Painting Interior Doors: What You Need to Know

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

Painting interior doors is a design trend that isn’t going anywhere. How to choose the perfect color for your home, the best paint to use, and ways to get a professional finish!

Why Paint Interior Doors?

Every move an interior decorator or designer makes is to improve the look and feel of the space they are working with. Painting interior doors adds visual interest and sometimes a little drama.

There are all sorts of interior door styles – panel, bifold, French, and glass just to name a few. Some lean more casual while others have a more formal look but they would all look great painted.

tricorn black painted door white wail.s, basement stairs painted black
Read: Best Paint for Stairs

The color you choose and the style of door you have greatly influence the overall look of your home. I have a post about all the paint colors in my home, but this one is all about helping you choose a color to fit your style.

Interior Door Color Ideas

Painting interior doors isn’t as easy as painting walls. Before you decide on a color keep in mind will cost you more in both money and time to make a change. The safest design choice is to keep your doors white, but sometimes you want to have a little fun!


Nothing adds drama like painting doors black! If you have white or light-colored walls, black paint will be the ultimate way to make a statement. Even though black-painted doors are nothing new, it still brings an element of surprise when someone enters your home. The most popular black paint for interior doors is Tricorn Black by Sherwin-Williams.

black painted bedroom door, guest room with white upholstered bed, wallpaper, styled nightstand and rug

You can add black door hardware that blends in or choose a finish that looks great with the rest of your decor.

Neutral colors

Warm shades of gray and beige are having a moment in home interiors. We are seeing all shades of beige on kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities as well as interior doors!

Using a neutral color on your doors is a subtle way to dress up a space. If you have several doors in close proximity, a lighter color will make the space feel larger compared to black.

small space with three painted interior doors, SW accessible beige

One of my favorite neutral paint colors lately is Accessible Beige by Sherwin-Williams. It’s beige without looking too brown and looks stunning in all lighting conditions.

Here are a few of the other popular neutral colors by Sherwin-Williams used to paint interior doors:

  • Agreeable Gray
  • Revere Pewter
  • Worldy Gray
  • Edgecomb Gray
  • Pale Oak

Bold colors

If you have fully committed to using bold accent colors in your home, then consider using one to paint your interior doors! Set the tone in a coastal home with a beautiful blue hue or give your traditional colonial a makeover with a serene shade of sage green.

blue interior door
source: Studio McGee
green interior door
source: Pinterest

The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing a paint color for your doors so grab a few samples and test them out!

How to Paint a Door

You’ve chosen a paint color and now it’s time to paint your doors. Here are a few basic steps to help you get the job done right!

Gather painting supplies

Get out your box of painting supplies and check to see what needs to be replaced. Taking inventory and replacing old items at the start of your project will help the process go smoother.

painting interior doors black
Door Painted Tricorn Black by SW

Here are a few things that you may need:

  • angled paint brush
  • regular or foam roller and tray
  • sanding blocks in both course and fine grit (220)
  • tack cloth
  • drop cloth
  • painters tape
  • utility knife
  • wood filler
  • tape

Prep door for painting

The first thing you want to do is remove the door from the hinges and remove the hardware. There is nothing worse than getting excess paint on the hinges and it removing it makes painting so much easier.

Next, you’ll want to clean the door. You may need to use a degreaser if the door has handprints otherwise the paint may not stick to the surface properly.

painting interior doors and trim the same color - accessible beige
Door, trim, and shiplap painted Accessible Beige by SW

If the door you are painting has any small defects you’ll need to use the wood filler to correct them.

As long as the door surface is currently in good shape you just need to use the fine grit sanding block to scuff the surface a bit. This smooths the surface and provides a good foundation for the new paint. Use a tack cloth to remove dust from the sanding process.

Apply a coat primer so your paint will adhere properly. If you have a brand-new door that is already primed, you can skip this step. Don’t attempt to use latex paint over oil-based paint without a primer – the paint will peel right off.

latex paint peeling off oil based paint
black painted door with paint rubbed off
beige painted door with paint chipped off

Painting the door

I always start with the panels and use an angled brush to paint the inner edges, then a roller for the rest of the door. When I painted the doors of my DIY custom closet I used a paint sprayer, but that isn’t always necessary.

how to paint a door, when to use a brush and roller
person painting panels of door with an angled brush
how to paint a door with panels
person using roller to paint the flat part of a door

Follow the paint manufacturer’s recommended drying times. Most brands recommend at least 4 hours between coats, but the longer you wait the better. Enamel paint can take days to cure fully, so take necessary precautions once the doors are rehung.

What is the Best Paint for Interior Doors?

When it comes to painting interior doors and cabinets, it’s important to use high-quality paint. My go-to paint for cabinets is Sherwin-Williams Urethane Trim Enamel. It has great coverage, does a good job hiding imperfections, and dries in a smooth durable finish. Give it plenty of time to cure and it will be your best bet for a long-lasting painted door.

laundry room with accessible beige door and trim, accessible beige, checkerboard floors
Read about my Checkerboard Floors

I’ve used this paint for several DIY projects over the years. Most recently, my home office cabinets and vertical shiplap in my laundry room makeover. For details about other projects I’ve done around my home, head over to my Project Page!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the paint peeling or rubbing off?

Any painted surface that you handle a lot has the potential to rub off. There are several reasons this can happen. The door wasn’t primed before painting, the paint wasn’t allowed enough time to cure, or there are friction points where the door meets the frame.

Are black or white doors better?

That depends on the style you are going for. Black doors are more modern, but white doors are a classic look. One of the plusses of white doors is that the issues I mentioned in the previous questions aren’t as noticeable.

Should I use a brush or roller to paint a door?

I always use an angled brush to paint the inner corners of panel doors and a roller for the flat surfaces. Depending on the paint you use, a brush may leave obvious brush marks where a roller usually leaves a smoother finish.

Do you paint interior doors the same colors as your walls?

You certainly can! I painted my home office cabinets the same color as the walls and trim and love the finished look. Painting interior doors the same color as the walls certainly creates drama, but if everything is the same color, you won’t have contrast. Painting the door and frame is another way to stretch the color a bit.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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

I accept the Privacy Policy