Do or don't: Bright front doors and painter's remorse

Updated Oct 12 2015
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
orange door
orange door ยฉ by loop_oh, used under Creative Commons license.
My front door is a drab forest green. The paint job is OLD — it's chipped, rusted, and dirty, and I need to take care of it, one way or another.

I've been collecting color swatches for the new paint job, and over and over I'm being attracted to the brightest ones.

My partner's not feeling it, though — the rest of our house will stay pretty low-key, but she's worried that a too-bright front door will be an affront to future buyers.

So help me, Homies: Would a brightly-painted front door affect your decision to buy a certain house? -Sami

Weigh in, guys! I could totally see this dilemma coming up in my future. I know, you could always repaint in case of sale, thought it's just one more thing to think about when putting your house on the market. What would you do?

  1. Actually, in my city, and the surrounding areas, a bright door is a selling point. If the front has some character, buyers think the inside will have some uniqueness too it as well. Most houses nowadays all looks the same, as builders and developers design a few houses, and then just build areas. So neighbourhoods are increasingly beginning to look all the same.

    Having a bright door adds character without being too IN YOUR FACE. In fact, in the neighbourhood where I grew up, all the houses were built in the 70s, so there was lots of character…but my mom wanted more character…so she painted our front door fire-engine red! Then by the time summer was over, another 10 houses ended up painting their doors too! There were purples and oranges, reds and blues! Everyone who came to our door said, 'Hi I'm so-and-so with blah-charity…by the way I love your door!'

    So I say paint the door! You'll be surprised how many people compliment it!

  2. I guess it also depends on how long you plan on staying there. If you're planning to move within a year or two it might not be worth the effort, but if you're staying awhile then go bright! What's the flavor of your neighborhood? A bright door might draw people in when it's time to leave.

  3. My house is Tardis blue, butter yellow trim, a white-yellow-white-yellow alternating paint on the rail, and a bright cayenne colored door. I have no room to speak! My house, she looks like crayola barfed. It's good! Paint can usually be painted over, anyhow. Unless it's that awful blackboard paint…

    • Tardis blue would be an awesome color choice for a door. It would make you feel like you lived in the Tardis! If I did that I would turn my living room into the comand station.

    • a) describing something as "Tardis blue" = win
      b) Phrase "My house, she looks like Crayola barfed" = uber-win
      c)Pics of the Crayola-barf house, please!

      • I only speak the truth, realized just this morn! I'm in the process of painting asbestos style shingles the blue, and it's taking forevvverrr. Pictures by 2016 at this rate!
        And thanks, heehee.

  4. I know it's not exactly the advice you're looking for, but from experience I would say don't let the "what will people want to see when we eventually sell this house" question get too much in the way of what you want your house to look like while you live in it. Especially something this small (pretty simple to repaint the door when the selling time comes) shoudln't get in the way of how your house feels to you when you come home to it every day. Unless you plan on selling pretty quickly, make it YOUR PLACE for now (which includes your partner, and I have no advice there) and you can worry about making it fit for someone else when you do sell it. But it's your home right now! My partner and I needed to hear that this first year in our house…

  5. I'm with Lauren. A bright front door will help your home stand out in the real estate market AND make it *so* much more fun to come home every day! I'd go for bright without going BRIGHT, though — the orange above versus neon yellow, say.

    Incidentally, depending on what your door is made of, consider having it painted at a body shop. Good sheen, smooth finish, more durable.

  6. Here's what I say: if you live anything like I do, you're going to want to paint the door before a sale, anyway. I'm always dinging up the door. Trying to sell a house with a dented, scratched door is going to be a difficulty, anyway. So just do it, and enjoy it as a part of YOUR home.

  7. Do it! It's a quick project, and if you end up hating the color or needing to change it for whatever reason, it's not hard or very expensive. But be careful with your color selection. I wanted my door a bright, vibrant red and ended up with a bright, UGLY magenta. Thankfully, I had enough paint left to get it adjusted to the right color without having to pay any more. I love my door and get a lot of compliments on it.

  8. I realize this isn't straight to the point of your question, but is there any way you can experiment with a bright color in say a screen door that is essentially trim and keep the main door a more sedate color? Use it as a color introduction; if you and your partner don't like it after a month it's very little repainting, and if you love it you can go ahead and take the next step.

