Best Painting Advice: How to Paint a Front Door

painting 101: We Share our Best Painting Advice to Create a front porch masterpiece Season After Season

Learn our best painting advice & tips, plus a step by step process on how to paint a front door without removing it. How do you choose a color? What paint should you use? We answer all your questions right here.

So, you’re thinking about painting your front door. Whether this is out of necessity or just because you need a change, I have some helpful tips you need to know before your paint your front door. Since I’ve become somewhat of an expert on this topic, I thought I would share my best painting advice from what I’ve learned along the way.

As many of you probably already know, I have a slight obsession with front doors, front porches, and in particular my front door. If you’ve been following along for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve painted my front door not once, twice or even three times, but a total of four times this past year alone. And it has been transformed for various seasons and holidays countless times.

One Year, One Door, Four Colors

I decided I would embrace my obsession and take a moment to share some of the highlights from a year in the life of my front door. I will also be sharing my best painting tips and advice for repainting or painting a front door. Here is the simple step by step process I use and some additional information I have researched over the years. Also, be sure to check out our professional painting tips where Julie shares her kitchen cabinet painting experience and an interview with her professional painters.

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Best Painting Advice I Learned Along the Way

paint your front door yellow for spring or summer with these awesome painting tips

How to Paint A Front Door

My Best Painting Advice: Choosing your Color and Paint

Before you get ready to paint your front door, you need to do the MOST essential thing and that is: choose your paint.

Most people spend a ton of time deciding which color. Obviously, this is important.

  • I recommend scrolling Instagram and searching the hashtag #frontdoor or #frontdoorpaint #frontdoorcolor or #doorsofIG. There are a gazillion different versions of searchable hashtags, but you get the idea.
  • Another good idea is to drive around your local neighborhoods paying special attention to homes that are your color. No matter how much you like a door color, if you are comparing it to a house of a different color it’s not a fair example of what your house will look like. I know this seems obvious, but it’s important, so I am saying it here. Find a house that matches your house color closely and then find a front door color that appeals to you.

Before we get too far along in my front door painting story, take a look at where I started.

Black Door & Trim, Fall 2017

paint your front door black for any season



How to repaint your front door. How to choose colors, what paint to use. All your questions answered! Decorating with pumpkins

Black Door & Trim, Christmas 2017

Best tips for painting How to choose colors, what paint to use. All your questions answered! Creating your best Christmas door decor.

The original black door and trim came with the house. And I loved it. Let’s be honest, there is nothing classier or more elegant that a black door. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of the black trim and door. It’s classic and goes with every season. I just needed a change. Unfortunately, I don’t have the name of the paint, but I plan to paint it back to black and will choose a very deep pure black in a semi-gloss or enamel.

How to choose colors, what paint to use. All your questions answered! How to decorate your front door for Christmas

Best Painting Advice: Get Help from Brands

  • You can also utilize the multitude of paint brand websites like Behr, Sherwin-Williams, Dunn-Edwards, or Benjamin Moore to access tons of ideas and photo examples. This is especially helpful when you are trying to find a good color combination with your existing house color. It can be challenging to see how your new door color is going to look ahead of time. These brands have lots of interactive tools to help you choose so you don’t have to do as much guess work.


  • Having trouble deciding on a color? According to the design experts, the most popular front door colors right now are black, white, grey, wood, blue, red and yellow. If you want to be a little trendier, try a bright yellow, pink or turquoise.


  • If you are still hesitating over which color will work, try taping some paint chips up on your door. Every time you come in and out take a minute to examine and reflect how each color makes you feel. If you can narrow it down to two or three colors, try buying small samples which you could then paint small swatches of on the door. Seeing the color in real light beyond the paint chip is the best way to see the actual color and how it will look before fully committing.

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  • And lastly, don’t forget to look at the color different times during the day to see how the light can affect and change your perspective.

This is my current door color which I painted for the spring season. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to my front door story and how I went from the original black to my yellow door of today.

Color is Lemon Twist by Sherwin-Williams.

All your front door painting questions answered!

