Bold & Bright. How to Make Your Front Door Colorful & Inviting

Your front door makes a statement about your home –– and you. We go to the experts for advice on sprucing up your entryway.

Forsythia Blossom by PPG Paints brightens up this classic front door. | photos courtesy PPG Paints


Summer is the season for strolling through our neighborhoods. We’re out and about once again, embracing the weather and reconnecting with friends along tree-lined streets. There’s no better time to give a facelift to the spot where your home makes its first impression: the front door. We’ve asked Pittsburgh-area interior designers for their tips on creating a gorgeous, welcoming front-door area that’s full of style and color.

From left: PPG Paints colors Tabasco and Black Magic; Delicate White

A brightly painted front door brings a dose of style to any house, and it’s especially effective for houses clad in stone, pale brick or siding in neutral colors such as grey, says designer Diana Miller, founder of Design on Main in Hickory. 

Consider a bold color — perhaps a shade of turquoise, apple-green or coral, she says — and test it before committing to it. Paint a small section of your door, then once it dries observe how the color looks through different phases of daylight. 

“You want the front door to make a statement,” Miller says, stressing other doors never should be the same color as the front door. The front door also should offer guests an appealing peek at your personal style before they even come inside. 

From left: PPG Paints colors Grand Gusto and Plumosa

Interior designer Bethany Williard, founder of Studio 1049 in Bridgeville, agrees. “Bold front doors say so much about the person or family who lives there,” she says. “To me, it kind of says, ‘Hey, we like to have fun, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Welcome to our home!’ I personally love when there’s a bit of an unexpected element in or outside of a home. And a bold front door is just that.” 

If you’re nervous about going truly bold on your front door, start by using a new color on a side door or patio entrance. Or, consider going dramatically dark instead of bright by opting for a charcoal-grey or dark-green front door. 

Another tip from Miller: To avoid an overload of color on a house with shutters, paint the shutters a relatively neutral shade if you’re going with an especially decorative front door. 

Adding a bold color to your current door makes a statement about your personal style. PPG Paints colors Blaze and Black Magic.

Oversized house numbers in fun fonts are trendy and also practical: Easily visible from the street, they’re a help to visiting guests (as well as emergency personnel).
“This trend is also another way to show off your personality,” Williard says. “It’s a bit more subtle than a bold front door. But if you pair the door and font style just right, you are adding that tiny extra attention to detail that shows you take pride in your home.”
Feel free to mix materials, she says. “Say the exterior of the house is brick. Then you have a reclaimed wooden plaque that holds the more modern metal house numbers. It’s a more unique, less traditional sense of style.” 

Designer Catherine Davin, founder of Davin Interiors in Mt. Lebanon, says house numbers are great ways to get creative. Changing them can be a small project with a big impact, and it doesn’t have to be hugely expensive. Take a creative risk, and if you don’t love the look in a few years, “you’re not committing to this massive undertaking to change them,” she says.

​Davin also suggests updating doorknobs and other hardware, perhaps in a shiny, warm brass. 

Be sure to touch up all of the other details as summer begins, she says: Thoroughly clean your door and surrounding windows, repair any caulking and weather-stripping, and add a new, large doormat that works with your outdoor color scheme.

PPG Paints color Puddle Jumper.

All of your flowers may not have bloomed just yet, but you can fill your home’s entrance with nature by adding a few large, colorful pots or large planters stocked with a mix of evergreens and flowering plants. Decorate your door with a wreath that includes dried or silk flowers that will stay vibrant all summer long.

Another option: Search Pinterest for colorful, do-it-yourself door-hanging ideas that go beyond the traditional wreath. Maybe hang a small, framed chalkboard on a ribbon and periodically change the cheerful message on it.

You may also want to reconsider your lighting. Many Pittsburgh homes don’t have quite enough lighting to easily guide departing guests to their cars at night, Davin says. Many homeowners also may settle for practical lighting that doesn’t add much beauty or style to their entrance. 

For homes with a porch ceiling above the front door, Williard says a dramatic pendant light can be gorgeous. Davin adds that outdoor lights don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful.

“There are so many nice options of quality outdoor fixtures that can stand the Pittsburgh climate year-round,” she says.  

Olympic exterior stain (door).

Some cultures assign meaning to specific colors at a home’s entrance. “In Irish culture, a red front door is supposed to ward off evil spirits or ghosts,” Williard says. In the southern United States, some families opt to use a soft shade of blue (often called “haint blue”) around the front door to create a zone of safety and positive energy.

Even if your entry space is fairly small, consider adding a chair and tiny side table near the front door. Add a potted plant to the table, and be sure to leave space for a water pitcher and glasses to enjoy drinks during the summer.

Melissa Rayworth is a freelance writer and longtime contributor to Pittsburgh Magazine. She is the former managing editor of Military Spouse, a national magazine based in Pittsburgh that serves America’s 1.1 million military spouses. Her current freelance work includes a monthly home-design column for The Associated Press and frequent contributions to the international lifestyle magazine Wanderlust, based in Bangkok.

Categories: From the Magazine, HOME + Design, Hot Reads