Picking The Right Red Color & Painting Our Front Door

In this case, the fifth time was the charm. As in 5 coats later our front door looked fabulous, darling. In fact, the color is Valspar’s Fabulous Red and let’s just say the name isn’t an over-promise. Although if I were gonna do it all over again, I definitely would have primed over the existing black paint first. Check out my pathetic first coat:

But five thorough coats did the trick. Thank goodness I had some nice scenery to admire while I painted and painted (and painted). Check out our gorge flowering cherry tree in the front yard.

But back to the door. People may be wondering how we knew Fabulous Red was “the one”. Well, as soon as we held up the swatch next to our brick it was obvious. A bunch of our other red swatches looked too close in tone and intensity to the reddy-brown brick tone, and the last thing we wanted the front door to do was disappear into a sea of brick. So we went with the brightest, most dramatic lipstick red of the bunch. None other than Fabulous Red (in semi-gloss exterior paint for shine and durability). So for everyone who writes us asking if a brick house can sport a red door, the answer is “but of course… as long as it’s brighter and redder than your brick”. Check out our finished product:

Oh and look how purty a red door looks at dusk:

And we thought it might be helpful to share our exterior palate as a whole with you guys so here it is. To complement our all-brick facade we added tan trim (Valspar’s Lyndhurst Stone), some black paint on the shutters and door stoop (Glidden’s Dark Secret) and punched things up with a delish new red door (Valspar’s Fabulous Red):

Crisp, classic, and clean. Now if only our front walkway and landscaping felt the same way. Stick around to see a total front yard makeover as we attempt to capture the curb appeal that our little brick ranch deserves.


  1. Kathryn says

    Goodness gracious, I LOVE me a red door! It looks fabulous! We’re redoing our backyard this year, and I’m blogging about it, so I can’t WAIT to see what you guys do to your front yard!

  2. underwood-dc says

    Looks fantastic! I’ll be going from white to red…I wonder if it’ll need less than five coats? Probably not! I can’t wait.

  3. YoungHouseLove says

    Underwood- You’ll probably need less than five coats but don’t be scared if the paint looks pinkish at first. On top of white it’ll definitely tend to do that for the first few coats. Just remember that paint darkens as it dries and keep going until it looks like the swatch- hopefully in about three coats if you’re lucky. Or you can speed up the process by getting a tinted primer as they suggest right on the Fabulous Red swatch. I guess I’m just a rebel. Either that or a glutton for punishment.

    Beth- We’re dyyyyyying to change the blog header but are trying to be patient. The plan is to fix the path and the landscaping and then put up the new image. Stay tuned to see if we can wait that long…


  4. KK says

    Knob, knob.

    Who’s there?

    Door knocker.

    Door knocker, who?

    Don’t you think a door knocker and new knob would be fab on your fresh new door?

  5. YoungHouseLove says

    Mmmm, thanks for the yummy house number link KK. And the knob knob joke was also much appreciated. I wholeheartedly agree about the knocker and new knob. As for the house numbers, we have some clean nickel ones on both sides of our mailbox. I thought about putting them on the door or on the posts of the porch but am a little scared to go number crazy since they already appear in two places. Maybe I’ll mess around in photoshop to see what looks good. Pics to come when I pimp my door.


    p.s. when we moved into our house the door was brown and had what looked like a bird house glued to the middle of the door and it had a little compartment in the box that you could open and close in case you wanted to “leave a note”- WEIRD!!!

  6. says

    I must admit I had my doubts about a red door with the red brick, but it looks amazing! Clearly you were thoughtful when choosing a shade, and it paid off!

  7. says

    The door came out great! I’ve had “paint front door red” on my husbands TO DO list for months now. lol I love, love, love the picture of your cherry tree. I’m sick with jealousy!

  8. Sherry says

    Whahoo underwood-dc! That is one fabulous front door. Thanks so much for sharing your pics!


  9. Kevin says

    Thanks for the heads up on how many coats it may take. Can you share any tips on how you prepped the door and applied the paint? Scuff sand first, prime, take it off the hinges, brush or roller? Inquiring minds would love to know before we attempt our own transformation this spring!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Kevin,

      We actually could have painted the door in a lot fewer coats if we primed it first, but I figured we’d get a nice deep red color with the black paint behind it (as opposed to a potentially pinky-red door thanks to some white primer behind it. Of course a red tinted primer would be the best move (for fewer coats) but the ol’ five coats over the black background worked too, it just took a bit longer. There was no sanding or door removal, and we just used a wide brush to apply the paint (although a roller would also work- and might even make for a faster/smoother application). It’s really just a simple little project, although you’ll want to be careful around the hinges and the door knob to keep things looking crisp and clean- you can always tape them off for easy avoidance. Hope it helps! Happy spring door sprucing…


  10. Kim says

    I love red doors. Our house is a yellow one with black shutters. Do you think the door would look good red? or should we go with black?

    • says

      Great question Kim! Hmm, yellow and red and black might be a bit McDonalds (the red and yellow might be a bit clashy) but going with a black door isn’t as much fun as going with some punch of color. How about an eggplant color (which looks amazing with yellow and black) or even a gorgeous gray tone (you could go light like a cloud or deep like a slate grey tone). Hope it helps!


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