There are many reasons why you would want to paint your front door red. The most probable case is that red is your favorite color. It could also be because you are in love of unique things, and you want to make a bold statement out of a bold red color. But a red front door is more than just a red door for it is engulfed in many meanings and symbolisms.
In this post, we will demystify red front doors and we shall look at its meanings and symbolisms using different perspectives. If you are curious as to what a red front door means, this is the post for you so, read on.
In this article:
- What does a red front door mean?
- Biblical symbolism
- Medieval Ages
- Scottish culture
- Early American culture
- Irish culture
- Chinese culture
- Feng shui
- India and other Asian countries
- TV and the visual arts
- Albert Einstein’s story
- Are red front doors popular?
- What color red paint is best for a front door?
- What are the best house colors to match with a red front door?
What does a red front door mean?
Contrary to what we just know based on color symbolisms, a red door does not just mean love, warmth, fortune, or protection. As such, here are some of the most prominent meanings and symbols of having a red front door.
The most imminent symbolism of a red front door would be the biblical story of the First Passover. In here, a red front door connotes protection against the visit of death. This one can be found in the book of Exodus in which the Israelites made a pact with God for their first male born sons to be spared from death. For them to receive the blessing of protection from death, they should sacrifice a lamb and they should smear the lamb’s blood in their doors.
This is the reason why across the world, there are many red front doors for churches. The color red for the front door has long signified that God saves those who are faithful and that He intervenes at the face of oppression.
Following the rise of organized religion in general, and the subsequent rallies of Crusaders and Moors, the red front door is also closely linked to the Medieval Ages.
Cathedrals painted all front doors of the north, south, east, and west sections of the entire church estate to form a cross sign. Passing through these doors symbolized passing into a holy ground.
Because of the belief in the ‘passing towards a holy ground’, early Christians also associated having a red front door to be a protection from evil as well as disease and misfortune.
This has yet to be disproved but in Scotland, there is an urban myth associated with red front doors. It is said that it is customary to paint the door with fresh red paint if you are done paying your home’s mortgage.
For the Scots, red is a positive color and so, finally having a home to your name connotes a domino effect of prosperity and good fortune and for them, these are signified by the red color. But ultimately, a red front door means feeling a sense of pride.
Red paint was chosen by the Scots because during the olden days, it was the most expensive paint color. Having been able to afford that means that you have become financially capacitated. This still holds true even at this time for the Scots as red front doors still mean financial independence.
Red front doors for the Scots, at some time in the early 1900s, were also used as a household identification of who belonged to Lutheran or Protestant churches during that time. Hence, red front doors were an important part of the Reformation movement.
Early American culture
In the American tradition of olden times, red front doors had something to do with hospitality. For travelers, a red front door in the US back then, meant that the travelers are welcome in the house to rest for the night or to get food for their travel onwards.
During the Civil War, having a red front door was also a sign of refuge especially for African American runaways who have just been given freedom. It meant that the home could take you in for food and accommodation or give you the means to escape and live a free life. It was the official signifier of a safehouse along the Underground Railroad too.
It was also at the same time when refugees from North American states as well as Canada ran and hid from being chased. In this case, red front doors again symbolized safety and protection as well as a bed to rest in, free meals, and a safe hiding place.
At the dawn of the 1930s, the red front door in America took a more practical use. It was used as a symbol to tell salesmen that their house is not interested in whatever they are selling. Nowadays, this early tradition has been modified. In some rural and suburban American towns, having a red front door means that you are in a loving and friendly local community.
Related: What Does A Green Porch Light Mean?
It has been a running joke among Irish people that they have set up a lot of bright colored front doors in Ireland because for them, it was the easiest way for people who get drunk most of the time to recognize where they should go home to. While it is logical and practical, the associated meanings to red front doors in Ireland go back to their folklore.
Like what we have covered here, the Irish also believed that red front doors ward off evil spirits and chase away ghosts out of the household. As such, when unexplainable diseases would ensue, painting the door red after the family member is healed became a practice.
With the deep-seated nationalism of Irish, red front doors are also associated as the Irishmen’s first act of rebellion against the Brits. During the Victorian Era, all British colonies and members of the Commonwealth were instructed to paint their doors black as a sign of honoring the Queen’s death. As stubborn and patriotic as they are, the Irish people painted their doors with red instead, as an act of rebellion.
