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Sometimes it’s what’s on the outside that counts. In “Front of House,” we dig into all the elements that give a home “stop the car!” kind of curb appeal, from main character mailboxes to muchwelcome yard transformations.

If you can only make one change to the outside of your house, choose to paint the front door. Hands. Down. Not only is a strong pop of color effectively a message to the rest of the neighborhood that you’re bold and proud of it, but it’s one of the most affordable upgrades you can make to an exterior. Just buy a gallon of paint, a roll of high-quality painter’s tape, a few different size brushes—and you’re in business. Really want to take that first impression to the next level? Paint the interior side of the door, too. There’s a whole rainbow out there begging for a spot at your front steps. Check out our 16 favorite front door ideas, below. 

The Pinks

This L.A. home essentially only uses two colors inside: pink and green. So to prepare guests for the journey they’re about to embark on, designer Lizzie Green offered a clue with a fuchsia front door. Between the perky hue and the scale of the double door, you’d think you were stepping inside a mod Palm Springs house. 

Melissa Johnson of Best Friends for Frosting had one condition when she was designing this Sacramento Airbnb: It had to be Instagrammable. We’d say this pale pink front door—complete with a pineapple bell—checks that box. 

Love the old-world charm of your current door? No one said you had to cover up the entire thing. A Pair and a Spare blogger Geneva Vanderzeil opted for the best of both worlds with this arc design. 

photo by cody guilfoyle

You used to be able to spot sad glue marks in between the molding on Cara Irwin’s front door. Now all you see is the sweetest shade of pink—whether you’re standing outside or sitting on the sofa.

The Blues

When Melissa Johnson renovated the exterior of her family home, she chose a burst of turquoise to introduce a sense of playfulness to the serious quality of the stark mid-century modern roofline and charcoal siding. 

Don’t let a doorframe with a complicated design deter you from a paint job. For one that requires more attention to detail, like designer Andrea Van Soest’s glass-panel number, stick with a small, 2.5-inch brush. 

A soft gray-blue is the perfect partner for a white brick facade. This traditional Tudor home by Studio McGee stands out for the very fact that it stays true to its character. 

The Yellows

Yet another reason to paint the door of a mid-century ranch an unexpected hue. Between the zesty lemon color and the giant globe light, the outside of this restored home by Veneer Designs’s Natalie Myers is absolutely glowing. 

An extra-wide door deserves an extra-vibrant finish. Up close, Michelle Nadar’s canary yellow entrance evokes major jungle vibes thanks to the potted tree. 

The Greens

If you really want your front door to stand out, explore the side of the color wheel that contains shades most others would call “ugly.” This swampy green front door (the color is called Madras by New Zealand–based paint company Resene) is all the confirmation you need to know that it will actually turn out chic. 

When Kay Volmar and her husband bought a run-down home in Mount Dora, Florida, she wanted to send a message to her new neighbors ASAP by making over the front porch. “I needed something that said to other people, this is going to be nice,” she explains. Right away, she centered the new door and painted it a happy, tropical hue called Warm Springs by Benjamin Moore in a satin finish.

While there’s no shortage of color inspiration in Dabito’s vibrant New Orleans home, we’ve got our eye on the Kelly green door. Even better: It’s double the fun. The other side is painted a bright yellow.  

The Reds

When you picture a red front door, you probably imagine a shade of vermilion set against a white house. But the scene doesn’t have to be so high-contrast. At Mae House in the Hudson Valley, a merlot-colored door exudes just as much calm as the sage green siding. We like to think that a combo of Farrow & Ball’s Preference Red and Benjamin Moore’s Silver Sage could accomplish the same level of zen. 

The only thing more classic than a Dutch door is one that’s painted candy apple red. Los Angeles designers Jason and Laura O’Dell accentuated the fairy-tale feel of their Silver Lake Colonial with the dramatic hue. 

Just because you live in a high-rise doesn’t mean you can’t take part in this type of paint project. Lori Paranjape covered her Chicago client’s elevator entrance in a shade of red inspired by the Cubs’s colors, then added a shiny lacquered finish. 

The Whites

Painting a front door white doesn’t sound very interesting, but when the rest of the facade is jet black, the result is breathtaking. Rudy Judy founder Julia O’Rourke’s Maine cabin is a lesson in the power of high contrast.