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How to decide on a door color - DoorStop

Trying to Decide on a Door Color?

Between furniture and artwork selection for your designs, interior doors may not rank high on your priority list. However, a well-designed door can add cohesion and polish to a space. You can personalize an interior door to fit a space by painting it.

When you are considering painting a door, there are some important questions you may consider. How do you choose between painting a door or keeping it natural? If you paint, how do you know what color to pick? To help you work through your thought process, we created a guide on when and how to paint doors for the best look in the spaces you design.

Painting Your Interior Doors: To Paint or Not to Paint

The decision to paint your doors can open up a world of possibilities for the interior space. You can make the room seem larger and tie the door into the room's motif. But a poor paint job could make the room feel disjointed or take away from the natural beauty of the door.

Here are a few benefits to painting your door:

  • Easier maintenance: By choosing a paint with a gloss finish, you ensure a better shine and a surface that cleans more easily than an unfinished door. Doors are one of the most touched and used surfaces of an interior space, so giving them an exterior that will not show as many scuffs and dirt can make maintenance easier for the occupants.

  • Added design opportunities: Depending on the color you choose in the space, you can alter the appearance of the room with your door's paint. You get more creative control over the aesthetics when you can choose what color to make the door.

  • Improved aesthetics: You can make the door a more cohesive part of the space by painting it a color that matches the room's style. Deep reds have a classic feel, while neutrals add to a modern sense of minimalism. A painted door perpetuates the style of the room, in addition to its practical function.

  • Accentuated door details: If you have an ornate door with particular features you want to draw attention to, adding a careful paint job could enhance those intricate details.

On the other hand, there are times when painting your door may not the best choice for the space. Some of those circumstances include:


  • The door is exotic or luxury wood: You likely do not want to paint an expensive, high-end door made from exotic or luxury wood. While in some instances you could use a stain, some doors are meant to be appreciated in their original form. Much of the appeal of a unique wooden door may come from its natural state.

  • The door material cannot be painted: Research your type of door before you commit to painting. For example, a natural timber wood door will warp if painted. Without proper preparation, a door with a laminate finish cannot be stained. 

  • The room has loud wallpaper: If picking a paint color may cause the door to clash with a prominent wallpaper, you might decide not to paint the door. Or you could consider some options that allow you to paint the door so it does not clash with the wallpaper — such as picking the darkest shade featured in the paper.

What is the Best Color for Your Space?

Once you have decided to paint your doors, you get to pick the best paint for the space. Different interior styles call for different color palates, so we will explore some of the guidelines for a variety of different spaces.


With the increasing popularity of vintage spaces, it is helpful to understand how to incorporate a door into a vintage theme. Depending on the vintage era you try to replicate, the colors may vary. If you want to evoke the shabby-chic style of popular vintage pieces today, pastel yellow, pale aqua and a mint green could do the trick. Working with muted pastels could give you the options you need to round out the look of the room.

You could also get creative and have a professional paint detailed designs onto the door to add to the artistic vision of the room. Add a vintage stencil design to draw subtle attention to multiple colors on the doors.

Doors for historic buildings - DoorStop tips


Doors used in historic spaces often boast intricate details with equally impressive panel and trim. A coat of paint could help accentuate these details. Before you decide to paint, examine the door to see if someone painted it before. If the door is an antique, its previous care will impact how you can move forward with painting. 

Historic buildings tend to be painted based on interior door color trends from the times when they were built. To bridge the gap between historic and current, choose modern adaptations of historic colors. Instead of a cream, opt for a greige instead. When considering historic doors, also think about the hardware. An antique, brass doorknob could completely alter the look of the door to make it more cohesive in the space. 


Modern looks focus on minimalism. But done correctly, minimal does not mean boring. While modern looks rely on the white, cream, off-white, gray, charcoal and black neutrals, you do not need to stick to the status quo on their application. Try swapping the neutral locations for something different. Instead of a gray wall with a white door, try white walls and a gray door. These small changes can translate into a big statement while adhering to modern style.


You can also experiment with more eccentric neutrals such as griege or off-black. For a unique twist, paint a door with chalkboard paint. The occupants in the commercial space can use the door to write out lists, brainstorm or display weekly messages in an unconventional way.



When you work with small spaces, you want to maximize the available space to make it feel as large as possible. Using paint creatively offers you the options you need to make this happen.

Painting a door a contrasting color makes a statement, but it breaks up the visual lines on the wall. This choice can make a small room feel smaller. Painting the door the same color as the wall makes the wall seem continuous, which makes the room seem larger. To give the door a bit more pop without sticking out, use a high-gloss version of the paint color.



