How to Paint Interior Doors

So I know I’m a little late to board the ‘painted interior door’ train, but that’s because I never planned on jumping on! The train had already left the station and was halfway to Hogwarts by the time I realized I needed to catch it. Sorry for the Harry Potter joke guys. Couldn’t help it. To me trains= Platform 9 3/4 = Harry Potter. I’m making it worse. Carry on.

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com)

Our house doesn’t have a lot of doors. We have a fairly open concept layout- one might even go so far as to say extremely open if you take into account that rooms that should have doors, like our master bathroom, oddly do not. Anyway, on the first floor we only have 6 interior doors- the guest bedroom, powder room, 2 kitchen pantries and a french door coat closet.

I initially planned on doing all the doors white (Simply White- Benjamin Moore). When we hung the doors in the kitchen I actually did paint them this color.

Here is what I mean by the pantry doors in the kitchen. They were off white louvered doors.

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But I had John replace them with standard 6 panel interior doors for an updated look. He also replaced the chrome handles with brushed nickle ones and we took down the awkward door in the back there leading to the laundry room.

Pantries

My wonderful sister helped paint while she was over this summer visiting colleges and no, I can’t handle that yet. This kid is seriously the best. I absolutely love having her come visit because she is always willing to help me with all the worst parts of renovation and learn about DIY.

Painting Interior Doors

For the hall closet we replaced the original bi-fold doors.

kitchen nook before

With these six panel doors hung to open in a french door style. I never had a chance to paint these so they were never as white as the kitchen pantry doors.

Kitchen Nook

We hung the doors back in August and they have been nothing but a huge pain in my butt since then. Both sets, regardless of the painting/not painting, were constantly scuffed and marked. I was so embarrassed all the time! They looked yucky and I was tired of wiping them down constantly.

interior door scuffing More for practicality than style I decided to paint them a darker color. I didn’t want to go all the way black, since we have dark cabinets, but I though a nice dark grey would look updated and provide the coverage I wanted.

The colors I narrowed it down to were Olympic Knight’s Armor- top right swatch- and Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray- bottom swatch.

pantry colors- sherwin williamd grizzle gray and olympic knight's armor

Here’s a closer up picture so you can see the colors a little better. Both are grays with a blue undertone, which I preferred to Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze which has a brown undertone. John made the call and picked Olympic Knight’s Armor based on the idea that as it’s slightly darker it will hide smudges better and “the name is way cooler”. Can’t argue with that.

Olympic Knight's Armor and Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray

I’m going to show you how I paint interior doors. This is the method I have found through trial and error to get the most smooth and ‘factory finish’ looking result with minimal drips and minimal mess!

You will need newspaper to protect your floor, frog tape, a paintbrush (the same type you would use to cut in for painting) and a small “cabinets and doors” foam roller. And obviously, your paint of choice. Semi-gloss is the standard finish for doors and trim but I have seem some folks opting for satin finish around the blogosphere lately. I prefer semi-gloss for durability. I bought a gallon of Knight’s Armor mixed into my favorite paint- Valspar Signature Paint + Primer in semi-gloss finish for $37 because I didn’t want to have to make another trip to Lowe’s if I ran out. Spoiler: I did not run out. A gallon of paint was way too much and now I need to think of another project to use than paint on. Can’t win.

Since I didn’t remove the doors, I just used the leftover newspaper to protect the floor. Because, you know, we wouldn’t my peeling, disgusting and stained linoleum to get paint drips… SMH. 

I also removed the door handles since the turn knob types weren’t working out and I bought fancy shmancy handles to replace them with.

How to Paint Interior DoorsMy method is to tape up the hinges using frog tape. Obviously, it’s easier to paint doors before you hang them, but if you feel confident enough to wing it and just rely on a steady hand and frog tape- go for it. And yes, I still need to touch up the paint around the door frame (Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray). It took me 8 months to paint the doors so I’m sure I’ll get to that by 2025 or so.

How to Paint interior door

Then, I grab my trusty paintbrush with a medium amount of paint on it- not too much or it will drip.

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 I paint the panels first, going with the grain of the wood.

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Then, I get ready to paint the flat areas of the doors. For these, you want to go with the grain of the door. I made this little chart of the top half of the door so you can see what I mean.

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com)

I use the paint brush to do the initial coat. This is because doors like this have a lot of ‘grooves’ and you get much better coverage by using the brush first.

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com)

Next, I use the roller with a very little amount of paint on it to smooth over the brush strokes. This creates that professional, factory finish. If there’s one thing I can’t stand- it’s brush strokes. I absolutely love using a roller to smooth everything out and fill in any spots missed by the brush. I work in rows- I usually do all the panels first, then do the rest of the door in thirds.

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com)

I use the roller to go back over the panels and smooth everything out. The small roller comes in extra handy here. This is the most important step (I think) in preventing drips around the panels. I also recommend doing this last when the roller has the least paint on it. Sorry this picture came out blurry- pictures are hard.

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Here is the door after one coat. I painted late at night so the lighting isn’t the best, but you can see this door needed a second coat. I did two coats on the unpainted doors and three on the painted ones.

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com)

 I was able to get some better pictures in daylight today. Here is the closet finished with hardware replaced. We used the same stainless steel bar pulls we used for the kitchen cabinets.

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com)

It looks soooo awesome!!! Who knew painting some doors would end up being one of my favorite updates to the house! John loves that the dark paint makes you notice the doors more. Somehow to room looks bigger.

Here are the pantry doors. It is REALLY hard to get a picture with both doors in the shot because of the layout.

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com) Also, remember when I said our range hood was scheduled for delivery on 12/29? Yea… It came. And we hated it. So I spent 3 months being upset about it and finally ordered a replacement which should come next week. Famous last words.

Here’s a close up of the pantry door with the new hardware. We switched out the knobs with these Schlage Latitude Satin Nickle Passage Door Lever for $33.97 from Lowe’s.

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com)

LOVE. So much easier to open especially when you have your hands full of stuff you’re trying to throw out.

For the two pantry doors- I’m thinking I need to add some wreaths. I think two little boxwood or white wreaths would look amazing against the dark paint. What do you think?

Paint Color: Olympic Knight's Armor. How to Paint Interior Doors from The Happy House Project (www.thehappyhouseproject.com)

I’m ecstatic I finally checked ‘paint the kitchen doors’ off my to do list!