Red Door Meaning: 6 Common Symbolism You Should Know

Red Door Meaning

Have you ever wondered what a red door meaning might be? You’ve probably seen red doors often on houses around your neighborhood and wondered why that color in particular seems to be so popular on so many homes. There are, of course, simply aesthetic reasons for choosing red and even some practical reasons (Albert Einstein famously painted his house’s door red because he kept forgetting where he lived and it helped him find his house when he walked down the street). But the red door’s meaning can also be a bit more significant than just style or practicality.

Red Door Meaning #1: Welcome to Our Home

In the Chinese practice of feng shui, the layout, colors, and patterns of a physical environment are designed in order to promote harmony, peace, and contemplation. The color red is considered highly auspicious or favorable in traditional Chinese culture, and in feng shui specifically it is associated with welcome.

In colonial America, the color red took on similar connotations. Travelers who arrived at a home or inn that had a red door knew that the people who lived there welcomed guests to spend the night and enjoy a meal. According to legend, this practice began because it was easier to spot the color red than most others if one was caught in a rainstorm or snowstorm. Because of this practice, red doors in early American came to mean neighborliness and being part of the community.

Red Door Meaning #2: Good Luck

According to WCMA Window & Door, Because red is associated with good fortune in Chinese culture, doors are often painted, or repainted, bright red as a way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The same associations with red appear in many other cultures, including in India, Vietnam, and Pakistan.

Red Door Meaning #3: Protection Against Evil

A red door in many cultures is not only believed to invite in good luck, it is believed to ward off evil spirits or malicious people as well. This is true in those Asian cultures that consider red a good luck color, and it’s true in Ireland—where red is believed to repel ghosts—and the Judeo-Christian tradition as well.

This particular red door meaning derives from the biblical Book of Exodus and the episode involving the ten plagues that God visited upon Egypt in order to free the Hebrews from slavery. The final plague delivered the spirit of death to each house in Egypt to kill every firstborn child. To spare the Hebrew families, though, God instructed them to mark their door with the blood of a slaughtered lamb. That red mark protected the house and its family.

Later, in Christianity, red took on the added meaning of Christ’s blood as well. For both of these biblical reasons, many houses and churches adopt the red door meaning of God’s protection.

Red Door Meaning #4: We Own Our Home Outright

In 19th century Scotland, the most expensive color of paint was red, which means that it was rarely used on houses. The one exception to this was when a family wanted to celebrate that it had fully paid off the mortgage on their home. To show that they could now afford the most expensive paint, the family would paint their door bright red to share the good news.

The practice of painting a house’s door red to celebrate that the house is fully paid off has continued to this day, not just in Scotland but in other places around the world as well. Though red paint is no longer more expensive than other colors, it is still used to communicate that a home is no longer under mortgage.

Red Door Meaning #5: This Home is Independent

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, subjects of the British Empire were instructed to paint the doors of their homes black in order to express mourning. In many places, though—particularly in Ireland—many who wished to be free from England’s colonial control protested by painting their doors red instead.

This practice actually dates to the 18th century. Just before the American Revolution in 1775, colonists who supported the Sons of Liberty and the move for independence from Great Britain painted their doors or window frames red to communicate their opposition to Parliament’s tax laws.

Red Door Meaning #6: This is a Safe Space

Probably as a result of the association between red doors and homes that welcomed travelers, red doors took on an additional meaning in the early 1800s. In order to communicate that a house was a safe stop on the Underground Railroad, the owners would paint the door red. People escaping north to flee slavery knew that a house with a red door meant it was a refuge that would provide them with shelter and food.

After the Civil War, this red door meaning still lingered into the late 19th century, with many former slaves and their descendants painting their doors red as a symbol of freedom. The practice continued into the 20th century, with many Americans who supported the push for civil rights and opposed segregation painting their doors red in remembrance of the values of the Underground Railroad.

Red Door Meanings

Painting the door of your house red can mean many different things, implying everything from welcome and good fortune to independence and safety. On a more practical level, of course, it’s an easy way to add a distinctive pop of color to your home, increasing its beauty, its curb appeal, and even its market value. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, a colorful front door greatly increases the odds of a home selling at or above asking price, with red being the number one choice of colors.

With so many red door meanings, why not get out the paintbrush today and transform the entrance of your house in a way that is both beautiful and significant?