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Colours to show off character


Dear Debbie,

The exterior of our red/brown brick house looks tired and boring, not much fun to come home to. The front door is brown wood with a window. We are ready to do some outside work and would like some ideas on what colours to paint doors, shutters. Any other tips appreciated.



Dear Stanley,

The first and most impressive change you can make is to brighten up your front door. This is the major element on the outside of the house, or should be, as it marks the entryway and sets the scene. As with interior décor, colour tells your story, it projects your character and how you feel about your living environment. Since it’s a personal choice, I can only give you some guidelines.

I find it interesting and helpful to learn a bit about how we react to colour. Colours do have personalities that vary according to their intensity. Pastel shades are subtle, calming and introverted. Bolder, more vibrant colours bring out stronger reactions. Sunny yellow is cheerful and confident, shades of green have a natural charm that is balanced and peaceful, red is physically powerful and self-assured, blue is thoughtful and serene but can also be cool or a bit aloof. Your front door is wood brown, one of nature’s solid and reliable colours. It imbues a feeling of safety and warmth. But it can feel heavy and straight-laced.

Begin your exterior plan by deciding what colour or colours will enhance your personal style. There are paint sites on the internet that will help you to visualize how different colours would look on your house. has a new no-fade, water-based paint designed specifically for front doors. It is quick-drying so that you can complete the project easily in one day. The site has step by step instructions on how to paint the door without taking it off its hinges, plus a video. They offer 25 paint colours with names chosen based on the emotional colour wheel. Shown here is Modern Masters Happy Yellow, and as its name suggests it is a very optimistic shade.

Other decorative elements will build the mood. Lay down a door mat with a fun phrase or image, or a playful design. Door mats are easily changed with the seasons as are crafty wall accessories and wreaths. If you like to hang out at yard or estate sales, and discover some unusual artefacts, such as the gigantic dill pickle jar beside the door in this photo, that adds another layer of interest, and provides a peak into what you are all about.

Gardening styles differ according to your climate and your interest in plants, shrubs and trees. Nothing says welcome in the same way as fresh blooms do, and greenery bursting from pots as you walk up the front path. If you are new to gardening, you will get good advice from your local nursery or garden center. Describe the direction your house faces, and the amount of sunlight. A few photographs of the front of your house taken from different angles as seen from both the street and the interior helps with the quantity and height of the plants you buy. A little TLC and you will have the kind of curb appeal you are looking for … a perfect project for this time of year.

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