Curb Appeal: Paint Your Front Door!

One thing that will certainly cheer up your porch is a fresh coat of paint on the front door.  Last year I painted our front door with a shade of pale gray to complement the yellow stucco exterior, but there’s no need to choose a neutral if you don’t want to.  Be brave, be bold, choose green, yellow, red, blue, black, anything goes!  

How do you paint your front door?  It’s easy!  Painting your front door is a weekend project that’s sure to increase the curb appeal of your home and refresh the appearance of your residence with minimal effort.

green front door bhg


citrine front door bhg


There are two ways to paint a front door, the first is by removing it from the doorframe or even painting a new door before it’s installed.  The second is by painting a door in place. 

I prefer the latter because if you live in the residence, you need to be able to close and lock your front door at night!  However, if you’re working with a front door in an unoccupied residence, you certainly can remove it and prime/paint it at your leisure.

Here are the basic steps for painting your front door in place:

1.   Select a few paint samples and purchase testers in the colors you like.  Paint large test swatches on paper, cardboard, or poster board and allow it to dry.  Examine the colors suspended on the front door in different light to decide which shade looks best in both morning and afternoon.

2.  Determine if the paint on the front door is oil or water based paint with this simple trick:  soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub it across the existing paint.  If the paint comes off, it’s latex, if it doesn’t, then it’s an oil based paint.  It’s important to know for Step 4 and 5!

3.  Remove the doorknob or tape it off and the knocker or other hardware with painter’s tape. 

4.  If your door is stained wood, or previously finished with oil based paint, it will need a coat of primer before your paint.   Coat your front door with one coat of quality adhesion primer.   Note that water based primers and paints allow for expansion and contraction outside among the elements far better than oil based paint, so work with water based primers and water based latex or enamel paints designed for outdoor use.

5.  If your door was previously painted with latex paint, degloss it first with a deglossing product to prepare it for another layer of water based paint.  Use a quality angled 1 ½ or 2” paintbrush to apply the latex or enamel paint to your front door, using thin coats to avoid drips and also speed up the drying process.  Some paints cover in two coats, often it takes three, but it’s best to work with thinner coats so that the layers dry quickly. 

6.  If you encounter minimal brush strokes or drips between coats, use a fine grit sanding wedge to knock down those edges.  After two (or perhaps three) coats of outdoor latex or enamel paint, step back and admire your beautiful new front door!


orange entry door


Painting your front door isn’t difficult, and what a difference it makes in just a day!  Have you changed the color of your front door? What color did you choose? 



8 Responses to “ Curb Appeal: Paint Your Front Door! ”

  1. what is the color of the door in the first picture? love it!

  2. Can you give me the name of the color on the last door? I love it.

  3. Our door is stained a dark color that matches our woodwork. If I paint a color on the outside, where do I stop the new paint color? Do I just do the outside face or wrap around the door edges? I’m thinking I need to leave the inside with the normal wood stain, as most of the colors I would choose don’t blend with the interior. Does that matter?

  4. So funny. I was just thinking of doing a blog post about colorful front doors. We painted our front door a dark green last year and I love it. It really adds to the house !

  5. Hi Astor and Lisa, I don’t have the exact colors for you but I highly recommend grabbing swatches in a few shades from those colors you like – it always changes depending on the undertones and natural light – experiment before you select your favorite – but I love the idea of an apple green or pumpkin orange front door!

  6. You need to get started with a perfectly smooth area to start with perfectly painted surfaces or woodwork.

  7. What is the color of the first door? The avocado green one??

  8. I now have a fiberglass wood look front door on my house. It is stained a medium wood color both on the inside and outside of the door. The trim and base board inside my house is white. I am thinking of painting the outside of the front door a pretty blue color.
    My question is what do I do with the inside of the door. Can I leave it stained the medium wood color? I would not want to paint it blue like I’m thinking of for the outside, I don’t think that would look good as the door is part of my living room. I could paint it white to match the molding but I do prefer the wood stain on the inside. Would it look bad to have a door painted blue on the outside but stained a wood color on the inside with white molding? This is a big project so I don’t want to get it wrong and have to live with it not looking right.

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