Best Painting Advice: What to Keep in Mind as You Decide on your Color

  • Do you like to decorate seasonally like I do? How will this color go with your Christmas, spring, summer, fall decor?
  • Do you have a lot of flowering bushes or shrubs? How will this color work with your existing foliage?
  • If you don’t want to paint over in a few months, how will the color grow on you and feel six months from now? Is it trendy and/or is it something that you will get sick of? If so, are you prepared to paint again?
  • How will your family (i.e. your husband) feel about the color? This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. See my pink door pictured below. It doesn’t matter that in some lights it hardly looked pink at all and many people thought it looked white. That wasn’t the point. My husband knew it was pink and that was all that mattered. After I painted it, he made me promise to repaint it within a couple of months. Luckily that was my plan all along.

Color is Angels Kiss by Behr.

best painting advice plus front door color inspiration



pink front door perfect for summer or spring decor

My Best Painting Advice: Choosing the Type of Paint

This is also important. When you go to the paint store, they are going to try to sell you the most expensive quality of paint. Some companies have special paint made just for doors. That’s because front doors tend to get a lot of exposure to the elements. They also are the focus of a lot of attention. The most important question to ask yourself is this:

  • How often do you want to or plan to paint your door?
  • Do you want to change out the color or do you want to paint it once and have it done?
  • If you want it to last, I recommend getting the highest quality door paint. Period.
  • If, like me, you only need the paint to last a few months before painting it again, you don’t have to splurge on the most expensive.
  • I always choose my paint based on coverage. I want to decrease the amount of work by ensuring I won’t have to paint more than two to three coats.

Here are some different brands I have tried that I have been happy with:

  • Behr Premium Plus Ultra – Exterior Semi-Gloss Enamel (paint and primer in one)
  • Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Smooth Enamel Finish for Trim & Doors – Satin Finish

Here is what my door looked like last fall. I love how the slate blue complements the orange of the pumpkins.

Color is Hamilton Blue by Benjamin Moore.

How to choose the best paint color for your front door, what paint to use. All your questions answered!

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create a beautiful fall front porch with pumpkins, blue front door and mums


fall front porch with blue door and fall mums

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

You will need the following:

  • Primer – I use Zinsser Smart Prime (for all projects)
  • Paint
  • Painters Tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Paint brush, mini roller and/or foam brushes
  • Small handheld bucket or rolling pan depending on your choice of tools
  • Small cloth for drips

Step 2: Prep

Prep work is the not-so-fun part of the job, but it can save you lots of regret and unnecessary work after if you skimp on this step.

No, you do not have to remove your door to paint it. 

  • This is especially helpful if you don’t have a storm door and removing your front door would leave your home and family exposed to the elements (and by this, I mean anyone wandering by, insects and who knows what).
  • Painting with your door hanging or deciding to remove it is optional.
  • The same goes for removing hardware.
  • If you are taking your door down, I would recommend removing hardware.
  • Since I rely on the security provided by my front door, I leave it hanging and with the hardware intact. I simply do my best to paint around it.

Here is my door painted red for Christmas this past December (2018).

Color is Dutch Tulip by Benjamin Moore.

All your painting questions answered! Create a welcoming Christmas entry.


red christmas door paint with evergreens and christmas lab posing

Best Painting Advice:

  • You will want to make sure your ground surface is completely covered with a drop cloth, both inside your house and outside (you may need to do some of the painting with the door open).
  • Tape off the edges to protect trim work.
  • Tape off windows unless you prefer to use a scrapper.
  • I usually tape the windows and scrape the imperfections later.

Step 3: Sand

The first step to repainting your door is to sand it. The amount of sanding required will depend on several things:

  • How many coats of paint do you have on there already?
  • How much weathering do you have in the form of chipping paint?
  • Are there any visible drips or texture brush strokes from previous coats of paint?
  • If your door is in good shape and doesn’t have any signs of wear and tear, then you can opt for a very light sanding.

For my purposes, I didn’t have to remove any imperfections, so I only had to do a very light sanding.

Best Painting Advice:

Professional painters recommend using very fine sandpaper (220 or higher). If you are just trying to create a fresh surface to start your next coat of paint and you don’t have imperfections to remove, pay attention to this. Using coarse sandpaper can actually do more harm than good because you might create streaks in your painting surface.

