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How To Paint An Exterior Front Door – Step By Step Guide

When we moved into our house two years ago, the exterior doors were all either black or white. And for a color-lover like me, that wasn’t going to cut it. So I decided to paint them all a beautiful pale aqua color and I’m going to share the whole process with you. It’s easy, I promise! So let’s get started.

How To Paint An Exterior Front Door

How to paint an exterior door materials

Here’s what you’ll need to paint your exterior door:

  • Curb Appeal Paint (see below for color information)
  • Angled paintbrush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Old plastic container
  • Mixing stick
  • Paper towels
  • All-purpose cleaner (not pictured)

Step by step guide exterior door painting process:

For my door, I used a combination of different colors. I was painting over black, so I started with white as a primer of sorts. Then I mixed together one cup of Cape Cod Mint with 3/4 cup of Williamsburg Blue.

How to paint an exterior door cleaning process

Step 1: door cleaning

The first step is to clean your door. The closer it is to a busy street, the dirtier it will be. Wash it with an all-purpose cleaner and then rinse with water. Dry it with a paper towel and then let it air dry while you’re applying the painter’s tape.

How to paint an exterior door painting tape

Step 2: add painted tape

Apply painter’s tape to any hardware and windows that your door may have. Use a pair of scissors to cut the tape to make nice, square edges. Press firmly along all edges so there is a firm bond between the tape and the surface.

How to paint an exterior door coat of white primer

Step 3: Start with coat primer

If you’ve chosen a lighter color and will be painting over a dark door, start with a coat of white as a primer. The beauty of this paint is that it dries quickly – but that also means that you can’t dilly-dally while you’re working. If you’re not careful, the paint will dry partially and putting wet paint over partially dry paint will result in a lumpy mess. So you’ll want to work your way down the door in sections. If you have separate panels or window frames like I did, you should paint those last.

How to paint an exterior door after white primer

Step 4: Drying process

Your door should now look something like this. Let it dry for an hour or two, until the last part that you painted feels dry to the touch. Do not shut the door all the way to avoid the paint rubbing off on the door frame.

How to paint an exterior door mix the colors

Step 5: mixing colors

Next it’s time to mix your color. If you’d like to use the same mix as me, combine one cup of the Cape Cod Mint paint with 3/4 cup of Williamsburg Blue. Use a paint stirrer or plastic spoon to mix the paint thoroughly. You don’t want to have any variation in the color.

How to paint an exterior door apply the colored paint

Step 6: a same technique to apply paint

Next, apply the colored paint in the same manner that you applied the white, working your way around in sections. Odds are you’ll have to do two coats… just be sure to let the door dry in between. Remove the tape right after you’ve finished to avoid peeling the paint off around the edges. Now hang up a pretty wreath, and your door makeover is complete!

How to paint an exterior door drying process


It only takes a couple of hours to do this project (including drying time!) and it has such a drastic effect. A colorful door adds such personality to a house, creating a memorable first impression.

How to paint an exterior door wreath decor

I hung a wreath I made using faux succulents, and it complements the whole entryway perfectly.

How to paint an exterior door fresh color

There are many other colors you can choose from in the Curb Appeal line, and you can mix them together too… so you can basically choose any color in the rainbow!

How to paint an exterior door succulent wreath decor

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