How To Paint Your Front Door

We’re back as promised with the whole front door shebang. First, here’s what we started with:

Yup, it was an old maroon storm door with three issues: 1) the grids didn’t match up with the six paneled door behind it, 2) it was always jamming, and 3) it didn’t latch closed very well, so it would bang open in a storm.

It was nothing but a nuisance to us, so we opted to go storm-doorless (just like we chose to do in our first house) since we didn’t use it once in eight whole months (we have a screen/storm door on the side of the house that we occasionally use along with screen doors in the living room and sunroom that we use a lot more often). It’s definitely not a choice that everyone would make, but we’re psyched to go storm-door-less so we can appreciate our awesome six-paneled solid wood door that was hiding behind it:

So off came all the hardware that held our slammy-jammy storm door in place. Then all we needed to do was spackle those holes and use some exterior paint to touch up the trim (thank goodness the previous owners left that in the basement for us).

Oh but before we did any spackling we got to the fun part: picking the paint color. We held up a ton of options in all colors of the rainbow (plum, turquoise, navy, lime green, and beyond), but kept coming back to a happy yellow color. Here are the final four contenders (they look pretty similar in this pic but they varied slightly by how much white or orange they had in them). After looking at them in all types of light (morning sun, afternoon shade, artificial porch light at night, etc) we ended up choosing the top one: Full Sun EB1-1 by Valspar’s Eddie Bauer Home collection.

But removing the screen door and spackling & painting the trim wasn’t the only prep task we took on. We also decided that our awesome original door knocker (which was rusting and peeling) could use some love.

So we carefully removed it with the hope of bringing it back to its former glory and reinstalling it on our bright yellow door when we were finished painting.

Then we sanded the paint around those areas, just to get everything nice and smooth.

We also opted to remove the rusting brass plate on the bottom of the door and spackle and sand those holes. We didn’t have one in our first house and prefer the uninterrupted look of one big boldly colored wood door (but it’s definitely another one of those personal preference things like nixing a storm door). Oh and we also took off our door handle and lock too – since we had hopes of sprucing them up while they were removed like the door knocker.

And now for a shot of sunshine in a can:

We mentioned that we chose Full Sun EB1-1 by Valspar’s Eddie Bauer Home collection as “the one.” So we talked to the paint pro at Lowe’s about what exterior primer + paint she would recommend (sadly none of which are no-VOC yet). She recommended Valspar’s Duramax since it has a built-in primer and is formulated to be extra durable since it’s exposed to the elements outside. So we had her color match our Full Sun paint chip to the Valspar Duramax stuff and grabbed a quart of it in semi-gloss finish for around $15.

Oh but before we applied a single coat we used a liquid deglosser (Next Liquid Deglosser by Crown since it’s non-flammable, biodegradable, and low-VOC) to remove any oil, grease, or other paint-adhesion-saboteurs (I’ve never typed that word, and I have to admit I liked it). Basically it’s a shortcut when you don’t feel like sanding something you’re about to paint (albeit not as thorough, but usually good enough to get ‘er done). You do definitely want to sand any areas that aren’t smooth before deglossing though (like the nail holes from the brass plate and other places we removed hardware or spackled) since liquid deglossers don’t smooth things, they just remove residue that might mess with paint adhesion.

Then it was time for coat one of our yellow primer + paint, applied with a small foam roller (to cut down on brush strokes) and a 2″ angled brush (to get into the frames of the six paneled door). Of course one coat didn’t do the trick, but for yellow paint going over deep maroon it was actually a pretty impressive showing for just one thin coat:

And four thin and even coats later (yes, there I go with the “thin and even” thing again), honey was looking miiiighty fine:

As in, I couldn’t stop staring at her and smiling. So glad we chose such a happy color to wake up our drab brick and cream wood-sidinged exterior. And it looks just as cute from the inside as it does from the outside:

Mmm, glossy yellowy goodness. It came out really smoothly, partially I think due to using good exterior paint, and partially due to those thin and even coats that were carefully applied with a small foam roller and high quality 2″ angled brush. Not globbing it on (and waiting for each coat to dry before moving onto the next paper thin one) is the key to no visible brush strokes when things dry.

Oh yeah, and you might notice the hardware is all sorts of spruced up. We’ll be back with a dedicated hardware-upgrade post full of photos and instructions when it comes to that part of the process (there are too many pics and not enough time to squeeze that in here).

In the meantime, here’s the door from outside (I couldn’t completely close it for pics because it was still drying – but if you paint something in the morning, by evening it should be all cured up and ready to close).

Isn’t our porch happier without the old broken maroon screen door + dark hidden front door combo?

Shucks, it just makes me giddy. And John loves it too. Oh happy day.

So there it is. A front door makeover that involved:

  1. checking out swatches taped on the door at all times of day (to ensure nothing would change from something we love in morning sunlight to something we hate in evening porch light)
  2. removing the screen door and spackling/sanding/painting those holes left in the door surround
  3. removing the hardware and sanding those areas to smooth them before painting
  4. permanently removing a rusted brass plate at the bottom of the door and spackling/sanding those holes
  5. thoroughly deglossing the entire door
  6. refurbishing the hardware (we’ll be back with all those details for ya soon)
  7. applying four thin and even coats of exterior primer + paint in semi-gloss for a nice shiny finish
  8. reattaching the hardware when the paint was dry enough (but not completely closing the door until evening, so it can fully cure)

Woot. Love it. As for the budget breakdown, whoop, here it is: one quart of Valspar Duramax paint in semi-gloss from Lowe’s: $15. Das it. Oh and if someone didn’t have spackle and a deglosser on hand those might be around $4 each on top of the cost of a quart of paint. We still have tons of paint leftover bee tee dubs, so a quart for a front door should definitely do it – even if you’re painting both sides of it (we left the back of ours white like our interior doors).

