The Color You Should Never Paint Your Front Door, According to Real Estate Agents

updated Sep 28, 2021
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Your front door — and, more specifically, the color it’s painted — can have a major effect on your home’s curb appeal. For instance, a red door might symbolize luck for some buyers. A jet black or charcoal black door could net you an extra $6,271 should you sell, according to a study from Zillow

But what color should you never, ever paint your front door? We posed this question to a couple dozen real estate agents, and, well, let’s just say when it comes to front door colors, they’re not exactly tickled pink.

“I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer, so let’s go with hot pink,” says broker Brad Pauly, owner of Pauly Presley Realty in Austin, Texas. “For the sake of resale, it’s a good idea to stick with neutral or more popular colors.”

Los Angeles real estate agent Chantay Bridges agrees, saying a hot pink door will inevitably stick out like a sore thumb, “lessening curb appeal and not complimenting your nearby neighbors’ hues.” 

If you plan to paint your front door something other than black or white, “avoid a polarizing color like pink,” cautions Susan Isaak, a Realtor with Houlihan Lawrence in Riverside, Connecticut.

Swooping in to defend hot pink is New York City broker Gerard Splendore of Warburg Realty, who has childhood memories of driving past a house in the woods on the East Coast near Arlington, Virginia, and being charmed.

“Just off a winding, hilly road was an older brick house set in a wooded area with a hot pink front door,” he says. “The contrast of the leafy trees with the pink door always made me want to live in that house. I imagine the homeowner was very happy when they got to enter their home through their pink door.”

Splendore likes the idea of painting a door a “commanding color” because it sends the clear message: “Enter here.”

“While some houses in either city or suburbs may have more than one front entry, the main entry, ideally, can be indicated by lighting and color,” he says.

Credit: DOUGBERRY/Getty Images
The famous #thatpinkdoor in Palm Springs, California

The colors that you can get away with on your front door of course depend on where you live. Got an HOA? You might be stuck with approved neutrals.

Some HOAs are more strict than others, says Beatrice de Jong, a consumer trends expert at Opendoor. “I’ve come across HOAs that have a list of approved paint colors you can choose from for the front door and general exterior of the home,” de Jong says.

The style of your home can largely influence the color you paint your door, says New Jersey real estate agent Jennifer Ferrara. Trends like bold blacks are doing really well in contemporary and traditional homes right now,” she says. “If you have a cottage or a bungalow, you can easily get away with a softer and charming color such as a pale blue without it being polarizing.”

Also, neon colors are risky, but it’s all about location, she says. If you’re in Palm Springs or Miami, there is a tasteful way to pull off a bold color.

While not a particular color per se, you’ll also want to avoid painting your door a shade that’s close to another exterior color on your house, whether that’s the garage door, window frames, or shutters, says Paul Lisanti, an agent in Ontario, Canada.

Jennifer Keenan, a real estate agent with 4Squares Residential Group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says she doesn’t rule out any colors, explaining the buyers shopping just outside of Boston love a good statement door.

“We have homes of all shapes and colors, and many with cool and funky front doors — especially those with old hardware and stained glass,” says Keenan, who also works in nearby Somerville and Medford. “I’ve seen doors in every color of the rainbow and, when coordinated with the exterior color of the home, can really pop and make a statement.”

Full disclosure: Apartment Therapy believes in the power of a good statement door. In this round-up of 8 unusually beautiful front door colors you’d never think to try, hot pink made the list (as well as blush pink and neon salmon pink).

Different (paint) strokes for different folks, right? Here are a few more firm curb appeal mistakes to keep in mind if you’re indeed looking to sell, according to real estate agents: 

  • Keeping your storm door up. “It’s far less inviting and cheapens the look of the house in listing photos,” Isaak says.
  • Forgetting about your planters. Empty planters look lousy, Isaak says. Either fill them with flowers or put them away so you don’t have a container of dirt sitting at your entryway.
  • Not having a clear walkable path to your front door. Oftentimes, homeowners enter their homes through the garage door or back door and overlook their front entryway, Isaak says.
  • Overgrown bushes. Trim down or remove any large bushes to show off the house, says Melanie Hartmann, owner of Creo Home Buyers in Maryland. On the flip side, if the front of the house is bare, add small evergreens in winter months or floral bushes during the spring and summer months, depending on the climate you live in.