Front Porch: Improvements with Paint

August 8, 2011

Hey all, hope your weekend was swell.  We’re in ‘last week of summer’ mode around here which means relaxation is priority number one until school starts next week.  However I did manage to squeeze in a few front porch improvements over the past few days. 

I’ve long been in love with the idea of painting the front door something other than white.  All the colors of the rainbow seemed too strong and all wrong, and since the stucco is yellowish in tone, gray seemed the logical choice. 

I posed a question on Facebook what color gray I should go with, and many kind readers responded, thank you!  I reasoned it was best to grab those two samples I was considering, and maybe a couple more at my local Benjamin Moore.

Choosing the perfect gray is very challenging – there are so many ways gray can lean based on the formula: lavender, green, blue, or taupe, one must be careful! 


As always, you can’t tell much from a paint deck swatch, you need a real sample viewed in proper light so I picked up four samples from my local BM, and painted big swatches on a poster board to study which would be the best choice.   



The voting was a family affair, with the men on the side of ‘Cape May Cobblestone’ in the lower right corner.


The gals were split, me for ‘Gray Horse’ upper left with its green undertones and the little lass for lower left ‘Coventry Gray’ with blue undertones.  Yes, my children can be found still in their pajamas in the afternoon in summertime.  What?  That’s not normal? 

My darling daughter pointed out that the blue undertones in the ‘Coventry Gray’ matched the lavender in the garden.  Brillz, I tell you.  Look for her name in lights someday. 

I decided in an abundance of caution it was best to stay close to a true gray, so the men prevailed and ‘Cape May Cobblestone’ won. 



It’s nice, it’s sophisticated, it’s subtle.  I like it.  The gray will take some getting used to, but change is good.  I think what’s throwing me is the fact that I painted the urns too.  I’m really not liking that look, they look too ‘gravestone’ to me and I’ll likely paint them white again soon.  Or maybe I’ll leave them gray until Halloween, mooo ha ha. 

Painting the door was a simple process.  I deglossed the existing latex enamel paint, taped off the hardware and door surround, then used a low sheen enamel paint in a latex acrylic formula.  This particular paint is designed for outdoors and resists moisture and rust.  The enamel formula dries quickly to a hard finish more like an oil based paint, but offers the ease of soap and water cleanup.  Me thinks it will make a great furniture paint too since it comes in both low lustre and high gloss.    



I also had to tackle a few other issues that have been bothering me for a while now.  There was a whole lotta hodge to the podge going on between the dirty brass sconces which did not coordinate with the nickel handle and the black threshold which to me just stuck out like a sore thumb.  Cute kid though, he can stay.



The threshold is built into the frame so it’s not like I could easily replace it without having to reframe the door.  Everything I read online said you can’t or shouldn’t paint your metal threshold.  Well call me crazy, but I completely ignored that advice. 

I sprayed two coats of water based Bullseye 123 primer and covered with two coats of the same enamel paint used on the door.  I choose latex and not oil based paints because latex formulas allow for expansion and contraction which both occur with moisture and heat outdoors.  Time will tell if the paint on the threshold proves durable, I shall know much more in a few months.  But I just couldn’t stare at a black threshold anymore. 


The one improvement I’m most thrilled about is the change to the lantern sconces.  I committed to fixing those in my Home Goals of 2011 and finally got around to it.  It was a cheap fix, with spray paint to the rescue once more. 

We have four of these sconces on our house, two on the porch, two on the garage, so even though I wanted to replace them, that would cost me some cash.  Instead, I just refreshed them with a paint.  Once I dismantled them (taking pictures along the way!) and cleaned out the bug corpses, washed the glass and porcelain, then spray painted the metal with RustOleum’s ‘Matte Nickel’.    




It all feels more coordinated now, except for those dang gravestone like urns.  Doh. I’ll have to make them white again as soon as I find the energy.  



What about you, have you painted your front door lately?  What technique and paint product did you use?  And what’s your favorite shade of gray?  



