Piperbear’s Color Guide for Front Doors

Among the more common design questions we get at Piperbear is – “What color should I paint my front door?”

To MAXIMIZE curb appeal (don’t we all want that?!) there are “correct” colors, and there are colors that will look off. The goal of this guide is to help you in picking a “correct” color for your house the first time, without having to repaint (sometimes multiple times!) or be stuck with a color that does not work.

As a general rule pick colors that work well together in nature- think of trees, flowers, the beach… use nature as a source of inspiration, and here are some additional tips:

A red door strives to be joyful and warm. On a house with otherwise neutral tones, a red door can create a sense of pop and sashay that instantly makes visitors and guests feel welcome.

Do not choose just ANY red.

If your house is black or tan, choose a red with yellow undertones (like Sherwin Williams Red Tomato SW6607). If your house is white, choose a red with blue undertones (like Sherwin Williams Heartthrob SW6866). I found this great example of the red / white combination walking through the Fan. The cooler red helps give welcome to the stark white exterior.

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I would avoid red doors on red brick houses. Red paint competes with the natural beauty of the brick, and when put side by side the brick wins every time.

Orange is a vibrant and invigorating color- a little bit goes a long way. An orange door is a clever way to dress up an otherwise understated house and take an exterior from dull to dynamic.

Use caution combining orange with wood tones. If you have a stained front porch or deck, an orange door will not sit well against the warm wood tones.

A yellow door invites your guests with warmth and welcome. Mellow shades like Sherwin Williams Pineapple Cream (SW1668) pair nicely with weathered cedar siding, and also black, white or gray exteriors.

A green door does well with wood tones, and can also go well with natural brick exteriors.

Green and red are complimentary colors, and when placed together can find a natural balance and harmony. Green doors support the natural red of brick without competing.

Bricks with orange undertones would be enhanced with greens like Sherwin Williams Envy (SW6925). For bricks with red undertones, try Sherwin Williams Derbyshire (SW6741).

Blue’s calming hue offers a gentle welcome to your guests and a reminder to breathe deeply as you enter your home. Blues like Sherwin Williams Blue Blood (SW6966) or pastel shades like Bravo Blue (SW6784) pair best with white and gray exteriors. Blues like Capri (SW6788) look better with yellow and tan exteriors.

Purple is historically linked to luxury and royalty. Deep purples like Fully Purple (SW6983) pair nicely with dark wood, and weathered shingle siding. More violet purples like Wisteria (SW6822) enhance natural stones and greens (think about wisteria in Nature”). Here are two very different takes on purple doors – both work, but you can see how the mood shifts between serious and playful depending on the hue.

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A white door works best with pastel colors and cottage-style houses. A white door can give a sterile vibe, so pair it with houses that have softer porch and roof lines. With so many shades of white, I recommend doing some testing against your trim and other colors to find the shade that works best with your décor. Using windows to add light also creates a more welcoming white door, as seen on this Fan house.

Much like a little black dress, a black front door is classic and timeless. Use a black door to dress up your house, or to complete an already elegant exterior. Black doors work well against brick, and look especially nice on houses with stately white columns. There are many shades of black, so test against your existing exterior colors to find the one that looks best.

For help with your project, or for thoughts on additional colors not discussed here, email me – I am always happy to talk color palettes!