How To Screw Up Painting Your Front Door


And…. we’re back.

It’s so nice to dust off the ‘ol blog and get back to crafting, creating and remodeling. Or rather, it’s nice to attempt to do that.

Sheesh. Where do I even start?

In the midst of taking a break from blogging to deal with an interesting start to 2012, work on the house has been plodding along slowly.

Our entry way is miserably small and has always bugged me. So coming up with a punch list of projects was easy: 1) repaint the front door; 2) fix the giant hole in the drywall from the kids’ infamous sledding-down-the-stairs-in-sleeping bags-and-crashing-into-the-wall-repeatedly stunt; and 3) do something with the floor.

The first step seemed easy enough – repaint the door.

Here’s what we started with before we started painting the upstairs grey—boring, scuffed up white.


But then I was stupid.

Somewhere, someplace, someone told me that spray painting a door was much easier than using a roller. So I primed the door with spray-on primer and made a huge mess everywhere.


Oh, and it stunk like crazy since spray painting inside—even with good ventilation—is always a bad idea. At the time I didn’t care since I had big, big plans for the floor and thankfully the kids weren’t home to be around the fumes.  But man was it a mess … and my trigger control was a little iffy so the primer ran in places … and it left a weird grainy texture which meant extra sanding to even everything out. Yup-much easier.

For the actual color, I had seen this grey/red combo on the paint swatch card we had for the living room wall paint and loved it. Plus, I think I was still missing my red walls a little.


I watched the local paint recycling center for a few weeks hoping red paint would show up, but no deal. So when I found the perfect color in a spray can …


… I was stupid again …  and rationalized that spending money on spray paint wasn’t as bad as buying a gallon of house paint … and told myself that I would just be ‘more careful’ with the trigger control this time … and drastically underestimated just how far spray paint can travel in a confined space … and made an even bigger mess. Plus the irony of using a paint+primer or a primer nightmare did not escape me.

Stupid woman.

I loved the color, but it never looked great.  The coverage was splotchy and after four coats and three full cans, I gave up. I’m sure you spray paint ninjas out there could have nailed this, but the door looked terrible—so terrible that I apparently never took pictures. Oops. Let’s just pretend it looked like this, okay?


Actually, that’s fairly close.

At this point I could have just admitted that I’d screwed up,  gone back to the store, figured out a way to buy some red paint to roll over top and everything would have been fine. But I realized that I really didn’t like the red after all … and worse still, I didn’t have a clue what color I did want instead. And there was no way that I was going to cheat and spend/waste money on paint again until I knew exactly what I was doing.

And so I just left my hot mess of a front door like that for six months. Mr. Thrive was so happy.

I finally decided that brown was the winner after looking at pictures of curtains for the living room. Come February, we set aside a little tax money for repairs around the house  and I was so excited to actually be able to go buy paint that was in a color I got to choose and finally finish the front door. So I marched down to Lowe’s and grabbed some brown paint and couldn’t roller the new color on fast enough.  It was sad people, but I did an honest-to-goodness fist pump at the register as the clerk rang up more than just tape and glue.

Two coats later + lots of sanding/taping/painting the trim …


… I have a front door that I LOVE + plenty of left over paint for some other projects in the kitchen.


(I’m thinking I need to get rid of those ugly brass nobs like I did here. Maybe in a brushed nickel or platinum finish …?)

And because I’m a Silhouette nerd with an affinity for vinyl, I couldn’t wait to put one of my favorite sayings on the inside of the door, too.


Ahhhhh. Much better.

So, what have we learned?

Do not – I repeat – do not use spray paint for interior doors that are still hanging.

Unless you’re a spray paint ninja.

But then only a really high, top-level spray paint ninja at that.

Smooth, foam rollers are much, much easier to use and will save you a ton of headaches and time.

Anyway, one entry way project down, two to go.

And do you see that little bit of check board goodness on the floor peeking through?

Yeah … that’s been a peach of a project. Stay tuned.


15 thoughts on “How To Screw Up Painting Your Front Door”

  1. You give me such hope! I have so many DIY disasters around my house! If just one project would turn out as good as yours I'd be thrilled.

  2. I am seriously trying NOT to laugh out loud right now! My kids are sleeping! I have screwed up both the front AND the back door with trying to brush on paint!Not to mention the interior doors. I have decided that if I ever get the nerve to try again…(was considering it just the other day!) I will have to take it down, sand it, and spray prime and then spray paint it with a spray gun. I repeat…SPRAY GUN!!! I can't use a spray can to save my life…well…unless it's hairspray. I got really good with that back in the 80's…..=) Nike, your projects always turn out beautiful in the end <3 and I can't wait to find out what you did to that entryway floor!

  3. OH! Also wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE the vinyl! So often you see "Return With Honor" that it almost loses it's strength/meaning 🙁 "Return to Me"
    LOVE LOVE LOVE that!

  4. Glad to see you back; I've been checking every few days and was about to send you an "are you still alive and ok?" email! The door looks awesome now. And sometimes, you just have a hot mess for a while. I get it.

  5. Nike, It is so fun to have you back. I was about to write you an e-mail and see how you were.:) The blog design is perfect. love it! I really like the font you used for THRIVE. Door looks great. Thank for stopping by my blog, I have missed your sweet comments. 🙂 Oh and thanks the little tea cup and birdie on my header makes me soooo happy. much care to you sweet bloggy friend.

  6. I love your door, it looks great. I totally know the feeling of being super excited to be able to buy things for projects. Things are tight at our house too right now.
    We have been going through door redo's at our house too! The previous owners at some point had all wood interior doors on the rooms. Then they decided to paint them all white…but they didn't sand the doors down or prep them so the paint was peeling off. And guess what? They also did this to the kitchen cabinets that I wanted to repaint at some point too. We were getting our baby's room ready and discovered this. So my husband had to sand the closet and bedroom doors down to bare wood, then prime, and repaint the doors. But they are painted and hung, so that's great.

  7. Thank you sooooo much for posting this! I'm going to be moving soon and the place I think we are getting needs a little help. I would have spray painted too, so thanks for the heads up =)

  8. Your story is hilarious! You really went through a lot of things before you finally got the right look for your door. A piece of advice for painting with a spray can: keep your can of paint moving from spot to spot to avoid uneven applications and build ups that could drip. But after hearing your story, I think you won’t be painting anything with a spray can anytime soon. 🙂

    @Tameka Lauricella

  9. This is why our elders keep on preaching, “learn from your mistakes”. Oh well, at least now you’ve learned that rollers can still be our best friend. And in the end, you still got the best color for your interior door! And yeah, I also think platinum-finished knobs would look good on that paint color. =)

    Vernie Herr

  10. When painting your door, you should not only think what color would pass your preferences. It should also go well with the color scheme of your house so that it wouldn't look out of place when it is seen.

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