful impact. It will either speak or reek.

Welcome or repel. Whether we like it or not, a dynamic and tasteful front door will stop everyone in their tracks, causing them to take note of what the door has to say about itself and the homeowner.

There are several design elements in play when considering which color is most appropriate for your home and design style. It is good to remember that color evokes subjective responses in all of us. For the mere investment of a can of paint, you can significantly boost your goodwill in the neighborhood and your property value at the same time.
Less is more

Simplicity is the foundation of all good design. The architectural lines, color, exterior finishes and character of your home will guide you in determining the choices that you should make with regard to the overall all color theme of your front door and any other accessories that you wish to include. You will want to consider any surrounding gardens, trees and homes, if they are part of the picture.

Whether you just want to update the front door impact of your home or are considering placing your home on the market, the key to a striking re-do is a cohesive color theme and choices that “pop”. Of utmost importance is to allow the front door to speak for itself in a striking and welcoming way.

Before you consider painting a front door, make sure that the door works with the overall architecture of your home. If it doesn’t work, no amount of color will change that. Exterior wooden storm doors will upgrade even the most mundane of doors and should be painted the same color as the front door for continuity and the maximum impact. They look beautiful and provide a window in and out when the front door is open.

Color Counts

In recent months, I have seen bright ruby red, deep magenta, plum, robin’s egg blue, bright gold, rich maize, peacock blue, deep orange, periwinkle, black and regal navy blue doors that absolutely “pop” and bring to life an entire property. Their accessories are limited and frame the front door. It is important to note that a glossy door has greater color and design impact than a dull finish. The gloss will add clarity to the color you have chosen rather than “dulling it down”.
More stately colors like dark green, rich brown, eggplant, black, garnet and every shade of grey are also lovely, if you are looking for a less whimsical color choice. White front doors should be avoided as they can seem sterile and
un-welcoming on any house.

A Word on Color

Red – is a strong and extraverted color and not for the faint of heart. Ultimate reds for the front door include: classic red coat red, deep red garnet, rich barn red and deep maroon. Red doors are fearless and bold. They are most often found on more traditional and colonial homes.

Eggplant, Amethyst and Plum − believe it or not these colors are absolutely gorgeous against a taupe colored home with white trim and black shutters. I have seen this color combination twice recently, which left me utterly speechless. Who knew that various shades of eggplant, purple or plum could ever so beautifully complete a home and create such a stunning focal-point.

Orange − Pumpkin, coral, burnt sienna, or deep orange can be very striking on the right color of house. These doors have a warm, autumn quality all year long. Burnt Sienna or pumpkin is beautiful on a white, olive, soft cream or pale yellow home with large shade trees.

Blue − Deep navy or indigo blue doors are among the richest and most regal shades for your front door. They are a sublimely elegant alternative to black, when black is just too formal. Bright blues like periwinkle or garden gate blue will definitely get your smaller home or cottage noticed without being overbearing. It has a sweetness and whimsy to it that work well in a garden setting. Light grey and white houses are particularly striking with a glossy navy or indigo blue door.

Black − a black door and shutters are always in good taste. A glossy black door and shutters is a luxurious and versatile color choice. A black and white diamond or checker-board floor cloth will compliment the look. The best house colors for a black door include – brick, taupe, light grey or yellow houses with white trim. Pastel and lighter hued colors are offset beautifully by black. A glossy black door is simply stunning with a heavy brass door knocker.

Brown − A deep rich brown front door has a sensual quality like dark chocolate and is a striking, yet understated contrast to the white or grey house. Brown doors look wonderful juxtaposed against silver toned door hardware. Interestingly, brown is the most fade resistant of all door colors.

Feng Shui − is not a color but a philosophy of design/placement. If you are into Feng Shui, you might want to paint your front door depending on the direction that the door faces, in order to attract positive chi energy into your home.


Once you have chosen your color, make sure that it will be acceptable to any homeowners associations if you are
governed by one. Remember good preparation of the door is essential to the finished work. A must do is to remove any loose, cracking or peeling paint, sand it lightly with a fine grit sandpaper sanding block or paper and use either
a matching tinted primer for your first coat or a paint/primer combination.

Good paint adherence is important if you don’t want your finish to become an eyesore down the road. If you leave your door in place, you’ll want to protect your door knob and hardware from being painted. If you wish to replace
your door hinges and hardware, after painting, you’ll want to remove your door and re-hang when your project is completed. It is a rule of thumb as well that the inside of the door should be the same as the outside color – for continuity.

Painting Supplies

After you have chosen the color you wish to paint your front door, you’ll need a good glossy alkyd or latex based paint, a foam roller, brush for areas where the roller will not work and a soft rag to wipe up any spills. Painters tape is also necessary if you plan to keep your door on its hinges, unless of course you are a master at cutting in or a fine artist.
As paint is one of the most inexpensive improvements you can make with the most impact, be sure to choose the very best paint you can afford, as “cheap” doesn’t always perform. Your paint store of choice will have many pre-chosen paint combinations for your home and front door if you need some color guidance. They can take the guesswork out of choosing a front door color. They can also advise you whether or not a primer is required, depending on the type of door you are painting or paint you are using.

Finishing touches that wow

It is important to note that “less is more” and that the most successful design statements and entryways rely on a main theme, without being overly-accessorized.

Now that you have taken the leap of faith and painted your front door, you might want to consider embellishments and accessories such as a whimsical or stately brass door knocker, or even an antique knocker you have been holding onto for years. If you already have one that you love, you might want to polish it up just a bit for that added “pop”.
Updated door hardware can do as much for your front door as paint. Remember to stay with the character of your home, while exercising your personal preferences.

House numbers, a raised name plaque or gilded coat of arms will add immensely to the statement and appeal of your home, as will a well placed wreath.

Other touches include lovely urn shaped pots that flank both sides of your door – complete with topiaries or flowering annuals. The style of home and desired look will determine your choices here, but keep it simple.

In Closing

I am now embarking on my own front door re-do, complete with painted entrance porch, deep navy front door, white, navy, peacock blue and grey diamond floor cloth. Cast urn planters will flank both sides of the door. The possibilities for creating a welcoming presence, while increasing the value of your home, are limited only by your imagination A good realtor will tell you that staging is very important on the inside and outside of your home. If a potential buyer can see themselves there, and if it is in their price range, they may make an offer on your home. In the current real estate market – your front door appeal is more important than ever.

I hope that you will join us as you embark on your own front door adventure with enthusiasm and anticipation. Go ahead and seize the day! May the paint gods be with you!

Karin Andrews is a licensed real estate agent (Virginia), a writer and fine artist.  www.karinandrewsart.com