A larger space can handle more of a pop of color without feeling cluttered or claustrophobic. In fact, a brighter color can add some life to the room. Make sure the color you choose works with the current color scheme of the room. To add a subtle statement, choose a darker, richer shade of the current wall color in the room.

Painting Your Interior Doors: FAQ

Tips for painting interior doors - manhattan Door Stop

There are spoken and unspoken do's and do not's when it comes to painting doors. When you understand this framework, you can be intentional in your choice to abide by or break the "rules." Here are some of the frequently asked questions about interior door color schemes to consider when painting doors.

Should I Paint the Door and Wall the Same Color?

If you are working in a small room, yes. As mentioned, you can make the space feel bigger with same-colored doors and walls. In general, choosing neutral tones such as white, off-white or cream helps these spaces seem larger.

You should also consider painting the door and wall the same color when the door stands in an odd place in the room. For example, if the door sits in a visually awkward place, painting it the same color as the wall will help it stick out less. 

Should I Paint the Entire Door or Just One Side?

No rule dictates that you must paint a door only one color or that you should paint it two colors. It comes down to your preference and if the two rooms the door connects have different styles. If the rooms are very different, you could solve the lack of continuity with a different door color on the front and back to match each room's style.

Do All Interior Doors Need to Be the Same Color?

Some people may say you should paint all interior doors the same color. However, different areas in a commercial space have different design choices. For a cohesive look that blends with varying designs, you could keep the door colors in the same color family. Keep in mind that no one will see all the interior doors at the same time, so different door colors may not stick out unless you want them to.

What Is the Best Type of Finish for Interior Doors?

There is no straightforward answer to this question because every door has different functions and needs. Each finishing option has varying degrees of aesthetic and durable qualities, and the location of the door may change its needs. For example, a public restroom door will need to withstand frequent contact and disinfecting.

Generally, you want to use the most sheer finish possible for your door. This will prevent the door from having an overly-shiny or fabricated appearance. Options to consider include:


  • Shellac

  • Varnish

  • Water-based finish

  • Lacquer

  • Oil

  • Wax

what hardware is best for door style - DoorStop

What Is the Best Type of Hardware for a Door?

The hardware you choose will depend on the door and the overall style of the room. 


The doorknob color you select should contrast the door so it visually stands out. A dark, aged-bronze handle on a dark, wooden door may blend in and become hidden as the colors match too closely.

Here are some doorknob and hardware material choices:

  • Pewter: This works with most styles. Use different finishes to narrow down the style for the specific space. For example, a brighter, shinier finish works well for modern spaces and darker shades pair well in antique rooms.

  • Colored ceramic: This is a surprising option that makes a statement. Colored ceramic works well in retro spaces and rustic, country decors. The variety of colors and finishes available gives you plenty of options to find the perfect fit for the room.

  • Brass: This is the most widely used option because it works well in most spaces. Bright finishes make modern spaces pop, while weathered looks sell the authenticity of vintage spaces.

  • Bronze: With its naturally aged appearance, bronze adds texture to the room. Different finishes give the material a blend of tones, making it a striking accent.

When choosing the doorknob, picking the right finish is one of the most important decisions to help bring cohesion to the space.

Do I Match the Trim Color to the Door Color?

The color you paint interior doors and trim does not have to be the same — but it can be. If you are looking for a subtle door paint idea, you can paint the trim to match the door. Alternatively, contrasting colors for the trim and door could make the door pop against the wall if that is the look you want. If you chose to paint your door an accent color, having a white trim can help contain the color and create a smooth transition to the wall color. 

How Do I Highlight the Designs in an Intricate Door?

Choosing a door with a delicate design adds an element of sophistication to a room. You can highlight those details by painting the door a shade lighter or darker than the surrounding walls. To accentuate the details even further, paint the recessed parts of the door white to act as a highlight for the raised details.

Find the right door for you at Manhattan DoorStop

Find Your Starting Place at DoorStop

When looking for an expert to trust with all your door needs, we at DoorStop have you covered. From exotic wood veneer to durable metal doors, you can find the options here to get your project done right. Our products have a shorter turnaround time than our competitors, which means you can get your supplies sooner and satisfy your clients on-schedule. 

If you need a custom door for your project, we can provide a high-end option to your specifications. Our experienced team is dedicated to tailoring customer service and satisfaction to your needs. To learn more about our offerings and reliable service, fill out a contact form today or call us at (888) 366-7624

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