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How-to Paint Your Front Door

How-to Paint Your Front Door

YAY! I’m finally jumping on the painted door bandwagon! As long as people have been painting their doors bright colors, I knew I wanted to join in on the fun. But we couldn’t since we lived in apartments with boring brown doors. For some reason, I don’t think they would appreciate me painting the door.  Now that we have a house I knew that painting our front door was definitely a project I wanted to tackle. This is not one of those projects where I had to hem-and-haw over over the details. I’ve had this planned for quite some time. Red front door and oil-rubbed bronze hardware.  I learned a few things while painting my door so I wanted to share a little tutorial on how-to paint your front door.

How-to Paint Your Front Door

I know we all love a good before and after, so let’s just get that out of the way up front. The front of our house seriously lacks personality and curb appeal. That was another reason I wanted to paint the door STAT. The door used to be hidden behind a storm door. We removed the storm door partially because we rarely used it and mostly because it was broken and would let bugs into the house… hence leading to the rarely using it. Plus I wanted to be able to see my gorgeous red door from the street! Increased curb appeal! 

How-to Paint Your Front Door

The front porch is nice and big. But there is a huge space to the right of our front door that was drawing a lot of attention, simply because it was so empty. I’m still working on that, but the first step was to tackle the door. It was a lovely shade of hunter green with bright brassy hardware.

Our first stop was at Home Depot to pick up some paint chips. I was actually quite surprised by the lack of bright reds there were. I grabbed all of them. See how many there are?? 4. I taped them all to the door and lived with them there for about 2 weeks until I picked one.  We decided on a luscious shade of red called Red Delicious by Glidden. Make sure when you buy your paint that you get an exterior paint since your door will be exposed to the elements.

How-to Paint Your Front Door

Start by removing all the hardware from your door. Tape off the hardware holes from the inside of the door so the sanding dust won’t get inside your house. Then sand down your door with 120 grit sandpaper. Focus on any imperfections to get it nice and smooth. Wipe down your door with a wet cloth to remove all the sanding dust. Then prime your door. I used my favorite Kilz latex primer. I did only 1 coat but, in hindsight, I should have done 2 since I was going red.

How-to Paint Your Front Door

This is the way you paint your door. The order does make a difference. Doing it in this order will result in a nice and smooth finish. The other key is a high-density foam roller. So here is how you do it:

  1. Paint all the inset parts. You will have to use a paint brush or foam brush for this. Everywhere else you should use the foam roller.
  2. Paint all the raised panels.
  3. Paint vertically between the panels, but only to the top of the panel.
  4. Paint horizontally above and below the panels.
  5. Paint the entire vertical edges of the door.

Repeat this for as many coats as needed for good coverage. Red is particularly hard to get good coverage so my door took 7 coats. Yeah… 7. Hello tedious. Hence why I wish I had done 2 coats of primer. Give the door a good 2+ hours to dry before you close it. Otherwise the door can stick to the weather stripping.

How-to Paint Your Front Door

If you don’t have a storm door… great! We just had to unscrew a bunch of screws to remove it. Fill in any holes with wood filler and sand smooth once dry.

How-to Paint Your Front Door

I would love to replace all the hardware but that isn’t on the bill quite yet. So instead, me and my bestie {spray paint} went to town on all the hardware. I also did a quick makeover on the doorbell. I wasn’t diggin’ the weathered yellow look.

How-to Paint Your Front Door

Reassemble your hardware and be so happy that the brassy-ness is gone! And be thrilled that that paint covered the previous owners’ engraved name on that knocker!

How-to Paint Your Front Door

So… whatcha think!? I absolutely love it! It makes my little heart happy! Obviously I added a pot of flowers and an old chair. It isn’t complete but it is way better than it was! {I know, I know! That horrible light! But why spend my time painting it when I just want to replace it??} I’m going to upgrade to a larger door mat. I’m also thinking of adding some fancy house numbers to the right of the door. What do you think? Any recommendations for that empty space?

