What Color Is Best For Garage Doors?

I feel like I’m in a holding pattern right now when it comes to house projects. I had hoped to be working on my dining room draperies by now, but the black linen I was counting on using turned out to be too thin for my liking. So I’m still searching for the perfect black linen. I placed a bid for a set of eight dining room chairs on Ebay, and I’ve been waiting over a week to see if I’ll have the winning bid. I’ve actually had the ONLY bid the entire time, and the auction still has about 27 hours to go. If I win, I’ll have to drive to Dallas to pick them up. And of course, the weather has been so rainy and dreary outside, so I haven’t been able to start painting my house.

So I wait. And dream. And plan. 🙂

One thing I’m not quite sure about is what color to paint my garage doors. Right now, they’re the same beige as the house. Obviously that won’t work with my plan for a light yellow house with white trim and black accents. So I’ve been looking at garage door makeovers online, and I’ve found that there’s really no definite “right” or “wrong” way to do garage doors. Some people have wood (or wood look) garage doors, but those are generally used along with a stained wood front door and possibly stained wood shutters. I don’t plan on either of those, so I can rule out staining mine with gel stain to look like wood.

But the three remaining options all seem like they would work, and I’m just not sure which direction I should go with mine.

The first option is to paint the trim color, so in my case, that would be white. And I wouldn’t plan on keeping them just solid, plain white. I’d like to do a makeover on them to make them a little more interesting. I envision something like this…

garae door makeover with accessories from Coach House Accents

via Coach House Accents

The second option is to paint the garage doors the color of the house. So in my case, that would be yellow. For years now (ever since we built our house in Oregon thirteen years ago), I’ve wanted a house with an arbor over the garage doors. I think garage doors painted the same color as the house look really nice surrounded by a beautiful white arbor.

arbor over garage door, via Sterley Construction

via Sterley Construction

The third and final option would be to paint them the accent color. So for me, that means black. And I actually found an example of black carriage doors on a yellow house with white trim! Of course, I won’t have fancy carriage doors, but I can try my hardest to dress up my plain garage doors to mimic the look of carriage doors.

black carriage doors on yellow house with white trim, via Evergreen Carriage Doors

via Evergreen Carriage Doors

The black is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite look. My only concern is that I have not one, but two garage doors side-by-side that are at least that size (maybe a bit wider), and I’m concerned that the black may end up being too dominant. But then again, if mine can look even half as spectacular as those real carriage doors, then I might not care if they’re an attention-grabbing feature of my house.

You know what’s funny? Sometimes for me, writing these posts really helps me work through options and solidify decisions in my mind. I can really, honestly have no clue what I want when I start writing the post, and by the time I get to the end, I’ve worked out the issues and have made my decision. That’s exactly what happened as I was writing this post. I was actually leaning towards white when I started writing, and now I think I’m going to go for the black. Those off-black doors with deep black hardware and windows will look beautiful on my yellow house! And if I add a white arbor, it’ll look even more amazing.

What do you think? Of the three options, is that the decision you would have gone with? I’m getting more excited by the day. Now I just need this rain to GO AWAY!! 🙂



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  1. Off-black carriage doors with a white arbor, ALL THE WAY! Your garage is set so far back from the street that the off-black won’t over power the house, and once you do your front reno, I think you’ll need to have some weight on the garage doors in order to balance the house.

  2. I don’t want to start a “sweater” argument, but those doors look blue, not black. 🙂

    Regardless, I think with yellow and not-so-heavy trim, you should go with a contrasting color. Either white or black should look really nice. And if you dress them up to look like carriage doors, all the better!

    I’m curious… Are your doors wood or metal with foam core? Dressing them up might be difficult if they’re metal. I suppose you could glue the accents on with really strong adhesive.

    1. They’re metal. I’ve been looking at some different faux carriage door hardware styles, and they even have magnetic ones for metal doors! 😀 I’m not sure if that’s the option I’ll go with, but it’s good to know that those are an option if I don’t find anything else that will work on my metal doors.

      1. In that case, I’ll be very interested to see that process. My home came with a “builder grade” plain white textured metal door with no window lights. No doubt, the previous homeowners had to replace the original door and put in the cheapest one they could find (and it probably cost extra because it’s extra-wide). I’ve been toying with the idea of at least painting it the house door color (we have orange doors) just to give it a little bit of character. I even considered whether I could glue PVC or wood trim to it to make it look more like a barn door. In the end, I’m kind of afraid to damage it with glue or paint. Also, spending money on a perfectly good solid door is last on the list of things that need doing. 🙂

      2. I did just that that to my garage doors and love it!! Even used faux windows. We sit far enough off the road that you cannot tell the difference. And up close enough to real that you don’t pay them that much attention.

