Sometimes the best parts of a house are in the details, and few details of a house are more important than your front door.

The main entryway to your home serves as a first impression and a focal point for your visitors, often the visual key to your stylistic direction.

If you’re not sure how to choose the right color for your front door, here are a few things to keep in mind:

 

Color Theory

Understanding the basics of the ways that different colors interact is a crucial first step in choosing paint colors for any part of your home, but especially an element as important as the front door.

Most of us haven’t revisited the color wheel since grade school, so if you’re needing a refresher course, Life Hacker has a great primer. They summarize that complementary colors “create a high contrast, so use them when you want something to stand out,” split complementary color pairing “is ideal for beginners” and a triadic color scheme “ is also high-contrast, but more balanced than complementary colors.”

These are the color pairing methods you’re most likely to use in deciding on a door color.

These basics will help you have a better handle on how to achieve certain directions. Going for high contrast and a door that pops? Opt for complementary colors, like an eggplant door on a yellow house. Looking to harmonize your colors visually? Pair a burgundy door with green tones for a split complementary look.

The color wheel helps you understand why door colors will have specific impacts.

 

The Surroundings

Once you know the mechanics of achieving a certain look, it’s time to take stock of your surroundings. This starts with your own house and yard. What colors are your walls, window frames and roof? What are predominant shades in your landscaping?

Take notes on all of this so you know what you’re playing off.

WikiHow also recommends going for a quick neighborhood drive. Whether you’re wanting to blend in or stand out, knowing how your house will fit can be helpful in the decision making process: “you may notice red is a popular color in your area. If you see a lot of red doors, consider this color for your own front door. If you want to stand out just a little, pick something that fits with the color scheme but is unique. If most red doors tend to be very bright, go for a shade like burgundy.”

 

Functionality

The best paint color in the world won’t do a lot of good if it’s the wrong kind of paint for the material of your door. Although it’s probably obvious that you need an outdoor paint, the material your door is made of introduces a whole other range of variables.

Latex exterior paints can be a good option, but if your door is metal, make sure you’re taking rust protection into account.

“No matter what you choose, you will need to go over the door with an exterior primer first,” Better Homes & Gardens reminds. “Door-friendly exterior paints are available in a variety of finishes—matte, semigloss, glossy, etc. A glossy finish will bring out architectural details, if desired.”

Other practical factors include keeping in mind visibility for guests and thinking through how different colors will wear over time. If your entryway is not well lit, a darker colored door will effectively look like a hole in your house.

Although cherry red might be your favorite color, if the front of your house is often in direct sunlight, the color might look different a few years down the road.

 

Style

In the end, the most fun part about choosing your door’s color is fitting it to your own unique style. Southern Living says, “Don’t just think about your family’s style and personality, but also the home’s. Is it traditional? Modern? Are there coastal influences? These all factor into choosing a door that is eye-catching, but not visually dissonant.”

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a door you’ll be happy to walk through for years to come.

If you need some help choosing the perfect paint, find out what construction and design services WillowTree can offer.