Foyer + Hallway Painting


Okay, so we didn’t necessarily paint the town red. Just the front door. Our current mission is to spruce up the foyer and turn it into a real, bonifide, cozy, inviting entry. As we mentioned on Monday (in this post), we were given the chance to pick the brain of one of our favorite designers, Sabrina Soto (Ashley is still having random fangirl fits). During our Q+A session, she mentioned that painting the front door would add some needed visual interest and certainly make a statement – which is something we really need in this space. Our original plan was to paint the door black, just like we did in the laundry room, but after realizing we really liked the pop of color when the front door was open into the foyer, we decided to ditch the black and go with red.

Exterior Red Door / 7th House on the Left

The red we picked out is the same color as the other side of the door, Posh Red by Valspar (10114). We really like this particular shade of red because, as Ash says, it has a classic vintage vibe along with some deep black undertones. The black undertones make it not so “bam in your face candy apple red” and more “hey, I’m red and you know you like me”. All in all, it’s a great shade of red for us.

To refresh your memory, here’s what the door looked like before…

Foyer Progress / 7th House on the Left

After five, yes five, coats of paint, here’s the crazy-cool after…

Red Front Door / 7th House on the Left

Bam! Every time we walk through the foyer, we think to ourselves, “Why didn’t we paint it sooner?!”. The door looks like it was meant to be red. Once we get a rug down and something like a ceramic umbrella stand to the right of the door, this area will look much more finished and will help the red door look even better.

We really like how the oil rubbed bronze hardware really stand out now…

Red Front Door / 7th House on the Left

Rather than going through a long and drawn out post about how to do something that’s pretty self-explanatory, I put together a few bullet points that you may (or may not) find helpful if painting a door is in your near future:

  • If you’re painting over a door that you didn’t previously paint (ie: the previous owners did), you need to determine which type of paint was previously used. Dab some denatured alcohol on a rag and rub it on the paint. If the paint comes off, it’s latex-based paint. If not, it’s oil-based. Word on the street is you can put oil-based paint on anything, but latex won’t adhere well to an oil-based painted surface. If you find out the paint is oil-based, you should lightly sand the door (just to scuff the surface) with high-grit sandpaper, clean it off, then proceed to the next step using a latex-based primer (which will adhere to an oil-based undercoat).
  • You should definitely prime the door. If you’re painting a white door red, it’s probably a good idea to prime the door even if you’re using a paint that has primer built in. On top of that, you can get a tinted primer that will make your job even easier. You’ll get much better coverage and it won’t take five coats (like ours did!).
  • Don’t be hasty in applying a second (or third… or fourth…) coat. If the paint on the door isn’t quite dry yet, don’t try to slap a second coat on–you’ll leave nasty-looking brush strokes in your door’s brand new paint job. As far as I know, the only way to fix that is to sand the surface flat and try again.
  • Don’t let your paint dry out. If it’s looking a little soupier than normal, get some fresh paint. If you use paint that’s a little too thick, you could risk leaving brush strokes, just like in the previous tip.
  • Try to put on a few thin coats rather than one thick coat. This is a good general painting tip, but it goes doubly for doors. If your door has some inset details like ours, paint tends to well up in all the little crevices. You don’t notice it at first, but 5 minutes later, you’ll notice little drips forming at the corners if you’re using too much paint. If you don’t catch them in time, more sanding is in your future!

Instagram: 7thhouseblog

  • Oh, and last but not least… as this Instagram picture shows, if you run out of paint pans, an extra plastic storage box seems to work out just fine in a pinch, haha.

Hopefully those tips will help someone out. We’re really excited about our newly-painted door and the effect it has on the rest of the foyer area. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll continue to update you on our foyer progress, leading up to the final product. We’ve got some really fun things in store, so stay tuned!

PS: Don’t forget to enter the Bluelounge giveaway!

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  • Reply
    Christina @ Homemade Ocean
    March 27, 2013 at 10:33 am


  • Reply
    March 27, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Very brave but very awesome.
    – Elke

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Our cape house had those same weird shutters on either side of the door. We removed them and it made such a world of difference. Have you thought of doing that? In my mind and I heard from others….a bit out dated!!!

    Hope you don’t mind my asking.

    • Reply
      March 27, 2013 at 10:54 am

      No, we don’t mind at all! We thought about removing them when we first moved into the house, but we were hesitant because it would change the look of the porch so much and take away the “weight”, just leaving a big open space on either side of the door. Maybe we’ll change our minds down the road, who knows! That does tend to happen a lot ; )

    • Reply
      March 27, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Ashley, I forgot to say first and foremost….I love the color of the door both inside and out. Whatever you do is great design and looks wonderful. I hope you didn’t think I was insulting. I just always have wondered why they put shutters on either sides of front doors. Weird to me, anyway.

      Great job, again.

      • Reply
        March 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

        Oh, no! I didn’t think it was insulting at all : ) No worries!

