Curb Appeal Refresh: The Front Door
May 22, 2019 § Leave a comment
Some of you may remember when the fashion industry changed the skirt hem length every year — from maxi to mini to midi and then back to comfortably above the knee.
Front door color has followed a fashion trend of its own. A decade ago, red was all the rage — and for some it continues to be the most welcoming front door color. Black with a metal kick plate has always offered a sophisticated read on the front entry. But what has followed in more recent years has been a busting-out of traditional exterior curb appeal. Here’s what front door colors we were talking about just 3 years ago.
So it is time to update those door trends again. No more copycat door-painting just to be fashionable. We’re stepping out of the shade of the porch to a bold new entryway that will set each house apart from its neighbors.
But first, let’s talk about house colors. What has changed:
–More white houses. It used to be that white fell to farmhouses and antique colonials. Not anymore. There is plenty of white new construction, which opens up a fan deck of front door options.
–More gray houses. Always a neutral that fits into almost any environment, the gray interior trend moved to the outside and remains. Gray also opens up a fan deck of front door options, maybe just a few fewer than white.
–More Crayola color and less safe beige. Dark and rich are replacing light and airy. Briarwood is moving to Hale Navy. Rich Cream is moving to Merlot Red. Even some developments are providing a rainbow of siding options instead of the light neutrals from years past. <<applause>> If you have a bold red house, you probably don’t need me to tell you what color to paint your front door (lol!), but I’ll offer suggestions anyway.
–More midcentury renos, both contemporary and ranch style. With a surge in client interest for open-concept living (uh-oh to that trend, but that’s another story), people have realized that it is easier to update an already open midcentury home with the high vaulted ceilings and the great-room flow than it is to modify a boxy colonial. Big surprise there. So we are seeing a plethora of exterior colors (even black) as a result of these one-story re-dos.
Back to the front door. Here are some ideas for redoing your front door color to refresh your home.
Teal and Turquoise — I cannot believe that I used to recommend turquoise only for tropical house locations or homes that at least had a pool. What used to be a quest to coordinate house colors with the local environment is now a challenge to ignore it. Where teal and turquoise work: on gray, white, black, yellow, red, okay almost every house color except blue. Where they do not work: on dirty or faded house siding (the bright color makes the house look worse) and on other blues like colonial blue.
Yellow and Orange — not everybody’s favorite colors but they are so happy. I love them on a front door. Where they work: on dark house colors like navy, green-browns, dark and light grays, neutral gray brick, and white. Where they do not work: Again, on any color that looks faded, aged, or dirty.
Lime Green — fresh and springy and a wonderful coordinating color for your landscape. Where it works: dark gray, navy blue, even red brick, chocolate brown, black. Where it does not work: any other green or dirty beige.
Pink and Purple – always beautiful on a white house with coordinating landscape trees but also on a dark house for a real pop of warmth in the neighborhood. Where they work: white, gray, navy. Where they do not work: on yellow beiges and orange beiges because of the undertones and on anything that has a faded or dirty appearance.
If the bright colors will not work with your house color, try natural or even white.
Natural Wood or wood-look – always a classic. Where it works: navy and red, for sure. And just about every other house color.
White — yes white! What white does is make the whole entry area look larger since it blends with the white trim color. It also creates a blank canvas for holiday decor — wreathes, flower pots, etc. There is nothing quite like white as a backdrop to a variety of color palettes around the entryway. Where it works: especially good on a house with a lot of color already and crisp white trim. Also works on neutrals when you want to maintain a soft neutral palette throughout — be sure to add textures though with lots of greenery and baskets or wicker furniture. White also works on aged or faded houses where the bright colors do not. Crisp white perks everything up.
I hope these ideas dazzle your thinking and inspire you to head to the paint store. Happy painting, everybody!
Pink Doors and Why They Work
February 5, 2018 § Leave a comment
Pink — a trend we’ve been watching for the past couple of years — is no longer labeled, as my mother used to say, SS&G (sweet, simple, and “girlish”). On the contrary. The color keeps popping up with some staying power, and where it has grabbed my attention the most is at the front door.
This Pleasant Pink by Benjamin Moore is a comfortably sophisticated hue that blends rose with peach and a touch of gray undertone that keeps it from looking too bubble-gummy or baby’s room. Antique brass metal hardware (as on the London door above) will give the color an aged quality that keeps it from looking too trendy.
Why does pink work so well as a door color? Because it compliments many exterior house colors and coordinates with pinks and whites and purples in the landscape plantings. Here are a few ideas:
Behr’s Road Less Traveled from the 2018 palette is a soft mushroomy gray brown that coordinates nicely with stone walls and wooded environs and looks fabulous with white trim and a pink door. And although cherry blossoms do not last very long, for a few weeks out of the year your house will have traffic slowing down to take photos.
