How to Paint Doors, Shutters, and Trim for a Coordinated Look

Nov 2, 2023

Why You Should Upkeep Paint On Doors, Shutters, and Trim

When it comes to home improvement, giving your house a fresh coat of paint makes a huge difference. One of the most effective ways to enhance the appearance of your home and add style is by painting your doors and shutters. Coordinating these elements with a harmonious color scheme can transform the exterior of your home, making it more inviting and visually appealing. In this how-to guide, we’ll walk you through the process of painting your front door, shutters, picking a color, and trim to achieve a coordinated look that takes your home to the next level.

Why Coordinated Colors Matter

Before we dive in, it’s essential to understand why coordinated colors matter. Coordinating your front door and shutters. helps create a unified and balanced look for the exterior of your home. It brings harmony and balance to the design, making your home stand out in a positive way. Depending on the color you choose for your home, you can make your home pop. For example, if you are on a street between two white homes, picking the right color can make your home seem just a little more special than if it were also painted white like the homes around it. A coordinated color scheme also increases the perceived value of your property, making it more visually appealing to prospective buyers.

Selecting the Right Color Palette

To achieve a cohesive look, it’s crucial to coordinate the right color palette. Visit your local hardware shop to collect swatches and play with color. Can also look up ideas on websites like Pinterest to get an idea of what you do and don’t like. Take the time to compare colors and to look at how the colors both inside and outside of your home play together. Decide what color you want your door to be. If you’re looking to create a look for your home that’s beautiful from the inside out, here’s how to go about it:

Start with Your Home’s Primary Color

Begin by identifying the primary color of your home’s exterior. This is typically the color of your siding or stucco. Consider the color’s undertones, whether they are warm or cool, as this will guide your choice for the doors and shutters. Think about the interior color of your home as well. The outside of your home is the first look at the story that tells what the style is on the inside of your home. Idealistically, you want the two stories to marry up well and create a cohesive design. It is also wise to consider the homes in the neighborhood around you and to make sure to select a color that fits the tone of the neighborhood.

Create Contrast with A Complementary Accent & Trim Color

To create visual interest and contrast, choose complementary colors for your doors and shutters. These colors should be on opposite sides of the color wheel from your main color. For example, if your siding is a cool gray, consider warm colors like deep red or forest green for your doors and shutters. For something more modern and timeless, stick to neutrals. Many people also enjoy making their door a fun pop color. This is a really great way to add personality to your home without committing to a loud color for the entire exterior. Your front door is small but it’s the place everyone including you will enter and exit your home, so giving your front door a special moment can bring a lot of life in. Matching your trim color to the main color of your house can be done in a stylistic way, but in most cases, it is best to pick something that compliments or slightly contrasts the main color on your exterior.

Test Sample Colors

Before committing to a color scheme, grab some sample swatches and test them on a small area where both sun and shade will hit it. Look at the front of your house and imagine coming home. What color do you want to drive up to? Natural lighting can affect how colors appear, so observe them on your walls at different times of the day to ensure you’re happy with the choices. It can also be helpful to test your swatches against the other colors you’ll be using on the outside of your home to see if they work well together. If you have metal finishings or stone accents, see how the colors you choose play with those elements as well. If you garden, you can add color to your home through the flowers you plant. Flower boxes outside of your window can elevate its appearance and make your window look more homey.

Preparing Your Surfaces

Before you can begin, proper surface preparation is a must. Here’s how to prepare your doors, shutters, and trim for a successful paint job that withstands the test of time.

Clean the Surfaces

Dirt, dust, and grime can hinder adhesion. Thoroughly clean the surfaces you plan to paint with soapy water or a suitable cleaning solution. Rinse and allow them to dry completely.

Remove Old Paint

If there’s old, peeling paint on your doors, shutters, or trim, it must be removed so that the new color can truly shine. You can use a scraper, sander, or paint stripper to get rid of the old layers. Sanding is essential to create a smooth, even surface for the new paint to adhere to.

Repair Any Damage

Take the time to inspect the exterior and interior for damage, such as cracks, holes, or wood rot. Repair these issues before you start to apply color. Patch holes with wood filler or caulk, and replace any rotting wood. Sand the repaired areas for a seamless finish.

Protect Surrounding Areas

Before you start to apply color, protect surrounding areas from accidental splatters. Cover nearby plants, windows, and any other surfaces you want to keep clean. Painter’s tape is a helpful tool for this purpose.

