How to paint a door in under an hour {The Harried Mom’s Guide to Paint a Front Door!}

how to paint a door There are lots of great tutorials out there in the blogosphere on how to paint a door.  I’ve read a bunch of them, and I’m gonna be honest, what follows here is probably not one of them, lol. But it’s likely one of the fastest!  In fact, my method is so fast that it should probably be called The Lazy Man’s Guide to Paint a Front Door.  Or, more realistically, How to Paint a Door: The Harried Mom’s Guide. 


If you’re truly anal about doing things ‘the right way’, then you might want to turn away before being horrified ;-).  The experts – which btw, I am not, as will become strikingly obvious – will tell you that to paint a front door you need to wait for a stretch of perfect weather, to take your door off its hinges, to sand it, to prime it, to remove the lock and handle…and to wait weeks for the paint to season before hanging anything that might damage the finish.


I’m sure these quality-enhancing (and can I just mention, time-consuming?) tricks all work perfectly well.  But let’s be real.  With 3 kids on my coat-tails, where am I gonna find the time to do ANY of that?  At most, I have about an hour to complete any task.  I used to strive for perfection (silly me) but these days my motto is simply: done is better than not done.


And, really, with all the abuse my front door gets from wreathes and dirty little hands, it’s gonna need new paint every year.


So why worry?


Here’s my “paint a front door really fast” method. (Attempt at your own risk!)



how to paint a front door - tutorial

Step One:

Start with a clean door, and use a high quality, fast-drying paint, exterior paint – with a primer built in.

I used Behr’s, which btw, was mixed at Home Depot using a Martha Stewart color at my request.

In case you’re wondering, my front door color is Martha Stewart Artesian Well, MSL117.

(P.S. My front door had a latex undercoat, so I used a latex paint again.  If your door has an oil-based paint, please consult an expert at a paint store on the best product for your door.)

Step Two:

Tape off the handle and lock with good quality painter’s tape.  I used Frog Tape.

Step Three:

Paint the recessed areas first with a good quality brush.

Step Four:

Paint first coat with a foam roller, working from the inside out.  Let dry. Repeat.

Step Five:

The next day, be a rebel and go ahead, hang your door decor.    Don’t worry about the handprints.  You can paint over them again next year!


If you have the time and inclination, its always best to follow the advice of an expert when painting anything – especially when you paint a front door. 😉



May 2013: A year later, and my door still looks great!

You might also like my before-and-after post, “Green House, Blue Door: Part 2 (Before & After!)”

or, if you’re look for great front door colors, try the post 10 Fab Front Door Colors – and their paint names!


Until next time,

P.S, As usual, I’m sharing this ‘Tip’ post at Beth’s Tips & Tutorials Tuesday!

Home Stories A2Z


  1. Colleen says

    You inspired me to jump right in and paint my front door and sidelights today! We’ve had a red door for over 30 years. It’s my husbands favorite, but I wanted to try something different. Gone on business, he will come home tonight to Wyeth Blue sidelights and door. Such a drastic change, I’ve got to get used to it. Figured its only paint! Taking that first step was scary though. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  2. carol says

    Kerri, Thanks. Im sorry. You did say exterior paint in your post. I do not read very well. I want to paint my door too in a blue. I am going out now to buy some. have a great weekend!

    • Kerri says

      No, you didn’t read it wrong originally; I added it to the post after your comment, just to be clearer for everybody else! So, thanks again for pointing it out 😉

    • Kerri says

      Oh, I probably should have specified that, I guess. Thanks for pointing that out. Yes, I did use Behr’s exterior paint! ~Kerri

    • Kerri says

      Hi Colleen. It’s actually Martha Stewart Artesian Well MSL117, but mixed as a Behr paint-primer-in-one. Behr’s ‘Clear Pond’ is very close in color; I was trying the decide between the two, but in the end, Martha won out. Doesn’t she always? 😉 Thanks for coming by! ~Kerri

  3. Colleen says

    It looks fantastic and your color is perfection! Would you mind sharing the color?

    • Kerri says

      No problem! It’s Martha Stewart Artesian Well MSL117, but mixed as a Behr paint-primer-in-one. It’s a little lighter than I had imagined, but I like it all the same. ~Kerri