Should the Sidelights Match the Front Door or Match the Trim?

I did a paint consultation on Monday for a front door of a couple who live in Washington state. The current color of the front door is red, and I chose two better options for them to consider. Below is the before:

painting front door sidelights

before

Besides choosing a front door color, I offered my advice about the paint color placement.  I knew if I simply gave them a new color for the door, they would repaint the door, sidelights, and surrounding trim all the same color. And I don’t believe they should.

Many people paint out the door and surrounding trim and sidelight windows in this manner. They probably think it makes a bigger impact since the accent color covers more area, which may be true. However, it’s not the most updated choice of color placement. Instead, I recommended two options of color for the door ONLY. The surrounding trim and sidelights should be painted out like the existing trim and body color.  Here’s an example of the difference on another home:

Deb Lamb Front Door Difference

Here’s a close-up of their stone exterior next to the door:

what-color-should-i-paint-the-front-door

stone exterior

Here are the two options for front door colors I suggested to work with the exterior stone:

choosing front door paint color

front door color options

Either of these paint colors on the front door ONLY, and the existing trim/body color on the sidelights and trim around the door will be a sharp update on this home.  If you’d like to have your front door updated, contact my assistant for details: [email protected]

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Janet Voltaggio
5 years ago

Love the colors you chose. Can you show after when completed?

MK
MK
5 years ago

Kristie, I love your choices! Our first two homes that we lived in for 12 yrs each had wood doors. Now in this house, the door feels like some kind of light steel or plastic. Sounds awful I know, but this is the most expensive home we’ve ever bought and it does look beautiful, but it is some non-natural product that a lot of builders use, probably b/c it costs them less. It looks like mahogony & it supposedly has a lifetime warranty, but I do notice some fading on the outer side of the door & sidelights. They quoted… Read more »

MK
MK
5 years ago

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

Kelly
5 years ago

I so agree, this makes such a better statement and looks great!

Dianne
Dianne
2 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

My home is brick (rose colored) just painted front door to match my shutters
Dark taupe/gray
Shld my side lights be trimmed in white to match my windows?

Rhonda
Rhonda
5 years ago

Glad to know I got it right with my front door! I was thinking that rusty front door color was too harsh — the colors you chose seem perfect!

Rhonda
Rhonda
5 years ago

That makes sense! Sometimes we lay people don’t know the reasoning behind the choices. I usually know what looks best, but I don’t usually know why! I love to learn new things, and now I know that my front door is random! haha! It’s a new Victorian with the siding painted SW Georgetown, the trim is Dove White, and the front door is BM Rookwood Sash Green (I think). Not necessarily current colors, but since it is a period house, it works. Thanks for all your teaching! Tried to find a picture, but they’re all on my old computer. Just… Read more »

Rhonda
Rhonda
5 years ago
Reply to  Rhonda
Rhonda
Rhonda
5 years ago

Yes, there is no brick or stone on the house, just wood siding, trim, and gingerbread. Meant to correct BM to SW on the Rookwood Sash Green and forgot. Sorry the picture wouldn’t post! I guess my door isn’t random after all! 🙂

Jula Cordeira
Jula Cordeira
5 years ago

Great and timely post…..I’ve had numerous questions about this subject and your post really addresses this issue. Thanks!

Lora
5 years ago

I think doing just the door looks great! What I particularly despise is when the outer frame and the frame around the glass in the door is painted the trim color (usually white) and then just the flat part of the door and side lites are painted the color. It is so jarring to look at. In that case one solid color is preferable to trim and door mishmash. But your idea of making the door stand out is something I think I’ll be doing to our home. Live your posts…. Your blog is one of the most educational around… Read more »

Carol Bowman
Carol Bowman
5 years ago

OMG – you just made me feel great! Just yesterday I painted my front door (and yes, I left the sides white). The stone is very similar to your client’s and I painted the door a color VERY close to your top choice – the blue/gray color. Was starting to second guess my choice, but now I feel very confident that I picked a great color! If my Color Hero thinks that’s a good color, that is all the assurance I need! 🙂

Karen
Karen
3 months ago
Reply to  Carol Bowman

Hi there I have the same situation going to paint my “before” black front door to Yellow And decided to keep the side lights and trim white/cream. We also have a storm door that’s all glass, screen for summer. My concern is what do we paint the storm door? It’s black now (we also have black shutters) Should the storm door be white/cream or Yellow like the Front door or keep it black?

nancy
nancy
5 years ago

Can’t wait to see the “after” picture….I need ideas with my front door curb appeal too! Sent a note to Allison to see if there is any hope…lol. This was a great post to help me spruce up the front of my house. Thanks!

jane
jane
5 years ago

Very timely article for me. I need to paint my front door, but hesitate because I don’t know what to do with the screen door. It is a full-glass screen door with a 4″ metal frame — do you paint the screen door the same color as the front door, or paint it the color of the sidelights?

