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A little over a year ago when we moved into our current home, I shared a long to-do list of things we wanted to do to make our little house feel like ours while we’re living here. (To remind you, we’re hoping to stay put right here until we’re ready to buy or build a home of our own in a couple of years.) Well, it probably comes as no surprise, but we’re still working on that list! Isn’t that always how these things go? Among those things I really wanted to make happen was painting our front door. It opens into our dining room with a clear view from the living room, so it’s kind of a focal point and was practically begging for a pop of color! No door deserves to go unloved.
A couple of weeks ago the door painting finally got underway thanks to a little inspiration from Valspar. Throughout March, Valspar and Ace Hardware have teamed up to bring you 31 Days of Color, which is a month-long celebration designed to help you discover a new love for color. You can visit thepaintstudio.com starting at 12pm EST every day in March to uncover the Color of the Day from Ace’s exclusive Valspar® or Clark+Kensington® paint lines, along with expert tips and inspiration. While you’re there, you can enter the 31 Days of Color Sweepstakes where one winner will win a $10,000 home paint makeover! By entering, you’ll also be in the running to win a $50 gift card to Ace Hardware, which will be given away daily, to get you started on your next project. Plus, Ace will also be giving away free samples of the Color of the Day to the first 1,000 online entrants at thepaintstudio.com.
So, let’s talk about how to a paint a door, shall we? First, let’s talk about the before situation. The very boring and beat up before situation. The door is a very standard, nondescript builder’s grade steel door. At some point it had been painted, albeit with what appeared to be just one very thin, splotchy coat of a rather bland shade of beige. Honestly, it’s a sad door for how prominent it is in the house and I’d love to know what was originally there back in 1907, but at any rate, this is what we’re working with so an awesome wash of color seemed like the perfect solution.
As it turns out, the Valspar Optimus (which is a paint and primer in one) ended up being the perfect paint for this project. I can say with complete, 100% sincerity that I am in love with this paint! I painted our door in the color Lake Henry (VR056B) in a satin finish, which just so happens to be today’s color of the day! A lot of people will suggest semi-gloss for doors (much like trim), because it is generally the easiest to clean and as our house is generally full of kids (sometimes as many as seven or eight with nieces, nephews and friends included), that was definitely a consideration for me. However, the friendly guy at Ace Hardware promised me that this paint is so durable it would be just fine in the satin finish. Plus, we usually come in and out through the door that enters from our mudroom into our kitchen so I feel confident the satin finish will be perfect.
- Valspar Optimus in satin (I used Lake Henry VR056B)
- Short 2″ angled paint brush
- 4″ paint roller with dense foam rollers
- Kitchen cleaner spray
- Lint-free cloth
- Soap and water
Begin by making sure your door is nice and clean. I first scrubbed mine with a kitchen cleaner spray and a lint-free microfiber cloth. Kitchen cleaner is great for this because it usually has a built in degreaser which will help remove any oils from fingerprints and that kind of thing before you get started. Then follow up by giving everything a good wipe down with hot soapy water. Allow the door to dry completely before moving on. Grab your angled brush and start with a light coat, being sure to work the brush into any of the panel corners or other details where it can be a little tricky to get good coverage. Keep in mind, you’re not going for full coverage with this first coat, you’re just trying to put down a light layer of the color. Also, it’s going to look worse before it looks better! Doors are notoriously scary looking when they only have a little bit of paint on them, so just keep the faith and keep going.
This is where I was at after one coat. I used the brush mostly, but used the roller for the larger flat surfaces of the door. To get all the edges, I just popped the door open and painted right up the edge so I wouldn’t risk getting it on the hinges or the trim. I did not remove the door knob because it was -20° when I was painting so I just carefully cut in around it with my brush. If you go slow, it’s easier than you think! Keep a wet cloth with you and you can quickly wipe up any mistakes. Allow your first coat to dry and then move onto the second coat. The Valspar Optimus paint has such amazing coverage and a slightly thicker consistency that is just beautiful for painting a door like this. My door only needed two coats and a very light third coat just for touching up a few spots I had missed.
And, bam! One super pretty painted door that only leaves me wondering why I didn’t do it sooner. The Lake Henry is a lovely rich, medium blue with just a tiny hint of a teal undertone, which makes it feel kind of like a nautical-inspired jewel tone, which we all know is right up my alley. All in all, it was super quick and surprisingly simple to do. I think it may have taken me about two hours, including dry time between coats.
I think having the door painted such an incredible color just adds so much interest and character to the space, even though we started with a door as basic as it gets. All for about 1/4 of a quart of paint and a couple hours of work. (If you can call painting and dancing to iTunes Radio work. I generally call that fun, personally.) Also, I think this is an amazing idea for renters! Even if your landlord doesn’t want you to paint, this is so simple and requires so few materials that it’s easily something where you could paint it back to the original color before moving out and no one would ever be the wiser. (I won’t tell if you won’t tell!)
Here’s one last look at the before and after side by side. Isn’t it crazy what a bit of color and some paint can do? Also, for the record, I swear my photos are straight, it’s the floors that are sloped. But that’s part of the charm of living in a cute little house that’s more than three times as old as you are. Of all the things we’ve been working on around here, this is the project that I love the most and it has me all kinds of motivated to keep working through our list, slowly but surely! Before this room gets totally put back together, I want to work on waxing the floors and bringing back some of the shine, so I’ll keep you posted on how that works out for me.
Don’t forget to follow along with the 31 Days of Color all month at thepaintstudio.com so you can check out the color of the day and visit the blogger who is featuring that shade! Get yourself inspired to add a little color to your life and freshen things up just in time for spring. Oh, and prizes! Don’t forget you can win prizes, too. We love prizes!
[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]