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The Lazy Girl’s Guide on How to Paint Shutters

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Learn how to paint shutters and easily improve your home’s curb appeal. This easy DIY tutorial will instantly make your home look more inviting.

Curb appeal updates can make such a difference and are usually simple, like painting a door, adding a fun doormat or changing out your doorbell.  

pin image - Learn how to paint vinyl shutters.

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Do your shutters make you shudder? I know mine did. I had fantasies of ripping them off and throwing them away.

However, when I went to remove them, I learned that the siding was faded so it looked different under the shutters, so painting them was my only solution.

I originally had plans to make new shutters out of wood. But you know, life happens and I still had those crappy vinyl shutters that I hated so much.

I’m happy to announce that I made my exterior shutters look good without a lot of work or money!

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Painting Vinyl Shutters FAQ

Can you paint shutters without taking them down?

There are easy ways to do things and hard ways. I almost always prefer the easy way. Most tutorials will tell you to remove the shutters.

Using an angled brush makes it easy to get around the edges without hitting the siding. You can also use painter’s tape.

What color to paint shutters?

You can paint your shutters any color, but keep a few things in mind.

What color is your home? You don’t want the shutter color to look horrible with your house color. If in doubt, look on Pinterest for inspiration. Keep your search simple, like “gray house exterior” or “brick exterior.”

No matter what color your house is, black is classic, which is why I chose to paint my vinyl shutters black.

I want my front door to stand out (it’s bright yellow) and the shutters to be a supporting detail. If your front door is wood, go for color. Just think about all of the other colors of your home.

There is one color to probably avoid: red. Red seems to fade faster than any other color.

I like to watercolor paint in my spare time and I’m a bit obsessed with learning with paint pigments. In watercolor paint, most red pigments are not lightfast (meaning that they fade in the sunlight.)

Since pigments are used in everything, my theory is that it’s also true for house paint.

So unless you really love red, avoid it.

How much paint do I need?

A quart of paint should be enough for most homes. If you have an excessive amount of shutters or you’re drastically changing the color, then buy a gallon.  

What kind of paint should be used on shutters?

Latex exterior paint works best for shutters. Outdoor paint is formulated to not fade as much.

How to Paint Shutters

Supplies Needed

The paint I originally used is not available anymore. I recommend Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black instead.

Note: Take extra caution while working on your shutters. I had several wasps fly out from under my shutters.

Cape Cod house before picture

Clean Your Shutters

  1. Start by cleaning off your vinyl shutters. I used a broom to remove cobwebs and dirt, followed by wiping them down with a rag.
    Clean your shutters

How to Paint Shutters with a Brush

  1. Start by painting the recessed parts of the vinyl shutter (just like a door.) 

    Pouring the paint into a handy pail makes it easy to paint, especially when climbing up and down a stepladder.

    I painted the lower portions before going back with a stepladder for the upper portions.Start painting the inside of the shutters first.
  2. Painted the raised panels in the center of the shutters, before continuing onto the outer rails.painting shutters with a brush
  3. As I said, I did not remove the shutters or tape them off. This is why an angled brush is so handy. I was able to cut in and get those edges without touching the siding.

Use painter’s tape if you feel less confident about your cutting-in skills. Otherwise, just paint slowly and let the angled brush do the work.

(If you accidentally get paint on the siding or trim, wipe it away. If you see it after it dries, it can be removed with rubbing alcohol!)

Paint a Second Coat of Paint

  1. Although the coverage on this paint was amazing, a 2nd coat was needed. Just repeat the steps above, making sure you let the paint dry between coats.

    From far away, it looked amazing. But I gave it another coat anyways. 
    close up of first coat of paint

My shutters looked old and cheap before, but with a new paint job, they look way better.

I love the black paint so much. It gives my house a classic, updated look.

Updated painted vinyl shutters on light gray siding
The light makes the shutters look weird in the photos, but they look nice and shiny in person.

This is the kind of project that made me wonder why it had taken me so long. The amount of work compared to the payoff in curb appeal made this project very worth it.

Painting the shutters and the door instantly updated my home.

I can’t stop smiling when I look at the changes!

How to Paint a Front Door

Whole house update with painted vinyl shutters and painted front door.

I am so in love with these black shutters!!

painted black shutters

How have these painted shutters held up?

Added July 2018

I painted my shutters about 9 months ago and they still look great. There are no chips, no scratches, and no fading.

I live in Maryland, so they have survived freezing temps, snow, crazy, endless rainstorms, and high summer temps.

