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Choosing Door Colors

Close your eyes and envision an interior space. You see the furniture and the artwork. You see the arrangements and the negative space. You imagine all the little elements that give a room its unique character. Now, what do people notice first when they enter the room? The portal to this interior haven — the door.

A well-designed door can be its own standout focal point and polish a space. Carefully selected door colors can personalize an interior door and bring new character to the entire room.

Benefits of Painting Interior Doors

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 entrance to the room's motif.

Here are a few benefits of painting your door:

  • Easier maintenance: By choosing 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 scuffs as easily can make maintenance easier for the occupants.

  • Enhance design opportunities: You can alter the appearance of a room with your door's paint and the color combos you choose for the space. You get more creative control over the aesthetics when you can choose your door's color.

  • Improve aesthetics: You can make the door a 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 a modern feel and a sense of minimalism. 

  • Accentuate 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.

However, there are times when there may be better choices for the space than painting your door. 

Painting your doors is a practical interior design element with the power to transform a space — when you implement it wisely. Some doors are better left as 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 wood 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.

  • Material that cannot be painted: Research your type of door before you commit to painting. For example, a natural timber wood door will warp if painted. And a door with a laminate finish can only be stained with proper preparation. 

  • Busy wallpaper: You might decide not to paint the door if it would be in stark contrast to a prominent wallpaper. 

To Paint or Not to Paint?

Tips for Painting Your Interior Doors:

Consider these tips for making the process as smooth and sleek as a good coat of paint:

  • Examine existing features and aesthetics: A room's current features are a good starting place for choosing a new door color. You can take inspiration from window accents, the furniture, the floors, carpets and the color of the walls. Let the color you choose for the door enhance the existing aesthetic. You can also choose a darker shade of the color of the existing elements in the room.

  • Create the mood: Color affects our emotions and can transform the environment. Envision the atmosphere you want the room to inspire, and choose the door's color to match. Do you want a warm, inviting space? Yellows, oranges and browns can create a welcoming palette. Would you like the room to have a quirky, playful character? Vivid primary colors may do the trick!

  • Consider the room's use: Are you painting an office door or the door for an entertainment area? A toddler's playroom or your own bedroom? The room's primary use is worth considering before you select your door colors. A playroom can be as bright and colorful as you desire, while an office space may require a less distracting and more sophisticated color.

What Is the Best Color for Your Space?

Now you can choose the best paint for the door. Different interior styles call for other color palettes. Explore these guidelines for various spaces.


Vintage is becoming increasingly popular so 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 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 professional paint detailed designs on 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 feature intricate details and equally impressive panels and trims. A coat of paint could help accentuate these details. Before you decide to paint, examine the door to see if it is an antique. An antique door's state — original, restored or repaired — 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. 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. Modern looks generally rely on whites, creams, off-whites, grays, charcoals and black neutrals, but there is still plenty of room to play around with colors. Try swapping the neutral locations for something new. 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 the guidelines of a 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. You can use paint creatively to play with the feel of a room's dimensions.

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.

Should I Paint the Door and Wall the Same Color?

For small rooms, yes. As mentioned, you can make the space feel bigger with same-colored doors and walls. Light tones can also make a room feel more spacious.

You can also make an oddly-positioned door stand out less by painting it the same color as the walls.

Should I Paint the Entire Door or Just One Side?

Painting one or both sides of the door comes down to your preference and if the rooms the door connects have contrasting 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?

Different areas in a commercial space have different design considerations. Keep the door colors in the same color family for a cohesive look that blends with varying designs. Keep in mind that no one will see all the interior doors at the same time, so different door colors may only 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 you should consider various aspects for each door. Each finishing option has unique qualities, and the location of the door may change the finish it requires. For example, a bathroom door must 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 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 door handle should visually stand out and add a beautiful accent.

Good door handle and hardware options include:

  • Pewter: Pewter works with most styles, and you can use different finishes to narrow down the design for the specific space. For example, a brighter, shinier finish works well for modern areas, and darker shades pair well in antique rooms.

  • Colored ceramic: Choose colored ceramics for 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: Brass 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?

Matching the trim to the door creates a subtle and sophisticated look. You can opt for contrasting color combos for the door and trim if you want the door to pop and make a statement. If you paint your door an accent color, 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 highlight the raised details.

Start With DoorStop

We at DoorStop provide local businesses, designers, architects and contractors with quality interior doors and door hardware tailored to your projects.


From exotic wood veneer to durable metal doors, we have the options to provide you with outstanding results. Our products have a shorter turnaround time than our competitors so you can get your supplies sooner and satisfy your clients on-schedule. 

Fill out a contact form today or call us at (888) 366-7624 now to learn about our products and reliable service!

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