Another house color that looks great with a pink door is gray– it’s a classic combination. This gray, Benjamin Moore’s Stormy Monday, paired with pink creates a quiet traditional combo whose matched undertones make the marriage work. Pink perennials in the yard draw your eye to the coordinating front door.
Three other colors paired with pink create quite the wow factor and a stunning bush of pink lilacs ties the whole look together.
Charcoal Blue, a Sherwin Williams color, offers the most drama. Not for everyone, but a dark navy house can be very striking, and the softness of the pink door creates a balanced look paired with silver-toned metal door accessories.
Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin is a gorgeous color to paint both siding and trim. Paired with a pink door and a dark brown porch deck and oil-rubbed bronze accessories, you’ve got your drama.
Finally, we have a dark charcoal, Glidden’s Flagstone Grey, that also coordinates well with stonework and contrasts beautifully with pink.
As you contemplate freshening up your home’s exterior this Spring, see if a glossy pink door with fresh hardware might be the answer to enhanced curb appeal. If you change out the door hardware, don’t forget to match the porch light– an inexpensive upgrade that can make a huge difference. Add a fresh door mat and pot of pink annuals on the porch step and brace yourself for compliments.
Happy Thinking-About-Spring Day, Everybody.
Creating Colorful Curb Appeal
January 23, 2018 § 2 Comments
Need curb appeal?? Well, this remarkable ranch re-do will show you how some strategic changes to the front of a rather ho-hum house can make a huge impact, and if you’re planning on selling anytime soon, pay attention. There are some quick easy fixes that may apply to you.
Here is the Before shot: faded vinyl siding, old aluminum windows, dated storm door, dirty white shutters, old iron stair railing, and tree overgrowth. Have you seen a million houses like this one? Yup. Me too. Not exactly a head-turner.
Laurel LaBauve at SoPo Cottage addressed the front facade with a new porch portico. Adding dimension to the front face of the ranch made a huge difference and created a cottage style instantly. She could have stopped there, but onward to new windows (fresh, white, two-over-two) that brought more light into the house and gave it a cute, vintage, styled look. Excellent choice!
Next up? The vinyl siding. Why does the after vinyl look so terrific? Laurel revealed her secret: something called Vinyl Renu, a product that, Laurel reports, brings new life to the color and sheen and is supposed to last 10 years! I’m in! What a difference. If your house has vinyl siding and it needs a refresh, here’s the stuff.
Switching the shutters to black board-and-batten was another great cottagey move. If they’re vinyl, you fooled me. Note: Leaving the brand new windows bare with no shutters would not have been a bad thing. A little more contemporary. But the contrast of the black with the light blue siding and white trim is sharp, and the house looks finished.
Then there’s the front door color. Yellow. One of my faves as it sings Happy House as you walk up the front steps. And the coordinating flowers in the new window boxes (also a cottage style fun-to-have) pull the whole look together. (If you need color help, let me know!)
Even if there is no budget for major changes, here are a few easy fixes that will still make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal. Take-aways for home sellers:
- Trim the trees back so that the house is free of branches and there’s a clear view of the house from the approach. Pay attention to the landscaping, weeding, and overgrown bushes. It’s amazing what a little green thumb elbow grease will do.
- Rev up the vinyl siding with Vinyl Renu to give the color a fresh look.
- Add shutters if there’s room and particularly if the house is a light color. Black will give the house a dressed-up and polished curb appeal.
- Add coordinating accessories like porch lighting and a mailbox.
- Paint the front door a warm contrasting color and tie in the landscape (annuals, flowering shrubs) and any outdoor accessories like Adirondack chairs or deck furniture.
Click here to see how the INside was transformed. Bravo! Laurel, you are quite an inspiration.
Making a House Color Splash
March 15, 2016 § Leave a comment
I have driven past this house for years and every time, I do a double take. Situated next to a busy roadway, there is nowhere to stop, get out of the car, and snap a decent photo. But that does not deter me.
The red brick wall is not part of the yard. And who cares about it anyway. It is the roof color and the coordinating front door in a spectacular (guessing here) Starry Night Blue (BM 2067-20) that grabs our attention. The rest of the trim is a quiet brown taken right from the brick. We don’t even notice the window trim at all, and that’s the point.
The roof looks like Vermont Mottled Purple slate, but honestly I have no idea. All I can say is that this house creates, in its traditional neighborhood, a huge House Color Splash. Kudos! And I cannot wait to drive by again.
Don’t forget about the roof color when you are planning your exterior color scheme. It is absolutely fine to keep it neutral, but if you have the personality to withstand the gawking passersby if you decide to add color to the roof, then go for it. Just remember to tie it into the rest of the house with shutters and/or front door to match. I will thank you.
