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How to Paint an Exterior Door for Instant Curb Appeal

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Learn how to paint exterior doors without removing them. Painting your front door is a quick way to improve your curb appeal without a lot of effort. 

Instantly make your home more inviting with a little paint and a few hours.

You might also like this post on painting shutters.

pin image - yellow front door

In our last home, we lived in a neighborhood with an HOA. We were only allowed to use 1 of 8 approved front door colors, which we still had to get permission to change a month in advance.

When we moved, I vowed to paint my front door whatever color I wanted, when I wanted. Well, in 3 years, I’ve only painted it once and it was a bit of a fail.

Today, I’m sharing some tips on how to paint an exterior door to add instant curb appeal. In less than a day, your house will look updated!

I keep remarking that it looks like a new house! Although my daughter keeps saying that it looks like a bumblebee. 😉

Nothing was wrong with the existing color (gray), but I really wanted to try out blue. So I painted my doors and garage blue and didn’t love it. It just felt lackluster to me.

Our home is surrounded by trees, so those dark blue doors just felt like black holes. Plus, we have 3 doors on the front of our house. This is great for a lazy girl like me, but a bit confusing for a focal point.

If you have a door with glass panes, be sure to check out this post on the easy way to paint French doors! It works for all windows!

cape cod house before painting shutters and front door

This post is sponsored by DecoArt. DecoArt provided me with paint for this project, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I would never recommend products that I wouldn’t buy or use on my own.

Did you know that you can buy front door paint at your craft store? DecoArt makes a line of paint for doors and shutters called Curb Appeal.

It comes in 21 colors, which is great for people who have trouble picking out paint colors. Instead of 5 million shades to pick through at the hardware store, you choose from colors that work beautifully for doors and shutters. I found this process far less daunting for picking out paint.

Plus, you are able to buy in a smaller quantity, which I really like. DecoArt Curb Appeal is easy to find at your local Joann or Michael’s craft stores!

blue front door

My door wasn’t in the best shape and the dark color called more attention to this, rather than disguising it. I removed the brass panel at the bottom when we first moved it because a cardinal was terrorizing us by knocking on it constantly.

I also removed the door knocker and promptly lost all of the pieces. (Our door is being replaced next month, so I’m not fixing these spots.) However, you will see that painting the door does a great job of disguising the ugly spots!

Painting an Exterior Door FAQs

What kind of paint do you use to paint a door?

I used DecoArt Curb Appeal paint for my front door. It’s a fade-resistant acrylic paint that is easy to use. Latex is another good option, but make sure that you use exterior paint that can handle harsh weather without fading. Interior paint doesn’t hold up as well outside. 

Do you paint the inside of your front door?

I love a painted interior door! Mine are currently painted a medium gray tone because it adds interest but hides dirt as well. Now that my walls are white, I’m considering repainting them with a nice aqua color. 

Can you paint a door without removing it?

Yes! I’ve never removed a door to paint it, unless it needs other work, like sanding down the edges to close better. Just be sure to paint at a time when it’s okay to leave your door cracked for a few hours while the paint is drying. 

How to Paint an Exterior Door

Supplies Needed

This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

supplies for painting front door
  1. The first step for how to paint an exterior door is to start with a clean door. I used a broom to knock off all of the dirt and cobwebs.
  2. Then, I washed it with a wet rag. Remove any hardware (I left mine because it will be replaced soon.) Once the door is dry, it’s ready to be painted.
  3. If your door handle is nice, I highly recommend removing it before painting your door. No amount of taping it off protects the handle from paint. (I left mine on in these photos because it was a junky door handle, but when I redid it for the new door, I removed the handle first.)
  4. Painting an exterior door is very similar to painting an interior door. You follow the same steps and paint the recessed areas first.How to paint an exterior door for instant curb appeal. The power of paint is amazing! #curbappeal
  5. Then you go back and paint the raised portions in the panels.How to paint an exterior door for instant curb appeal. The power of paint is amazing! #curbappeal
  6. Then the rest of the door, vertical parts first, then horizontal. (For full instructions, see this post on painting interior doors.) Make sure you leave the door open while painting. How to paint an exterior door for instant curb appeal. The power of paint is amazing! #curbappeal
  7. Repeat in the same order after 1-2 hours of letting the paint dry.How to paint an exterior door for instant curb appeal. The power of paint is amazing! #curbappeal

Bonus Tips for How to Paint an Exterior Door

Call attention to your door with a bright color!