  9. Actually,at the moment, the opinion is the exact opposite of what you might think. When you talk to a realtor about how to sell your home faster, and quick/cheap ways to increase the resale value, painting doors bright colors is one of the first things they mention…

    If she's really worried, you could paint it a bright color that works well as a primer for a more muted color, bright red while you live there, but brick red when you're ready to sell. The same works with greens and blues. And if the house is a light color, I love a black door as a bold statement. It's still traditional and not wild-child, but it's definitely not an average door color.

    • Linked! An FYI if you want to learn some code, you can link using [a href=LINK] — just replace the brackets with < brackets and insert your link. Orrrrrr ask me to link, cause that's fine too :p

  10. Depends on the neighbourhood and the colour you choose. I live in a quirky neighbourhood that includes pink and purple houses and all sorts of fun stuff. So it wouldn't be out of place at all. A mural door is going to be harder to deal with later but a nice, bright door in a pleasant shade that compliments the rest of your house? Awesome. If your partner isn't totally sure about a bright door, then I'd say go over the options and see what looks nicest wtih the rest of your house. My mum choose a periwinkle blue years ago and I was pretty frustrated with her because against our reddish bricks it looked weird. We lived in the country but she was too afraid to try something wild. It's just paint. You can always change it.

    Just be sure you do a good job of the painting and sand that door nicely before you start.

  11. Easily changed cosmetic things would not dissuade me from buying an otherwise awesome house. Chances are, I'd want to do some repainting anyway.

  12. We are planning on buying a house and the first thing I want to do is paint the front door an obnoxious red!

    Bright doors are a selling point to me and paint is easily changed!

    Paint IT!

  13. Personally I think a bright door is a selling point. If the rest of your house is muted, a bright door screams "Come on in! This is a friendly house!" My mother's door is a bright, wonderful red. I've been eyeballing a house on my way to work every day, and I know now it's because of it's wonderful purple door. A door is a simple way to make a fantastic statement. If your partner thinks the color will stand out too much, might I suggest planting flowers in the same shade? How pretty would that look!

    • I've been wanting to paint my door purple since we moved in 4 years ago. Unfortunately I can't seem to find a shade that works with the bricks (they're kind of pinky brown) and the just slightly greenish beige the front of the house above the door is now. Painting the whole front would require scaffolding which means we'll have to hire someone so at this point I'm just waiting until it all needs to be repainted anyway; probably in a year or two.

  14. Wouldn't affect my decision to buy just as the color of a room wouldn't affect my decision to buy. It's paint! You can change the color!! I say paint away!

  15. We're house-hunting and seeing a lot of boring/blah ranch houses. If one has a bright door, it stands out to me as one we need to check out further. Do it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. When we bought our house repaintng the front door was the second improvement thing we did! I just couldn't keep entering my home through a drab dark teal green. Life was immediately better after we put in a new toilet AND I painted the front door bright leaf green!

    DO IT!

  17. My grandfather painted our front door a bright purple, so that if we ever had to call 911, the emergency responders could find "the house with the purple door" with ease.

    So call your colored door a safety feature when selling a home!

    • As someone who works in public safety, having a unique house feature makes things a lot easier, especially if the person calling 911 is a visitor of yours who might not recall your house number in a panic. But also keep your house numbers big, visible, and easily readable. I hate the scrolling cursive numbers that spell it out, "Four hundred and ninety-two." Don't do that. Plain block numbers in a contrasting that we can see at a distance! But yes, a bright colored door or mailbox helps a lot too.

  18. There's a beautiful bright red door near where in live in DC, and I always notice it and think that the house is beautiful. I say go for it, repainting it isn't difficult later.

  19. I had a friend growing up who absolutely loved her bright door. She lived in a cookie-cutter neighborhood, but no one ever had a hard time finding her house, "It's the one with the bright blue door!"

  20. I agree with what others have said to do it now and enjoy your house NOW. It is your home and you should be enjoying the moment now, not worrying about doing things to it to make it sell easier (unless you like the changes) and it doesn't sound like you are trying to "flip" the house.

    My other opinion is this: I love uniquely colored houses and/or doors. It makes giving directions so much easier. Especially if you live in a "beige-ist" neighborhood (thank you Billy Connolly). It makes it so easy to say "We are the ones who live in the purple house" or "we live two doors up from the green house with the red door". Whether you live in it or not, color on houses is awesome!

  21. If I liked the color, I would totally go for it. Right now I am trying to convince the BF to let me paint a door with chalkboard paint, but he is so not going there…

  22. My Mothers house is a muted earthy green with a bright orange door. People love it. I say go for it. It's much less likely to put buyers off than a brightly coloured room. I'm going to go look at mine now and see if I can paint it a fun colour too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. We did our front door China Red and love it. Not only does it draw the eye, it is "Feng Shui" approved for fame and success!

