How To WOW and Welcome Guests with a Front Door Makeover

Stop Avoiding the Front Door & Design an Entrance You ACTUALLY Want to Walk Through in One Weekend! 

Your front door should be welcoming to guests while providing the curb appeal that showcases your style! See how I flipped our front door to give it a clean, high-end look for less than the price of a new door!

Front Door Makeover

The Story:

From the time I moved into this little house three years ago, I can probably count on my hands the number of times I used my front door to enter my home. In fact, the only time I seem to open it is to retrieve Amazon packages or to welcome a guest who hasn’t heard of the “sorry you had to stand on our gross porch; we use the back door at this house” rule.

In all honesty, I usually go out of my way to avoid my front door. It was painted a hideous red color (which the previous owner was obsessed with – or it was on sale), the used-to-be-brass-but-now-I-can’t-even-tell-they’re-metal knobs stuck and the door itself was hard to open and close because of poor sealing. The paint was layered atop at least 3 other colors and was thick and drippy in many places. It was screaming for a makeover, and I decided that I had an uninterrupted weekend to see what I could do.

Our old red door had thick layers of paint, brass knobs that had lost their shine, and a broken knocker. Gross!

The Process:

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how I did my front door makeover:

1.  Assess the Situation

Even before you grab your tools and brush, first take a look at your “subject” and get an idea of what needs to be done. Identify the material of the door and any problem areas you might encounter. Here are my conclusions from my initial assessment:

  • The door is coated with several layers of paint but will be difficult to strip. Could I paint over this?
  • There are several areas where the paint is rough or there are drips and bumps. I will need to sand these.
  • The knobs and other hardware were not masked off when painted last (or ever), so I will need to remove them and prep the area surrounding them.
  • The window frames are a mess. I will need to remove them to get a smooth coat of paint.

2. Gather Your Materials

For this front door makeover, I needed the following:

  • Screwdriver, Hammer, Sandpaper (As needed to remove hardware and prep the surface.
  • Primer – I used KILZ Hide-All Premium, because I didn’t want any red peeking through, and I wanted the smoothest surface I could get before applying color.
  • Paint & Paint Tray – I chose Sherwin-Wiliams WEATHERGUARD exterior paint because this door gets a lot of sun and rain. The paint is UV and water resistant, and it also resists mold, mildew, and algae growth. My color of choice was Blue Midnight by HGTV Home for Sherwin-Williams in a Semi-Gloss Finish. I chose semi-gloss because I wanted some shine, but more importantly, the glossiness provides some durability in the Virginia humidity, and it’s easy to clean.
  • Foam Roller(s) – I used 4″ dense foam rollers that we used to do our kitchen cabinets to ensure a smooth finish
  • Trim Brush– I chose the Zibra Polyester Trim Brush that has angled bristles for the corners and panels on my door.
  • Hammer, Nail, Screwdriver, and Paint Stick. The basic essentials for my painting adventures!

3. Remove Door Hardware and Prepare your Surface

If you’re working in a dusty, debris-prone area, removing your door may be the best option for you. I chose to leave my on the hinges for this project.

Removing the hardware is easy, provided you use the right tools and keep everything organized. My original plan was to paint all of the hardware, so I set it aside to work with later.

Front Door Hardware, set aside for prep and painting later.

After removing all the hardware, turn your attention to prepping the surface for priming. This is extremely important because without a clean surface, the paint will not adhere properly and all your hard work will be for nothing.

These are my general steps for prep-work:

  1. Clean the surface.
  2. Sand any rough spots
  3. Scrape away any bumps
  4. I usually wipe down the surface with Mineral Spirits to make sure it’s clean and free from dust. Some people prefer TSP, but I don’t care too much for the extra step of mixing it with water.

Priming your Front Door

Not every paint job requires primer, but as a general rule, a primer should be used in the following situations:

  • Your new paint color is much lighter than the older one
  • Your surface is bare or stained (this is for a wood door, especially)
  • You are covering latex paint with oil paint, or vice-versa.

I wanted to be 100% sure that my red nightmare was eradicated, so I chose to prime the surface. I used KILZ Premium primer, which I love for its coverage and stain-hiding properties. It also helps block out the “someone else’s house” smell if you prime your walls with it. (You know that smell. Ugh.)

For this particular project, it took 3 very light coats to cover the door completely. Because my door is paneled, I used this tutorial on  How to Paint Doors The Professional Way from Pretty Handy Girl. Basically, start by painting the panels, then work on vertical sections, then the horizontal sections, finally painting the perimeter.

Each coat of primer takes one hour to dry to the touch, so be sure to factor that into your day’s schedule. I worked on a few other projects or watched a TV episode in between coats.

Painting your Front Door

I let the final coat of primer dry overnight, and the next day I began painting. After ensuring that everything was dry, I went through the following steps:

  1. Gather your materials
  2. READ THE DIRECTIONS ON THE PAINT! Amazingly, many mistakes can be avoided by reading those pesky directions!
  3. Open the paint can and punch drainage holes in the rim using a nail.  (A trick that blew my mind! See the image below)
  4. Stir, Stir, Stir, and Stir some more. Even if you JUST got back from the paint store. STIR YOUR PAINT, PEOPLE!
  5. Pour the paint into the tray so that any drips don’t cover the directions! (Most paint cans are bilingual, so you can always pour over the ‘other’ directions.)
  6. Load your roller and paint in the same order as the primer: panels, interior vertical, horizontal, perimeter. Smooth out any drips and reach any tight places with your brush.
  7. Allow the first coat to dry for the recommended time before adding a second coat.
3 nail holes help the paint make it back in the can, and prevent the lid from drying to the can! Genius!

My door only needed two coats to achieve the look and color I was hoping for. While that final coat was drying, I turned my attention to my hardware.

Painting and Mounting the Original (or New) Hardware

Wow. This whole door project is going well. Where’s the catch? The catch was in the hardware.

My original plan was to clean and sand the knobs, deadbolt, and knocker, spray paint them, and rehang. Easy-peasy. WRONG.

The knocker was easy to do. I sanded with 220-grit followed by 400-grit paper, and I cleaned it thoroughly before painting. I used 2 light coats of Rustoleum Metallic spray paint in Satin Nickel for my knocker, and I really love how it came out! The satin finish really hid the areas where the surface didn’t age so well.

That Satin finish can hide a lot of sins, I tell ya!

As easy as the knocker was, the deadbolts actually came apart in my hands and the knobs required too much work to be worth it. After some online hunting, I went back to Lowe’s to scope out a knob and deadbolt in person.

I chose a set by Kwikset that could be set to our existing keys and had a great warranty. It promised to be easy to install, and we only had to make minor adjustments and drill just one hole to make it work for the door.

I chose it for the color, and also because the square pieces matched the door panels.

Enjoying Your Front Door

I was so excited to try out some new wreaths on the door. The blue background really makes greens and florals pop!

I am so in love with this design! This is my #1 favorite in my shop right now.

I “settled” on displaying my Summer Garden Floral Wreath, which is available in my shop’s collection. I can’t wait to pick fall colors to display here -I’m dreaming of frosty jewel tones and dusty roses.

Add the SUMMER GARDEN WREATH to Your Front Door!

Use code NESTING15 to get 15% off your purchase at Rachel’s Nesting Co. on Etsy!

Offer Expires 7/31/17.

What do you think?

Have you painted your front door? Did you go for a bold complementary color, or did you stay within your home’s existing palette? What is your favorite way to make your entrance inviting?

Leave me a comment and let me know!


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