Here is a little progress report on the front porch:

  • Paint door red
  • Place flowers in pot near door
  • Replace outdoor lights
  • Replace door mat with larger mat
  • Create larger/easier to see house numbers
  • Paint railing
  • Paint shutters
  • Paint concrete patio??

Have you ever painted your door? What color is your door right now??

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Posted in Decor, DIY, Outdoors | Tagged | 91 Comments |

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91 thoughts on “How-to Paint Your Front Door

  1. This looks awesome!!! We would love it if you would link up at our linky party:
    http://www.lifewiththecrustcutoff.com/two-girls-and-a-party-link-up-22/
    Live every Wednesday to Sunday.
    Hosted by:
    http://www.lifewiththecrustcutoff.com/ Parrish @ Life with the Crust Cut Off
    http://thissillygirlslife.com/ Dana @ This Silly Girl’s Life
    We hope to see you there!
    Parrish (Life With The Crust Cut Off) recently posted..Two Girls and a Party {Link Up #22}My Profile

    • When we moved into our brand new home 15 yrs ago, the door was white. The wicker chairs and table were also white. Many years later we painted the door black, and so of course I wanted to painted the chairs and table black. Now our door is a deep purple and I LOVE it!

  2. Our door is currently black. I don’t hate it but we do need a new front door. Womp! Not just a new color, but a new door. For some reason the people that installed the door 10+ years ago didn’t do it perfectly straight and you can see sunlight in some spots. Actually, we insulated the door which helps but rally, we just need a new door. I know that once we get one I will have to paint it (don’t want to keep it white) so this is a great tutorial for me to keep on hand! Thanks for the info! =] I loooove the red by the way! Maybe in my forever home I will do a red door since Hubs wasn’t digging my purple door idea. For now, even when we get the new door, we will probably keep it black just because all of the shutters are that color too.
    Runt recently posted..Week’s End 06212013My Profile

  3. Your door is beautiful! Great tips! Our door is black and I love it. After living with a boring white single door in our last house, the double black doors with glass panels always make me smile. It sounds boring, but feels stately. I can only imagine how tricky painting a red door could have been- and the dry time! You must have started early!!
    Kerrin recently posted..Craft Room Redo, Step OneMy Profile

  4. This is perfect! I have been planning on painting my ugly green door red too. But my trim is also the same ugly green. So I have to wait until my trim is painted before I can paint the door. I love the turquoise pot too! Great addition. I think you should hang some kind of art work above the chair. Some kind of pallet wood sign or something. I would love an area like that to hang a weathered wood American flag. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  5. Good job on the door and the how-to! I’m actually in the process of painting my door, red!, and the numbered step-by-step process that you gave is exactly right. I learned this on my 2nd coat. I used a brush to paint mine, which gives more paint coverage per coat, but it also leaves brush marks. So, now I do wish I would have used the sponge roller. Still deciding on the trim around the door….. same color or the contrast whitish like the other trim that will be on the house when we paint it (soon!).

    Looks great! Thanks for the blog!

  6. I went hunting for red paint swatches a couple of days ago, and I was pretty bummed about the selection too. I did grab a Red Delicious by Glidden swatch…it’s so nice to see it in action on another door! It looks great! Numbering the steps to painting a door was so helpful!
    Brittany recently posted..It looks like a…what?My Profile

  7. cut a large hole into the chair seat & drop a flower pot into it..plant an asparagus fern & it will beautifully trail down the chair..will be a great look

  8. Your door looks great! Don’t replace your outdoor light for the time being. Take it off, remove the glass, wash the brass, let it dry, and spray paint it. You will be thrilled with the result. Later, when you have money sitting around, you can buy a new light, but you’ll be so pleased with your oil-rubbed bronze Rust-o-leum creation, you may decided to just leave it!

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  10. Hi, GREAT tutorial! We’re painting our door red too, and Red Delicious was one of the shades of red I picked out to “study” over the next few days and it’s one of my top choices so I thought I’d ask if you still like it? It looks AWESOME on your door, do you like the color at all times of the day? It’s exactly the bright red I’m looking for but I was curious if at dusk/night it starts to look a little marooney?? Thanks!

