What colour do I paint my internal doors?

What colour do I paint my internal doors is a question that I am frequently asked.  I can't give a definitive answer though as it will depend on a number of factors but I do have some ideas to show you here to help you make the right choice for your home.

Firstly you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I like my internal doors?
  • Should I disguise them or make them a feature?
  • How many of them do I have together – just one in a room or are there wardrobe doors that match?
  • Should I even be painting them?
What colour should I paint my internal doors
Image: Decus Interiors via Est Living

Should I paint my internal doors the same colour as my trim?

The whole process of which parts of your room to paint can be overwhelming if you don't do it that often.  Sometimes questions are so obvious to me but I know that clients spend a lot of time considering their options.

If you do decide to paint your internal door a different colour to the trim then you need to ensure that you like the door.  By treating it this way you are drawing attention to it.  This is often a colour treatment if your door is natural timber and you don't want to paint it.  The architraves (trim) can still be white or of course they can remain timber and it often depends on how much timber you want to bring into the scheme and also whether or not they are in good condition.

What colour should I paint my interior doors
Image: Interior Barn Doors

So, consider the door.  Is it beautiful in its own right?  If so, leave it as timber but if you feel that too much timber makes your scheme too classic, just leave the door and paint all the trim.  By doing this you frame the timber door making it into a feature.

Another trend that is gaining traction is to paint the interior doors a feature colour – often black or grey.  This is a good way to introduce some colour into your room without just selecting a random wall and painting it.  Again, rather than also painting the feature colour on the architraves and skirting boards, if you just paint the door then it is not overwhelming.

What colour should I paint my internal doors
Image: Love Create Celebrate

Never forget the designer's mantra that less is more!

HOWEVER if you have a beautiful colour – perhaps a gorgeous grey – and you want to really provide an impact then you can paint the internal door, architrave and skirting board all in this colour.  Just ensure you love it and that it suits the room.  I also tend to confine this to well crafted architraves and skirting boards.

Should I paint my internal doors the same colour as the wall?

Looking at this from another point of view, you may prefer to disguise the internal doors.  If they are of no architectural merit or if you are looking for a very streamlined and contemporary look, you may just want to paint them the same colour as the walls.

If you are opting for a clean crisp white throughout there is absolutely no reason to paint your skirting boards, architraves and internal doors another colour or different strength of white.  Even if your walls are a soft grey, by painting your doors the same colour you maintain a calm, serene environment that has a good flow.

What colour should I paint my internal doors
Image: Anneli Bush

Even with a very classic look, you can paint everything in one colour.  The soft green in the image below has been used on the door, trim and bookcase which is very effective when you are using colour as it maintains some simplicity to the look.

What colour should I paint my internal doors
Image: The Little Greene Paint Company

Sometimes though a slight contrast is desirable, particularly for a more classic scheme.  In this case you can paint the trim and internal doors in a quarter or half strength of the white or neutral you are using on the walls.  Or if you have opted for a soft grey or colour on the walls then a suitable white will work.

When you are emulating a Hamptons style you may also have wainscoting which should be the same as the trim and doors.

What colour should I paint my internal doors
Image: Hometalk

Consider how many doors are together in a space

This is very important because if you have wardrobe doors adjacent to the main room door you will find that there is a lot of repetition and this may help you to decide whether you keep the doors the same as the walls or make a feature of them.  Clearly the more doors there are, the more they will impact on the space.

The designer in the image below has opted to paint the wardrobe doors in the same grey as the upholstered bedhead.  This unifies the room and I think is a winner.

If you opt for a deep strong colour on the walls of a room you need to decide carefully on the trim and door colour.  These doors in white would have given quite a different feel to the room.  It would look great but it would become a very fresh and coastal look.  The trim is still white here and probably the internal door to the room but rather than just replicate that white on the wardrobe doors, the designer has taken a more subtle approach.

What colour should I paint my internal doors
Image: Bocadolobo

This can often be a design question for hallways where you have the main entrance doors and then several doors in quick succession leading into rooms.

