Warm welcome: Vibrant front doors speak volumes to guests and neighbors

(L to R) Photo by Melissa Oivanki, Melissa Oivanki & Riley Bienvenu Bourgeois.

At the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns, people across the world plastered their windows with brightly colored paper. Hearts, rainbows and encouraging notes faced out toward the street, greeting neighbors, friends and passersby and emphasizing the significance and power of human connection. And while the events that necessitated such gestures were anything but ordinary, the concept itself isn’t far from a time-tested trend: the message conveyed by a front door color.

Whether a vibrant shade of red, a calming shade of blue or even a neutral like brown or black, the hue of an entry says a lot to both guests and strangers alike.

“The colors you choose reflect your personality,” explains St. Francisville-based designer and color expert Ellen Kennon, who has dedicated her life to the study of color, starting her own paint line in 2001 and working with clients from Valentino to Hunt Slonem. “All colors affect us emotionally, and what you choose for your front door is what provides that crucial first impression. You have to ask yourself: How do I want my guests to feel?”

The idea of sending a message through the color of a front door is nothing new, though Kennon says the idea has risen in popularity again in the last five years. In early America, red doors were a signal to passing travelers that a home was safe and open to guests. Even before that, the shade was said to ward off evil in China. And now, with people bound to their homes, improvements have come to the forefront and doors have become a means to communicate with the outside world in a meaningful and emotional way.

Here, Kennon breaks down the cues behind the colors and how to choose what’s best for your home, drawing inspiration from a rainbow of doors we spotted right here in the Capital City.