Change Your Front Door Color
February 8, 2016 § 2 Comments
Driving through a little town recently, I glanced around as usual, admiring architecture, making a mental note about what color combinations to try and which ones really do not work, and generally looking for color and design inspiration. One house called out to me as I cruised by — quickly I made a U-turn and headed back for a closer look. Like a beacon of happiness, the bright, sunny, yellow door popped off the crisp, white house with black roof and shutters. What a stunning house to drive home to every day.
February seems to bring thoughts of Spring and those quick and easy, yet big-bang-for-the-buck house projects. And the front door color is one of them. If you’re tired of black or red for the front door, and particularly if you have a white house, there is no reason to keep the status quo. Shake it up. What is your favorite color? What color are your spring flowering shrubs? What color does your front door want to be? (Okay, that last one may be a bit weird, but you get it.)
Guidelines for choosing a new front door color:
- Make sure that new color shows up at least two other places in the front yard, for example, in the landscape plants, flower pots, patio umbrella, or other accessories.
- Consider a brighter sheen for a softer paint color. That will add life and a little pizzazz to a color that doesn’t stand out too much on its own.
- Realize that if your front door is under a porch overhang, the color of the door will darken. Go a bit brighter unless, of course, you get full afternoon sun shining on the door. In that case, go a bit darker.
- Give yourself choices. Try three different colors and look at them at different times of the day and in different weather conditions. Don’t rush the decision.
So this year, while you’re skimming through seed catalogues and planning your Spring garden colors, choose a new front door color too. You’ll love how it brightens your spirits.
What Color to Paint Your Big House
February 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
Building a new house or a large addition but beginning to worry that it might look too big in your neighborhood? Maybe a lot of people don’t worry about their neighbors, but some people do. If you think your house might appear overly large-scaled, then avoid painting it white. The contrast against the setting makes white stand out even more than other light colors.
To bring the house down to scale and accent the architecture at the same time, consider a dark color like a dark charcoal or dark green for the siding. Dark trim, of course, will camouflage the house even more, whereas white trim will highlight windows, doors, and roof trim.
Your choice — but becoming the McMansion in the modest neighborhood will not endear yourself to your neighbors. And my how they talk…
Front Door Personality
August 28, 2013 § 6 Comments
As much as I love eggplant, both as a vegetable and a paint color, it just didn’t work on my house. With the eave creating a shadow, the beautiful, rich purple color only lit up in the late afternoon when the sun hit it just right. For those few moments, the Caponata (Ben Moore AF-650) looked spectacular. Then it went back to black.
So… inspired by some fabric I saw awhile ago with golds and light blues, I ventured into a rarely seen color combination — hey, why not, it’s just paint! The new door and bench are Yarmouth Blue (Ben Moore HC- 150) and although the neighbors have not commented yet, I love it. The house color is Richmond Gold (HC-41) and the trim is Cameo White. I may paint the trim a less-yellow hue in the spring, but for now, it’s fine.
If your front door is in the shadow of a porch or a big tree in the front yard, consider a light front door color, something even (dare I say?) pastel. You may be really pleased with how the lighter door color can change the personality of the house from stodgy traditional to young and perky. See what you think!
Enough about Neutral–I’m Craving Color
May 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Who says accent walls are so last decade? Not me. I love how a carefully chosen wall or piece of architectural interest can be highlighted dramatically by color.
Here we see how bold color creates a defined outside eating area with all the drama of an interior dining room. Why not! It’s okay to use accent color on the outside of the house to warm up a patio, jazz up a porch wall, or provide a colorful backdrop to a garden. It’s spring. Get out there and do some color!
Is Your Home Ready for its Close-Up Shot?
May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
In real estate, a picture is worth a hundred home visits — at least to many potential buyers who cast off rejects as fast as they can hit the Next button.
If you’re preparing your home for the market (or if your home is already on and just sitting), here’s a tip that might get your home ready for its close-up shot and looking good on the big screen (or at least the laptop):
Take photos of your house from the street and then take a shot of every room from the doorway. Then put them on the computer and take a look at what the public is seeing online.
1) Does the photo of the house from the street show that the house is kept up? Is there stuff in the yard? Are there weeds in the garden? Is there peeling paint anywhere? (You can see the to-do list forming, can’t you…)
2) In the photo from the front door, can you see into other parts of the house or is the foyer closed off and dark? Is there old carpeting on the floor or is it tile or hardwood?
3) Inside, are any rooms dark? Do the curtains cover the windows? Is your furniture in sad shape or is there too much of it in a room? (These are the areas to address)
4) And lastly, is there something in the photo that immediately grabs your eye — and not in a good way? It could be a crooked picture or a sloppy bed. That is what the public remembers from that photo.
With to-do list in hand, fix those items that are keeping your house from getting a personal visit from potential buyers. Selling a house is far more than just listing it with an agency and sticking a sign in the front yard. Make sure you value the importance of photos that show your home to its best advantage.