Tips for How To Paint A Front Door

When we purchased our home back in June we knew one of the first projects we wanted to do was to paint our front door. The color of the door had faded over time and didn’t provide much curb appeal. The front door is the first impression of our home & we wanted our home to feel welcoming from the moment a guest rings the door bell. Nick and I both love the color blue and it’s present in other areas of our home, so we set out to find the perfect blue that would complement the exterior color of our home and provide instant curb appeal. After getting a few samples we settled on Hampton Surf by Valspar. Then we (not so) patiently waited for a cooler day to start our project! We are thrilled with the way it turned out and can’t believe that such a small change totally transformed the front of our home. Keep reading to see the before and after photos and tips for how to paint your front door! We’re already looking forward to sharing more home projects with you!

Supplies you will need: 

  • all-purpose cleaner
  • cleaning cloth
  • painter’s tape
  • sand paper
  • drop cloth or newspaper for floor
  • exterior paint & primer
  • paint brushes
  • paint tray or bucket

tips for painting your front door

MAKE SURE YOU DO IT ON A COOLER DAY | Because the door will have to remain open for most of the day, make sure you choose a day where it’s not too hot or cold. We started our project in the morning so that we would have plenty of time to allow for drying between coats. It also gave the door plenty of time to dry before closing it for the evening.

CLEAN YOUR DOOR BEFORE PAINTING | It’s important to clean your door very well before starting your paint project. Since it’s an exterior door there is plenty of build up of dust, debris, etc. on the door. We cleaned our door with an all-purpose cleaner first. I followed with a wet cloth and dried it with a towel before we began to paint. I also sanded a few spots on the door where there were imperfections.

DON’T FORGET THE PAINTER’S TAPE | We kept the door on the hinges while painting it (makes it so much easier!) so we used painter’s tape to cover the hinges. We took off all of the hardware since we will likely be switching it out soon & filled the holes with painters tape. If you aren’t planning to remove your hardware you can easily put tape over it to protect it.

USE AN EXTERIOR PAINT & PRIMER | We chose to use an exterior paint that had primer already in it for a few reasons. We weren’t sure what kind of paint was currently on the door. We wanted to prime the door to make sure the paint would stick to it properly. Having to prime adds additional time and steps to the project, so having a paint & primer combo easily saved an hour or more!

USE A TRAY OR BUCKET WHEN PAINTING | I was originally going to paint right out of the paint can but I could envision the mess if I accidentally spilled it (omg!) so I opted to paint from this handy paint bucket that my dad told me about! I purchased a liner for it so that I can continue to use this bucket for future paint projects.

PAINT STRATEGICALLY & QUICKLY | When doing some research on the best way to paint our front door I came across quite a few diagrams with the order to paint the front door. It proved to be extremely helpful. I’m sharing the order of how we did our front door below! We painted quickly and each took on different sections so that the paint wouldn’t start to dry or get sticky. Once it starts to dry it’s easier to clump and see brush strokes.

We ended up doing two coats to achieve the color that we wanted on the door. In between coats we waited about an hour and a half to allow the coat to dry. Since we were painting the door a darker color than it was we didn’t’ have to paint extra coats. If you’re going from dark to light, you may need an extra coat or two to fully cover the door.

Total project time: 4-6 hours (2 hours prepping & painting, 2+ hours drying)


step-by-step guide on how to paint your front door

Below is the exact order we painted our front door! I did quite a bit of research prior to painting to ensure that you wouldn’t be able to see paint strokes, etc. I created this step-by-step guide below in case you will be painting your door soon, too! It seems like a lot of steps, but it goes by quickly, promise! Be sure to paint in the direction of the grain as every door is different! 🙂 

What do you think?! We absolutely love the way our door turned out and it makes such a big difference! We added this monogrammed door knocker and it adds even more to the door!


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  1. Ashlen wrote:

    It looks so wonderful! I especially love the gold “W” accent.

    Posted 10.15.19 Reply
  2. rebecca piersol wrote:

    i LOVE the color that you chose!! these are great tips if I ever get tired of the color of ours!

    xx rebecca

    Posted 10.15.19 Reply
  3. Love the before and after. I needed this post, I have been meaning to update my door color for ages.


    Posted 10.15.19 Reply
  4. I am loving the step by step for the door! I have never painted my door before, so this would be a fun to give it a try!

    Posted 10.15.19 Reply
  5. Rachel wrote:

    I’m such a sucker for a navy front door and yours came out so good! I need to repaint the interior doors in my home ASAP and will definitely be following these tips.


    Posted 10.15.19 Reply
  6. Stephanie wrote:

    That guide is so dang helpful, I’m pinning this for my future home. Right now we’re in a townhome and can’t change our door color, but I hope one day I have the ability to do so! I love the color you chose for your door!

    Posted 10.16.19 Reply
  7. Laura Leigh wrote:

    This is super helpful! Thanks for putting this together lady and I LOVE how your front door turned out. We may be getting a new front door soon and will definitely be painting it – so I’ll be coming back to this post for reference for sure!

    xo Laura Leigh

    Posted 10.16.19 Reply
  8. Anna English wrote:

    Emily, this bold blue looks amazing! You guys did such a great job.

    Posted 10.16.19 Reply
  9. Carrington Barfield wrote:

    These are great tips! You did such a great job, it looks great. I love the accent letter! Xx.

    Posted 10.16.19 Reply
  10. Jamaria wrote:

    Omg this is soooo helpful! We need to paint our front door soon so I will definitely be saving this post to reference when we do! Xo

    Posted 10.17.19 Reply
  11. This made such a big impact for little money!! I’ve been thinking of doing ours!

    How 2 Wear It []

    Posted 10.17.19 Reply
  12. Sadie wrote:

    Your door is STUNNING. I’m seriously speechless. The deep blue with the gold “W” accent is gorgeous! We’re having a professional wood refinishing service paint our door next week and I’m totally sold on this color. Thank you sooo much for sharing this post!! Love it!!

    Posted 11.11.20 Reply
  13. Pam Ihle wrote:

    Love the color and I have plans to paint our door almost the same color.

    Posted 3.3.21 Reply
  14. Martin wrote:

    Really helpful advice Emily. Thanks very much for the guidance.

    Posted 7.15.21 Reply
  15. Jackie Wallace wrote:

    This turned out so amazing!!! In love with the color. You are making me want to paint our front door here in Boone, IA ASAP! We are doing some kitchen cabinet refinishing this week, but this is totally going on our to-do list for after that. Thanks for all the tips. Your front door looks amazing!

    Posted 9.8.21 Reply
  16. Qathy wrote:

    Thank you this looks so helpful! I’ll be painting my front door in a few weeks:)

    Posted 4.5.23 Reply
  17. Teesh Nics wrote:

    Love it! Don’t understand the pattern how to paint in that order but your beautiful

    Posted 6.9.23 Reply
  18. Marianne Fowler wrote:

    What do I do if I am painting over a stained door? That has lots of vertical scrolls?

    Posted 7.6.23 Reply

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