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I paintied all my interior doors dark gray and I LOVE them! I got a lot of feedback on Instagram, Instagram Stories, and Facebook about sharing some tips/how-tos so I put together a door painting tutorial and some tips and tricks on painting your interior doors. I have painted doors at 3 different homes now so I have a few mistakes and lessons learned to pass along.
First, you’ll want to gather supplies. Here are some of my favorites for painting doors:
- 220 grit sandpaper or deglosser (read below on which you’ll want to use)
- Mini roller frame and rollers
- Mini roller tray
- Small brush
- Paintbrush comb (not required but helps keep your brushes SO much cleaner)
- Paint – this is Benjamin Moore Gray 2121-10. I painted the front and back of 11 doors and used about 3/4 of a gallon which left me with 1/4 (a little more than that) for touching up as needed.
- Primer – this one worked well under the dark gray paint.
- Sawhorses (if you want to take your doors off)
- Plastic drop cloth
How to Paint Interior Doors
Before you start, decide if you want to take the doors off or leave them on. If you’re doing it completely by yourself and don’t want to mess with taking them off, it’s definitely doable – it just takes a bit longer and is more tedious. I switched all my hinges out for black Schlage hinges so I opted to take my doors off.
Once your doors are off or you’re ready to start, you’ll need to figure out what type of paint is currently on your doors. If it is an oil-based paint you’ll want to sand them down with 220 grit sandpaper if you’re using latex paint.
You can find out if it’s oil or not by using a rubbing alcohol soaked cotton ball and rubbing it on the door. If the paint comes off it’s latex based, if it doesn’t it’s oil. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. If you THINK you know and your doors end up being oil and you paint over it with any type of latex, you WILL regret it. You can still use latex but you need to prep the doors first with the sandpaper. I’d also recommend using a primer before your paint just to get good adhesion.
If your door currently has a latex based paint you can just prep it by cleaning it and wiping it with a liquid deglosser. Using a primer here is optional but recommended again for good adhesion. I don’t usually use one on walls, but like it on doors.
Take all the hardware off the door. You can also choose to paint around the hardware, but it’s super simple to take off the hardware and makes painting go much faster.
Now you’re ready to paint!
*Tip: If you took the doors off and are painting them on a sawhorse, try protecting the door with a soft smooth cloth on the sawhorses. It takes a while for the paint to fully cure and there’s a good chance it will stick when you turn them overtaking off some of your new paint. This is one of the downsides of taking them off. You can wait a while for the paint to fully cure (cure time is different than dry time) or you can just touch up the paint after you hang them (this is what I did since I was painting in winter when it was super cold inside).
Start by painting the inset areas of the doors with your brush, then paint the raised/flat areas and sides with your mini roller. Check for paint buildup especially in the recessed areas and smooth out before it dries. You may need to do this more often if your door is still hanging. Allow to fully dry and then repeat for the second coat. *Tip – set a reminder on your phone for when you can apply the next coat.
Hang your doors back up and touch up any areas that need it. Be gentle with the doors for a few days or until the paint is FULLY cured. This paint I used has a 2 week full cure time!
I didn’t take a good before picture but you get the idea here.
And here are the doors in different rooms with some different lighting.
I changed all the knobs to Schalge Latitude Lever with Century Trim in Matte Black. I also switched out all the hinges to matte black hinges from Schlage.
I am in love with this Schlage Custom doorknob we added to the bathroom door. Since our hallway is all doors we thought making the bathroom a unique knob would be an easy way for guests to know which room was the bathroom.
General Tips for Painting Interior Doors
- When choosing paint, try getting a sample and painting a foam board that you can bring in different rooms different times of day. My house has very different lighting throughout the day as well as a hall and bathroom with zero natural light so I made sure to test the color in all the rooms of the house against the different paint colors in the rooms. At first I had a lighter gray but it was too close to one of the wall colors and I didn’t like it.
- Wherever you buy your paint ask which ones are good for doors. Some paint formulas are better for high traffic areas than others. I love how Benjamin Moore Advance paint cures super hard (we used it on our kitchen cabinets) and levels out beautifully (doesn’t show brush strokes) but it’s pricey. We used acrylic latex for these doors.
- When taking doors off, if doing more than one make sure you are ok with not having a door up for a day. For example, I made sure not to take off both bathroom doors at the same time.
- If you leave your doors on when painting, you might consider protecting the trim with painters tape. Especially on the side with the hinges.
Did I miss anything? Let me know if you have any questions!
What paint colour are the doors?
It’s listed in the supplies! Benjamin Moore Gray 2121-10
What type flooring do you have? What is the material and grain?
I linked the exact flooring we used at the end of this article! https://allforthememories.com/kitchen-makeover/
Curious if you still like the color you chose and how it does with dust (shows more or camouflage)?
Yes! I do still love it! We live in the desert so the house gets very dusty. The doors don’t show up any more dust than they did when they were original! Any darker may have been a different story though.
What finish is the paint? I currently have left over gray paint in a matte finish and I really want to paint my interior doors, but I’m worried the matte finish won’t turn out well
This is a satin finish
We are currently in the process of picking a paint color for the interior of a new house. I love your wall color. Do you mind sharing the color ? We are using BM Grey for doors as well.
