How to paint a door

Recently I shared with you our updated porch as part of the Lowes Creative Blogger “curb appeal” challenge.  As part of it, I finally had the courage to paint my door black, which I have wanted to do for a long time now.  Today I would like to share with you and show you… how to paint a door.  Several of you had questions about the paint and the tools we used so I am going to try and answer all of them here.



First off, I wanted to share a before picture with you so you can see the door before and after painting.  And yes…that is a Christmas wreath on my door…in May…(don’t judge…hehe)!

painted door 3  painted door before

My husband and I took a little trip to our Local Lowes store and talked to their paint department about the best paint for our front door.  With their recommendations we decided to go with an oil base paint for better durability and overall finish.  We chose the Rust-Olem brand in a satin black finish.

painted door 1  painted door

They also told us about Penetrol by Flood, which you can add to your paint which helps the paint not to dry so quickly which can help eliminate brush and roller marks.  This was really important to me as I wanted a nice smooth finish which can be hard sometimes when using a brush and a roller.  You could choose to spray your door with a paint sprayer but we don’t have one so that was not an option for us.

painted door 6

Let’s get started:

1.  Wipe down door and wipe off any grease marks or stains.

2.  Remove the door hardware.  This is optional, but your painting will be easier without them.  We took ours off since we were replacing our 35 year old hardware.  Think about drying time if you are removing your door hardware though as your house will be unsecured when the door handle is off and when you can put your hardware back on.

3.  Lightly sand over surface of the door and prime if the door has any imperfections or areas that may need some attention.  Also you will need to do this if you are painting latex paint over an oil base or vice versa.

image image

4.  Tape off any areas you don’t want to get paint on like door hinges, windows, trim and door hardware.

5.  Use good paint tools.  We love the Quali-Tech Ultra Smooth High Density Foam roller and the angled Purdy paint brushes.  I used the 2 inch size for my door.

6.  When you start the actual painting with the primer (if you are priming) and the paint, be sure to paint the door panels in the proper direction.  This will help with the overall smoothness in the final painted finish.

7.  I start painting the inside of the panels shown here in the red and the #1.  Paint in a circle in the direction of the arrows with your paint brush.  Be sure to paint slowly and watch for drips which can happen easily in these sections…especially the corners.  Then move on to the next panel until all the insides of the panels (the squares and rectangles) have been painted.

8.  Now quickly move on to painting the raised panels and the middle stripe of the door in blue marked with the #2.  I use the roller for these flat sections.  Roll them smoothly and make sure that where you end and pick up the roller that there is not a big thick line of paint.  Be sure to lightly roll this out so that there will not be a noticeable line when finished.

9.  Now roll the area horizontally between the top and bottom panels.  Be sure to following the direction of the arrows for the green section marked #3.

painted door 7

How To Paint a Door

10.  Now for the final section, you will need to paint around the entire outside of the door following the yellow arrows marked with a #4.  Be sure to paint vertically on the outside left and right sides and then horizontally on the top and bottom areas.

painted door 8

Your door will need to dry completely in between painting your different coats of paint.  We needed a total of three coats of paint for it to be the nice finish we had been wanting.  I made sure to paint the door when I could spend all day at home for a couple of days.  I painted the door first thing in the morning so that it had time to dry all day long before putting the dead bolt back on at night so we could lock it up.

painted door 9

Then we added the finishing touches with some nice new hardware from Lowe’s which included the new dead bolt and door handle and a matching kick plate.  I LOVE the extra touch the silver kick plate added to the overall look, plus it covered up some dings and dents that were in the bottom of our door.

painted door 5

I threw on some house numbers which I cut with my Silhouette CAMEO to finish it off.

painted black door

And…I finally put away the Christmas wreath.  I figured it was probably about time…don’t you? Ha!  I whipped up this other wreath with some stuff I already had on hand and will share with you how I did that in a later post.

painted door wreath

I feel like the color of someone’s front door can tell a lot about their personality.  What about you?  What color is your front door?  Is it the color you want it to be?  If you could paint it any color you wanted, what color would you paint your front door?