  • Reply
    Meghan B
    March 27, 2013 at 11:40 am

    LOVE it!!!!!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I’ve been toying with the idea with painting our front door red and I think this post has helped me pull the trigger. Weekend project!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013 at 11:43 am

    This looks so good! Seriously! I wasn’t sure at first, but I love the look and can’t wait to see the rest of the foyer come together.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I have always been in love with a red door! I think it looks fantastic and adds so much personality to the room! Great choice!

    Also, I think this is my first time to comment, but I’ve been reading every post for about two years now and absolutely love it!

    • Reply
      March 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      Aw, yay!! Thanks for commenting! : )

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Love it! So special! I know what you mean about multiple coats. I just painted my front door (outside) a sunshine yellow and it took 7 coats. Yes 7! And occasionally I see a spot that could use another coat. Unbelievable!

    • Reply
      March 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Oh dear! 7 is “our number” around here and everything, but 7 coats of paint… no thanks! haha

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    The door looks really nice. I’ve been toying with the same idea lately as well, I just haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

    Also, I’ve heard from multiple sources that you should prime with gray paint when you’re painting red so you won’t get the white streaks underneath.

    • Reply
      March 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Yeah, we used gray primer when we painted the exterior side of the door. We totally forgot that fact when we painted this side! Go us. The finish still ended up looking really nice, but it look 5 coats – aka way too long. Lesson learned, haha.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Red is my fave, and that is the perfect shade of red. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product because I am loving it already!

  • Reply
    John @ Our Home from Scratch
    March 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Looks beautiful Ashley! Love it. We painted our front door black on the inside while it’s grey on the outside. Love the color here though.

  • Reply
    Jennifer S
    March 28, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Your new door looks great! I really like the topiary boxes framing your entrance. Did you make them?

    • Reply
      March 28, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Thanks! We actually bought them on sale at CB2 a while back. They were silver, so we spray-painted them Oil Rubbed Bronze. I’ve seen similar planters at Target recently! I think they’re gray, but you could always spray paint them! haha : )

  • Reply
    ashley @
    March 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I love the red door! It’s not too cherry red and works as a dramatic, but classy finish! Gorgeous!

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I love the red on the inside of the door as well!! Very sharp looking! We need to paint the inside of our door this spring. I have been debating if I should paint it a different color or not. I will have to try a color that fits with our color scheme. I had to laugh though. We did paint the outside of our front door last year (a deeper red) when we repainted trim around the house and wrapped the rough cedar posts the builder put on the front of our house. We also updated the hardware on our door. We have the same door knob/handle set!! πŸ™‚ Actually, we are in the process of switching out all of the brass to the Georgian style ORB knobs. 13 doors down. 6 more to go.

  • Reply
    Hollie @ I'm Busy Procrastinating
    March 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    What an impact on both the outside and the inside. Red is such a fun color. Our front door is a custom-built Craftsman mahogany door so I would never dream of painting it. But our back door is just a regular ol’ door with a big window in the middle. My husband would think I’m nuts if I wanted to paint it. We’re planning to sell in a couple years, so we have to think of resale. And I am not one to paint it now and then repaint it in a couple of years. πŸ™‚ I will live vicariously through you, I guess!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Love it!!! And where did you find your Moravian star hanging light? I’ve been searching! I see some online, but really want to see on in person to get an idea of the size. Thanks!

    • Reply
      April 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Thanks! We love, love, love this light fixture – even more than we thought we would. We got it from Pottery Barn (here’s the link:

  • Reply
    Erin @ The Great Indoors
    April 4, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Ooh! Looks awesome! I may have to take a page out of your book and paint the interior of our front door.

    Thanks for writing up the latex/oil tips; I never can remember which one is which, so I’m pinning this for future reference.


  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Ashley, this turned so very nice. I normally don’t like red doors but I really like how you pulled it off. Awesome!

  • Reply
    Thomas Hill
    April 17, 2013 at 12:35 am

    The door turned out great, and I love the red you picked. The traditional fire engine red has been more than a bit overdone. As I contemplate painting my own front door, though, I keep wondering – what do you do for a door on your house while the two (or more) days worth of painting is in progress? Going without an interior door for a few days is no big deal, but it doesn’t work that way with the exterior ones. Also, does anyone have great tips/methods for handling the edges of the door? It seems every door I paint, I paint the wrong edge with color or the paint badly overlaps to the wrong side of the door. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    • Reply
      April 19, 2013 at 10:41 am

      For us, the door painting process didn’t take more than a few hours, so we haven’t had to deal with needing the door open for a longer period of time. Even after just an hour, our door was dry enough (though, still not completely cured) to be closed if we needed to. As far as the edges go, painters tape is key and really helps with keeping the paint in the areas it should be. Hope that helps!!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Never thought of this! I need a new color on my front door…inside and out.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    What sheen did you choose?

    It looks awesome!

    • Reply
      June 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks! It’s satin finish.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Do you know what color the shutters are? I love the color combo!

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