    • Thanks so much! I absolutely LOVE the red delicious still! It looks amazing at all times of day! I was a little concerned that it might be too bright during certain times of day but it is a gorgeous rich color! I’ve never noticed any marooney-ness!

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  12. I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will come back very soon. I ahve painted my door today and its color is white. I want to encourage one to continue your great writing, have a nice morning!

  13. Looks great!! I have the same door mat and I picked the same color red! I have done 2 coats already, but I know it is going to need a few more! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  14. Looks awesome! I love the color. Our door is green as well, I don’t know if red would look right with the color of brick we have but I will get some swatches. Can’t wait to see when you have it all finished.

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  17. The red door looks great!

    This may be a silly question…I was wondering if you painted the interior side of the door red too? If not, where do you stop painting the red color…on the narrow top and sides of door or only on the front exterior side of the door?

    I am new to painting doors with vivid colors.
    Thanks.

    • Thank you! I did not paint the inside of the door too. Though I am considering it for a fun pop of color! ;) I stopped painting on just the front of the door. I didn’t do the narrow sides. I hope that helps!

  18. I painted my brand new steel front door a very vibrant blue. It was between that and red. I love my door too.
    Lolitha, I love the red you chose! And I love the blue pot too.

  19. Very nice! Just found your blog via Pinteest and i love your easy, straightforward instructions. I need to paint our front door and I’m thinking an orange or maybe turquoise. I love the chair you put on your porch. How about adding a colorful outdoor pillow?

  20. My door was black, then I painted it red. It looks nice, but I follow feng sway and they suggest that red is bad chi for a door facing east. I bought the suggested colour brownish and I will hopefully have all that feng sway says this colour will do for me.

  21. One thing I have learned with painting with red paint, use a tinted gray primer. Not sure why but it makes the red go on much easier. A friend told me this when we were painting red accent walls in my house. I had to see the difference for myself so I did a test of white primer and the gray (which were paint samples I had from another project already) and it made a HUGE difference. I bet with gray primer you could have got your seven coats down to at least 4… Happy Painting:)

  22. A beautiful job..but I would give spray painting the light a try…no harm, no foul..a few dollars for the paint and you can move on to another project, putting the replacement of the light on the bottom of the list..

  23. Looks great! I have been putting off painting our door for 2 years. It’s just primed white. I think it would also look great if you spray painted that brass light fixture the same color as your door hardware!

  24. I noticed you had green shutters, did you paint them or leave them green? I have a green door and shutters and have been wanting to paint my door fot quite some time but don’t know how it will look with the shutters.

    • My shutters are currently still green. Though I’m going to paint them a darker charcoal color once I figure out just what I like. But it definitely doesn’t look bad with the shutters!

  25. Love your red door and painted hardware. Thanks for reminding us about more than one coat of primer! What color red and brand of paint did you use? My house is also a light gray… so I think this red would be perfect!

  26. i am curious as to how the spray painted hardware is holding up. with inserting the key at least once a day, cause any dings? i’m worried the old brass will show thru

  27. Hi, do I have to sand and prime my front door if I’m doing around the same color? It’s brown and it just needs to be freshen up a little darker.

  28. I saw on your list of things to do that you wanted to paint the concrete patio. The previous owners of our house painted the cement and it looks terrible now. It is all chipped and it is VERY slippery in the winter and when it is wet.

  29. I painted our front door burnt orange with a chocolate knocker and I love it!! All the other doors in our neighborhood are either white , black or brown and I wanted to stand out!!

  30. Hi Talitha,

    I love your door and the instructions were very helpful. I was wondering though what kind of foam roller you used. I have been using a foam roller for doors and cabinets and it makes it look nappy. I also tried to brush it, but you can see the brush marks so I went and bought Florentine that helps eliminate the brush marks and also the roller marks. I followed the directions and you can still see the brush marks. I have been racking my mind of how to fix the problem. Thanks Krista

  31. My front door is painted brown and its a fiberglass door and I don’t know what type of paint to use on the door, I used exterior paint but the paint is peeling off the door and the sun hits my door from about 12:00 until 7:00 in the summer months. What type of paint do you suggest that I use on my door? I would greatly appreciate your advice. Thank You in advance for your help.

