10 front door colour mistakes – the errors to avoid for a stylish exterior

Planning on updating your exterior? Our guide will ensure you won't make these 10 front door colour mistakes

front door colour mistakes, magenta front door with brass brassware, white painted exterior
(Image credit: Dulux)

Your front door is the first impression of your home and says a lot about your personality and style. But it's easy to make front door colour mistakes – choosing the right front door colour can be trickier than you think. There are some many wonderful shades to choose from these days, with a few things to consider first. 

If you are living in a conservation area or listed home you may be restricted with what colours you can use, so do check this out. Black is perhaps one of the most popular choices but it can be a little harsh on the eye, so if you choose that soften it with plenty of pots and hanging baskets. 

'Sprucing up your front door couldn’t be easier, and one of the quickest and cheapest ways to do this is through a fresh coat of colour,' says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux. 'Try charming Green Glade for an on-trend spring shade or for something a little more timeless perhaps sophisticated Chic Shadow. And don’t just stop there, that surrounding woodwork around your front door will need some attention too.'

Front door colour mistakes to avoid

Create a statement by painting your front door in a shade that represents you best. It's easy to get caught up with the interior of your home so think of the front door as the icing on the cake – that final detail that sets the scene. 

Read on to find out the top front door colour mistakes to avoid so yours looks stylish and fitting for your home's exterior. 

1. Ignoring conservation areas

front door colour mistakes, lilac front door with stained glass windows, planter, Victorian style home

(Image credit: Dulux)

Conservation areas often have specific rules regarding front door colours, so it's definitely worth checking with your local council before you choose a colour for your front door ideas

Generally, the rule is that all doors and windows must be sympathetic to the original character of the home and that includes colours. Some councils will have a list of preferred colours from reputable companies and the shades may need to tie in with the historic nature of the property. 

2. Choosing cool tones on a recessed door

front door colour mistakes, front door painted pink with matching window, red brickwork, planter, off-white painted masonry and pillar

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball X Collagerie)

If your front door is recessed within a porch or some kind of cover, it's best not to paint it in a cool shade, as it might make the exterior feel a little cold visually. 

Instead, take inspiration from the era of your home when you're looking for colour ideas and consider a warming shade of pink, coral or burnt orange. Look at your brick colour for inspiration too, traditional bricks work well with these shades as they add a natural warmth. 

3. Not considering existing stained glass

front door colour mistakes, emerald green front door with stained glass window

(Image credit: Paint & Paper Library)

There's nothing more beautiful than an original stained glazed door, all those intricate pieces of coloured glass changing hourly as the lights flows through them. 

'If you are lucky enough to have preserved an elegant period feature such as a decorative glass panel, celebrate it by picking out a colour from within the glasswork, or a darker tone of it,' explains Andy Greenall, head of design, Paint & Paper Library. 'This will create a harmonious frame that really enhances the front of your home.’

The beauty of choosing a colour in this way is that your choice could be vast depending on how many colours are in the stained glass, so pick a colour that really resonates with you to. 

expert headshot Andy Greenall
Andy Greenall

With a keen eye on products and brand, Andy oversees the development of all new paint colours and finishes. He also works closely with collaborative partner RIBA, which helps inform the brand’s ideas about the role of colour and pattern in interior architecture.

4. Sticking to one shade

front door colour mistakes, red front door with pale blue painted surround, black numbers, matching planters

(Image credit: Purlfrost)

A bold front door colour be be highlighted by a lighter shade painted on the surrounding stoneware. Allow the front door to take pride of place as it is the focal point. 

'First impressions count, and your front door is no exception,' says Joanna Baumard, co-founder of window film company Purlfrost. 'For a striking and colourful look opt to paint the frame in a different shade to the door, not only will this add a pop of playful colour to your exterior, but it also helps to accentuate door hardware, stained glass panels or door number stickers.'

5. Not matching with windows

front door colour mistakes, sage green front door, surround, windows and shutters

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Rather like the trend of painting your walls to match your skirtings, you can apply the same interior design process to your exterior too. 

