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One question I get asked a great deal is how to paint a front door without removing it.  So today I am sharing how to paint a front door along with some suggestions on paint finish and color.

how to paint a front door without removing it showing a woman painting her front door.


To begin this simple and easy project on the best way to paint a door we need to start with a few prep details like selecting a paint color and finish and pre-paint cleaning.


One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how to pick a paint color and finish.  A great place to start is this modern front door colors post. Another great option is popular Sherwin Williams exterior paint colors. These two posts will get your creative juices flowing. But another place to look for ideas is my home exterior Pinterest board.

how to paint a front door without removing it and magnolia home paint


Begin by looking for houses similar to yours as regarding finish and color.

For example, my house is a red brick so I will look for red brick houses.  Then I will narrow my search down to the house with the doors that  I like the most.

pinterest board on exterior decorating which is a great place to start when picking a paint color for your front door.


Now go to my “Selecting Exterior Paint colors” post or popular modern front door colors and see if there is a door color similar to the one in your Pinterest post.

There are so many options ranging from the Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore, which is the color of my front door, to the Repose Gray, Pure White, and Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams

The options are endless!

Sherwin williams paint chips on boards and a paint brush.

What kind of paint do you use on a front door?

The best paint for front doors is semi-gloss exterior latex to give it a nice shine plus it is much easier to clean.  But some people like their front door to have a matte finish.  If you want a matte finish then the best paint for doors is eggshell or satin.  Remember you need a finish that is washable and these have a nice washable finish.

How do you prepare a front door for painting?

To get your door ready for paint begin by cleaning the door.  I like to take a broom and give it a good dusting off especially if there are some spider webs.

Next, you have two options.  If you want to start painting your door right away take a wet washcloth and wipe it down.  But if you are just cleaning today and painting later, then go ahead and pull out the water hose and wash the door down and wipe it off again.

how to paint a front door without removing it by demonstrating how to clean the door by dusting it first with a broom.


It is always a good idea to place something under the door like a towel or drop cloth.  This will keep any splatters or drips from getting on your floor.


Now simply remove door knockers, kick plates, or anything that can be easily removed.  It is a hundred times easier to remove items and paint under them than to paint around them.  But if you decide to not remove these items consider using painters tape.

Now that the prep work is done let's move on to how to paint a door.


This step depends on how steady your hand is.   I have been painting for many years so I skip this step, but if you are a beginner and have less experience,  you might want to proceed as follows:

Begin with taping around the doorknob and lock (if they are separate) and inside the window panes if you have a window.  Make sure to score the edge up against where you will paint.  If you skip this step the paint to leak under the tape.

How to paint a front door without removing it.  Showing taping off things like the door knobs, locks and windows so paint will stay on the door and not go onto areas it should not.


Now, remember those fun paint by numbers projects when you were growing up?  Well, this time you get to do it with your front door!  Simply follow the numbers on this chart of my door and it will show you where to begin and what direction to follow.

how to paint a front door without removing it.  Showing step by step direction on where to begin when painting the door and what direction to run the brush.

Now you see there are wood grains on a door.  If your door is a metal or fiberglass this is still a great way to paint.

My door is metal so my demonstration is how to paint a metal door but I am teaching you the steps on how to paint a wood door too.

You always want to follow the grain when painting.  Move left and right and up and down according to the grain.

It is super easy!  Just follow the numbers in this photo.


Okay, so congratulations you have one coat.  Repeat the paint by number steps until you have a good solid finish.  In other words, you want the paint color to be pure with nothing showing through it.


Last, let me encourage you to remove the tape while it is still damp.  If you let the paint dry completely before you pull the tape it may remove some of the paint on the door.


Now you know how to paint a front door without removing it – along with some other tips like how to pick a front door paint color and finish.  Here is a quick step by step list to help you successfully complete this simple and easy project!

  • Select your paint color by searching Pinterest for inspiration
  • Selecting your paint finish
  • Clean your front door thoroughly
  • Tape your window and hardware with painters tape if needed
  • Brush paint on the door in the direction of the grain (paint by number)
  • Repeat painting the door until you have a good solid finish
  • Remove tape before it drys

Yay!  Now you know how to paint a front door without taking it off.  It really is that easy and quick.

Here is a after shot of my front door along small front porch decorating ideas.

Small front porch decorating ideas with a layered rug, container garden of plants and flowers, watering can, statue of a dog holding flowers, and monogram wreath.

If you need something to lift your spirits give this project a try.  It does make you feel good to have a new paint color on your door!

Once you're done painting your front door, check out my post about jaw dropping ideas you need for your best front porch.

Happy Decorating!

Painting a metal front door

How to paint a front door without removing it?

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 1 hour
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: 40.00

Simple and easy steps on how to paint a front door without removing it. These instructions walk you through each step to repaint a front door with Sherwin Williams paint.



  • Broom
  • Bucket
  • Paintbrush
  • Ladder


  1. Before you begin make sure to pick out a paint color and shop for your supplies.
  2. Begin by cleaning your door by dusting off anything with a broom then washing it down with soap and water. Make sure to rinse and dry.
  3. Once the door is dry remove doorknobs, kick plates, or anything you do not want the paint to get on. If you cannot remove something tape around it with painters tape.
  4. Next, if your old paint finish is good and secure simply start painting over it with the new color or the same color to freshen up the finish.
  5. While the paint is still dry remove the painter's tape.
  6. Then when the paint is dry reinstall your doorknobs and such.

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


Sunday 23rd of July 2023

How much paint did you use?

Linda McDonald

Monday 24th of July 2023

I bought one quart and didn't use it all but it depends on your door. Because my door was already painted I didn't need primer or extra paint for multiple layers. If your door is already painted a similar or light color one quart will do.


Saturday 13th of June 2020

I love your colour suggestions. The Whyte Blue is gorgeous. My front door is smooth metal without grain marks. Do I still use the paint by number method? Do I use a roller or a brush to maintain the smooth finish on the door?

Linda McDonald

Sunday 14th of June 2020

These are great questions. I would use a brush. I love the Wooster brush but I also love this brush by Dixie Bell paint. It is so soft and applies paint smoothly and will work great on your smooth front door. Also, my front door is smooth also and I still used the paint by number method. Last if your door is covered well use the satin finish. I feel it smooths out the paint better too. I hope this helps! I would love to see your door when you are finished.


Monday 21st of October 2019

[…] I am toying with the thought of painting a door which is what I did several years ago when I painted my front door Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue. […]


Thursday 26th of September 2019

Hi Linda, Thank you so much for your tutorial on how to paint a front door. You're suggestions couldn't come at a better time, as I am just preparing to paint my front door too. My door is metal and has an oval window in it. I am going to paint it a similar color to your aqua color. I do have a question? I have a screen door on the outside of my front door. Do people normally paint this too? I'm just thinking it will hide my newly painted door. This screen door is that ugly grey aluminum you see on so many doors. I was thinking of painting it black or the same color as my newly painted door. My house is a very light cream color with a yellow hue. I really need some ideas on this please. Thanks so much Linda.

Linda McDonald

Friday 27th of September 2019

This is a very good question, Diane. Typically storm or screen doors are painted white, grey or black. Since your house is a cream color with a yellow tone and you want your door to be Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore I would consider a white storm door. The white will help the blue green behind it stand out. I hope that helps! Linda


Monday 11th of March 2019

[…] I repainted my door last year and wrote a post about how to paint your front door without removing it, all I had to do this spring is touch up the paint in tiny […]

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