Red is one of the most if not the most important color in Chinese culture and tradition. It is their symbol of good fortune, abundance, and prosperity. It is also a symbol of good health and well-being. Since they consider the front door as the mouth of the home, painting it red would mean attracting all these positive energies into the home.
In the olden times, only high-ranking officials in China and Japan had the privilege to paint their front doors red. That is why this door color has always been associated with prosperity and abundance. Until now, shrines and temples in China and Japan are still colored bright red because it signifies goodness and divination.
During the Chinese New Year, all doors are repainted red because they believe that it was one way of protecting their homes from illness and bad luck. Some even go as far as to print the Chinese poem Chun Lian in red paper and put it in the front door for more fortune and good luck.
Since we have already discussed the Chinese culture’s intimate affinity with the red color, let us look at where red front doors still fit in the feng shui tradition of the Chinese. Feng shui is all about harmony and balance, and a red front door means a message of acceptance or welcome. Having a red front door is also an indication that members of the household all feel loved, secure, happy, and comfortable.
Aside from that, feng shui believes in the power of proper placement. Hence, if you want to attract all the positive energy that the red color symbolizes, the red front door should face south.
It can also mean differently for different lifestyles. If you want fame and prosperity, the red front door should face south too. If it is good health that you want or you are into the medical and sciences field, the red door should face east.
An eastern or western red front door is never ideal according to feng shui because those directions accompanied by the red color are associated with the metal element.
India and other Asian countries
Red is also a common color in the Indian tradition as well as in other Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, and Vietnam, among others. In the case of India and Nepal, having a red front door would mean that you have passed by a newly married couple’s home. It could also mean that a married couple have just purchased a home and they are living independently for the first time.
TV and the visual arts
In the visual arts, as glamorized by movies and TV series, the famous red front door takes on a darker, more mystified meaning. The red door in this case is often used as a metaphor to denote that even protagonists are imperfect, and they have boxed all their darkness as well as their mistakes in a red door.
While no one could accurately come up with the meaning of a red door when it comes to art as it rests on what stirs the viewers’ emotions, it is said that a red door often emphasizes warmth, secrets, sins and mistakes.
Connected with this, dream meanings and interpretations associate seeing a red front door in our dreams as a symbol of repression or bottled up emotions, dreams, and many more.
Albert Einstein’s story
This is not a tradition and most of all, not a story that we could trace back to a well-established folklore. But even the genius Albert Einstein knew how practical red front doors were. It is said that Einstein had a habit of walking past his own house because he is theorizing while walking.
To prevent this from happening ever again, his wife at that time painted their front door red. It was the only red front door in their street in Princeton, New Jersey so it was easy to spot. Since then, he never walked past his house.
Are red front doors popular?
Actually, yes. We cannot put this in exact figures, but it is considered a popular door color across the world. While some still attribute this popularity to early traditions, architects and designers would say that a red door is a classy touch in making the home pop in color and adds to overall curb appeal.
What color red paint is best for a front door?
When it comes to red front doors, seven red colors come at the forefront of the best red paints. For the Chinese and Irish, it should be a bright red color and for that, the first best red paint for a front door should be cherry red. The other six would be as follows:
- Caliente red
- Merlot red
- Salsa red
- Million dollar red
- Sangria red
- Bonaparte red
What are the best house colors to match with a red front door?
Bright red or not, warm tones and neutrals are the best match for a red front door. Bright colors such as yellow would also be a stunning match for a red front door. If you are quite unsure of what works, might as well consult an architect or a designer to choose the best color palettes for your red front door.
With all that we have covered here, the central question of whether red is good for a front door has been answered. While it is not the most common color for a front door, its bold hue does not only make your home unique, but it is also as meaningful as it could be if you believe in notions of the color and positive energy connection.
Aside from that, you would not be the first one to ever do it because we have proved here that it is an important tradition to some cultures and red front doors have wide religious, folk, and historical underpinnings. Ultimately, nothing should stop you from painting your front door red if that color really appeals to you. So, if you are thinking about it, all we can say is just do it.