Home improvement projects that can be done in a day offer a huge pop of instant gratification, and few provide a transformational wow factor and curb appeal like painting the front door a new color.
"It's like putting lipstick on the house," said Jim Rogers, president of Valencia-based Modern Masters and creator of the fade-resistant Front Door Paint collection.
Rogers said that in choosing the 25 colors it offers for front doors, his company created a palette of emotions. "There are calming colors, excitable colors and passion colors, and then there are those that are more eclectic or artistic," he said. "When people walk up to a door, they're getting a vibe and a promise of what might be inside."
"There's emotion that is evoked when people view color," Rogers said. "It's the reason they don't paint the inside of prisons yellow, which builds a kind of energy.… Gray keeps things calm."
Sara McLean, Los Angeles-based color marketing manager for Dunn-Edwards Paints, said trends for the year ahead point toward warm, saturated colors and all shades of yellow. "Everything from lemon to honey and amber," she said.
"Greens are also coming back in a variety of ways," McLean said. "Some will have a lot of yellow in them, and others will be deep, dark, almost blackened — which is a beautiful look for a front door."
When deciding on a color, start by playing the field.
"When you open the fan deck" of color swatches, West Hollywood-based interior designer Tommy Chambers said, "pick a range within a single shade, because the light will really affect what it's going to look like."
For his own front door, Chambers got a sense of the colors by painting each panel a different shade of red. "We wanted to see it at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. It's extremely different than what it looks like on a paint chip."
Chambers said the first color you choose is usually not the final pick.
Thomas Callaway, a Los Angeles interior designer, offers a similar tip. He suggests painting 3-by-3-foot boards in the colors you're considering and looking at them in the space throughout the day.
"I do that with all my interiors," Callaway said, "because as the light moves, the walls change color — particularly when they are soft colors. It really makes a difference."
Elements of design
Coordinating the front door with the palette of the surrounding landscape, garden, neighborhood or architecture is another way to find complementary paint.
Still shy about going bold? Consider a traditional color in high gloss or lacquer. "It's an additional punch but keeps it very safe," Chambers said.