Warm welcomes


Styling Sarah Heeringa. Photography Amanda Reelick.

Create a dramatic entrance using a red door. 

Arriving home, a red front door signals the welcome and protection to be had inside. Red is invigorating and dynamic, a colour associated with courage, passion and love. On a door, it makes a statement, so it’s no surprise to learn red doors have a rich symbolic history. 

In Chinese culture, red means happiness and success, and in feng shui, a red front door means welcome. In Scotland, homeowners in the past would also paint their front door red to signify they had paid off their mortgage.

During Passover, Hebrews would dab the lintels of their doorframes with blood to ward off the angel of death, and during the Middle Ages red doors in churches were associated with entering holy ground and protection from evil. In American settler traditions, a red front door was a sign of welcome to travellers and during Civil War times, a sign in Northern states of Underground Railroad safe houses for runaway slaves. 

A dramatic red door is an easy project, only requiring a few hours and a litre or two of paint.

You will need 

  • 1 litre Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in a colour of your choice
  • Electric sander with medium grade paper
  • Screwdriver
  • Razor-blad window scraper
  • Large/medium good-quality paintbrush
  • Resene Bio-Cleaner and cleaning brush
  • Dropcloths

Step by step

Remove any door fittings. Lightly sand the door all over to key the surface and remove any loose paint flakes. If the door has windows, use a razor-blade window scraper to remove any old paint from the glass. Thoroughly clean the door and surrounds using Resene Bio-Cleaner with a cleaning brush. Dry all paintable surfaces. 

Lay the dropcloth, stir the Resene Lustacryl paint and apply with even strokes, making sure to thoroughly cover an area before moving to another area of the door. Check all painted areas for runs and smooth these out while the paint is wet. 

Allow to fully dry before touching up or adding a second coat as needed. Use a razor-blade window scraper to remove any over-painting on glass panes. Wash out your brushes and tray in water. Preserve sea life by disposing of any paint water using inside drains or washing it onto your lawn. 

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