  24. Firstly, I would actually get a feel for your homeowners' association (if you have one). We don't have regulations against color, but when a guy down the street painted his house blue with darker blue accents, our homeowners' FLIPPED and tried to get him to repaint. It wasn't even an outrageous color – just a little darker than the light blue of many of the other houses.

    Once that is taken into consideration, I'd say DO IT if there's no problems there.

  25. My house is a PLAIN ol' boring white. When we moved into our house (we are renting) I knew I was going to paint already. The exterior of the house is white like I mentioned and the shutters and front door were the super pale baby blue, I knew I couldn't stand for that. but I didn't want to have to paint the hole exterior. So I painted the door bright Cyan blue and the trim even brighter yellow, it looks great. My husband knows that I love the colors and he is a no color is just fine kinda person. Our landlord recently made a trip from out of state to check in on us and LOVED the door and asked me to paint the shutters too. I love my door, as far as a selling point, depends on the area. But the way I see it, is, it is paint you can't paint over it. I have pictures of before and after if you are interested you can e-mail me here

  26. 1. I'm actually looking to buy a house right now, and I can say that I'm more drawn to homes with bright doors. They grab my attention, they're pretty, and they're certainly not boring.

    2. Unless you're moving within the year, don't let what you think future buyers will like affect the choices you make with your home. My parents were like that. So they lived in a house with cream colored walls and beige carpet for 15 years! Now they're trying to sell the house, and for the first time they are painting the walls gorgeous colors (because that's what today's buyers want) that they will barely have the time to enjoy.

  27. The house across the street from me is quite ordinary except for an amazingly bright purple door; I love it!

    Go for it! I can't imagine a prospective buyer not buying a home because of a bright front door.

  28. I love a bright front door, especially when everything else is neutral (that orange door in the photo is perfection). Since my house is a red brick with horrid butter yellow siding and black-teal trim, and we're unlikely to be painting it for at least another year, I'm opting to paint our front door black for now.

  29. My house was purchased with a bright purple front door painted with stenciled flowers. I'm getting sick of it: it may end up TARDIS blue or insane emerald green in the near future. As I told my husband when i chose brilliant tangerine orange paint for my kitchen: its just paint. (i learned from our neighbors that the previous owner had the kitchen painted bright orange, and the realtor insisted they paint it cream/white… something about that kitchen screamed "i need to be orange" when we were choosing colors… they also painted the green dining room white… i painted it green again without knowing what it had been)

    • I will also be painting my kitchen orange. And our living/dining room is green. My husband chose the green paint, and we realized afterwards that it's the same color that my grandfather had painted it when he lived here when I was a child. It's funny how some rooms need to be a particular color!

      And, on topic, we need to paint our doors. The house is pale blue, and now I'm thinking a nice purple would be fabulous. My husband is the one who suggested red for our bedroom and purple and turquoise for the bathrooms, so luckily he's not afraid to be bright!

  30. I love colored doors. If you decide to sell your house you'll have to do a lot of fixing anyways so repainting the door might not be a big deal. Or you could go with a unique color that's still subtle.

  31. We had a bright red door on our house growing up. It looked lovely against the white brick and white siding. It went white with black trim for a while, but not very long. Everyone agreed the red was better.

    IIRC, a door painted red is actually quite traditional for colonial homes.

  32. We bought a house with a muted country red front door and painted it royal purple with black trim (the house has off-white vinyl siding). In my opinion, if the door is paintable, prospective buyers can do whatever they want with it so it's probably not going to affect them much either way. Most buyers replace the door hardware (knobs and locks) when they move in anyway, so I feel like the door itself is considered expendable, and a bold color would probably do more FOR the house than against it! Paint away!

  33. I came home from work one day to find our front door had been painted fire-engine red. Red front doors started popping up all along our street, and my husband was beyond pleased with his little trend-setting move.

  34. My opinion on painting anything is: It doesn't take that long to paint something, and paint is inexpensive. In the case of painting a door, this is especially true, so GO FOR IT! If you don't like it then you can just repaint.

  35. My mum grew up in a very traditional house in the country, but her front door was bright aqua blue! It's become something of a tradition in our family. My parents house has a blue front door, and I hope someday my house will as well. It just adds something a little more endearing to your home.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.