We’re on a mission to have more fun with home decor–and a great little project that will let you stretch a bit creatively without spending a lot of money is to paint your front door a fun, contrasting color. Realtors call the front door the “smile” of a house–what a bonus it’d be if the color of your home’s “smile” made visitors smile, too. Not only will this type of makeover get your house noticed, it will make your home more memorable. If you’re concerned about how this would affect resale, having some little something that stands out in people’s minds is great for you. That said, you want to stand out in a good way, so here are a few tips:

1. If your home features stone or brick, chances are good you need an earthier shade for the front door. I don’t mean earth tones per se, I just mean you need a “dirtier” color so it doesn’t look too bright. Look at the color you’re considering against a plain, white sheet of paper to see what color tones are hidden in the swatch.

2. Try not to repeat the front door color anywhere else on the house so that it stands out. If you want to repeat the color elsewhere in the landscaping or in an outdoor pillow on a bench, that’s cool. Just don’t use it to paint anything else on the house itself–make the door feel special.

3. Avoid using a similar color as your side-by-side neighbors’s front doors. Use this is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

4. If you’re going from a dark color to a light color, don’t get impatient and blow off priming. The more solid your primer coat is, the easier time you’ll have getting an opaque final color–I learned this the hard way.

Need inspiration? Here are some eye-catching front doors any realtor would love to list:

Think you have too conservative a house or live in too conservative a neighborhood to get funky with your front door? There are plenty of options to go the sophisticated route with color. Eggplant, for instance, is very unusual, but looks good with neutrals and most types of stone and brick. Here’s a digital before and after, if you need convincing:

BEFORE: A standard black front door.

AFTER: A digitally-updated eggplant door.

See? It’s not cra-cra–in fact, the eggplant door gives a friendlier first impression.

I livened up my own front door last weekend, but I did not play it safe in the least! Check it out:


Blue house, black door. Timeless and classic…nothing really wrong with it, but if you know me at all, you know I like to stand out just a touch and this just wasn’t getting me there.


I defy anyone to knock on my door without a smile on their face now.


Wooo! Don’t think for a minute there weren’t pangs of doubt creeping up here and there. Considering it took six coats of paint plus the primer I started with, I had plenty of moments where I thought, should I just pick another damn color?? Thankfully, Jeb kept telling me, “it’ll get there,” because now I just adore it. This door says, “LOOK AT MY HAPPY HOUSE!”

Now if I can just keep from killing the plants…