Designers share 7 go-to paint colors for your front door

Designers share 7 go-to paint colors for your front door

A front door color can make or break your home’s curb appeal. The perfect shade and finish are more than just eye candy; they set the tone for your entire home.

“I work a lot in the city with rowhouses, and you’re either working with brick or painted brick,” D.C. designer Christopher Boutlier said. “Black high gloss is such a contrast to those materials that it makes it feel special. But I think outside of that, if the house is feeling very kind of drab, I think a color is nice.”

The taste-the-rainbow opportunities of front door colors have a nostalgic factor for Portland, Ore.-based designer Max Humphrey. “The first rule about door paint colors is you have to pick something that’s different from your neighbors,” he said. “Those of us that grew up without GPS remember the time when you would use your front door as the sort of signifier of your house: If friends were coming over, or deliveries, you would say, ‘It’s the house with the yellow door!’ ”

One thing to note: Most design professionals we interviewed suggested hiring a professional painter to do your door justice. Otherwise, you run the risk of an imperfect finish. Here, designers share the front door paint colors that knock them off their feet.

Narragansett Green

Tracy Morris applied Benjamin Moore’s Narragansett Green in a satin finish to the front door of her McLean, Va., home, to play against the modern farmhouse style. “It’s a color that pops because it has a lot of navy blue in the base. … I wanted something to give the front a little kick in the pants.” This color works, she said, because it “has enough punch but still works very, very well with all the neutral tones that are surrounding it.”

Brinjal No. 222

Designer Anne Pulliam recently selected Farrow & Ball’s Brinjal No. 222 for a 1915 rowhouse in Richmond. “It’s probably my favorite color: a wine-colored plum. I love that it’s playful and fun,” Pulliam said. She used a high-gloss lacquer finish paint from Fine Paints of Europe to make “it feel a little bit dressier.” Pulliam also used the color throughout the home’s interior, so the door sets the tone for the palette. “The family that lives there is young and fun, and they love color,” she said.


“I like yellows or golds: bright, warm colors,” Humphrey said, adding that they were a fixture in New England, where he grew up. “I like the optimism that the yellow door projects – it feels like you’ll be going into an inviting household.” He recently painted a front door Chartreuse by Benjamin Moore. “It’s sunshine-y, obviously. … Here in Oregon where I live, it’s a reminder that the sun will come out one day.”

Greek Villa

“Five years ago everybody was wanting those bright, lacquered colored front doors,” said Ashley Hanley, a designer in Richmond. “Most of my clients right now are really kind of gravitating more towards neutral color palettes for the exterior.” Hanley has been using stained wood doors a lot, as well as Sherwin-Williams’s Greek Villa. “It’s the perfect shade of cream, in my opinion,” she said. “It’s not a stark white – it’s a really beautiful, rich cream color.” She recently used it on a home inspired by a historic tavern in Colonial Williamsburg for a truly classic look.

Hale Navy

One common door color mistake Morris has seen again and again is when people “choose a tone that is just truly too bright for their house. … You’ve got to make sure to watch the acidy green tones in colors that will make your hair stand on edge. It’s just way too bright!” Mark Kaufman, principal of GTM Architects, likes darker shades, such as Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy, a deep blue. “My favorite front door colors are dependent on the architectural style of the home,” Kaufman said. “Traditional houses look great with deeper colors.”

Coach Green

Coach Green, from Fine Paints of Europe, “often works really well, especially if you have a brick house or a lot of greenery” Boutlier said. “If there are … side-yard fences and things that are visible with the house, it also can be really nice because it provides a little bit of contrast. If you have dark shutters, it can make the door just feel a little bit more special.”


Black “doesn’t pop in a bright and colorful way, but it pops in making your house look really nice and refined and kind of gives it an elevated feel,” said Leigh Jendrusina of Salthouse Collective in Carlsbad, California. “It always looks and feels really crisp and beautiful.” Her black of choice: Caviar by Sherwin-Williams, in a semigloss or satin finish. “It’s a pretty, crisp black, but it’s got a little bit of softness to it.”