People put a lot of thought into the color of their front door and the message it sends to others. One of the most popular paint colors used across the world is red. Some people choose this color because it’s bold and makes a house stand out but to many there is a deeper meaning behind the red front door. About more than just curb appeal, there are several historic and traditional meanings behind this long-lasting trend.
As far back as the Old Testament, you can find the story of Passover, an important Jewish holiday. To summarize, God told the Israelites to paint their doors red so that they would be protected when the angel of death came to Egypt and killed all of the male first borns. As a modern tribute to the story of Passover as well as symbolic protection, many temples and Jewish families paint their front doors red.
Another tribute to religion, people of the Protestant faith will often paint their front doors red. In 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the doors of the Wittenberg Cathedral in Germany, sparking the rise of the Protestant religion. Those doors happened to be red and so the tradition began.
Red doors are also extremely common throughout America. In the days before cars and hotels, a red door marked a safe and welcoming home for travelers to rest and be fed. During the Civil War, homes in the Underground Railroad were distinguished the same way. Escaping slaves knew a home would help them by the red color of their front door. Although in the past red doors have had a reputation of “welcoming” in America, I wouldn’t recommend knocking on a red door and expecting a meal and bed to stay in today.
The Scottish people have a unique tradition of painting their front doors red once they have fully paid off their mortgage. It became a sign of wealth and pride among Scots and the most reputable neighborhoods were scattered with red painted doors. Many still follow this tradition today so if you see a Scottish friend painting their door red, be sure to congratulate them!
The color red in Chinese culture is a symbol of good luck. The overwhelming majority of homes in China have red front doors and as part of the New Year celebration, people will apply a fresh coat of red paint for good luck in the coming year. Originating in China, feng shui, or the art of placement, is also a huge proponent of red front doors. It is believed that bold colors, especially red, bring positive energy, opportunities and a welcoming atmosphere to a home.
The reasons for painting a door red are extensive and unique to each culture. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest intellectuals of all time, painted his door red simply because he couldn’t remember which house was his! Whatever the reason, consider a fresh coat of red paint on the front door to make your home stand out in the neighborhood.
Find out what color you should paint your bathrooms to make your home worth more here.
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(Image via Nic McPhee, flickr)