Choosing the Right Paint

Selecting the right type and paint finish is an essential part of achieving a professional finish on your door, shutters, and trim. In fact, it’s just as important as selecting the right color.

Paint Type

For your door, shutters, and trim, opt for high-quality exterior paint that is specifically designed for these surfaces. It should provide durability, UV resistance, and easy maintenance. Satin or semi-gloss finishes work well for these areas as they are both attractive and easy to clean. Pick a color that brings you joy.

Color Quality

When choosing paint, consider the color quality and longevity. Look for paint that resists fading and maintains its color vibrancy over time. Quality paints may be a bit more expensive, but it pays off in the long run.


Priming the surfaces before you begin to apply color is essential, especially if you’re changing colors or working with porous materials. A good primer ensures better adhesion and a more even finish.


Before applying primer or paints, lightly sand the surfaces. This will help the color stick to surfaces better, help you minimize the amount of coats of you’ll need for proper coverage, and creates a smoother finish. Use a fine-grit sandpaper and go in the direction of the grain.

Primer Application

Apply a high-quality primer to your doors, shutters, and trim. Primer enhances adhesion, provides a consistent base, and helps prevent any old paint colors from bleeding through. Let the primer dry thoroughly before you continue.

The Painting Process

Now that you’ve prepped your surfaces, it’s time to start. Gather the necessary tools and materials, including brushes, rollers, paint trays, drop cloths, and painter’s tape. Invest in high-quality brushes and rollers to achieve a professional finish.

Painting Your Front Door

Your front door is how people enter your home and where you will enter and exit your home every single day. Picking the right front door color to welcome you and your guests is important (and fun).

  1. Start with your door. Remove any hardware, like doorknobs and hinges from your front door, to make the job easier. Paint the edges and divots of your front door first, then the panels, and finish with any small detail areas. If you have a wooden door, it is important to sand before you start. If you wish to go for a more natural look, you can go for a stain instead of a paint color for your front door.
  2. Apply two or more coats of paint in thin, even coats (depending on what type you use and if you prime, you may need more/less), allowing each to dry completely before applying the next. This will give you even coverage and a super smooth finish.

Shutter Painting

There are many different shutter styles, such as louvered shutters, batten shutters, and paneled shutters. Depending on what shutter style you have for your home, you may need to adjust your technique or use additional tools. Having your shutters painted an accent color can help your home pop out in a positive way and is something to consider when repainting your home. It is also a good idea to compare your colors to the color of your blinds or shades to make sure they complement each other.

  1. Remove the shutters if possible for easier access. If not, be meticulous when painting near adjacent surfaces.
  2. Start by applying an even coats to the louvers or slats, if applicable, and then move on to the frame. Just like with doors, apply multiple thin coats and let them dry in between.

Painting Trim

  1. Use painter’s tape to protect the siding from splatters on your trim. Start with door trim and windows, and then move on to baseboards and other trim details.
  2. Carefully apply to achieve a clean and precise finish. A Tip: remove the tape while it’s still wet for a super clean finish that helps you to avoid peeling/cracking.

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve painted your doors, shutters, and trim, it’s time to add the finishing touches. If you removed any hardware from the doors, reattach it once dry. Make sure everything is secure and functioning properly. Properly clean your brushes, rollers, and paint trays. Dispose of your materials according to local regulations. After everything has dried, inspect the surfaces of your siding and door and look at the colors for any missed spots or imperfections. Touch up as needed to ensure a polished look.

Maintaining The Paint On Your Home

A cohesive look is an investment in your home’s curb appeal, so it’s important to maintain it.

Regular Cleaning

Keep your doors, shutters, and trim looking fresh by regularly cleaning your exterior and trimming any hedges or bushes that are up against the home regularly. Keep the area around your door as maintained as possible This will help remove dirt and prevent mold or mildew growth. However, it is important to pay attention to each side of your house, not just the front and by the door.

Periodic Repainting

Over time, the elements can take a toll on your exterior. When you notice signs of fading or wear, plan to repaint your doors, shutters, and trim to maintain that cohesive look and protect your home’s value. Your front door is a high traffic area, and you may notice that you need to touch up and repaint your front door the most. It is helpful to revisit this area semi-annually for quick touch-ups.