Staining our Front Door

A few weeks ago we ordered our front door. It was a tough decision. We knew we liked the craftsman style and wanted to let plenty of natural light in. Living on 5 acres, we aren’t worried about privacy like I would be if we lived in a neighborhood and everyone could see in as they drove or walked by. We are trying to maximize our views so stuck windows and glass doors everywhere we could in the house. We wanted the front door to be the same. We have some large windows on either side of the front door so we decided to skip the sidelights and just buy a door with a large area of glass. This was harder than you may think. We wanted it to have some style to it and wanted a certain look. As you may recall from our last house, we love something with a rustic/farmhouse edge to it so we originally were considering a knotty alder door. We found one we loved but it was discontinued so we kept searching. Mike found a mahogany door that was the perfect style. We don’t like the reddish color that mahogany gives off so this door was perfect because it was unfinished! {you can see it online here}.

home depot craftsman unfinished mahogany doorIt arrived on Thursday and we absolutely love it! It will be installed in just a few short weeks so we need to start working on finishing it off. We tried out a few colors over the weekend and have picked a winner. We started with two colors we already know we love. They are both Minwax stains. Special Walnut is one we used on a ton of projects in our last house. It is definitely a favorite of ours. It has a little bit of a worn look and is really pretty. The second is also a color we have used before-Dark Walnut. We used this to stain our hickory round dining table. We knew we loved both colors but different woods can definitely change the look of a stain so we weren’t sure if we would like either on the door. Here is our unfinished door:

unstained front doorYes, it currently is hanging out in our tiny apartment bedroom. Our storage unit can’t fit one more faucet so we had no where to put it and since it’s very short term we can deal with it for a few weeks:) I took a small foam brush and put two coats of each stain on the side of the door. This will be hidden so it was the perfect spot to test.

stain test door

walnut stain on door

We didn’t notice much of a difference with the second coat of the special walnut. special walnut on doorSo, here are two coats of each color side by side for your reference.

two layers of door stainOur favorite by far is the dark walnut. I love how it pulls out the grain in the wood and richens the color. The special walnut brought out more of the red that is in mahogany and that was what we were trying to avoid. Our garage doors that we just ordered are walnut colored as well. Although they aren’t near each other, I like the fact that they will tie together. We plan on staining the door next weekend and will share what we did to complete it!

What do you think? Have you ever finished a door?


  1. What topcoat will you use, over the stain?…I have old exerior doors, that I’ve coated with Minwax Oil Poly…it has not held up very well…even though they were prepped quite well!

    • We plan on using a spar varnish. It is supposed to be weather resistant. We will have a post coming up on that next week!


  1. […] our front entry at the new house. We knew we wanted to have a dark stained door  {read more about that decision here} to contrast the light brick and after hours of researching, finally found this beautiful mahogany […]

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