Return to the Old House Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

Posted by tanama (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 22, 06 at 11:50

We see that a lot of old (and new) houses at least currently have red front doors, even if there is no other red trim on the house.

Other than it's supposedly a good thing according to the rules of Feng Shui, is there any other symbolism or history to red front doors?

When did they become popular?

Are they appropriate for a house built in the 1840's? If so, what colors would be appropriate for the rest of the house, other than all white which we're not considering as an option?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

The following are notes from 1844 source. Sorry I can't recall where I got them.
...most frequently employed tints were grey, pea, sea and olive green and fawn.These were readily mixed from a narrow range of pigments on the spot using colors such as Prussian blue, yellow ochre and burnt umber. Later ready mixed paints became available but there was still a shortage of colorfast pigments.Bright reds, purples, yellows blues and blue-greens tended to fade quickly. The normal Victorian range included black, white,and cream, dark reds, browns and ochres of all shades and a wide variety of greens.
From 1840 thre 1860s house colors followed Downing's lead and were in soft drab or natural earth tone colors.
Of course white was always popular because it was cheap.
I think the red door thing is a fairly recent thing that came in sometime in the last 15 years or so ago. I can remember when all of a sudden all the home improvement shows and magazines started showing red doors.


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

Thanks!! I figured it was more of a new thing, but wasn't sure. Since my partner loves the whole red-door thing, we may still try to work out a color scheme that is more earth tones, but that uses perhaps a darker reddish-brown as an accent color that we can use on the door.


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

Red is out.
Black is the new red.


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

It must be older than that... my Grandmother had a red front door on her house.. and that was ohhhhhhhhh 40+ years ago. Perhaps she was just ahead of her time but I think it has something to do with a sign of welcome. The same is true for the pineapple motif. hmmmmmmmm.. I am going to have to go dig out a book that my kids have. It's about the Underground railroad, there is something in there about painted doors.......

maddiemom


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

In China, it's tradition to paint the front door red before the new year, to invite good luck and happiness.

In Catholocism, the red door on a chapel symbolized the blood of christ, and other martyrs, to signify that the ground beyond the door (inside the church) was holy, and a sanctuary from physical and spiritual evils.

In Ireland, front doors are painted red to ward-off ghosts and evil spirits.

People have been painting their doors red for quite some time. I don't think having a red door would necessarily be out-of-context on an older house.

I think there may be other origins of this tradition as well. Russian tradition comes to mind, but I'm not sure...


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

And red still fades faster than other colors.


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

Red was not necessarily less colorfast than other colors, nor was always more prone to fading. Lead tetroxide is a very old colorfast pigment that was used as early as the Roman Empire, and was often used in homes built in the colonial period and immediately afterward, the hue of choice being slightly modified by calcination of white lead into the ubiquitous "barn red" color used for a couple of centuries. Of course, as lead was removed from paint in recent decades, some of this resistance to fading was lost, though some modern paints contain effective UV inhibitors.

Many Anglican (Episcopal) churches boast red doors for theological reasons. This goes back to the Middle Ages, when the north, south and east doors were painted red, symbolizing the Blood of Christ, to indicate that churches were designated Sanctuary, where anyone was safe from danger. Some other mainline Protestant churches, such as Lutheran churches, have red doors as Wittenberg Cathedral, where Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses, had red doors, and by tradition, this marks such churches as Reformed churches. (Another school of thought holds that church doors are painted red to indicate the mortgage has been paid off!)


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

Red doors are favorites of Christians because in the early days of the church, doors of homes were smeared with the blood of a lamb as a sign that the required sacrifice had already been made. The Lord promised he would passover those homes and not visit those with the 10th plague (killing the firstborn male in each house). So, red doors signify that safety lies therein. It is a welcome.


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

I prefer Natural Stained Douglas Fir, Hemlock, With a nice rich Walnut Brown stain or just a clear coat.

Forget paint - too sterile.


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

'FORGET PAINT, TOO STERILE"
That's funny, no offence, but I often find stained doors have no zing. I guess it's cause I've seen a lot of stained, brown doors. It's all in the eye of the beholder, and whatever is IN, in your neck of the woods.


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

I read that a red door meant that one's mortgage was paid off and the house was yours free and clear.


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

Dont know about the red door, but i guess we all know about that green door...........AIA,(apology in advance)!


 o
RE: Is there a history/meaning to a red front door?

I live in New England. I am not sure about the rest of the states but Inn's here have always had a red door. This signifies "welcome". Travelers as far back as the underground railroad knew this. I know there are many theories and this is the one I know.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Old House Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here