  3. I truly love what you do to your house, and I follow you with great interest and admiration. I am working on a couple rooms, and it always reassures me when I falter at decisions maybe change my mind frequently that I am not the only one. I like reading your thought process. Another thing I really like, is that it’s OK not to be wowed by something I have done, and to go ahead and redo it. I don’t bonk myself over the head about it, I just adjust what I have done to something I like better. You are a great teacher, Kristi.

  4. I would definitely choose white doors, but then again I hadn’t considered an arbor. But your house will look heavy on that right side with black doors unless you do black shutters as well. Just my thoughts, I’m sure it’ll come together just right! It’s just paint to, so you can always change it!

    1. I’ve seen some of these houses with black or dark garage doors and they all look bad to me. It makes your house look like the door is open all the time. Just a thought. Not trying to offend just giving insight from someone that drives around a lot of city neighborhoods and sees a lot of houses.

    2. I like the midnight dark blue with the yellow and white not black just to extreme the dark blue is a bit softer and a great accent to yellow.

  5. Love the black carriage doors and it will look sharp with the arbor. We have the stereotypical paneled doors. I think depending on the color- it makes them look like a Hershey bar. Not that it’s a bad thing- it’s just what it reminds me of. I don’t wanna drive through my ‘hood and get a craving for chocolate. lol

  6. From the first moment you mentioned black as an accent color, I thought that black doors were the way to go…and with the white arbor that will look fantastic.

    P.S. I have some painted tables that I want to repaint and I remember you had a post on painting furniture…what is the link to that? You are inspiring me!!!

  7. The arbor trim is gorgeous. How about a dark gray? Question please-have you ever used “Reclaim Beyond Paint”? No sanding, no stripping, no primer. It looks marvelous to me, nice texture and loads of colors. Planning to use on bath vanity. Would like to here your opinion. Thank you

  8. If you want your garage doors to stand out as the focal point, than paint them a different color than the house. If you want your entryway to be the focal point, paint the garage doors the same color as the house.

      1. Exactly. Unless garage doors are a “design feature” (and, really, are they ever?) I prefer that they disappear. Otherwise, they sort of scream “look at us and our big garage!”

  9. I prefer the white, actually. A neighbor recently replaced their doors (gray house,, black shutters, white trim) with a black door — and it looks like a big gaping maw on the front of the house.

    My opinion – not my house. Do what you like. 🙂

  10. I would choose black with faux carriage door hardware for your phase 1 make-over. I really love the arbor over the garage, but think it’s probably best to wait to do the arbor part until you’ve done the new front exterior.

  11. How would the colors hold up under the Texan sun? I’d think a fading black would be more noticeable ‘wrong’ than doors in the color of the siding or trim. (I know that your front door is painted black, but it’s at least partly protected by the porch roof.)

    Does your garage have AC? If not, a lighter color would better reflect the sun’s heat.

    1. I actually don’t know about the fading issue. I’ve never painted an exterior of a house before, so I just assumed that exterior paints have something in them to guard against UV damage and fading. I’ll have to check on that.

      Our garage isn’t currently air conditioned, but I do plan on installing some sort of A/C unit in there so I can work in there during the hottest part of the year. But I’ll only turn it on when I’m out there working. So if I paint the doors black, I might also need to look into adding some garage door insulation (I think there’s such a thing, right?) to the inside of the doors.

      1. Yes, we have super insulated garage doors because we have a sleeping room above the garage that was cold before.

      2. I live in the often cloudy north but even here dark colors on south or west exteriors bleach out and fade. The other problem that can arise with dark-painted metal doors is they absorb heat and can warp or become too hot to touch. A child in my mother’s town ran up to a door and was burned when she pushed against it–I don’t remember the degree but badly enough it made the newspapers.

  12. I love the black door with the white trim. Your house is going to look so nice. I love the arbor too. We have talked about doing something like this hat too.

    1. I was thinking this too. I think the black doors are pretty, but afraid they would end up looking like big holes! I prefer the white doors with black hardware. A white arbor around white doors would also look pretty and would give you so much charm on your pretty yellow house.

