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!
February 15, 2018 § Leave a comment
In the next town over, there’s a purple house. And when I say purple, I mean PURple, but not just the front door as we see in the row house above, but also the siding, the trim, the doors, the shutters, and even the concrete foundation. The whole house is purple. (I would show you a photo of the house, but I don’t want to embarrass it.) The result is a house that draws everyone’s attention and not in a good way.
On the other hand, if your house is already an extrovert — one that has character and interesting features you want to show off in all their glory, then go ahead and use paint. This article from This Old House presents ideas for how to bring out the personality in your older home and shows not only colors that grab attention but also where to put them and which ones go beautifully together.
There are lots of ways to use color. This beachy turquoise, perfect for a cottage style home in a coastal community, uses one hue — a medium tone for the siding and a darker value for the shutters and door. White trim completes the cottagey look. The result is a house that displays its positive features without overdoing the palette. This strategy is especially good for a small house.
Dark colors are trending now, and this gray-brown ranch is a good example. But instead of keeping the whole house a quiet, conventional wallflower, the homeowner displays its cheerful personality with tangerine shutters, front door and striped awning. The white trim makes the colors “pop,” as we say, and you have a real looker!
Speaking of citrus, look how this bungalow shows off its architectural features with Juicy Fruit colors and — wait a minute — a lovely deep grape purple foundation. Now that works!
My favorite color combination, though, and perfect for this restored Italianate house, is terra cotta siding; a darker value for the window muntins, eave corbels, and column accents; a rich natural wood front door (and rocking chairs — nice touch); and cream gingerbread trim.
These are only a few ideas for how to embellish your older home with color. Spring outdoor projects are coming for many of us, and one of us at least has house color on her mind. Ha!
Think color, my Color Friends! And stay cozy.
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.
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.
September 18, 2017 § 2 Comments
Apples, pumpkins, falling leaves — there’s something about Autumn in New England that, despite our recent warm temperatures, makes us cozy up to the changing seasons. Maybe that’s why some of us live here.
My newest door color obsession is a revival of the orangey red of another decade, and that may signal the end of the light, neutral, blue and even light lemon yellow door color trend I’ve focused on for the past several years. This red, Million Dollar Red (Benjamin Moore 2003-10) is as perfect on a traditional white colonial as it is on a black modern home. There is no mistaking where the door is — it screams Welcome!
What I love most about it is its “orangeyness.” Orange is a happy color no matter what. So a red on the orange side (versus pink) says this is a happy home. The color also has an updated, contemporary feel as opposed to the more traditional burgundy red (also great, of course, but more serious and refined).
Adding an orangey red as an accent color on the interior is also a great way to torque up the energy. Try it on the back of a white bookshelf, or on a pouf ottoman in the family room, or even on a focal wall in the front entry. A little bit of red warms up a room a lot. So before painting an entire room red, make sure you want to amp up the temperature in there. Using red on items that can be removed in the hot summer makes sense to me: pillows, bedding, throws, and art. Then I look forward to my seasonal exchange when I swap out the cool blue accessories for red.
Enjoy Autumn… whatever it means to you and wherever you are. And love how the color orangey red makes you feel. Warm and Happy.
April 25, 2016 § 1 Comment
What’s trending now in front door colors? Soft pastels. Although the traditional black and red will never go out of style on colonial homes, the palettes of many contemporary and new construction houses have been softened in recent years.
People are still loving the neutral siding colors: whites, grays, gray-blues, and sages. But instead of the dynamic contrast of a front door that shouts, we now have front doors that sing softly.
Benjamin Moore’s offerings:
- Corn Silk, 198
- Revere Pewter, HC-172
- Simply White, OC-117
- Soft Pink, 2012-70
- Gentle Gray, 1626
- Touch of Gray, 2116-60
- Moon Shadow, 1516
- Colony Green, 694
- Yarmouth Blue, HC-150, a personal favorite of mine.
Spring is here! Consider painting your front door with a soft new hue. You’ll love it.
(Photo: Better Homes & Gardens)
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.
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.
November 14, 2014 § 3 Comments
Your front door does not have to be red. Or black. Or green. Or any other traditional color (although there’s nothing wrong with that). Have some fun with your front door color by looking around your yard for inspiration. Or step outside the box by choosing a contrasting color in an unexpected lighter tone. Once you decide on the color, spread it around a bit more by painting a bench or a pot the same color and planting annuals and other flowering shrubbery around the yard to pull the whole look together.
For a BLUE or GRAY house: Consider warm sunny yellow (Ben Moore Concord Ivory HC-12).
For a golden BROWN house, surprise your neighbors with a light shade of contrasting blue (Ben Moore Yarmouth Blue HC-150).
For a white house, consider using a color from your plantings around the yard. Here, the purple lilacs provide the inspiration (Ben Moore Cabernet 2116-30).
For a red house, I still love creamy white trim and a navy door (Ben Moore Hale Navy HC-154).
For a green house, use a natural wood toned door or paint it an earthy rusty brown (Ben Moore Ten Gallon Hat 1210).
And of course a yellow house still looks absolutely smashing with a traditional red door (Ben Moore Moroccan Red 1309).
Your front door should reflect a little bit of you and the home you’ve created on the other side of it.
November 10, 2014 § 1 Comment
“Anyone who claims to be an expert on color is a liar,” assert Joann and Arielle Eckstut in their book The Secret Language of Color. I (hesitantly, of course) agree. Asking someone to pick a color for you is like asking a stranger to describe your personality, your favorite sweater when you were five, and your family tree. But hey, with a series of clues, we color “experts” do it all the time.
The colors you end up with for your home, your clothes, your car and everything else should be a reflection of you. But how we make those choices is dependent upon our associations between colors and objects or feelings (yellow can conjure up sunshine and happiness or anger and agitation), our culture (Americans tend to prefer blue, Asians red) and even our ability to distinguish certain colors at all (some red/green color-blind individuals see only a gray scale).
When choosing a house color, there are even more considerations: neighborhood, age of house, natural environment, and frankly whether or not you want your house to blend in or stand out. For the most part, we tend to use colors in the palette of nature: beiges, taupes, grays, greens, and occasionally reds, yellows and blues. Nature colors can blend a house into the tree-lined landscape in the backyard or the row of stone walls in the cul-de-sac. Red can echo the autumn colors lining the street or the late afternoon sunset. Yellow can fit just as well in a quaint New England town as it does along the coast of Malibu. And blue in all its various shades looks fabulous on a house between the dunes at the beach.
But what if you want your house to stand out in a world full of color? Don’t overlook white. It can be warmed up or cooled down with the seasons and it will never go out of style. Splashing in a no-color “color” like white into a palette (whether it’s your neighborhood or the front garden) not only makes the surrounding hues more vivid but also serves as a beacon of relief in a multi-colored landscape. When choosing a floral display that I knew would be surrounded by other beautiful, multi-hued arrangements, I chose white. And sure enough, what showed up the most? White. (What color is the bride? White.) You get the picture…
Be your own color expert. Choose what you like. Fit in. Stand out. Or ask one of us to help.