Design Decisions

How to Choose the Right Exterior Door Color for Your Home

There are design decisions that are easy, and there are those design decisions that keep you up at night. Trying to figure out what color to stain our exterior doors fell into the second category for us. Henry and I both agree that exterior door color plays such an important role in creating great curb appeal!

Choosing the right color for the exterior doors of your home starts with deciding whether you will go with stain or paint. Once you have made this decision, there are several other things to consider like the other colors or stains on the exterior of your home. Then, after narrowing it down to three choices and sampling them each in natural light you will easily be able to come up with the one that fits your wants and needs.

Stain or Paint

Figuring out whether to stain or paint your exterior doors could be as easy as knowing if they are wood or a different material. If they are wood, you have the choice to either stain or paint, but if they are any other material, you may only have the choice to paint. Some composite or fiberglass doors can be stained, but may not look as great or may not be done as easily.

Stain and paint are both great looks but are very different looks. It really depends on what style or overall look you are going for. Henry and I knew from the beginning of this build we were going with a real wood door from Simpson Door Company, so this wasn’t a huge issue for us. We already knew we wanted to stain the door. But, I have to say, I have seen some homes that just wouldn’t look good with a stained door. Some homes need the dramatic touch of a painted front or side door to liven the home up.

As for maintenance, you are probably better off going with paint. The paint will last lots longer and be less expensive. It will normally offer more surface protection, therefore, allowing your door to last longer.

So, it may come down to whether or not you prefer looks over durability and cost, or vise versa. If you choose to go the stain route, make sure you invest in a high-quality stain that will be worth your time and effort.

Consider Other Exterior Colors On Your Home

Before choosing the stain or paint you will go with, it is important to look at all the other exterior colors on your home. I try to stick with three different colors. For instance, one color for the exterior siding or brick, one color for the trim, then another color for the door. The door and trim may match, but doesn’t have to. I just think when you go overboard with adding in too many different colors and stains, it can become scattered and not look cohesive.

That being said, it is also very important for your exterior doors to make a statement and stand out. Going either lighter than your exterior color or darker is very common. For example, we painted our exterior brick in Sherwin Williams White Duck, so we chose to go with a dark Special Walnut stain on our Nantucket Collection door. The door was beautiful before adding the stain, but the stain really made it pop. It has so much contrast against the lighter colored brick.

Choose Top Three Colors or Stains

After getting some inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram it is time to head to your local paint store. To not get overwhelmed, narrow down your choices to no more than three or four tops. This will eliminate any that you just don’t love! Take three to four samples home with you, no more!

Always Sample in Natural Light

When getting the samples home it is important to evaluate each sample in natural light. If you can sample on the actual door itself, that is your best scenario, but that may not always be possible.

If the door is wood, it would also be best to test on the same wood species. Different wood types will take stain differently, therefore, changing the look. After seeing the samples all together, it will hopefully be easier to eliminate two of them and keep the top one you love the most.

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  • Reply Jennifer

    Hi there! Love your posts! Especially love the worship songs you start each mornings stories with. Question-we are in the midst of a renovation/addition currently and used your post about the best white for exteriors. Ended up going with Natural Choice on the siding and trim and we love it! So thanks for that! We also have front and side doors by Simpson and they are stained jacobean. 😉 Wondering if you have a suggestion as to how to pick gutter colors? We have a dark grey shingle roof, dark brown metal wrap around porch roof and a red brick apron. Trying to decide between the gutters matching the trim or going with a contrast to match the metal roof. Do you have any thoughts on gutter color?
    Many Thanks in advance.

    April 21, 2020 at 4:46 am
  • Reply Rosie Beckett

    My husband and I are looking for some simple ways to improve the curb appeal of our home before we put it up for sale next month. We have been thinking that replacing our entry door with something more modern and stylish would really help the house pop in photographs, and this article was very helpful! It was interesting when you said to sample your top three choices of door colors in natural light before making a decision.

    September 28, 2020 at 6:35 pm
  • Reply Sandy

    I really like the color you chose for your door. You said you used a dark special walnut stain. What brand and actual color did you end up going with? Also, did you use a semi-transparent stain? Thanks.

    March 18, 2021 at 1:05 pm
    • Reply Mark Bradshaw

      Hi there ! We’re you able to find out the brand of special walnut stain ? I’m in the process of picking out a stain color and I love this one!

      February 9, 2022 at 5:02 am
      • Reply Henry

        It’ Minwax.

        February 13, 2022 at 10:09 pm

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