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How to paint your front door

Image of the front door of @georgianhomeproject

How to paint your front door

The front door sets the tone of your home. If yours is looking a little lacklustre, ring the changes with a new hue that makes you smile every time you put the key in the lock!

Choosing a colour

There are no rules when it comes to picking a paint colour for your front door. Forget fickle colour trends that come and go, and choose a shade that will always bring you joy. If you’re looking for a warm welcome, there’s nothing more cheerful than a yellow front door (see below). Charlotte of @wiltshirewonderland chose a shade that will inject a splash of sunshine into even the gloomiest of days. Try Babouche by Farrow & Ball.

Be inspired

If you’re struggling to decide what colour to paint your front door, draw inspiration from nature’s colour palette. Do you live in a rural setting enriched with deep greens, berry reds and grey-browns? Or perhaps yours is a seaside abode where nautical shades create a cool coastal vibe.

You could always consider the period of your property. Start by identifying the era – Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco or Mid-Century Modern – and then research the colours that were fashionable and available at the time.

And if all else fails, be inspired by the flora and fauna growing in your (or your neighbour’s) garden! The front door of this fabulous Fulham home (above) takes its colour cue from the camellia in the neighbouring garden (image: @hernamewascharlie).

There’s an app for that

If you can’t narrow down your colour selection, the Benjamin Moore Color Portfolio app allows you to take a photo of your front door and play around with different colours. This will help you to decide if you want to go bold and bright, or for something more neutral.

The entranceway of this American home (below) features a bold red front door layered into a monochrome palette of jet black and crisp white. Design note: to make a striking statement with an accent colour, always remember that less is more. 

Image of the hallway of
Image: Design by
Test, test, test

Before you commit to a colour for your front door, order sample pots of your favourite shades and paint them onto large sheets of paper. Then, hang them on the door to see how light impacts the colour at different times of the day. This way there will be no surprises!

If this all sounds like a bit of a faff, some manufacturers are making the testing process even easier with self-adhesive paint colour samples. Cue Colour Patch from Craig & Rose, designed to help you find your colour confidence and visualise your choices without the fuss of wet paint. Colour Patch samples can also be taken off and reapplied so you can see how the colour looks later on in the day. Door (below left) painted in 1829 Lamplighter Chalky Emulsion and door (below right) painted in 1829 Victoria Chalky Emulsion, both Craig & Rose.

Image of the front door painted in @craigandrosepaints
Image: Craig & Rose
Then test some more

Before taking the plunge and painting the whole door a bold hue, scrape back the wood of your existing door and sand a small area in order to test your shortlist of favourite paints. This way you can see how the colour works with your hardware.

Get a slice of the tangerine dream with a zesty orange front door. This one (above) belonging to Mo of @mo.and.the.jungle.shelf was once plain white before it was given a boost by the The Restoration Group, experts in applying uPVC spray paint.

Protect or remove hardware

It’s not always necessary to remove the hardware when you’re painting, but it’s important to tape it off with masking tape (only remove the tape once the door is dry to the touch). My other top tip is to purchase the best-quality painter’s masking tape available, as it peels off residue-free and doesn’t take any paint with it.

If you do decide to remove the hardware, it will give you a chance to clean and polish it. Remember to place all screws and removed hardware together in a sealed container or bag so that none are lost. If your door has a window, don’t forget to protect that too. Again, masking tape will do the trick or you could cover the entire window with paper taped in place if you wish.

Jen of @jen_at_the_villa believes that first impressions count, which is why she painted her front door (above) in the gorgeous Dusky Blush from the Al Fresco collection from Frenchic. The greenery around the door serves as an accent colour to the palette.

Prep before priming and painting

The key to a successfully painted front door is preparation. To get the best effect, start by sanding down your door – going with the grain – until you have a smooth surface. Sanding helps the new paint adhere and ensure a flat finish. Design note: use filler if there are any dents or chips in the woodwork, making sure to lightly sand the filler afterwards. The next step is to wipe down the door with a simple sugar soap solution and rinse with clean water, allowing it to dry before painting.

You can’t go far wrong with a soft shade of blue like this one (below) on Liz’s front door (@prettygate_home). It extends a warm welcome to visitors and will stand the test of time. Try Ol’ Blue Eyes from Frenchic’s Al Fresco collection.

Time to prime

When it comes to painting your front door, start with a suitable primer followed by two coats of your chosen colour. Try and buy the same brand paint and primer as these will work well together. Ensure your door has dried properly before closing it (between two and four hours). Otherwise, the quality of finish may be affected and the door might stick to the door surround. A lick of lilac (below) is a hint to the cocktail of colours that lie behind Bea’s front door (@beapopofcolor). Follow in Bea’s footsteps and make sure your front door is a reflection of you!

Pop the paint tins

Preparing to paint your front door? Check the weather forecast first. Make sure you’ve got a few days of dry weather, as rain will play havoc with your finish! Design note: ideally, paint during the dry summer months and early in the day to get maximum drying time.

A cool white backdrop acts as a foil for the brights in this hallway (above) belonging to @dustandbricks. This allows individual elements, such as the bold yellow front door (Dilly Dally Trade Eggshell by Johnstone’s), to really zing.

Choose the right paint

Front doors are exposed to the elements, so you need to choose a paint that can handle exposure to water, wind and snow. A front door is also an area of high traffic, so you want to opt for a paint that’s durable and won’t chip or mark easily. The good news is that most paint brands offer a suitable exterior paint.

The Elvins of @springcottage_harrogate chose a soft and subtle shade of green for the front door of their country cottage (below), which perfectly complements the creamy colour of the brickwork.

Image of the front door of @springcottage_harrogate

Featured image: Vicky Watson of @georgianhouseproject is a big fan of pink, so it’s no surprise that she opted for a wildly romantic shade for her front door. Get the look with Cinder Rose (door) and White Tie (frame), both Farrow & Ball.

Want more? We’ve got lots more paint and on DIY, so why not take a look at some of our other blogs before you go.