It gives a lovely cohesive look that really adds value to the exterior of your home. It doesn't need to be a bright shade, if you're opting for this look then pick a colour that's more subtle and in keeping with the era of the property. 

6. Thinking you can't be tonal

front door colour mistakes, cottage style exterior with pale grey front door, blue painted exterior walls, white accents, white picket fence

(Image credit: Dulux)

More often than not, we make our front doors stand out, with either bright or deep bold shades, which of course are striking in their own right. Another option that can look just as beautiful, is to paint your masonry a colour too, and match it tonally to your door.

A gently sky blue works wonders with a soft grey in a glossy finish. Other alternatives to consider are a tonal blue and pale pink, or why not choose two shades of the same colour like a pale coral and deeper shade for the door or two greens together? 

7. Failing to paint the surround

front door colour mistakes, magenta front door with brass hardware, white painted exterior

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

One of the most common front door colour mistakes is to forget to paint the wooden frame around the door in the same colour. 

'While most people tend to frame their front door in white, i.e. the surrounding architrave - it’s actually much better to commit to painting everything in one colour – it gives a better scale and avoids the sharp contrast from white to colour especially if erring towards darks,' says Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador, Farrow & Ball.

8. Using pale tones on a busy road

front door colour mistakes, aqua green front door with chrome hardware, white painted exterior

(Image credit: Paint & Paper Library)

If you live on a busy road there's naturally going to be more general dust and debris that occurs from traffic passing by, so opting for a pale or white front door is a big no. Instead, choose a darker colour which will hide it better. 

'When choosing a colour for your front door, consider the colour of other surfaces seen around it, such as the reddish hue of exposed brickwork, the natural shades of stone or, perhaps, painted render,' says Andy from Paint & Paper Library. 

9. Playing it too safe

front door colour ideas/mistakes, yellow front door and porch with ornate Victorian detailing, stained glass windows, steps up to tiled area

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

If you're restriction free in terms of conservation rules and don't live in a listed property then choose a colour that reflects your personality and style. 

You don't need to play safe if you don't want to especially if your home is set back off the road or down a lane, no one will see your bold and beautiful choices if you're worried what they might think!

Sunshine yellow is perhaps one of the happiest colours to choose and one we feel sure will bring you joy every time you walk up your path. 

10. Not thinking cohesively

front door colour mistakes, black front door, Georgian style house, white masonry, Georgian front porch

(Image credit: Stone & Ceramic Warehouse)

If you love cohesion and live in a property that needs to retain it's authenticity then carefully consider your front door colour choices.

'When it comes to exterior design, maintaining a cohesive and harmonious look is key,' explains Jo Oliver-Singh, director of The Stone & Ceramic Warehouse. 'Painting your door a different colour when the rest of your exterior is monochromatic can be a mistake that disrupts the overall aesthetic balance of your home.'

'Monochromatic exteriors rely on the simplicity and elegance of a single colour palette to create a unified and seamless appearance. This design approach emphasises clean lines, architectural features, and the overall symmetry of the house. By introducing a contrasting colour to the door, you risk undermining this sense of harmony and visual cohesion.'


How do I choose an exterior front door colour?

‘Selecting a new front door colour can be hugely satisfying, not least because the right shade always has the magic ability to look ‘just right’,' muses Andy Greenall from Paint & Paper Library. 

'Three important considerations are: the age and corresponding architectural style of the building, the colour of any natural materials that surround the door, and the design detail of the door itself (including the door furniture, be it shiny brass or rustic wrought iron).'

'Think about the environment your home is in,' adds Patrick O'Donnell from Farrow & Ball. 'Look at all your neighbours front door's, whilst I’m not advocating a homogenous street of blandness you probably won’t want to scream your individuality (or should you?) in a street of conformity.'

'If all dark navy blue or black look for something with nuance and interest whilst still fitting into the dark mould – an elegant chocolate shade, a sophisticated gunmetal blue or even a smart aubergine purple/black would look great,' he suggests.

What colour front door adds the most value?

This is really a personal choice, though some say that black is a key colour as apposed to a bright shade that may put buyers off. If you are selling then opt for shade that's easy on the eye but still has character, like mid blue or sage green. 

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events.