Give Your Home a Little Refresher by Painting this Often-Overlooked Spot

published Mar 31, 2020
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Walls get a lot of love when it comes to decorating. And while there’s no doubt that painting the walls can have a huge impact on a room, it’s not the only place where you can infuse some color and personality into your home. Giving your doors a paint-over can seriously boost their style quotient, and can help hide scuff marks, to boot. Since it’s such a small surface area, painting a door is a perfect project to tackle in an afternoon; in a few hours, you’ll be able to show off your finished handiwork. Pick a perfect gray if you want a non-white neutral with a modern spin, or try a bright color for a spunky pop. Want something really bold? Go with a sophisticated shade of black. Happy painting!

What you’ll need to paint a door

First, consider the door you need to paint. For metal or unpainted wood doors, you’ll need a primer suitable for those materials; for wood doors that are already painted, you can skip a primer. Next, gather your tools. You’ll need:

  • drop cloth
  • rags (at least three)
  • dish soap
  • bowl
  • painter’s tape
  • utility knife
  • sandpaper or a sanding block
  • paint roller and cover
  • angled paintbrush
  • paint tray and liner
  • primer (depending on door material)
  • paint
Credit: Anita Chomenko

1. Prep your work space and clean your door

Move everything out of the way and lay down a drop cloth to catch any spills. Then, fill your bowl with warm water and a couple drops of dish soap. Dampen a rag in the bowl, and use the rag to clean off the door to remove any dust and grime. Cleaning the door will help the paint adhere. Use a clean rag to dry the door.

Credit: Anita Chomenko

2. Prep your door

Next, sand away any imperfections with a fine-grit sandpaper, and wipe away any dust. Tape off hardware using painter’s tape. (You can also remove the hardware entirely, though this adds time to your project.) Trim away any excess tape with a utility knife. If you’re only painting one side of the door, tape off the edges to prevent paint from getting onto the side you’re not painting. Prop the door slightly to allow for easier painting.

3. Prime the door, if metal (or unpainted wood)

Start at the edges of the door, and use the angled brush to feather on primer from the outside in. This will ensure even blending. Then, use your roller to prime the rest of the door. Let dry.

Credit: Anita Chomenko

4. Paint the door

Again starting from the edges, feather in the paint from the outside in using an angled brush. For the rest of the door, use a roller. If your door has panels, use a brush to fill those in. You’ll need at least two coats of paint for an even finish. It’s best to allow a few hours in between coats so that the finish can dry.

Credit: Anita Chomenko

5. Remove the tape and admire your hard work

Once your two-plus coats are applied and the finish looks even, remove the tape from the hardware. Let your door dry completely—at least four hours—before touching.