    • Jessica says

      We painted ours yellow this spring and I love it! We had to test a ton of colors because yellow can be tricky. We’he had a ton of compliments on it, do I say do it. It’s just paint so it’s easy to change.

      • Danielle says

        What yellow did you use? I have been thinking about doing yellow for some time now!! :)

  1. Nicole says

    I just bought doors from Lowes, they are already in the frame. Do you think this will be okay to paint without removing them from the frame?? Also, do you recommend I lay the door flat, or stand it up straight? I have to paint these within the next couple days, because they are being installed on the 22nd of June!

    • says

      If given a choice to lay the door flat or paint vertically I would for sure choose to lay it flat. For me it would be easier and would be a lot less prone for drips. Good Luck!

  2. Holly says

    Thanks for the how-to. We put new hardware on our front door last week which is a different shape than our old hardware. Looks like our builder put the hardware on and then painted the door. So…now we need to repaint. I am loving the black front door on your house. It looks fabulous!

  3. Melanie P. says

    It looks great!! I want to paint my door yellow! Where did you find the “H”? I’ve been looking for a “P” for a while now and haven’t found the perfect one!

  4. Kim says

    My husband recently painted our front door black and I love it! Love your new look too. Next we move on to painting the outside of the house. Can’t wait to see our final look later this summer.

  5. says

    I’ve been wanting to paint my door and shutters black so this post comes at the perfect time for me. I’ll be painting my door black on the outside, but white on the inside to match all my other indoor doors.

  6. Jenny Aubrey says

    This may be a silly question, but is that a metal or wood door? We bought a house in December, and I’ve been trying to talk my husband into painting the front door for months. I’m a little more adventurous than he is, so it’s been challenging. After a lot of decorating and such, I think I’ve talked him into letting me paint it an acid green color. Keep your fingers crossed! I’ve given up on my original color…PURPLE!

    • says

      Good Luck with your new color! Wish I was a little more adventerous myself! Black is about as crazy as I get LOL!! The door is metal.

      • Melody says

        I have a metal door and I happened upon these strong magnet wreath holders at Joanns. Strong magnet covered in plastic with a hook to hold the wreath. They held my wreath at Christmas without falling off. Just in case the over the door one doesn’t work with certain wreaths. Thanks for the post. I love the color of the paint, seems to dry a soft black, would you agree?

        • says

          Thanks so much for the tips!! And yes…I love the soft black color of the door. It is a more matted and soft black! :)

    • Jen says

      Purple is a GREAT front door color. We had a sage green house with a purple front door and now we moved after 17years and our door is an electric blue with a light grey house (very New England). I am in the mist of painting it purple. It’s like a tradition? But it added personality and pop with out too much dedication. I found the perfect purple/ mauve bedroom color! So sexy and modern without feeling cold. We are totally redoing every room in the house. Finishing bathroom cabinets and front door. Spraying all the hardware and refining what we had into different rooms. It’s bee super fun with Pinterest!

  7. says

    I won’t judge you for having a Christmas wreath on your front door in May…I still have my Christmas tree up! Not because I want to, but because life just has been too hectic for the last 5 months to take it down. It IS coming down tomorrow though…finally.

    If I could get the hubs to let me paint our front door, it would either be black or barn red. Love both. Now…to get the HOA’s approval, that’s completely another story. Oh well.

  8. says

    Thanks for the tips! We bought all new 6-panel doors for our entire house so we’ve been busy trying to paint them for months. It’s a lot of work!

  9. says

    Thanks for this. Our front door is still primed, I’m embarrassed to say. Luckily for us, a white front door looks fine on our house, but I want COLOR! I feel much more confident about paintinging it now.

  10. says

    Love this post! We bought our house house two years ago and I hate my ugly gray door. I have been wanting to paid it black, but lacked the courage to try. After reading this , I just might go for it!

