5 Tips For Painting A Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal

The front door is officially painted and I love it so much! Thousands of you weighed in on what our new paint color should be, and over 90% of you chose either navy or Robin’s egg blue (my personal faves, too).

I immediately went out and bought paint samples in those two colors, and then asked you guys once again to help me narrow it down. The winning color ended up being Robin’s Egg Blue (82% of you opted for the lighter blue over the navy), and so that’s what I went with. It’s always amazing to me how a paint job can transform a space and give it a totally fresh look! This was a pretty easy project, and totally elevated our home’s curb appeal.

5 Tips For Painting A Front Door

must read tips for painting a front door

I shared the whole painting project on Instagram, and was surprised at how many of you requested a post about painting a front door. So, today I’m here to fulfill that promise and provide anyone else looking to tackle this project with my 5 best tips for painting a front door!

1. Buy Samples

buying paint samples to paint a front door

Paint chips are great when you’re just starting to narrow down your options. However, you’ll always have a better idea of what you want after actually painting some samples on the wall (or door, in this case). There are so many factors that play into how that specific color will “read” on your wall and putting paint samples up is really the best way to figure it out.

painting samples on front door

You’ll want to check out how the paint samples look on your front door next to your brick, siding, landscaping, in direct sunlight, shade, etc. Once I had the front door colors narrowed down, I checked out these colors on Pinterest to see how they looked in other people’s spaces.

My Paint Samples

blue paint samples for a front door

I wasn’t surprised to find out that most of the colors look completely different than what I saw on Pinterest. Not necessarily in a bad way, just different. The colors I tested were (from left to right):

  • Benjamin Moore New York State of Mind
  • Benjamin Moore Newbury
  • Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray
  • Benjamin Moore Swept Away
  • Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue
  • Benjamin Moore Stratton Blue (the winner)

To keep track of the different colors, I numbered the sample cans 1-6, and then painted them on the door in order from left to right. I loved elements of each color, and really wanted the navy to be the winner. But, you guys agreed that the navy was too intense for our dark entryway (it looked too similar to the old paint color). So, the lighter blue option was the winner. I would have never known this if it weren’t for the samples!

2. Prep Work

Once you identify what color you’re painting your front door, it’s time to prep it to paint! Typically, the first thing you’d do with a painting project would be to apply your painter’s tape. However, for this project, as long as you have a relatively steady hand, you can probably skip this step! Amazing, right?! I would recommend putting down a drop cloth in front of the door, so that you don’t have to worry about accidental drips from your paint tray or anything like that!

When it comes to painting an exterior door, your first step is to rough up the door a little bit! You don’t need to sand the entire door down to the bare wood; but, you want to make sure it’s enough that the new paint color really adheres.

I used this power sander to get the job done. However, if a power sander isn’t available to you, you could also grab some medium-grit sandpaper and use a little bit of muscle! Before you get that first coat on, make sure to go over the door with a tack cloth so your final product has a smooth finish. Then, I followed it up with two coats of paint. Our new color is Benjamin Moore’s Stratton Blue, in a satin finish. I love the look of our bold front door color and think it gives the exterior of our house a fresh look!

3. Invest In A Door Wedge

I learned this trick from my dad who is a professional painter and I’m so glad I did because this tiny trick is a game changer when painting your front door.

Everyone needs a door wedge! When you’re painting the front of the door, it’s important that the door stays steady. This door wedge is an easy way to make sure you won’t smudge your beautiful new paint color! Simply put the door wedge behind the door, so that it will stay in the position that you want it in.

When you’re all done painting, you don’t want the door to accidentally shut and smudge your fresh coat of paint. A door wedge in front of the door will help avoid that mess.

4. Get the Edges Right

You guys know that the inside of the door is black and so when I started painting the exterior blue, people messaged us wondering how I knew which side of the door I should paint which color. Great question! I wasn’t exactly sure until I consulted the pro… thanks dad!

how to figure out painting the edges of a front door

He said that the rule of thumb for the edges of the door is to paint the side that is opening into the room the color of the interior. Then, the side that is opening to the outside of the room will be the exterior color. That makes sense, right? In our case, the side that was opening toward the outside was never painted at all.

painting the edges of a front door

We gave that two coats of the exterior color, Stratton Blue.

tips for painting a two-tone front door

The interior color of the door is Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black.

So, on the edge of the door that was opening into the house, we gave that two coats of the Tricorn Black.

5. Add Accessories That Fit Your Style

Benjamin Moore Stratton Blue Front Door Makeover

And my last tip for painting a front door is to think outside the box when it comes to door accessories! I substituted our old pinecone door knocker because it just didn’t feel like our style. When I saw this bee door knocker instead, I knew it was perfect! Matt refers to our house as “the beehive” because his favorite “B’s” live there (Bridget and Ben). So a bee door knocker seemed like the perfect opportunity to inject our own personality.

bee door knocker on a blue front door

Your home may not warrant a bee door-knocker, but be sure to choose a door knob, a door knocker, or even address numbers (you can DIY your own using this tutorial) that fit your style. So often these details are overlooked, yet they are the things that instantly improve your home’s curb appeal.

Before & After

The front door has definitely come a long way since we bought this house last September. I always loved the porthole window, but now the entire thing feels a lot more “us”. Plus, I love that we were able to salvage the old door, yet add a pop of color and some personality. A total win-win and the perfect project to motivate me to get going on lots more outdoor projects!

Thank You!

Thank you guys so much for weighing and helping me make this decision. I hope this encourages you to consider painting your home’s front door! Be on the lookout for all our outside updates coming soon.

A Few More Painted Door Projects

Since B’s front door makeover, we’ve tackled another exterior door paint project, garage doors, and many interior doors, too!

Painting a metal garage door
How to Paint a Metal Door
Painting an exterior door the color navy
10 Tips for Painting an Exterior Door
Painting a garage door black
How to Paint a Garage Door
Painting interior doors white
A Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Interior Doors

Now, get that paint brush out because this is one of the many DIY projects anyone can do! Just think how happy you’ll be when you see that fresh coat of paint as you pull into your house at the end of the day!


Other Paint Color Resources

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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