Updated curb appeal picture with yellow front door and black shutters

July 2019

They still look great! I’m so glad I took the time to paint them! It has been worth the effort!

March 2021

They still look great! Even after a crazy winter and a super hot summer last year.

July 2021

We sold this house and moved to Florida. When we left, they still looked amazing.

yellow front door with plaid door mat

Pin for Later!

how to paint vinyl shutters

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    1. Hi Cindy, I painted 8 shutters and used about 3/4 of the bottle. I would buy 2 just in case, so that you have plenty for touch up.

  1. This is JUST what I was looking for – thank you! We just bought a pale grey house (in NoVa) with only very slightly darker grey shutters and I already want to rip them off. This is precisely the DIY help I needed. Our door is dark wood but I too am thinking black (or maybe navy). So excited I don’t have to pull them down! (Because you just KNOW that would have required 17 more trips to the hardware store for SOMETHING!)

    1. I have a brick home with dull light tan shutters on them and we are preparing it to get ready to sell it and I know that the shutters need to be painter. Do you feel the black would look good with this brick as well. It isn’t just red brick, it has a lot of. Browns mixed in as well. It’s my next big project for me on the outside of the noise. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also thinking of painting my door,

      1. Black is always a good idea and looks great with everything. Black is a great choice for the door too. Good luck with the sale. I hear it’s a great time for it!

  2. I have a cream colored house with black shutters. I want to paint my door a pretty color. Do you think the door and shutters should match?

    1. They *can* match, but they don’t have to. I love a bright, colorful door because it draws the eye to the front door. I’ve also seen colorful shutters with a black or wood door. It’s a matter of preference. (Personally, my windows are ugly, so I don’t want to draw any attention to them.)

    2. I am so interested in painting my shutters . At first I was thinking about buying a new wood shutters but I realized it’s cheaper to paint . The thing is my shutters are black . I wanted to paint it more wood color is it possible ?

      1. I’ve never done it, but I’ve seen tutorials where people use gel stain over white paint to get a wood look. The tutorials are usually for garage doors, but the technique is the same.

  3. I live in Maryland too 🙂 if it can withstand our crazy weather it’s def a good product! Thanks

  4. The description says this is for wood and metal … my shutters are vinyl (pretty sure you said yours are too). Are you saying this same paint adheres great on Vinyl also?

  5. The description says this is for wood and metal … my shutters are vinyl (pretty sure you said yours are too). Are you saying this same paint adheres great on Vinyl also?

    1. Hi Amy, yes the paint works great on vinyl shutters. I painted mine 2 years ago and they still look amazing. The paint is made for outdoor use, so I never hesitated. I still highly recommend this paint.

  6. I have a manufactured home with vinyl exterior doors. Can the same paint be used for this project. I would love to have a red door and refresh my shutters in black.

  7. My vinyl siding is a cappuccino color. I was thinking of black or chocolate brown paint for the wood shutters. Any suggestions?

    1. There was a tiny gap between the siding and the shutter, so I used an angled brush and got as close as I could. You can tape the edges if you feel more comfortable with that. I probably left the tops and bottoms unpainted because they will never be seen.

  8. Hi from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.👋 Did you have any problems with warping?
    I read that painting a lighter vinyl a darker color can cause warping from absorbing heat. My shutters are cranberry and I want to paint them dark grey.

    1. Hi there,
      So far, no warping. I painted my shutters a few years ago now. They were a light gray before. Cranberry and dark gray are pretty similar tonally, so I would go for it. I hated how my shutters looked, so it was a risk I was willing to take. Hope that helps!

  9. I was wondering if it has to be the Curb Appeal product specifically? Could you just use the DecoArt acrylic? I cant find the Curb Appeal anywhere. So disappointed.

  10. I am so happy I found this!! Can you please tell me what color paint you have on yourdoor??? Loving that pop of yellow!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      The door is painted in DecoArt Curb Appeal paint in Victorian Yellow. I haven’t seen this paint in stores lately, but they still sell it on the DecoArt website and Amazon.

  11. I hit your link for the paint. The bottle says acrylic on it. Has the paint changed? I thought you said use outdoor latex if not this kind. I think I will have to because they are sold out. My main question is how are your shutters holding up July 2023?

    1. It looks like the paint was discontinued by the company. It was a special formulation that was more similar to latex than acrylic paint. We sold the house about 2 years ago and at that time, it still looked great. I painted them in 2017 and we sold the house in 2021. Use exterior house paint. It will work great.

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