Have any of you recently painted your front door? Any plans to if you haven’t? Is it crazy that this is the fourth time I’ve painted a door in five years (and the second time I’ve gone with a happy yellow color)? It’s just so dang cheerful. Here’s hoping it spurs us on when it comes to about a million other exterior upgrades that we want slash need to tackle (including the possibility of painting the cream siding around the door, and even trying something with the brick exterior down the line). I guess time will tell where we’ll end up with that stuff. But you know we’ll keep you posted…

Update: There were a bunch of requests for some wider shots from the curb, so here they are. Remember that nearly everything else in the pics besides the yellow door might be on our change-that list down the line (so it’s all a work in progress)…

… especially the big barricade o’ bushes that makes the door nearly invisible from certain angles…

Wouldn’t the power to move bushes with the point of a finger be an awesome superpower? Methinks I’d pick that over flying and reading minds.


  1. Patti says

    So fun! My new abode has soft grey painted brick outside, and a BRIGHT blue front door that pops like crazy. I love it so much, I swear it was the detail that gave me the love-at-first-sight feeling when house hunting :)

  2. Pam C says

    I painted our front door red (about 17 years ago) and it was the wrong red. I hated that red for about 7 years before I painted it a cream color to match the trim on the porch. I think it was my worst paint job ever. Now I’m motivated to re-do it. We have new deadbolt lock and door knobs (due to a rash of burglaries in our little patch of paradise) and they’re going to get painted black (as soon as you tell me how to do it!). Didn’t think I’d like your door painted yellow – but I do! Good job!

  3. says

    You have inspired me to update our front door. It’s been needing it for YEARS but we are big ole procrastinators. I luuuuuurrrrrvvvveeeee it!

  4. says

    Love the color, love the finish! Perfect as usual! Our front door was painted recently and it looks awful compared to this. Notice I didn’t say that ‘I painted the door’? It was a professional, but now I’m thinking that ‘I’ may have to re-do it. You’ve inspired me. We went with a deep red (our house is green, so yellow wouldn’t go), but just the description of the strokes and such makes me want to start over. Thanks!

  5. Margaret says

    It looks so great!! I want to paint my door in the worst way. Do you think it would be weird to paint on of those newer white metalish doors with the oval glass in the middle? they are a staple at lowes and homedepot.


    • Jen says

      We have a metal door with the half circle of glass at the top. It was originally painted teal (by the people before us). We painted it white two years ago (had a storm door, but it held up nice) and just recently re-painted it. It seems to be doing fine. We didn’t do any prep work when painting in white, but I don’t know if they did anything when painting it the original teal.

  6. Ingrida says

    The door looks fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration, I am our front door done this weekend. I love yellow, but I think the navy would look best on our light brown brick.

  7. Kristy says

    Looking forward to your post about refurbishing the hardware… I’ve been wanting to change out our brass door knob & deadbolt for a while, but buying new and having them keyed is just so expensive. Can’t wait to find out what you did!

  8. says

    The color is beautiful! I’m planning on painting my shed doors which I can see from my kitchen window. They are currently white – I planned on panting them the trim color (kinda brown) – but now I’m thinking of going a little bolder.
    Love that yellow!

  9. Kay Gervais says

    Saboteur is a great word. Sabot is a kind of wooden shoe. The mythology being unhappy workers using shoes to clog (ha, another shoe) up the machinery. Love the cheery yellow door. I’m leaning toward teal to cheer up my bland entryway, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten — musing about teal.

  10. Tammy says

    Love the door. We just did ours in a fun plum color. I wanted lime green, but the plum was wild enough for the neighborhood. I think Im talked about as the crazy neighbor with all the $#*^ kids. Hahaha. I did use a couple of lime green planters on either side though. My door still makes me smile when I drive up

  11. Sarah says

    I love it. I million-times love it. What a gorgeous contrast of happy sunshine door and dark hardware. I’m looking forward to that post too.

  12. Kristin says

    I painted my front door just this weekend. But I painted the INSIDE of the door, to add some color. It’s now a beautiful deep turquoise (teal?) called “Safe Harbor” by Olympic. Isn’t that a great name for the entrance to a home? I had narrowed it down to several shades, but the name of this one took it to the top of the list.
    I wish I’d known about the small foam roller trick. But at least I knew to get no-VOC paint! Thanks, y’all.

    And I’m sure you’ve heard this a bajillion times, Sherry, but I saw “Dina’s Party” on HGTV last night… I was a little freaked out at her resemblance to someone I “know.”

  13. says

    So what did you drill? You mentioned in the first post that you did some drilling but here it looks like you just filled in holes rather than making any new ones.

    The yellow looks great as does the refreshed hardware. I’m hoping to remove the hardware from my glass storm door this weekend and paint them to save some cash.

  14. says

    I didn’t see it asked yet, but do you have plans for that storm door?! I’m sure you do (and will be excited to see). Hang on to it, bc you will find something on pinterest to do with it!!! I LOVE IT!! It’s such a great door!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *