How To Paint A Door The Easy Way!

As part of our curb appeal makeover, we removed the solid glass storm door and replaced it with an actual front door that allowed us a little more privacy. The door didn’t come in a lot of color options, so we opted for a plain grey color that was pretty similar to the color of our house. But it turned out it was too similar and boring. So I decided to add a fun pop of color to the front of our house by painting the front door! Today I’m going to share how to paint a door the easy way; you don’t need to take it off the hinges, remove the hardware, or anything!

how to paint a door the easy way

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I did a bunch of research into the best way to paint a front door, and the best paint to use, and I decided to use Modern Masters’ Front Door Paint. It comes in a bunch of GORGEOUS colors, is quick-drying so you can paint the door in the morning and close it by the afternoon, and has Never-Fade technology to ensure that the color will always be nice and vibrant! I reached out to Modern Masters and was super excited when they offered to send me a quart of their Front Door Paint in Serene, which is a really nice, subtle navy blue. (By the way, they aren’t paying me for this post or anything like that; I just really loved this paint and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get the door painted!)

If you want to add a pop of color to the front of your house, try painting your front door! It’s way easier than you’d think, and Modern Masters Front Door Paint comes in 25 beautiful colors, so you can be sure to find the exact color that fits your personality (everything from standard white, grey, browns, and black to fun and bright reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, and purples!)

How To Paint A Door The Easy Way

  • 1-2 hours (time spent doing stuff)
  • 3-4 hours (time spent waiting around)
  • 4-6 hours (total project time)

Tools For Painting A Door


You can paint right out of the jar if you wish, but I love these little HANDy paint pails. They have a flexible strap so you can slide your hand in and hold it with only one hand, and there is also a strong magnet on the inside to hold your brush so you don’t need to set it down somewhere. They also make disposable liners that fit inside the cup, which I love, because cleaning up after a paint job is the worst; way better when you can just toss the liner!

Here’s what the front of our house looked like before we painted the door. We had already Modern Masters’ Front Door Paint, installed new landscaping, and had the entryway closed off and insulated with new windows and a new door as part of our curb appeal makeover. But after living with it for a while, the door color was too similar to the house color, so we decided to paint it.

how to paint a door the easy way


The first thing you need to do is figure out when you’re going to paint the door. The door will need to be left open while you’re painting and while it’s drying, so pick a day that isn’t too hot or cold, or too windy. You’ll want to do two coats, and it will take a few hours between each coat for the paint to dry, so it’s best to start this project first thing in the morning. You also want to check the weather and ensure there’s no rain in the forecast for the next day or two (or if it will rain, make sure your door is protected by an awning or something so your paint job doesn’t get wet).

My mom was out here for a week, and the weather was super nice, so we decided to paint the door while she was here. Plus she likes painting, so it was nice to have help!

You also need to know what type of paint is already on your door. If it’s latex, you can paint right over it. If it’s oil-based, or if the door is brand new and unpainted, you’ll need to do a coat of primer first so the paint has something to stick to. The best way to tell what kind of paint is on your front door is to dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol, and rub it back and forth over a painted area of your door. If any paint comes off, it’s latex paint and you can just put your new color right on top of the original color. Just wash the door with a rag and clean water to remove any dust before you start painting. If no paint comes off, it’s oil-based paint, and you need to do a coat of oil-based primer first.

In order to paint your door without taking it off the hinges or removing the hardware, you need to cover those metal pieces up to protect them from the paint. The best way to do this is with aluminum foil and painters tape. Cover larger pieces, like door handles, with aluminum foil, then use a piece of painter’s tape right around the edge where the hardware meets the door to secure the foil and give you a crisp, clean line. Use painter’s tape to cover any other areas like hinges, deadbolts, etc. You can also use painter’s tape to tape off any windows if your door isn’t solid.

Once everything is taped off, you’re ready to paint!

Just one quick note: latex paint dries pretty fast, so it’s best to paint the sections of your door in a very specific order so that you don’t end up with brush strokes in weird places. And make sure that you clean up any drips or blobs of paint as you go so that they don’t dry on your door!

1. Paint the edges first

The edges of your door should be painted first so they have the longest time to dry. If you are only painting the outside of your door, you only want to paint the edge that will be visible when the door is open. Leave the other edge unpainted so it matches the inside of the door. If your door swings inward, paint the hinge edge; if your door swings outward, paint the edge with the latch. If you are painting both the inside and outside of your front door, paint both edges.

