new front door colorI own a  couple of investment properties and I recently decided to change the color of the front door on one of the houses.

I write A LOT about front doors, so I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and paint it myself.

I figured, how hard could it be?


It wasn’t REALLY hard to do, but it definitely wasn’t as easy as I imagined!

First, I brought my paint chip fan-deck over to the house and to decide upon the color. The house is a taupe color, so I was thinking about a pumpkin-y, orange-y color. While I was there, I had my lovely tenant weigh in on the color. I offered up the pumpkin-y, orange-y selection and she very politely, but weakly said she liked it.

Sensing that I had not properly articulated my “vision”, I also threw in that my back up color was a marine blue. When I said that, her eyes lit up and she said, very enthusiastically, that she liked that color.

Since I only see the door on those occasions when I drive by the house and my tenant has to look at it every single day, I went with the marine blue. Keep your clients happy, right?!?

So, I set to painting!

Trying to minimize the “inconvenience factor” to the tenant and her family, I was hoping to get the door done in one day since it had to stay open to dry. Luckily, the door leads to a sun porch and not the main part of the house, but still no one wants their front door open all night.

I started by reading a simple yet thorough article by Kate from Centsational Style on I followed her steps, with exception of trying testing colors (more on that in a minute) and using a cotton ball saturated with alcohol to determine the type of paint. Since I already knew it was water based, I was confident in my paint choice.

I started by washing any grime off the door. This particular front door sits under a big red maple tree and the pollen and dust can collect, so I washed it down and let it dry.

Next, I lightly sanded to give the existing paint some “teeth” to grab and hold the new paint. Then I washed off the dust from sanding.

At that point, I was ready to get serious. I spread a drop cloth under the door. I taped off all the little windows and the door handle. I removed the big brass house number and saved it to take home to polish it up. You can see the actual door in the picture to the left. The taping is very time consuming with those types of windows!

Since I knew what type of paint I was dealing with, I didn’t bother with primer. Primer would have added to my drying time and, again, I was trying to minimize inconvenience to my tenant.

I painted the first coat on the door using a combination of small sponge roller and a cut-in brush. Since the windows were taped, it allowed me to be “less careful” when painting which was a bit of time saver. There have been articles written and pinterest pins pinned showing brushing direction and which spot on the door to paint first. Honestly, if you look at the door you can see what needs to be done and you should concentrate your neatest efforts on the most visible part of the door.

With the first coat on, I left it to dry several hours. Good thing I started early in the morning :-)

I came back later in the day and proceeded with the second coat using the exact same method. Again, I left it to dry.

I was hoping to come back a few hours later to remove the tape and replace the newly polished house number, but alas, drying time took longer than I expected. My tenant, is far more casual than I and sincerely did not care if I left the door open overnight since the inside front door was locked. So, that’s what we did.

I went back the next day and it still wasn’t “cured”, but at least I could remove the tape and replace the house number.

I also took a razor blade to the windows to remove any messy edges and then I washed all the windows.

More time consuming than I expected simply because of unexpected drying time. I’d also like to point out that it was a clear dry day and I still had drying time delays. So, if you are painting, keep in mind that things may not move along as fast as you’d like.

It was also more “physical” than I expected. Down on my hands and knees painting and twisting to get odd corners definitely required the need for some ibuprofen the next day 😉

In any event, it was done.

Now, cue the game show loser sound…wah, wah, wah!

I didn’t like the color as much as I had hoped! It wasn’t the effect I was hoping for.


I should have listened to Kate’s advice above and gotten samples before painting. I was so rushed so as to not inconvenience my tenant and, quite frankly, so cocky because I had written so much about door color in my other blog, that I skipped the most important step. Doh!

Anyway, I don’t love the door, but since the painting was a bit more effort than I had thought it would be, I decided to leave it. Now, every time I drive by it bugs me a little, but I suppose I can always change it again.

That’s the beauty of front door color, it can always change!

So, after having been through this process myself, here are some things I would offer up:

  • Read the painting how-to article above just to familiarize yourself with the whole process. Obviously some things will change given your type of door, but the article is a good basic primer.
  • Consider that timing may take more than a day. Do you have an interior door to lock overnight so you can leave your painted door open? If the answer is no, you may want to split the project into 2 or 3 days. Day 1 is prep, cleaning, taping. Day 2 is solely painting. Start very early in the day to ensure you have plenty of drying time. Consider moving your second coat to Day 3 if necessary just so you can close and lock your door at night.
  • If you do have to stretch your project over a few days, check your longer term weather forecast!
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, buy testing samples. There is nothing fun about cuing the game show loser sound!

If you decide to paint your door, send before/after pictures to me so I can share them on the blog!

Good luck!