Sarah McCarthy's yellow door in Bangor. Credit: Courtesy of Sarah McCarthy

With so many Mainers home-bound and hunkered down, the pandemic has been a time for home renovations. One small but effective change homeowners have made is painting their doors a bright color — punchy shades like teal and yellow, as opposed to classic black or red.

Having a brightly colored door is an easy and inexpensive way to brighten daily life, especially during difficult times. It also may be a savvy investment for homeowners planning to sell in the future.

Sarah McCarthy and her husband, Mitch, painted the door of their Bangor family home yellow. She said that they were inspired by an early-pandemic HGTV binge that introduced them to a shade of yellow that they adored.

“One of the colors that we saw and we really liked was ‘Tuscan Wheat,’” McCarthy said. “We ended up with a slightly different color because of the brand. I think ours is ‘Yellow Jubilee.’”

The McCarthys had already planned to re-side and do some construction to their house. McCarthy’s father had passed earlier in the year, and the money she inherited gave them the ability to pay off their mortgage and work on projects they had dreamed of doing. Adding a colorful door to the work order was less expensive than doing it separately, and easier than doing it themselves.

Being home during the pandemic helped, too.

“My husband teaches at [John Bapst Memorial High School] and he chose to teach virtually,” McCarthy said. “He was going to be home and could oversee the work.”

When her new door was done, McCarthy loved the results.

“I love the way the sun sets and [the light] hits the front of our house,” McCarthy said. “It makes that yellow door even more brilliant and it’s really fun.”

McCarthy said that she has even received comments from neighbors.

“Everyone loves it,” McCarthy said. “I think because it’s bold. It kind of pops out it’s just different.”

The only one who isn’t a fan of the door is her 12-year-old daughter.

“She hates it,” McCarthy said. “She’s so angry. She’s like we’ve got to change that. She just thinks it’s too much of a contrast from the siding color but we won’t listen to her.”

Though McCarthy had her door done professionally, other Mainers have taken the DIY route. Vasia Markides painted the door of her Old Town home bright yellow last summer.

“I just felt the color there before was dull and I thought walking into a house with a nice bright door would cheer us all up,” Markides said. “It’s sunny, and it worked. I just always thought yellow was a nice color for a front door.”

Vasia Markides’ yellow door in Old Town. Credit: Courtesy of Vasia Markides

Yellow isn’t the only fun color for doors, either. Bright red is a more conventional, but still punchy, choice. Teal, turquoise or other bright blues can also add an interesting visual element to a house’s facade. The most important thing is to pick a color that feels right.

“I just picked a color I loved and thought would work with the rest of the house,” Markides said. “Just make sure to sand the door before, to put two coats on, and make sure it’s [waterproof] outdoor paint, but that’s just common sense.”

McCarthy, Markides and others who have painted their doors fun colors during the pandemic aimed to make their days at home a little bit brighter. Little did they know, they were also making a savvy real estate decision, according to Cari Turnbull, owner of Maine Real Estate Experts Cumberland.

“For an easy curb appeal update I always suggest that my clients paint their front door,” Turnbull said. “The classic navy or black are safe choices but buyers really love to see a teal or yellow door and it looks great in pictures.”

Turnbull said that painting a door is a great bang-for-your-buck home improvement, especially if you do it yourself. Even if the buyer prefers a more traditional door, a splashy one is unlikely to hurt your chances of selling in the current market.

“If the color of the door is the only issue, there will be no impact,” said Dave Harrigan, owner and president of Maineland Appraisal Consultants. “The cost to paint over is minimal. More important would be the current supply [and] demand imbalance. Buyers will see right past this if they want the property.”

For now, though, McCarthy is just enjoying her door, and thinks that anyone else considering adding a fresh coat of paint to their front door should take the plunge.

“I’d say be bold,” McCarthy said. “Don’t necessarily think about being all matchy-matchy.”