  32. Suggestion: have a flat primer tinted to the same finish color. The flat covers much better than a semi gloss and you may get away with two coats.

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  34. Pro Tip: for this red (I’ve used it a bunch-LOVE IT) a grey primer will do wonders. 1 coat of grey primer, 2 coats of paint and you get the deep, beautiful red without extra work!

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  36. My door is now dark blue/gray. I want to change to red should I kilz first? If so white or gray kiltz? I bought Gumball Red at Lowe’s but looks more like Gumball Pink

  37. We are doing a new build and I am wondering how much the paint was for the door?
    We could order a door already painted red, but would have to pay an extra $250.
    Would it be cheaper to do it ourselves? Love your red!

    • The only cost of painting a door red would be for the paint and primer! I only needed a quart of paint and primer so the total was only $30! I hope that helps! Good luck!

  38. LOVE your red door! :D
    I have been wanting to paint our front door FOREVER!
    So you have inspired me to do it myself!!!
    I do have a question though…
    How did you prevent the red bleeding into the sides
    of the door? My door opens into our family room
    (row home in Wilmington, DE) & I would hate to
    see the sloppy sides everytime I open the door!
    I’ve used paint tape before for other projects, but I have
    discovered that paint does bleed under it!
    What did you do?

  39. Thank you so much for having these instructions on how to paint a door. My wife and I painted our door red, and it couldn’t have turned out beautifully without your how to. Thanks for taking the time to help others with your great detail.

  40. I really needed to see this post, I was having a heck of a time getting the door to look smooth, done with #2 coat, hoping #3 does the trick. My house is light grey, changed the shutters from Burgandy to plum and painting the front door yellow. It is going to be awesome!

  41. Hi Talitha!
    I have a question about your door project!
    Did you paint both sides of your door red or
    tape the sides of the door so that the red paint
    didn’t bleed/run?
    I live in a row home in the city & as soon as I
    walk into my house I’m in the family room.
    I wanted to paint the other side of my front door white!

    Thanks!
    Rebecca

    • Hi Rebecca! I only painted the front side of my door. I didn’t tape off the side, I just rolled to the edge. But you could definitely put tape on it. :) And I had no problems with bleeding. Hope that helps!

  42. Thank you for the information. I’m a single mom and have absolutely no talent for decorating etc. Your instructions are going to help me and my teens get it done right! I’m even excited about undertaking the project!

    Thanks again!

    Lorena

  43. I LOVE what you did to the door and the hardware, I am getting ready to paint out my front door too. But why didn’t paint the light fixture also?
    Great look anyway.

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  46. Another option instead of 7 coats of paint vs 2 coats of primer is a different color of primer. Using a dark primer would require less paint coats because you’d be covering over the correct color, not white.

  47. This looks great! I’m painting my front door soon. I’ve already picked my purple!
    Instead of painting our front porch we tiled it using ceramic tile. Only one other house in our neighborhood has that and I love it! We used the same tile on our back porch.

  48. I would use a decorative wrought iron piece on the right wall side of your door .. I’ve seen several at hobby stores or antique stores. I love them because the background shows through the design adding your house color to the piece. Thanks for posting. This is a great tutorial to keep for future use.

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  50. Help! I have tried six colors on my front door to go with my newly painted hundred year old salt box home in Seattle. I saw your red door on the Internet and I would love to know the color. The painters just finished painting the body of my home a deep grey. Do you share the color of your door with strangers.
    Thank you Judy Casy

  51. Mine is bright yellow. But didn’t do it myself. I took it to an auto detail place. They did it for $125! Saved me time, it looks amazing, and very evenly painted with no brush or roller marks.

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