Livening up the front door

First coat!

First coat!

While I don’t mind white in my kitchen (where soap and water are always handy for clean-up), I can’t stand a white front door. It always looks dirty, particularly with little hands (and feet!) constantly on the door. So with the approval of our landlord, I got a pint of “Spanish Red” (like a dark mulberry) from Lowe’s. On a day when the humidity wasn’t as extreme, I gave our front door a quick makeover!

The first coat of red over a non-primed surface is always scary. It looks hot pink (no matter how dark that color sample appears). If you opt for red on anything light, be prepared for at least three coats, if not more. If you prime first with a dark grey, it will still take at least two coats. This door took four coats before it finally looked solid and beautiful, as you’ll see in the photos below. I used a high density foam roller–the same kind I used on the kitchen cabinets–to get a nice, smooth finish with no visible “seams” or bubbles. If I’d been aiming for a totally professional look, I would have removed the door hardware or at least masked it off with painter’s tape. I did neither, as this was one of those spur-of-the-moment redos. The nice thing is that latex paint peels easily off of stainless steel, so I had no problem cleaning up the door knob and deadbolt later.

Here’s a close-up of that first coat of paint, plus a shot of my roller so you can see what it looks like:

Here’s the door after one coat of paint (looks frightening, I know!):

The second coat started looking better, but it was still “choppy” and pinkish in tone:

By the third coat, you start breathing easier and feeling like this is going to be a beautiful front door!

With the fourth coat in place and nicely dried, we have a beautiful, deep red front door. I love it! This exterior Latex is washable and weather-hardy. Best of all, it really doesn’t show handprints like the white door did. This door makeover took about an hour total (because the day was warm, each coat dried enough to paint over in about 20 minutes). It’s so easy to make a quick change without the cost of replacing a door!



6 Responses to “Livening up the front door”

  1. 1 marjie September 22, 2008 at 4:52 am

    You sure are a good painter. When I painted my front door red I had to tape everything.
    I love your new door color, it makes a huge difference.

    We also switched out the entry lights with black ones and put them on a dimmer. I have a thing about bright outdoor lights.

    Are you finished decorating the rest of the house?

  2. 2 celticknotmilliner September 22, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Cute, cute cute!!! It looks so cheerful! Too bad it rained so much when I was out that-a-way…I would’ve loved to help.

  3. 3 Sandy October 25, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Great idea!!!I think I am ready for a change too. I was thinking about a different color for my frount door and shutters. I don’t think maybe that drastic, looks good there though. Gives me something new to think about!

  4. 4 Andrea October 29, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    I love this idea! It reminds me of the house in England. I wish I could do this, but my HOA wouldn’t let me. 😦 I love your blog!


  5. 5 Teal November 13, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Love the red front door! We had to paint ours a brownish/black as red would not have matched the brick.

  6. 6 Tracy January 3, 2009 at 2:33 am

    I *love* the red front door! When we first decided to paint ours, I wasn’t sure if I would like it…now, almost three years later, I’m so glad I did- it made a really big difference in making our mobile home look more “home like”.

    Thanks for sharing such great ideas- I love your site!

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About the Queen…

Amanda Livenwell is the pen name of a stay-at-home mom who shares the adventure of living large on one income in, yes, a double-wide trailer! Join our family as we say goodbye to suburbia, trim down, and start saving to build our own home. We're going to talk about doing it yourself, living beautifully on less, making do or doing without, and counting it all joy in the process. We'll cover prep-work and painting, refacing kitchen cabinets, flooring on the cheap, tiling over laminate, upholstering furniture, and just rolling up our sleeves in general. If you love home improvement, this is the place for you. Let's get cracking!

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