  13. I agree with Donna. I think it’s what you want as a focal point. for my personal taste, I prefer to not have my garage as a focal point for my house. it’s a garage after all. Just my opinion!! In the end It’s what you love and will make you happy when you pull into your driveway! Love the arbor idea!!!

  14. I will probably be in the minority, but I personally prefer the white. I’m afraid the dark will spoil the light and bright feeling of the yellow with white trim. Our neighbor’s have a black garage door and it seems too overpowering and dark to me. (Emphasis: to me.) Their garage got so hot in the summer but they did find some insulation made for garage doors that helped immensely.

  15. My vote is white doors with black hardware and black “carriage door” windows. IMHO it wouldn’t be too heavy that way, it would still be striking, and you’d get a lot of your “black accent color” in that way. Although, I really hope that you try all of the options so that we can see what each of them looks like! 😉 (I love it when you do re-do’s.)

  16. The black would look great especially with white trim. My garage door is the same color as the shutters which is a dark blue and all my windows and doors are trimmed in white. The white trim really makes all the architectural details, siding color, and accent colors pop.

  17. I think the yellow house would look good with white trim and dark grey garage doors with black hardware. And I adore the idea of having a white arbor surrounding the garage door! I have no doubt that whatever you choose will look fabulous – it always does!

  18. Has to be a real “off-black,” very dark slate gray. What color are you painting the front door? The coral is not going to look so good, with this color scheme? If you lean toward a bright green that might work. White might be nice too, or the same black you are using on garage doors. Think the front door and garage doors are package, especially since the front of the house is not a large width. Black would look good with the white trim and white arbor.

  19. I’m a firm believer that, unless the garage doors are wood carriage style, they should blend with the house and not stand out. The dark doors will definitely draw the eye from your front entrance and I don’t believe that’s what you want. I LOVE the arbor idea and actually have one over my garage door.

  20. Driving by homes that have an extremely contrasting color scheme from the house and garage, I’ve often wondered why someone would want to draw attention to a garage? Your yellow house with the black garage doors is what I’d call extreme contrast. As if you aren’t having enough rain down there, I’m afraid I may be raining on your parade, but just personally, I prefer either the white door and the neat arbor or sticking with yellow with the white arbor. I believe black would chop up the appearance of your house as a whole. No offense intended! You might want to eventually accent either side of your garage doors with tall black urns planted with colorful flowers to incorporate black if you decide to go with yellow garage doors or white garage doors.

  21. For your home, and its location, I’d love to see the yellow door with the white arbor. The double black doors will look like a black hole from the street I think.. there is a home in my neighborhood with the doors painted black and thats how it looks from 4pm through the night. I absolutely love the arbor over the garage door, a dream I’m had forever! It’ll look great, whatever you choose, and its only paint, so I say follow your heart!

  22. Personally, I would do the doors the same color as the house for continuity. I am in the minority, here…think black would be way too dominating, it would be almost a third of what one would see of your house from the street.

  23. For my personal taste, I actually like the second option where you paint the garage doors the same color as the house and use the white/trim color for the beautiful arbor. I just think the large mass of black on just that one side of the house will look off balance and stick out like a sore thumb. But, as always, I enjoy seeing what the final outcome is on anything you do! It always turns out spectacular!

  24. The “off black” to my eye is charcoal, which would work with well with yellow. A true black with yellow makes me think of a bumblebee, which I wouldn’t like. A little black goes a long way, but I know there are plenty of posters who feel differently.

  25. I vote for black and the arbor would be lovely. I think working thru your problems by talking about them is possibly why shrinks were invented but we will not charge you for listening. Keep up the great work. Anything you do will look perfect….Rebecca

  26. Suggestion; instead of sinking the arbor posts into the ground, pour a footing that is 4 inches or so above the ground and attach the posts to it with ss bracket and screws, ditto the horizontal beam above the garage doors. When painting of house or arbor is needed the arbor can be removed to facilitate the painting. YOU could probably figure out a way to fasten the posts with some kind of hinge to make it even easier.

  27. I think white or yellow might be sort of boring and plain, but on the other hand, that arbor is cute. What are you going to have growing on it? If you get rid of the leanin’ tree, you might have enough sun to plant a couple of clematis or something like that. But I’m not sure a clematis would get that big. A wisteria would probably be too big. I do like the black garage doors, or maybe a dark grey. The “Evergreen Carriage Doors” look more grey than black.

