Front Door Reveal: Stain Without Pain


I hope you had a marvelous Thanksgiving, and are ready to kick off the month of December.  I can’t believe it’s December.  Why do I already feel behind in my holiday planning, despite my pre-Thanksgiving decorating?  Maybe it’s a tryptophan hangover.

I’m *this close* to sharing my finished fireplace with you all.  I painted the mantel and have some other touch ups to do, and ran out of daylight for photos.  I’m hoping tomorrow – can’t wait to share – it turned out beautifully!

However, I do have another great finished project to share today!  My “Stain Without Pain” front door makeover  is complete – hooray!  And yes, at some point, I will tackle the ceiling and trim on my front porch.  I won’t be able to let it stay that way.  All … unmatched.  But, baby it’s cold outside!

Since the doors got a facelift, I had to let them get their swag(ger) on.  I picked these up at a local garden center and just love them – classic and sophisticated.

I couldn’t be happier with how the doors turned out, not to mention that the process was far less labor intensive than I could have hoped – a win-win, thanks to Monica’s amazing tutorial.  It took time (I had to wait for the stain to fully cure before I applied the top coat of poly), but other than that, not bad at all.  Especially for such a dramatic end result. 

Let’s do a quick look back to last year’s front door, just so you can see the full effect.

And now:

The view inside turned out great too.  But let’s look back at the before, first.  Definitely not as faded as the exterior, but I wanted something a little richer.
And here it is now in its dark, rich goodness. 
(Is it bad that I’m thinking I should have stained the casing around the door too?  I saw a photo on Pinterest, and that did me in.)  Here, even in one of my inspiration photos you can see what I mean.  Nice, yes?
No matter – not happening right now.  I’m too busy enjoying it!
The staining didn’t end here – I have been tackling other wood projects that I will be sharing too. 🙂
Don’t forget – the 12 Days of Christmas tour of homes starts next Monday!  Can’t wait to kick it off and peek in on everyone’s holiday homes!
TDC Before and After


  • Reply
    Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    December 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    oooh aaaah! amazing!

  • Reply
    pam {simple details}
    December 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    WOW, Jenny!!! They are gorgeous, what a huge difference! It makes me wish I had doors to stain (almost)!! You have to be thrilled to see them from the street, too!

  • Reply
    Dee @ A Lapin Life
    December 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Your front door looks wonderful. It’s a beautiful difference. I love the Christmas swags.

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Shine Your Light
    December 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Oh my gosh – what an amazing difference!! The doors came out GREAT Jenny!!!

  • Reply
    khaki salmon
    December 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Gorgeous! And no… made a wise decision to keep the casing on the interior white.

  • Reply
    December 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    The doors are such an amazing improvement! Great idea! Have any of your neighbors said anything?

  • Reply
    December 2, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Wow – what a beautiful difference ! The stain is very rich, and looks just amazing…..

  • Reply
    Kim @ Savvy Southern Style
    December 3, 2013 at 2:17 am

    Jenny, the door are simply gorgeous. I like the white trim inside.

  • Reply
    Kris @ Driven by Décor
    December 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I have total door envy – it's beautiful! Your holiday door greenery looks wonderful too!

  • Reply
    Andrea @ Decorating Cents
    December 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Love them so much. Uh oh, don't make me want to run out and get wood doors. I like the white trim on the inside but both are nice.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    It’s already striking, but, yeah, it would be even better if you would coat the casing with some stain too. Although the contrast isn’t bad, there’s just something that seems odd, which I frustratingly can’t pinpoint. Katie@Renewal by Andersen® of Los Angeles

  • Reply
    January 7, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    OOh I like it! Makes it look so much more dramatic! They are beautiful doors to begin with, but that really took it over the top. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mrs. Limestone
    March 17, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    The darker color looks great!

  • Reply
    Dawn Wynne
    April 11, 2014 at 12:11 am

    What color stain/brand did you use? Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Lynne Halloran
    January 22, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Going from light to a sleekly dark shade, eh? That’s a bold move, but the effects are splendid. It did suit well with the rest of house’s interior. Cheers for nailing this makeover!

    Lynne Hollaran @ Suburban Glass

  • Reply
    Cheri Jones
    November 24, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Can you go lighter with your stain? I, too, have a re tint on my cabinets, but would like to go with a grayish gel. Have you tried that?

    • Reply
      December 2, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      I think it depends on how dark your stain is to begin with. If it’s too dark, you would have to sand down the old finish in order to lighten it up.

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