Moldings are Sherwin Williams ProClassic Extra White (Semi-Gloss). Walls are Sherwin Williams Pure White (7005) in Eggshell finish
Hello, I love that dark gray. Mind if I ask what wall color you used that compliments it so well?
The wall color?
The white is Sherwin Williams Pure White
Love the color of the doors! One of your photos shows the back side of your front door. What color is that door? I really like how you used a different color for the interior doors vs. your entrance door.
Also, what sheen did you use for your doors? Eggshell? Satin?
I went with Satin.
The front door is Sherwin Williams Naval. Thank you! I went back and forth on whether or not to paint the backside of the front door!
I love the color and the contrast between the grey color used for the other doors.
“Did I miss something?”
Yes, probably the most important thing……,
What color and finish are the moldings?!
After reading your article,
I’m doing this exact color (door levers and hinges included!) Right after the Holidays, it looks beautiful!!
Sorry about that! Moldings are Sherwin Williams ProClassic Extra White (Semi-Gloss). Walls are Sherwin Williams Pure White (7005) in Eggshell finish
I love the color and all your tips! Did you paint both sides of the door or just the side that will be seen? I am wanting to paint my front door on the interior side and don’t know if it will ruin the door if I only paint one side.
Both sides, but on a front door especially, you could definitely just paint the interior. Mine is a different color on the exterior since I had my house re-painted!
I painted my interior doors basic black with a high gloss finish. I love the look still almost 2 years later. I wish I had done a better job prepping the doors and I wish I hadn’t painted where the hinges attach because it made some of the doors not close correctly. I had to go back and clean out the hinges afterwards. Great article, very helpful. I’m building a new home and will likely paint the doors again. Maybe dark grey this time and in satin like yours.
That’s a great point! I do love that the grey isn’t as dark as black (which I love) just because the dust doesn’t show up as fast in the desert!
Where is that beautiful table lamp from (gold base/white shade) in the last photo?
Target! Where you pick your own base/shade combo. I don’t know if they still have this same one but they do have some similar if not!
Where did you purchase the advance paint?
I purchased it from a small local hardware store close to me (Howard’s True Value in Glendale, AZ). You should be able to find who sells it near you on Benjamin Moore’s site!
i just painted my pantry door and love the color. I have noticed a couple of spots where the paint has rubbed off and the underneath white paint is coming through. The gentleman at the store recommended a paint with primer which is what I used. Any idea what I may have done wrong?
Is it rubbing off or can you peel it off from there? Paint with primer is fine but in my experience is not enough primer to really adhere to some previously painted surfaces when used often. One thing that you can try is to lightly sand down the spots that are rubbing off, primer and then re-paint paint them. Give it several weeks to really cure before using it like normal (where you might be a little rougher on the surfaces). Also, make sure you’re allowing plenty of dry time according to the instructions on the primer and paint!
What color are your floors?
5mm Riverwalk Oak Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring from Lumber Liquidators
What is the wallpaper you used in the bathroom?? Swoon! <3
That’s actually the shower curtain! It’s a tiny bathroom. Got it at West Elm
Allison, you’re a life saver! I just happened across this post on Pinterest this morning and, believe it or not, the Mr. and I are painting the interior doors of our rental unit TODAY. I sure am glad I found this first. Thanks so much for sharing all of this very valuable info! Stay safe and have a great day. 😉
I hope it worked out for you!
Did you paint all the doors in your house this color including the bedroom closets?
I did all the regular doors, my master closet door is a regular door (not a sliding closet door). I didn’t do my boys’ closets which are the traditional sliding doors.
Did you paint the small sides of the door where it touches the door frame? If so, how many coats? Did you have any trouble with the door closing, or sticking? We have wood stained door frame and doors and are wanting to paint it all, but I’m afraid adding 2 coats on both the frame and door will cause tightness. Also, do you recommend a deglosser or sanding wood doors that aren’t painted already?
We painted everything! No issues with closing or sticking. Just make sure you allow ample time to completely cure. I think this is the hardest part about using this paint. I try to get my family to “baby” the doors for the first few weeks just to make sure. Any issue I’ve had with paint always pops up then when we’re scraping it or banging it within that first little bit of time when really it’s still fully curing. If the doors are primed and ready for paint then no, but if they have any sort of coating you’ll still want to.
I love your decorating style! Do you mind sharing where you purchased the chest in the second picture below the picture with the saw horses?
It’s actually vintage! I bought it at a garage sale 5 or 6 years ago. I’m sorry that’s not very helpful!
I love your gray doors!! What finish did you use?
It is a satin finish!
Hi Allison, we have new construction and I am painting my interior doors a dark Gary. My question is should I paint the closet doors to match, or leave them white. I suppose it’s personal preference, but I think leaving them white will make the rooms look bigger. Thoughts?
If it is a regular door I painted it grey, the regular sliding closet doors I left white or painted the same as the wall! Just my preference.
I am having my back entryway trim painted Dove White to match my adjoining kitchen trim and cabinets. My floors are a light gray tile and my walls are sage green. I have a back door, bifold closet door, and a laundry room door in the back entry. Do you think the dark gray would be too much gray for the doors? I’ve also thought black or just the dove white. What are your thoughts?
I think if the walls are sage green the dark gray could work! I think a darker contrasting color would be great there. Depending on the sage you may feel like you want to go warmer but maybe painting a sample onto a poster board & taping it up would help you decide.