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122 Responses to “Front Porch: Improvements with Paint”

  1. Katharine says:

    I would wait till at least Halloween to paint the urns (perfect for Halloween). I agree with Evelyn. The urns new a darker color. Maybe something that coordinates with your green and white pillows. I love the door. Pretty!!!

  2. Bella Storia says:

    Oooh, love the grey! I was torn between the men’s choice and your original choice, too. About the urns: Have you thought about glazing/antiquing the urns to add some dimension? It might look ama-za-zing! Or, I think a little contrast with some ORB-esque darker color would look very chic as well. Good luck!

  3. Jessica says:

    The front door looks very calm and welcoming. My husband wants to paint our master bedroom a shade of grey, I’m just torn trying to figure out how to blend color into the scheme now.

  4. Tammy says:

    Our house is a red brick with a gray concrete porch. We painted our front door Valspar Rainforest (green). Love that it’s not the typical red. :)

  5. Mandy says:

    Is your door made of wood or is it a type of laminate? I have a very similar designed door, and mine is this weird wood-looking laminate. I hate how it looks, but I think the right paint may make it much improved. Just wondering how that will come out since its not actually made out of wood.

    BTW, I just found your blog today and am obsessed! I’ve been reading through posts for hours… :)

  6. Zobiana says:

    My front door looks almost identical to yours (including the nickel handles!). Mine is white but made of steel (I think), some sort of metal. Can this be painted as well?

  7. CentsationalGirl says:

    Yes it can be painted as long as you use a primer that’s meant for metal!

  8. lisa says:

    Is there a metal primer that you would recommend?

  9. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Lisa, RustOleum has a line of primers and spray paints that are designed for metal, look for them at big home improvement stores.

  10. Ashley says:

    I was curious to see how your threshold is holding up? We need to replace our door knob and I want a different color but I know the threshold is hard to change out. I am thinking of painting as well but wanted to know if that was a durable option!

  11. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hey Ashely, been meaning to write about it, it’s holding up great! So glad I painted it, there’s a little wear and tear but no chipping paint, yay!

  12. Brandy says:

    When in doubt I know I can always count on you! Haha. I’m going against the rules today and painting my metal threshold all because I googled it and there came your post. Silly me….should have just checked the blog before googling, should of known you tried it! Thanks :)

  13. CentsationalGirl says:

    Ha, too funny Brandy! Yep, painted mine with water based (spray on) primer and paint and it’s still holding up great!

  14. lisa says:

    One last question…I promise! Did you use a conditioner in your Iron Clad low lustre paint? Thanks!

  15. aparna says:

    That is a great looking front door. what would you do if the door is painted with an oil based paint. i am also looking to paint it now in a latex based one. thanks and your site is a great inspiration.

  16. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hello Aparna, between oil based paint and water based paint, you should use a coat of water based primer. Look for an enamel paint for doors and trim, Benjmin Moore and Sherwin Williams both sell water based enamel paints for doors and trim.

  17. Nicole says:

    Hi, A few questions……..How long did it take the paint to dry? How many coats? I been wanting to paint my front door for two years now but didn’t want to leave my front door open while the paint dried, call me crazy but with my luck a bird or something worst will fly in my house. According to the research I’ve done it takes like 24hrs for outside paint to dry.

  18. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Nicole, water based enamel takes only an hour or two to dry, you can do two coats in a day and have your door closed by night!

  19. ROXANNE says:

    A dark periwinkle blue will look beautiful with your gray door. Try it, you won’t be sorry. Love your blog.

  20. Ruth says:

    I love the door was thinking of painting ours a bright color but I just re-painted (in the process r really) my whole house. I choose blues and greens to tone down what I had so this great is going to be perfect on my front door!! My last project is my bedroom walls and they are also going to be gray just was wondering if you had any suggestions to bedroom gray colors :)

  21. Jennifer B. says:

    Hi! Thanks for the post! I was wondering how the threshold has held up being a few years later. I’m about to tackle mine soon. Thanks!

  22. CentsationalGirl says:

    So glad you asked Jennifer, it worked! The water based primer + paint has held up all this time :)

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