These 7 front door color mistakes make designers cringe – here's how to avoid a decorating disaster

A fabulous front door color scheme will boost your home's curb appeal, but what are the fundamental mistakes to avoid

Front door color mistakes
(Image credit: Noah Webb / Joy Coakley / Mary Jo Fiorella)

Your front door is one of the most seen parts of your home’s exterior and makes an important first impression, setting expectations for the interior beyond. Therefore, choosing the right color for your door is vital.

Naturally, you'll want to ensure your front door sets the right tone for the rest of your home. Whatever your style or budget, there are many front door color ideas that can make a fundamental difference to your own humble front door. However, there are also costly front door color mistakes that you'll want to avoid unless you want to be the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

Before you invest in a complete front door revamp, think critically because spending a small fortune on paint and materials does not always guarantee a smart, tailored, or value-for-money look. Here, we’ve asked decorators and interior designers for their take on what front door color mistakes to avoid, and advice on how to get it right the first time.

Front door color mistakes to avoid

Exterior transformations don’t always have to be grand or expensive affairs. The power of color can have a metamorphous effect, but while you may want to know which color trends and paint ideas are best for your front door, it is just as essential to know which front door color mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

Bear in mind that your front door design will affect which front door colors you should avoid too. 

Below, some of our favorite designers offer their no-fail expertise to make the exterior of a house look expensive.

1. Fit a new front door that complements your existing architecture

Front door with brown door and lighting

(Image credit: Joy Coakley / Mary Jo Fiorella)

Many of us inherit a front door when we buy our homes, and don’t consider changing it. But swap this feature and you can make the exterior of your place a whole lot more appealing, enhancing its curb appeal. You might also like to consider a new front door color to better complement your home’s architecture if a previous owner has chosen a design and color that doesn’t fit the home’s age or character. 

If you're not painting your front door, it is recommended that you choose a material that chimes with any neighboring properties too, as well as your own home.

2. Avoid colors that do not chime with the surrounding area

A stylish front porch area with a smooth path leading up to a green door on a modern home

(Image credit: David Papazian)

While bold front door colors will make an impact, think about how it will fit in with your surroundings and whether you (and your neighbors!) can live with the color every day.

Situated in Rancho Mirage, California, this property is truly spectacular. Designed to blend in with its surroundings, the carefully curated front yard landscaping with front yard flower beds and nature-inspired color scheme is a lesson in how to adapt to your surroundings. 

Here, the designers and architects at Stuart Silk Architects have ensured the front door color doesn't look out of place next to the rugged, inhospitable Santa Rosa Mountains. 

3. Don't go for white if you live in a busy area

House with exterior in whtie and white front door, path to door, and foliage plants and flowers

(Image credit: Sadolin)

When it comes to paint colors for the exterior of a house, do bear in mind that cleaning a front door is a more regular task the lighter the front door paint color. Therefore, if you live in a busy area, decorating with white is best avoided.

Many homeowners choose white for its timeless appeal, however, many forget to factor in how often they will need to wipe down a pure white front door. If you don't want to do unnecessary upkeep, paint a door in a darker color instead. According to realtors, a black front door will add the most value to a house, and it is the most searched-for color on Google.

4. Don't choose a paint color just because it is on trend

Front door

(Image credit: GettyImages)

'Choosing a paint color is one of the hardest parts of decorating because we only actually know the true color of something because it’s sitting next to another color,' says Rachel Chudley, an interior designer renowned for her clever color choices.

While bright, bold colors might make your heart sing, after a while, these daring choices could become hard to live with. Not to mention how jarring they could be for neighbors and passers-by. 

There are so many factors and nuances to understand before simply selecting a front door color. Consider the colors used for each element of the façade of your house and how they all work together. You should take the shades of everything into account: your cladding materials, your window frames, and even your roof coverings. 

Don’t forget to factor in the shade of your driveway materials and the type of boundaries you are using. Think about how certain colors will weather over time and aim to use shades that complement one another not only now, but in the future as well.

5. Not choosing a timeless color scheme

Do front door colors mean anything? Green door

(Image credit: Getty Images / Yellow Dog Productions)

Don’t underestimate the impact of the color of your door on the overall look of the property. The wrong color can devalue the property or reduce its appeal. In the long run, it is best to choose a timeless color palette if you want to add value, rather than go for a bright on-trend hue.

Neutral shades of grey and soft sage greens work well in rural settings as they reflect their natural surroundings, with greys and blacks working well in high-traffic, urban areas.

6. Always test the color first

exterior of white wooden Dutch style colonial home with gambrel roof and red front door

(Image credit: Paul Brady/ Alamy)

Choosing paint for your home's exterior is a big task. It will define your home's character and create an instant impression. Painting your home is a fairly complex task and not one you'll want to repeat on a regular basis – therefore if you are leaning towards an unusual or high-contrast color, always test it on a smaller area first to see if you can live with it.

7. Don't overlook the paint finish

Black front door and black cladding, converted barn

(Image credit: Urban Front)

'Painting an exterior is not just about choosing the right colors, it’s also about choosing the right paint finishes, after all, this finish needs to protect the building as well as decorate it!’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene

‘Exterior paint is your home’s protection from the elements, so it’s crucial to select paints that not only look appealing and have a superb finish, but that is also durable, practical, and formulated to withstand the test of time, harsh weather conditions in winter and the baking UV light of mid-summer. If you’re unsure about choosing the right paint finishes for your home, consider an all-surface primer.'

What is the biggest front door color mistake, according to experts

'The biggest front door color mistake to make is to paint your exterior in a color that either you don't like, or one that jars with the entire neighborhood,’ says Yoselin Castro, senior interior designer at Mackenzie Collier Interiors. 'Pay attention to the surrounding area, and choose colors that are harmonious.'

If in doubt, embrace Feng Shui front door colors. In Feng Shui, your front door color scheme is one of the most important areas of your property. This feature represents the face you show to the world, and should be chosen with just as much care and consideration as you would the rest of your home décor.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.