Thank you for this inspirational blog — I always learn something interesting.

kate
kate
5 years ago

Hmmm… What if there is a sidelight only on one side?

Pam C
Pam C
5 years ago

I have been wanting to paint my front door forever and can’t decide on a color. I am unclear on the single sidelight though, which is what I have. Are you suggesting if you have a single sidelight to paint it the same as the door?

Thanks! I love your blog.

Pam C
Pam C
5 years ago
Reply to  Pam C

OMG! I lied. I have the double sidelights! I am losing it. My door is a dark green and the sidelights are white like the trim. My shutters are dark green too. Pretty boring. The house is mostly clay green.

kelly
5 years ago

Great advice. So many people question this. I love the blue color! So pretty!

Cynthia Gallentine
Cynthia Gallentine
5 years ago

Thanks, Kristie, for such practical information. I have been dealing with this issue for my front door set and your post settled the issue for me!

Paula Van Hoogen
Paula Van Hoogen
5 years ago

Hi Kristie, The distinction you made between the painting of the whole set up OR limiting the door color to the door itself makes complete sense to me. Otherwise the elements around the door lose their own design distinction and the door sort of becomes lost. This seems to be especially true if the unit is painted a deep color. I’ve noticed in homes with a deep overhanging porch, the whole unit becomes a dark hole……whereas, when the door ONLY is painted, the effect is then welcoming. Great job on the color choices for the consult too! (I like the… Read more »

Cherie
Cherie
5 years ago

I don’t have sidelights, but find this post so interesting anyway. I do have a comment about painting the wood door and the storm door the same color. We did that recently. We bought the storm door in a color we love and then had paint made to match it exactly for the wood door. It looks wonderful, and the two doors read as one unit. I love it. Great post!

Landi Bohner
Landi Bohner
5 years ago

What’s the rule of thumb for front door color and shutters? We just moved into a red brick two story colonial (I guess). They took the shutters down and put up flower boxes on the second floor windows (4 in total). The front door is a “red brick” color with white trim and no sidelights. The storm door is the same color as the door. I would like to have shutters but don’t know what color they should be? I would be so greatful for any advice.

Landi Bohner
Landi Bohner
5 years ago

The flower boxes are really baskets. Black wire with that potting insert. I’m pretty sure the brick is red. At least it has more red than orange. Looking across the street, I see homes with more orange in the brick. The door is like a burnt red not red red. I have pictures but don’t know how to upload them on this post. Thank you for replying so fast.

Landi Bohner
Landi Bohner
5 years ago
Reply to  Landi Bohner

The door is similar to the door you posted but brighter. Does that make sense? Kind of like a fall tree with red leaves and the sun shining on it. Ok, that’s proof right there that I’m terrible with color!

Landi Bohner
Landi Bohner
5 years ago
Reply to  Landi Bohner

Thank you so much! That puts my mind at ease. Now I don’t have to worry about having to change the door color or not. I’ve learned a lot and will be following your website. Thanks again!!!

Laura Smith
Laura Smith
5 years ago

Dilemma: This week we had a new front door and storm door installed and I am having second thoughts on my color choices. I had purchased the primed front door with the intention of painting it black (like the previous door), along with a matching black/full-glass storm door. Now that it is installed we actually like the front door white! But we fear it looks odd having the storm door black. I doubt painting our brand new storm door white is a good option as it would most likely kill the warranty; but I sure do like the look of… Read more »

Laura Smith
Laura Smith
5 years ago
Reply to  Laura Smith

I tried so hard to keep this concise and apologize a portion of it was duplicated.

Ann Hoffman
Ann Hoffman
4 years ago

Just had a new front door installed. Have painted it wild blueberry and was concerned about the sidelights. I am planning to leave the sidelights white. The shutters are graphite which is almost black and the trim on the house is white. I hope I am making the right choice. Loved the comments. They are very helpful.

Ann Hoffman
Ann Hoffman
4 years ago

Just had a new front door installed. Have painted it wild blueberry and was concerned about the sidelights. I think I will leave the sidelights white . The house is vinyl and is off white with graphite shutters (almost black). What is your feeling concerning the sidelights? Trim is white.

Marilyn
Marilyn
3 years ago

Dear Kristie, My small colonial home with 1 car garage is light beige vinyl sided with red brick around the garage. The garage door and all house trim is white. I painted the 4 shutters in the front of the house black. The front door has only one sidelight. The door and sidelight are half glass which is white etched in a filigree design for privacy. I painted the door only Heritage Red (BM) and the entire trim and sidelight white to match the rest of the house trim. Is this the right way to go? Thank you for your… Read more »

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