However, if you have damage that you need to take care of, you may want to start with a handheld electric sander and then make your way gradually to finer sandpaper, ending with a 220-grit. This will take away any streaks and added texture created by the sandpaper.

Step 4: Wipe Down Your Door

Next, you will want to wipe down your door with a damp cloth to remove any dirt, debris and dust caused by the sandpaper. Make sure your surface is completely dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Apply Primer

I like to put on one coat of primer. This is especially important if you AREN’T repainting every few months. One good coat of primer will ensure that your next coat of paint sticks well and doesn’t chip over the long run.

Here are more photos of my red door all styled up last Christmas (2018).

red door for christmas warmly welcomes guests into my holiday home


Best tips for painting plus step by step process for how to repaint your front door. How to choose colors, what paint to use. All your questions answered!



Best tips for painting plus create Christmas joy with red door and decor

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Step 6: Paint

My Best Painting Advice:

  • Whether you are more comfortable using a brush or mini roller is up to you.
  • I have used both and sometimes use a combination of the two.
  • I believe that both can work but you can also have challenges with texture and creating a smooth coverage with either tool.
  • That’s why I say it is up to you.
  • Some people swear by a brush (use an angled one to get into the corners) and some love a roller.
  • I have finally mastered the mini roller and really like it.
  • I make sure I get a very firm foam roller and am careful not to over-coat the roller with too much paint.
  • If you do, it will leave a sticky texture.
  • You can turn the roller on its side to get into the molding and edges and pull it across the surface. This tends to work well.
  • I use a mini foam brush to come back over any drips of missed spots.
  • You can also do this with a brush, but I have trouble getting the coverage I want and avoiding brush strokes.
  • Each method has its challenges, so it really is up to you which technique you are able to master.

Step 7: Painting Multiple Coats

You will likely have to paint two, three or even four coats of paint (not including primer) in order to create a beautiful finish. Leave plenty of time for each coat of paint to dry in between coats. When I painted my black trim white, I had to paint five coats. Just be prepared. Setting your expectations in the beginning can help you avoid getting frustrated.

Step 8: Clean Up & Decorate

More Best Painting Advice Resources Are Available on Our Blog:

Looking for more information? Be sure to check out an invaluable resource for learning how to paint.

For even more painting help, feel free to check out our expert tips to paint like a pro.

Red isn’t just for Christmas. Look how cute my red door is all dressed up for Valentine’s Day.

Create the most festive holiday door decor for Valentines day with a red door and balloons.

Here are some additional questions I have been asked in the past and my best painting advice:

How much paint do I need for a door?

You can easily complete your door with a quart of high-quality paint such as the examples above. I always like to have extra, so I don’t stress out. But I’ve finally relaxed and realized that unless I want to have tons of extra cans of paint lying around, a quart is plenty and you will still have a bit left over for touch-ups.

What kind of paint should I use if my door is metal?

Primer for front door: It’s a good idea to use an exterior grade, oil-based primer.

Paint for front door: An Enamel Oil-based paint like Rust-oleum Protective Enamel or equivalent is recommended.

What is the best front door paint finish to use?

The best finish for a front door is gloss or semi-gloss. The same goes for exterior trim. Semigloss paint gives a smoother surface than lower sheen finishes and gives that extra degree of shine providing more of a visual impact. Glossy paints will also stand up better to nicks or scrapes compared to flat or eggshell paints.

How to Make Red Work for Spring:

I added multi-colored flowers that matched the bright intensity of the red to make my door look the part no matter what the season.

How to choose the best paint colors, what paint to use. All your questions answered! Add spring details to your front porch.


how to paint your front door red for spring

When is the best time to paint?

If your door is showing signs of wear, this would be a good time to paint. Or, if you are simply in need of a change this is also a great time to paint. Other than that, look for a day when the weather forecast calls for a clear sunny day with reasonable temps to allow you to be outside comfortably and conducive to allowing paint to dry.

How long do I really have to wait between coats?