I chose Victorian Yellow after searching on Pinterest for houses with gray siding. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration. Just search for house exteriors similar to your color.

Style doesn’t really matter for this; you’re just looking for colors that work well together. Or throw caution to the wind and paint it pink because you love pink!

If you’re thinking about a whole house color scheme, go bold for the door, neutral for the shutters, and white for the garage doors. You want ONE focal point, not 10.

Besides black ALWAYS looks amazing on shutters. I’m considering painting the sunroom exterior (on the left) black to make it disappear a bit more.

Also, excuse the yard. We had several trees removed and put in a drainage pipe, so the front yard is trying its hardest to grow grass again. 

cape cod home with yellow front door and black shutters

Consider primer if your door is dark. 

My door needed 3 coats of paint since I was painting yellow over dark blue. I thought about priming the door beforehand but chose not to.

In the end, it might take more paint to cover dark colors. In all of my painting experience, warm colors like yellow are harder to paint with anyways. (However, I used the black paint and it covered in almost 1 coat!)

close up of paint over blue painted door

Pour the paint into another container.

The paint is very thick. I poured mine into a handy bucket to make painting easier since a brush won’t fit into the jar. I love the HANDy pail because it has a little magnet on the side to hold the brush when not in use.

Use an angled brush.

For interior doors, I normally use a small foam roller. I used an angled brush for this entire door per instructions. Even with a paintbrush, it took less than 30 minutes.

Let your paint dry completely between coats. 

While my paint coats were drying, I also painted my shutters black (a detailed post on that is coming soon.) Like I said earlier, the black covered in almost 1 coat, which was amazing.

yellow painted front door

My Thoughts on Deco Art Curb Appeal 

I love how shiny the paint is. It is a gloss paint, which is notoriously hard to work with, but it went on so much smoother than other gloss paints. It self-leveled pretty well and cleaned up nicely with water, just like normal latex paint. If I accidentally brushed against an already painted part, it didn’t leave a mark!

I was very impressed and loved using this paint. I used it on my shutters as well and spoiler alert! It made me love this paint even more.

I highly recommend this paint and will use it again. When our new door is installed, I plan on repainting the new door with this paint as well.

I was able to update our home’s curb appeal in an afternoon. The color is absolutely perfect and makes me smile every time I come home. It really made my old beat-up door look like a million dollars. I’m thrilled with the results!

Now that you know how to paint an exterior door, you too can change the look of your home in only a few hours!

yellow painted front door with wreath

Pin for Later!

How to paint an exterior door for instant curb appeal. The power of paint is amazing! #curbappeal

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  1. I love this and I had no idea about that brand of paint for doors! I’m hoping to paint ours next year and I’ll definitely look for that brand. Great tips and your curb appeal looks fabulous!

  2. Love the yellow – it is so bright amd inviting! We have been thinking about changing up our door and garage – you have me brainstorming bright colors now!

  3. Funny how much difference a bright cheerful painted door makes to the curb appeal of your home. It made a really big difference to the front of your home, it all looks cheerful and bright.

    1. I used less than half a bottle for the door. We ended up buying a new front door and I painted it as well. There’s still about 1/4 bottle left.

    1. Thanks! The inside of the door is painted a medium gray shade that matches all of my other interior doors. I like gray because it hides a lot of the dirt around the door handle. 😉

    1. Hi Sharon,
      According to the manufacturer, this paint works on metal too. I haven’t tested it myself, but I’ll add it to my to-do list to try it out.

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