  28. Years ago with my first house in Houston, TX I painted garage door a darker blue and lived to regret it. In hindsite I should have painted the garage door the house color instead of the trim color. The color faded badly. And I was so excited about the windows in the door but that too did not work out. My garage faced west so the afternoon sun poured into the garage. The garage was so hot all the time I was not able to work in it. Don’t know what direction your garage faces so that might not be an issue. And because I painted it the dark trim color it became a focal point and looked more like a big hole.

    My vote would be yellow door and eventually the arbor. You could change the color after the door us insulated and you have a/c in the garage.

    1. This comment was very helpful to me. We also live in Houston (time to rodeo!!) and we have wondered if painting our garage doors dark would be a regrettable decision. You’ve confirmed our suspicions about fading and heat. Thank you for commenting!

  29. I found a photo of your house as it exists right now. I think the two garage doors are far enough off to the side that black doors wouldn’t dominate, ESPECIALLY if you do the white arbor surrounding it. It could be very cute. One caution concerning an arbor: make sure that whatever vining plant you put into the ground to climb the arbor is compatible for the orientation of the house. i.e. If the house faces north plant a shade-loving vine, south or west, a sun-lover. Personally I’d try to find a fruit-bearing vine such as passionfruit or hardy kiwi, but that’s just me. If the arbor would get adequate sunlight, climbing roses would be lovely if you can devote sufficient time to keep them aphid/spider mite-free and winter-protected if your winters are cold.

  30. I love the black doors. And although I’m not a lover of shutters in general, sometimes they just work. You could do the two left windows (the ones in the stone front) with black shutters if you are worried about balance, and they can look so quaint and classy at the same time.
    Also Lincoln Cottage is a vaspar paint that is off black, I used it on all my interior doors, and love it!

    On Houzz in the search,
    ProTect Painters:
    Exterior Painting in Downers Grove
    Crisp Arhitects Writer’s Cottage

  31. I love the garage doors with the windows. We have those nod they let in a lot more light when we are working out there. If that’s going to be your workshop you will be happy to have them. We have white doors, the same color as our window trim. It makes the red front door and house numbers stand out. The color choice is up to you so enjoy the creative process on these rainy days.

    Good luck on the e-bay auction.

  32. I think a dark gray might work – not as severe as black with the buttery yellow shade you’ve chosen for the house, but still dark. Just my two cents.

  33. BLACK!! Make it interesting! I’ve also been dreaming/planning about painting my garage doors and building a pergola/trellis over them (I have that same Sterley Const. pic pinned as inspiration). I’m thinking blue to go with my grey house. Love the colorful/standout garage look on a house.

  34. My thought is what do you want to draw peoples eyes to? Do you want the garage doors to be the focal point? If so the black is lovely. If not, paint the doors the same color as the house so they blend in. Either way, the arbor over the doors is a wonderful touch. That is my 2 cents.

  35. I pick

    White trim and either yellow or white garage door

    I agree with the black hole phenomenon and that it would unbalance the house. If your garage was stand alone, or maybe even more centred on your property it might work.

    I like the idea of black urns on either side.

    Or, what about painting the arbor black?

  36. I’d do white with black accents, if it were me. I don’t like the arbor above the garage doors at all, personally, and I feel like the black would create two big black holes in your home.

  37. I have a black and white painted house. It looks dramatic, certainly not mawish; the garden greenery stands out against the black – as would your arbour. Here in New Zealand we have a company who sell ‘cool’ paint – specially formulated for hot outdoor conditions. My black has not faded etc. White with the yellow walls would look a bit cheesecakey I think. Adding odd bits of black around the exterior would I think look spotty and busy – but I must admit I’m a black fan. I think black garage doors (and there are 100’s of blacks as you know) would look very chic and outside the box if you’ll excuse the pun – a real statement whether in gloss, matte etc. The paint company in New Zealand is called Resene Paints if you want to google and have a read. I too enjoy reading about your journey and admire your grit and determination

    1. We have a similar product here…called Cool Wall paint, or something like that. I hear it advertised all the time and they say it won’t peel or crack, and it’s fade resistant. It’s also supposed to lower your heating and cooling bills because it somehow makes the house more energy efficient. I’ll look into it!

  38. I LOVE the idea of the black garage doors..also the trellis over the doors should u decide to go with white…they are all such good choices…the black, in my opinion, stands out more and adds a little flair…i just love the trellis too…cant wait to see what u decide!!! so much fun taking this journey with you!!