In this case, I often like to treat the entrance door differently.  If you have a beautiful timber door then of course the inside of it should remain timber.  But if you have painted your front door then you may like to consider painting both sides of the door in the same colour.

Related: What should you paint on the inside of your front door

Always remember too when you are selecting a colour for your internal doors that it should relate to the overall colour palette for the home.  By linking the door colour to an accent that is being used throughout the space, the look becomes more cohesive.

What colour should I paint my internal doors
Image: Versteegh Design

Related: What colour should I paint my skirting boards and architraves


What colour should I paint my internal doors

Don't forget to consider your internal doors in relation to the kitchen joinery.  Often pantry doors will be close to internal doors throughout an open plan space so you need to think about this too when deciding on a colour.

What colour should I paint my internal doors

I hope that this makes sense and has given you some ideas on how to treat your internal doors.  Remember that wardrobe doors can be a different colour or tone and that you can link to the architraves or make a feature of the door.  Sometimes you will have beautiful statement doors in one area – perhaps a really great barn door – and these can be treated differently to your other doors.

A mood board can help you to pull all of your ideas together.  In fact, you really shouldn't embark on any renovation or decorating project without one.  I have a FREE e-book for you to download to help you to put a mood board together here.

Don't forget that I love to hear from you to in the comments section below.


8 thoughts on “What colour do I paint my internal doors?

  1. Avatar
    Joy Kolstad says:

    re: painting interior doors…I’m working to create a “British Colonial” theme in my 1500 sq ft Florida home. I have several furniture pieces in my living room/dining area that are black/ebony painted wood. The entire house is painted a light grey and doors and trim are white. I love the look of shutters and doors painted either dark wood color or black and I see that in a lot of examples of British Colonial decor. Entryway doors to bedrooms and bathrooms are molded. Closet doors are shutter doors and windows are plantation shutters. Interior living space has a lot of natural light coming in.

    Is my square footage too small to paint interior doors?
    Do I paint the room entry doors only and skip the closets and plantation shutters?
    Would leaving the doors as is and adding new door hardware and hinges help to create the look I”m going for–black or bronze?

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Joy For your size of home I like the compromise that you are suggesting with just painting the molded doors into rooms dark and then keeping the closet shutter doors in white to match the shutters on your windows. This gives you a softer and lighter palette whilst still giving a nod to the British Colonial style. Your furniture also helps to create this look. I like the sound of door hardware in a dark bronze – some of these appear almost off black but are not as heavy as solid black and therefore work well on white as well as black. I like to buy one set of hardware to try to see if I like the overall effect before committing to an entire purchase. Don’t forget to consider your hinges too. I hope this has helped and that you love the end result. Samantha

  2. Avatar
    Carrie says:

    I’m in the process of painting my interior doors in the hallway. They are all 6-panel doors that were painted white. I chose a very light, warm gray. I really like the effect, but think maybe I should have gone a bit darker. Maybe something like photo number 4 in your post. Thanks for the beautiful photos and inspiration!

  3. Avatar
    Karen Tighe says:

    Hi Samantha .. Thanks for your blog pieces – they have been very helpful! I’ve started to paint our tall french bifold doors and windows which head off our kitchen open plan area to the garden in Dulux Klavier but now realise that it’s too purple especially in certain light! These doors and windows take up the best part of two walls .. the other walls are vivid white, with floor boards and old wooden table in this area – so the black certainly pops which is lovely heading out to our courtyard and garden but Klavier is not the right colour. Which softer black would you recommend? (with no purple or blue undertones) Black Caviar or Monument perhaps? Any guidance is very appreciated! I will be painting the outside of the doors/windows in the same colour. The black doors in your third photo look nice. Thanks again.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Karen you can’t go wrong with Monument as it is a lovely off black neutral and works well inside and outside. This would be my choice for you – hope this helps Samantha

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Kimberley your entry door can be painted different colours inside and outside. I have a blog post on this – what to paint on the inside of your front door – which you will find useful to answer this question. Hope this helps Samantha

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