Should your front door be lighter or darker than your house? We take the fight outside

To help you find the perfect front door color for your home, we speak to the experts – as after all, first impressions are everything

Three examples, of, should a front door be lighter or darker than a house? Black door on modern black barn, black door on gray house, bright yellow door and porch.
(Image credit: Urban Front | Joy Coakley / Mary Jo Fiorella | Annie Sloane)

Many of us will spend hours and hours perfecting the color palettes for the inside of our homes, but what about the outside? And when it comes to choosing the right color for your front door, should it be lighter or darker than your house?

Generally speaking, when planning front door color ideas, we are advised to choose a darker color if our house exterior has lighter walls, and a lighter color if our exterior walls are darker. This creates a stylish element of contrast; a technique used by interior designers and architects alike in order to create a successful and well-balanced design scheme.

Ultimately, it is completely up to you which color you choose for your front door, but there are a few key considerations that the experts want you to know before you make that all important decision for your front door design.

Should a front door be lighter or darker than a house?

'As an interior designer, I believe that the color of a door can have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of a home. When it comes to choosing the right color for a door, there are a few factors to consider, such as the style of the house, the surrounding decor, and personal preference.

In terms of whether the door should be darker or lighter than the house, it really depends on the specific situation. Generally, a darker door can create a sense of drama and contrast, while a lighter door can create a more subtle and cohesive look,' says Kimberly Horton of KH Home Design.

Whether you're thinking of going lighter, darker or matching with the exterior of your home, our experts share their advice on whether a front door be lighter or darker than a house.

Kimberly Horton
Kimberly Horton

A multi-award-winning interior designer, Kimberly Horton is founder of KH Home Design, based in Connecticut. Kimberly is also a winner of, HGTV’s Designer of the Year, People’s Choice award.

Why choose a lighter front door

Arguably more welcoming, light colors look contemporary and fresh, though they do require more upkeep and cleaning.

For a fresh and bright look

front door cleaning

(Image credit: Little Greene)

As we have mentioned, contrast is key when choosing the right color for your front door, so if your house has darker exterior walls, whether that be through sleek black wooden cladding or dark gray paint, opting for a lighter front door color will work well.

'If your house is a darker color, such as brown or gray, then a lighter color for the front door is a better option, as this will give the front door a pop of brightness,' says Jeanette Fusco, interior designer at HiHomePicks.

Interior designer and founder of Arsight, Artem Kropovinsky also suggests, 'a pastel or soft hue can add a charming and welcoming touch, especially for traditional or cottage-style homes,' as shown above with this pretty, pastel-pink front door, beautifully framed and connected to the brickwork by the white painted entrance.

Jeanette Fusco
Jeanette Fusco

For over a decade, Jeanette has been an interior designer for private residences and businesses, as well as working as an expert consultant at online furniture retailer, HiHomePicks.

Artem Kropovinsky headshot
Artem Kropovinsky

Founder of NYC-based interior design firm, Arsight, Artem Kropovinsky has a decade of extensive global design experience, connecting a cohesive, collaborative team of passionate professionals, and working on projects in the U.S. and worldwide. 

Why choose a darker front door

Live on a busy road? A dark front door will hide debris and dust thrown up by traffic, but why else choose a deeper color?

For a more grounding design

Front door with brown door and lighting

(Image credit: Joy Coakley / Mary Jo Fiorella)

Jamie Gasparovic, owner and principal designer of Studio Gaspo, an interior design firm in Orlando, says, 'a front door should be darker than your house, almost always. A dark front door really grounds the entryway of your home, and draws attention to itself, inviting you in. Whether it’s a darker stained wood, a moody color, or even classic black, you can’t go wrong with a statement-making dark front door.'

Artem Kropovinsky also advises, 'if you prefer a bold or dramatic entrance, a darker shade can work well. A black or navy front door can provide a modern and sophisticated look, while a deep red or forest green can lend a classic and elegant touch.'

Studio Gaspo
Jamie Gasparovic
Studio Gaspo
Jamie Gasparovic

Jamie Gasparovic is an interior designer and owner of Orlando-based interior design firm, Studio Gaspo. Specializing in luxury custom home design, Studio Gaspo focuses on creating spaces that are warm, modern, unique, and comfortable.

