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Are You Ready to Paint Your Door Red?
Have you been thinking about changing the color of your front door? If so, you know it's not an arbitrary decision. All it takes is a few seconds of looking at the color of a door to decide if it's appealing, blah, or even ugly.
When it comes to door colors, red has always been a bright, dynamic option. It can brighten an otherwise-dull facade, complement a home's architectural materials or the landscape, or serve as the perfect accent.
Looking at a color wheel, you know that there are many hues and shades of red: red-violet, orange-red, or bluish red. Learn the history and symbolism of red doors and become inspired by this gallery of red doors.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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A History and Symbolism of Red Doors
This vibrant, eye-catching primary color has been used throughout history for residential and public buildings. Before we look at some vibrant examples, let's explore their symbolism:
- Early America: Weary travelers in horses and buggies knew that homes or inns with red doors were safe places to stay at and rest.
- Underground Railroad: Escaped slaves during the Civil War could find safety and refuge in homes and businesses with red doors.
- Scot Free: A red door in Scotland supposedly indicates that your home's mortgage has bee paid off.
- No More Evil: In Ireland, red doors supposedly warded off ghosts and evil spirits.
- The Einstein Theory: Because the genius apparently had trouble identifying his own home in Princeton, New Jersey, Albert Einstein had the door painted red (or maybe he did it himself).
- Good Luck: Many Chinese believe red to be a lucky color. As part of the annual Chinese New Year celebration, those whose homes sport red doors give them a fresh coat of paint.
- The Feng-Shui Way: The principles of Feng Shui believe that red provides positive energy and offers opportunities and abundance.
- Sorry, Mr. Fuller Brush Man: In the bygone era of door-to-door salespeople, the ever-popular Fuller Brush salesmen would pass by your house if the door was red. In Fuller Brush lore, a red door reportedly meant "no sale."
- Religious Symbolism: In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to cover their doors in the red blood of a lamb, which would symbolize their obedience to God so that when the angel of death came through Egypt to kill every firstborn male as the last of the 10 plagues, the angel would bypass the homes with blood-red doors and not kill the firstborn male. This was a sign of God’s covenant with the Israelites. Some churches still paint their doors red to symbolize Jesus’ shed blood and a belief that the area beyond the doors is sacred and holy. Other churches paint their doors red with the idea that protection from evil spirits is offered within the walls of the church.
- Protestant: Doors of mainline Protestant churches, especially Lutheran, are red in honor of the red doors of Wittenburg Cathedral in Wittenburg, Germany, where Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses.
The Evil in Medieval: Gothic cathedral architecture in the Middle Ages featured red doors, which symbolized the blood of Christ on north, south, and east doors of a church. Such symbolism represented making the sign of the cross: the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Thus, the edifice was marked as a sanctuary, identified as a refuge and safety zone from physical or spiritual dangers. The red doors shut out evil. Supposedly an enemy could not pursue his victim across the sacred threshold.
Contemporary Religious: The red doors of contemporary churches are meant to be welcoming, and symbolize that one is entering a place of sanctuary, refuge, and safety.
Elizabeth Arden's Red Door: The beauty czar's Fifth Avenue flagship spa sports iconic red doors.Film: Some films symbolically feature red doors. Among them:
Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo
Sources:Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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Georgian Style Front Door
This orange-red door looks beautiful against an off-white exterior. The Georgian style was popular in the mid-18th century in the United States. Doors, windows and chimneys were arranged symmetrically and designed according to classical motifs and proportion.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
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Red for the Holidays
A red door is the perfect backdrop for a wreath and other holiday decorations. Whether it's autumn or winter, your wreath and other decorations will stand out and look absolutely smashing displayed on your red door.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Dark Red Double Doors
These dark red double doors feature detailed carving or paneling on their surface and beautiful brass hardware. A pediment above features a carved detail. The doorjamb, or doorcase, is the frame surrounding the door and is composed of ivory or off-white framing or surrounds.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
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Red Doors on Peach House
A peach-colored stucco house does not appear as pink or peachy with the addition of bright-red doors, which help to tone down the exterior and make it more of a neutral, as is probably intended. While it's not a hard-and-fast rule, double doors with symmetrical accents, like the lighting and urns with sweet potato vine, make the entrance neat and inviting.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
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A red-orange—almost persimmon—door is flanked by narrow windows. White trim provides contrast, and the persimmon color is picked up in the potted geraniums on the front steps.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
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Gray House, Red Door
Exteriors of houses that are painted white, beige, black, or any neutral will be enhanced with a red door. In the past couple of decades, gray has become as or more popular than tan and beige as the neutral of choice (often referred to as greige). Here, a burnt-red door makes the home look as natural and inviting as a holiday card. OK, so the snow and wreath might help.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Red Door, Black Frame
An old-brick facade becomes magnificent with its brilliant red wooden door. There is no question that this doorway is the architectural focus of this home's exterior, with moldings, paneling, surround, pediment, and a paned semicircular window.
Note the colors used: all meant to contrast.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
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Brick House with Red Front Door
White trim is a classic color that goes with brick residential architecture--but you don't want to go overboard. A medium-to-dark red door is a smart solution to working with brick. It's not an obvious choice, but it softens the all-over brick color and serves as a nice accent or focal point, depending on the shade and gloss.
On this small porch, appropriate accent colors and materials are used: dark gray cast metal outdoor furniture, a black metal mailbox, and the white trim of the doorway and pediment.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
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Rustic Red Door
Warmth is added to this charmingly rustic cottage by painting the heavy wooden door an orange-red. A wreath and vines offer an appropriate accent.