The good news is that if you are using latex paint, you can apply your second coat as early as two hours later. A two to four hour wait time is recommended depending on how heavily you apply the paint. This is awesome especially if you want to take down your door and put it back up the same day. You could feasibly squeeze in two coats, possibly even three if you were dedicated. However, oil-based paint requires 24 hours in between coats.

Note: Drying time can be affected by the weather. Hotter, drier climates will dry much faster. You can use the touch test. If your surface doesn’t feel tacky anymore after the two-hour mark you can feel free to paint your next coat.

Spring 2019 – Yellow Door & White Trim

I knew I wanted to change things up for spring. So, I took my time deciding on the color by polling my followers on Instagram. I spent time narrowing down the color to three favorites and then spent time picking exact paint hues for each possible color. Then, I considered each color option with how it would look against the existing gray of my home and how it would look with the stonework. At last, I chose my color. You know it’s a winning choice when your neighbors each take the time to tell you how much they like it.


Decorate your front door with a bright bold paint color and fresh colorful flowers this spring.

I ushered in spring with a bright assortment of flowers. Enough to bring a mood boost to those dark and rainy days. But once the rain had stopped, I was ready for a fresh, clean take on summer. Here is how I created a less is more decor for my front porch and door with clean lines, new modern planters and ferns. Even my husband is loving the fresh new look.

How to pick the perfect fresh color for your front door this season.



Decorate your front door with ferns for summer decor

Best Painting Advice: First Impressions

You know what they say, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Whether you want to change out your front door every season like me or you just want your house to look its best, painting your front door is a great place to start. I hope my helpful painting tips make the job a bit easier. And I hope you are inspired by the many looks of my front porch to create and recreate your own beautiful first impression.

Happy Painting!

jodie & julie


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Best Painting Advice: How to Paint Your Front Door
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Best Painting Advice: How to Paint Your Front Door
Best tips for painting plus step by step process for how to repaint your front door. How to choose colors, what paint to use. All your questions answered!
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The Design Twins
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  1. Genah says:

    You are so creative. My door is like the blue you once had.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Genah, Oh very fun! We loved that blue color. Thank you for the kind compliment. We are so happy you came to our blog and enjoyed. And we sure appreciate hearing from you. Blessings, Jodie & Julie

  2. Miproma says:

    Thanks, friend 🙂 one day, perhaps!cheap essay

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      So happy you enjoyed the post! Absolutely, we hope you are inspired to get motivated to do this to your own home! All thee best, Jodie & Julie

  3. As always I always love your style. I think I loved every color on that beautiful door. I think I’m on my third door color in 3 years

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thanks for the sweet words on this post. So glad you enjoyed reading about our door color journey and that you are in a similar boat. Sometimes, you just have to switch it up. Hope to hear from you again soon!
      Lots of love,
      Jodie and Julie

  4. Crystal says:

    I’ve had so many colors on my door it’s absurd. Finally painted it black and love it! search for the perfect paint color over. Boom! Out of all your door colors I love the black the best. (big surprise) it highlights that fabulous entry tile and can be dressed up or down, like my fave pair of skinny jeans 🙂 the yellow is happy, the red is festive, the blue screams summer and the white is a lovely shade. The black is classic. Thoroughly enjoyed this post.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you for giving this post some love and for the sweet comments. We are so glad you enjoyed this post and hope you will come back for more. Black is so sleek and stylish, you can’t really go wrong! Hope to hear from you again soon.
      Lots of love,
      Jodie and Julie

  5. Deanna says:

    Thank you for this article. I have steel doors and have never painted them and want to. Hopefully next spring, as it is getting too cool here now. Great hints. My house is white with gray trim and I am hoping to find a nice pumpkin color. Thanks again.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Deanna, We love the idea of pumpkin for your door color! Rich, original and just sounds yummy! We’re so happy you found this post helpful. I’ve become a bit of an expert with painting my front door. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. I should be fairly good at it by now. Good luck with your project. Will you share the finished project with us? Maybe tag us or DM on Instagram so we get to see. Blessings, Jodie & Julie