Why coordinate with your house color

A one-color approach is a brave move, usually reserved for very contemporary exteriors.

For a cohesive feel

Black front door and black cladding, converted barn

(Image credit: Urban Front)

Choosing a front door color that complements or even matches with the colors and materials of your home can make for both a bold and understated look. 

As shown on this beautiful home, the sleek, black wooden door by Urban Front, blends in perfectly with the rest of the cladded structure, making for a more modern, impactful and cohesive design.

Coordinating with your house color can also work well for traditional homes, too, as this will be most likely result in a color choice that is more in-keeping with the style of the period property.

Match your exterior's tones with bold color

There is a fourth way: matching the strength of color of your home's exterior materials with the door color. Why? It's bold and beautiful.

For a striking first impression 

Bright yellow front door and porch on brick house

(Image credit: Annie Sloane)

To really elevate your curb appeal, why not choose a bold, bright color for your front door? Whether it is lighter or darker than the rest of your house, a colorful front door can really help to make your home feel more inviting and connected to your style.

Kimberly Horton says, '2023 interior design trends show that color is coming back in, and having a colorful front door can be a great way to add personality and interest to your space.

A brightly colored front door can be eye-catching and help your home stand out from the surrounding houses. This can be especially helpful if you're trying to sell your home, as it can make a great first impression on potential buyers.

By painting your front door a bold color, you can also create a focal point that draws the eye and adds interest to your home's façade. This can be especially effective if the rest of your home's exterior is relatively simple or plain.'

If you want to uplift your existing front door with a fresh lick of colorful paint, our guide on how to paint a front door has all you need.


What color should you not paint your front door?

What color you choose for your front door, is of course, completely down to you, however, there are a collection of front door colors to avoid, such as black, violet and white, that experts reveal can negatively impact your home's curb appeal.

Artem Kropovinsky says, 'it's important to note that certain colors do not work well for front doors. Bright neon colors or shades that clash with the house's exterior can look tacky and unappealing. Avoid colors that blend too much with the surroundings, such as a beige or a light gray, as they can make the entrance dull and uninteresting.'

However, the colors that do not work for some, may be the perfect option for you and your home – it all depends on your style and taste.

What is the most welcoming front door color?

Tash Bradley, Director of Interior Design at Lick Paint says, 'your front door color gives an indication into the personality who lives inside. You want your front door to welcome you home and to greet you with a smile. Currently, pale pink and lilac tones are very on trend, channeling a fun, youthful vibe, full of energy.'

'Your home's exterior is an opportunity to express your personal style and taste. By choosing a color that reflects your personality, you can create a sense of warmth and welcoming that can make your home feel more inviting,' says Kimberly Horton. 

Tash Bradley
Tash Bradley

Chief curator of the Lick Paint color palette, Tash has carried out thousands of color consultancies for Lick clients across the world. She studied interior design at the University of Arts London and has completed a degree at Advanced Color Methods for Industry Professionals in applied Psychology of Color.

How do I make my front entrance stand out?

From painting your front door an impactful, bright color, to getting creative with outdoor lighting for your front porch ideas, there are many ways you can make your front entrance stand out and make the exterior of your house look expensive.

Planting can be a great way to enhance your entrance with beautiful blooms and inviting greenery; whether you opt for hanging baskets, or tall planters either side of the front door.

Lighting is also key for a front entrance, the right lighting will not only illuminate the space when dark and help to guide you into your home, it will make you entrance feel more inviting and cozy; explore our front porch lighting ideas for further inspiration.

Zara Stacey
Managing Editor

Zara is the Managing Editor at Homes & Gardens. She joined the brand in February 2022 as an Interiors Content Editor, specializing in writing content on interior color trends, decorating ideas and design inspiration. After studying English Literature at University, she worked as an Ecommerce Website Editor, Content Writer and Buying Intern at multiple independent businesses within the luxury retail and lifestyle sectors. She enjoys nothing more than discovering new trends, brands and products, whether that be in fashion, interior design or lifestyle.