2. Paint the reveals

If your door has raised or sunken panels, you’ll want to paint the reveals next (the little molded edges around all of the panels).

how to paint a door the easy way

3. Paint the panels

Once the reveals have been painted, paint the panels themselves using up and down brush strokes.

how to paint your front door

4. Paint any decorative areas

We have a little shelf on the front of our door, so we painted that next after the panels. If you have any decorative areas of your door besides panels, paint them now.

5. Paint the rails/cross pieces

Next, paint the horizontal cross pieces. Start at the top of the door and paint from left to right, then continue on down the door until you’re painting the very bottom part of the door. There is usually weatherstripping at the bottom of the door, so be careful not to paint the rubber.

6. Paint the stiles/vertical pieces

Paint all of the vertical pieces last, starting with any in the middle of the door and doing the very left and right sides of the door last. Try to do the entire vertical piece in one long brush stroke if you can, so that the brush marks are straight and uninterrupted. Your vertical brush strokes should cover the ends of all of the horizontal brush strokes you just painted in the last step, so that you end up with nice, clean lines.

And you’re done with the first coat! Wait about an hour, then repeat the process for the second coat. Wait about 2-3 hours after the second coat to allow it to fully dry, then you can remove all of the tape and close the door, and you’re done!

paint your front door the easy way

Quick note: We painted a dark blue over a light grey, so two coats was definitely enough coverage. But if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker color, you may want to do three coats for full coverage. But we did two coats on both the inside and the outside of the door, and we still had about 1/3 of the jar of paint leftover, so if you use Modern Masters Front Door Paint, you will definitely have enough paint with just one quart!

how to paint a door the easy way

Much better now, right?!

how to paint your front door

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Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. Diana Lowery says

    2 weeks ago

    The door color is beautiful and looks fabulous. I am planning to paint my front door so this information came in just in time. Thank you.

  2. Christine says

    2 months ago

    Love the blue door! I have a wooden door that needs to be refinished. The inside is varnished and so is the outside but where the sun had been beating down on it the finish is almost gone! Do I need to sand the whole front before painting? If I do, is wet sanding ok? This is my first attempt at a painting project! Thank you!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      1 month ago

      You don’t need to sand it, but you might want to. Sanding serves a couple of purposes… First, it helps clean up any rough edges, so if there are any splinters or cracks or anything else that isn’t smooth, sanding will help. Second, it helps give the paint a slightly textured surface to cling to. But so does a good primer. So if there aren’t any cracks or peeling or flaking that you need to sand off, you can skip the sanding and just use a good primer as a base coat.

  3. EG says

    2 months ago

    Is there something I can use as a clear coat sealant? Because I painted my door with exterior latex paint, and after about a year, I started noticing water spots even though it is on a covered porch (Florida has heavy rains that go in all directions). Now, it’s been about 2.5 years and I’m really bothered by it and want to repaint.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      2 months ago

      You can definitely put a clear coat over it for additional protection. If you’re going to repaint the whole thing, start with a quality exterior paint and do a couple of coats. Then, I’d recommend using an oil-based polyurethane sealer as a top coat; that should help give it some extra protection from the weather.

  4. Lisa says

    6 months ago

    Do you have to paint both sides the same color? Wonder if exterior is one color and interior is another color? How then do you paint the edges or sides of the door (hinge side, latch side)? Or is it best to paint the interior he same color as the exterior?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      4 months ago

      Good question! A lot of people have both sides of their door painted in different colors. I liked the blue so I did both the same color, but if you want the inside to be a different color (like white) then you paint the lock edge and hinge edge whatever color is visible when the door is opened. So for example, if your door opens inward, then you would paint the hinge edge the same color as the exterior; that way when the door was open and the hinge edge was slightly visible, it would be the same color. And if you were on the inside of the room looking at the door you would see the door interior and a little bit of the lock edge, so paint the lock edge the same color as the interior of the door.

      If your door opens outwards just do the opposite!

  5. Cindy says

    6 months ago

    I have a steel door,can I follow your directions . It looks like your door was wood.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      4 months ago

      Yeah my door is wood composite, but the method of painting is the same no matter what. The only thing to be careful of is to be sure you pick a paint meant for steel doors vs wood doors.

  6. Alyssa says

    8 months ago

    my front door is black and I wanted to paint it a lighter green. Do you think painting the door white first will help bring out the green?

    thank you!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      4 months ago

      Yeah I think having a base coat of something lighter will help. I’d suggest either putting on a white primer (which is usually thicker and meant to sort of cover and prepare the surface for a new coat of paint) or just using two or three coats of green, sort of using the first coat as a primer.

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