  6. Pam says:

    Love all your door ideas!!! I am in the process of repainting my front door and your tips were great!!!I do have a question though. What color have you painted the back side of the door?
    Thank you lovely ladies.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hello Pam, Thank you for your sweet reply. We’re so glad you are enjoying our blog! Jodie says that the interior of her front door is now a shade of grey called Little Lamb by Fusion Mineral Paint. We sure hope you continue to enjoy our blog posts. Sending hugs, Julie & Jodie

  7. Tricia says:

    I just have a brief question. Could you use chalk paint on your front door.? We have a full glass door in front of the door I want to paint. I want to paint my front door black but I wasn’t sure if chalk paint would be a good idea. I have left over black chalk paint from another project.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Tricia,
      Jodie says if it were her she would not use chalk paint on her front door. It is not well-suited for a front door. She recommends investing in a smooth-finish paint. Choose a paint that will hold up to sun, goes on smoothly and cleanly as well. Good luck. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  8. Megan Adler says:

    I’ve been thinking about painting my front door to give my house a bit of an edge. My sister painted her front door and I love how it makes her house stand out from the others. I’ll have to go to the paint store and see which color is better for my house.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Megan, That’s exactly it. And instead of painting the entire house just painting the all-important front door you can give your house fresh appeal. Hope you love your new front door. And we hope you continue to visit and enjoy our blog. All the best, Julie & Jodie

  9. It is a wonderful article stating the best pai9nting advice: how to paint a front door, which can be the best option as per your need. I like how you have researched and presented these exact points so clearly.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi there,
      We are so pleased you found this article helpful. This means so much to us. Hope to hear from you again in the near future.
      Lots of love,
      Jodie & Julie

  10. Kara says:

    Do you mind sharing the Paint color for your house? Also what siding you used and what stone facing? Thank you so much

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Unfortunately I don’t have any of this information. When we bought the house these elements were already on the house. We didn’t build the house ourselves. Sorry I’m not able to help with this information. ~ Jodie

  11. […] of paint when I want to re-paint my front door. You can see Jodie’s complete instructions here on how to paint a front door. Jodie has also incorporated pumpkins, mums, and lanterns in her […]

  12. Harriet Mushett says:

    I have a yellow house with white trim. I want a red door. will it look ok.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Harriet,
      The scenario you describe could look good. It actually depends on the specific shades of yellow & red. There are hundreds of shades of these colors so getting them across the color wheel should be your goal. Take your paint to a paint store, preferably a paint specialist store where they assist in color selection. And use their expertise to help you choose. It could look lovely. Good luck, Julie & Jodie

  13. A very useful guide on painting the front door. This guide helps me a lot.

    Thanks for the share.

  14. Thank you for all of your great tips! We are in the process of painting our front door as I type this! We are painting it black!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Awesome Sandra, Well this post is so well timed for you. We really hope our tips were helpful for your project. Let us know how it turns out. You can always message us directly on Instagram as well @julie.thedesigntwins @jodie.thedesigntwins. I’m sure it will be beautiful. Best, Julie & Jodie

  15. Portella says:

    Thank you for sharing such informative guide! Sure many will find it helpful!

  16. Great Article! Thank you for sharing this very informative post, and looking forward to the latest one.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you! All of experience combined with research helped us provide all this information. We hope it is useful for many readers.

  17. Darcy James says:

    Іt’s really a cool and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you just shared this helpful information about (Keyword) with us. Thank you for sharing

  18. The Design Twins, I can’t thank you enough for compiling such a comprehensive collection of the best painting advice. As an aspiring artist, I’m always on the lookout for tips and tricks to improve my skills and enhance my artistic process. Your article has exceeded my expectations and become a go-to resource for inspiration.

  19. I absolutely love this article! Painting a front door can make such a huge difference in the overall appearance of a home. The step-by-step process and helpful tips provided here are invaluable for anyone looking to tackle this project. Choosing the right color can be daunting, but the advice given on color selection is spot on. I also appreciate the recommendation for the type of paint to use. It’s great to know that the author has firsthand experience and has tried different colors throughout the year. This blog post is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to spruce up their front door. Well done!

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