    1. Yes, yes, yes. I would even go ahead and build a (trellis, arbor, pergola) over garage and figure out an easy way to detach it later. Could you set the post in large flower pots with concrete?

  39. I like the black carriage house look but would still put in Windows. We did and love the look as well as the light streaming into the garage.

  40. I think a mockup of your entire house yellow and the black doors with white arbor would help give you an answer. I love the idea and think it sounds beautiful, but I’d love to see it first. Can you work on that while you’re dreaming? 🙂

  41. I absolutely love a yellow house, white trim and black shutters/garage doors. My in-laws house is a great example (can’t figure out how to upload a photo but I will work on it once I get to a computer).

  42. I caution against the black.

    I live in the NE. I painted my back door a dark green. It get’s full afternoon sun. It gets hot enough I can’t touch it. The heat has caused the putty around the window in the door to ooze out around the window. Remember this is the NE, not Texas. I grew up in Texas and know how hot that sun gets!

    To me I’d want the garage door to recede and not scream “look at me!” IMHO black paint’s going to scream and make the garage door the focal point.

  43. I say avoid a solid, dark color (for all the reasons stated above), and because you want to know when your doors are open and when they are closed. At night, my neighbor’s black doors always made me nervous that maybe her garage was open (she lived alone).

  44. Absolutely believe the doors painted the Black with white trim and the White abour will certainly make a statement. So happy that you are leaning that way. Perfect! perfect!👌

  45. I realize this is a light green rather than yellow house but I think black is going to look amazing and if you decide you don’t like it, all you have to do is get out your paint sprayer again.
    And if you have strong garage door openers, you can really make the door look like carriage doors.

  46. Our last house was brick with the garage door painted the same color as the cream trim. I stepped out of the box and repainted the trim white and the doors black! I looooooved it!!! I went from the boring house on the block to the most awesome!! Do it!

  47. Funny that you should post this today because I just ordered the material to create the arbor over our garage just like the one in your design dreams….We must be cut from the same cloth. Love it.

  48. Since the photo of your house does not appear on my iPad it’s hard to say. But if the only other black is the front door then a double door black garage will definitely be way too heavy. It will become the gaping hole focal point when the front door should be! If you do black shutters or black Windows (my house has navy and it looks fabulous)it would work better. Front loading garages should usually be the field/body color unless they are very fancy and then the TRIM color is best. FWIW I do exterior color consultations and that is my experience.

  49. OH, the other reason to paint garage doors white/ cream is when the house itself is a mid dark- dark tone in which case you need a lighter contrast. I specified that recently on a renovated colonial painted BM Puritan Gray……

  50. Unless you have truly amazing wood carriage garage doors, I believe they should be painted the same color as the house. Contrast color with the front door and shutters would be beautiful, but don’t draw attention to garage doors unless they are drop dead gorgeous. Arbor painted the same as trim is a great idea.

  51. I have magazine pictures from 10-15 years ago saved with the arbor over garage door. LOVE LOVE LOVE that idea!! The color….either will look good. 😀
    I am a journal writer…have been since junior high (40 now)….writing is an excellent way to work out problems. Keep writing & posting. Love your site. I would love to start a blog but chicken.

  52. I’m late to this party, but have to chime in anyway.
    In our locale, it’s customary to have the garage doors the same color as the house siding. Otherwise, they stick out like a sore thumb, and often make it seem as though the garage is larger than the house. I would go with the yellow, or if that doesn’t appeal to you, the white would be the alternate option. Black will definitely give you a black hole look, and soil shows up really bad too, when rain splashes up on it!
    Also, regarding the linen fabric, would it help to add an underliner as well as your standard liner? I once made some black valances, lined them with cream lining, and when I hung them, the sunshine came through the lining. Drove me nuts! If I had underlined them, I think that extra layer would have helped. We have since sold that house, and I left the valances behind.

    1. I plan on using blackout lining, so I won’t have the issue of light shining through, but its the actual fabric that’s the issue for me. I’m not sure if you sew, or have ever sewn with linen, but the thinner the linen, the more of a tendency it has to “crawl” as you feed it through the machine, which causes seams to be uneven. I prefer linen with more body to it to prevent that.

      1. Oh, yeah. I haven’t sewn with that much linen, forgot that factor of the lightweight stuff. You definitely want a heavier weight! Good luck hunting for it. I hate spending so much time trying to find what I want when I know exactly what I want. Seems it’s always elusive or too costly!
        And yes, I used to sew a lot more than I have lately, just haven’t been in the mood. :-/