Liza Greis

Do-it-yourself projects and Home Decor

My Front Door: Before and After

My front door is my favorite thing about my house. I LOVE that it is the original door to my 1938 home and I LOVE that it is rounded. I love that it is solid wood. Thick and strong. But I did NOT love the orange color of the wood. I held off on doing anything at first because I didn’t want to take it down and have to sand it clear down to the bare wood. And then after awhile I just got so use to looking at it that I forgot it was orange. Well, Better Homes and Gardens coming to my house changed things! I suddenly saw my house with new eyes and I realized the orange had to go.


Somewhere along the time when we bought our house and now, I found out about Gel Stain. You don’t have to sand it completely down to the bare wood. In fact, you don’t have to sand at all! I am planning on writing a whole post devoted to staining but until then you can see my clip from Good Things Utah HERE.

(affiliate link)

And here you go!!! No more orange :) I love the dark rich walnut. They have 10 different colors in Gel stain. You certainly don’t have to use a color this dark. I sealed the inside using polyurethane and the outside of the door using Helmsman.

Do you know what else I LOVE about my front door??? I have the original key! And it works!!! I framed it and put it on my side table in my front room.


Subscribe to My Blog!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Shawna says

    I can't wait for your post on staining. I need to strip and stain my front door. I LOVE that dark color!!

  2. DeniseAngela says

    Thanks for the inspiration….I too have a similar door but with original inlaid carvings of hearts & flowers! Yours looks great!

  3. Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma says

    What a luscious-looking front door! That dark stain really makes it POP.

    Mi casa was built back in 1938 too. We don't have a rounded front door {but I do have rounded door ways and an arch in my master bath}…

  4. Terry says

    Wow,…what a transformation. I love the new colour. It goes so well with your other wood tones and the brick. Gorgeous!!

  5. Randi says

    Amazing door … I love that it's round. The new paint job looks fantastic. Love what you did with the window and I LOVE that you have the original key!

  6. GaMtnScrap says

    I love the door! I wish I had a cool amazing wood front door, but it's the standard run-of-the-mill metal door. Would gel stain stick to metal?

    I'm patiently waiting on the tutorial about gel stain. I'm thinking about redoing my kitchen cabinets (which are, oddly enough, the same orangey color as your front door was), but wowzer, there's soooo many of them! I've put it off simply because of the amount of sanding I'd have to do. You're giving me hope that maybe it don't have to be that bad??? (Oh, gosh, please please tell me it won't be!) ;)

  7. GaMtnScrap says

    Okay, I just went and looked again at the gel stain can and it says right on there, "for metal". Doh….my bad! But, that's good news!

  8. Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts says

    I want to do my cabinets – this gel stain could be a dream come true- really, no sanding?? Do you wipe the stain off after you apply it?? I see this in my future!

  9. laxsupermom says

    Wow! Love the new color! And I love that you didn't have to sand it down to get it there. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Mary @ says

    Wow, what a beautiful "new" door! Love the stain color you chose, and really love the framed key! thanks for sharing.

  11. ButterYum says

    What a fantastic change… it's amazing what a little stain can do to transform an object. Love that you framed the key too – great touch!


  12. Tanya says

    Looks amazing. That's exactly the color I was thinking about using for my kitchen table…now I'm sure about it. Turned out great =)

  13. nykki and erik says

    I want to do my kitchen table… would this stain work and whats the best way to do the chairs?

  14. Jayna Rae says

    I really love front doors. I think that they can be so beautiful. I love the shape of yours, and your new added touches are great!!! Thanks for sharing with the world.

  15. phasejumper says

    That's awesome! I want our front door to be black, but the thought of sanding all those nooks and crannies (shudder)….

  16. heather {WhipperBerry} says

    Oh my stars… I want a front door that looks like that. Seriously, I would buy the house just for that!!


  17. linda @ craftaholics anonymous says

    Looks great! love the color you picked!

    gave it a thumbs up! sorry I missed this one earlier. with links in 5 different emails, I lost track of what ones i had and had not Stumbled yet. hopefully this next week we’ll be a little more organized!

    happy crafting!

  18. Lesley says

    What a beautiful change, I would love to hear more about that project, I have several wood things I am thinking of changing up but staining has always seemed a little scary to me!

  19. Ange B says

    I have a question I hope you have time to help me with. I have been thinking about restaining our sun bleached front door and your website has inspired me to go ahead with this (that clicking noise is me chewing my nails off at the thought of this). Here is my question, I’ve decided to use the gel stain. If I choose not to sand my door 1st should I still use a pre-conditioner?
    Thanks so much!

    • Liza says

      Wood conditioner is usually for raw wood (Wood that hasn’t been stained or painted yet). If your front door has cracks from the sun damage, you will need to fill those with stainable wood putty. Elmers and minwax both have some. If the door is rough, it would be a good idea to sand it a little with a fine grit sand paper (150 or 220 grit). You wouldn’t need to sand clear down to the bare wood, just so it is smoother. Then you can stain it with the gel stain. I always recommend practicing on scrap wood first to get the feel of the gel stain. It is thick and a little harder to work with than regular stain. And use a foam brush. Good luck!!! I would love to see the before and after pictures :)

  20. Cheryl says

    I want an easy way to sand my white kitchen cabinets down and stain them a dark stain. Any suggestions? It took me an hour to sand one door. At that rate I’ll never get it done.

  21. Michelle Blanchard says

    Hey:) You are amazing! I am doing my front door with the same product and wondering why u had to use a different protective layer on the outside?