  11. Virginia says

    Is this for a metal door? Our door is metal and painting the front door is on my to do list once the kids are back in school.

  12. Caroline says

    Does it have to match your brick I have just a beige door when we bought house and I want to paint my door the brick is kind ofdeepburgandy ,i could send a picture too

    • says

      No we did not. However, if you have a small spot or area where the paint drips you can do a little sanding to fix that between coats.

  13. carol jane says

    Hey Julia. Dont feel bad My front door ha shad primer only on it for 2 years now. LOL! I always have a problem picking out paint colors. I think i want a pretty blue on it. Maybe, Not sure as usual. I love the black door, but I dont think its what I personally like. Im more about beachy cottagey colors.

  14. Monica says

    Great job on the door! My question is about the odor. I just painted half of my door going out into the garage with the rustoleum door paint because our garage door is metal. The only problem is that the odor from the oil paint is all over the house even though I opened the windows and garage door to air it out. I noticed that you painted your entire inside and outside with the rustoleum paint as well and was wondering if the smell was just as over powering?

  15. Refunk Junk Chic says

    I have been wanting to paint my youngsters door black for sometime now! Thanks for sharing it’s absolutely beautiful!

  16. Refunk Junk Chic says

    Correction to my previous post it should say ” ugly green” door lol dang spell correct :-)

  17. Benet says

    I’m curious about the odor too. I am planning on doing the inside of the front door black but have a hard time with chemical odors and have a super small house

    • says

      It does have a strong paint odor. Even a few days after painting…so that might be something you need to think about.

  18. Wynter says

    Hi! Did you paint the inside too? Or leave it white? Also-did you do the edges where the door goes into the frame?

  19. Norma Jean says

    It looks beautiful. I have been wanting to paint my front door. I found the perfect color. It’s called Morning Glory (Blue). I hope mine looks half as nice as yours when finished!

  20. Marsha Hudgins says

    So glad I saw this! I’ve got 2 metal doors that are starting to get “rust”spots so I’ve wondered about painting them! Know I know I will be ASAP. Recovering from shoulder surgery so as soon as I can raise my arm lol…I’m going to get busy sanding! And black will most likely be my color to match window frames (also needing a paint job is my shutters which are white but want them black! Then again this may need to start white since porch rails/pillars are white. Regardless….I’m motivated now!

  21. P McNeal says

    What color black paint did you use? Also, what brand was the black paint? I love the way it turned out!

  22. Karin Manchack says

    How many hours did it take to dry between coats? Love it. Want my doors black also.

  23. Stacey says

    I love your door! We are looking for new doors. I currently have double (metal) doors but they’re pretty dated. I am torn over whether or not to do double doors again or 1 single door with glass side features like you have. My preference would be one door if I could figure out where to buy the side pieces to fill in the space. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for sharing, and…love the black door!

  24. Stacey says

    Hi Amy,

    Beautiful door and entry! We currently have double doors with no accent features, i.e., windows, etc. We are trying to decide on replacing with double doors (nice for getting furniture in and out of the house) or a single with side features like you have. Any thoughts? I would also love to know where you purchased your black chairs? Thanks again for sharing :)

  25. Mary says

    our door is black outside beacause HOA says its black! but what I was surprised about was….why did you paint the inside of your door black?…..usually you would paint the inside white or a color to go with the living area…..but black? just saying….

  26. says

    Your door looks perfect. I love black color. Your tips are veryyy helpful. In my opinion the most important thing is to clean precisely the door. If there is some dirt on it , it will make your project a disaster. Greetings!

  27. says

    I am new at painting doors. I just painted my two steel entry doors. The color I chose was royal blue. THe outside of my house is a steel gray blue. What color do I paint the door frame where the hinges and door handle catches are. Do I paint it to match the door or the outside of the house? Thanks for any help you can give me.


  1. […] Yes! No! Maybe? Let me know what you think! Should I just do the front door? Or go fot it and paint all the interior doors? And if I’ve inspired you to try it, here is a good tutorial about how to paint a door! […]

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