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.

34 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

  4. Avatar
    Stacy Wert says:

    Hi Samantha, I decided to paint my interior doors Wrought Iron which is beautiful and adds a really nice contrast to all the very light gray walls and white trim in my home. My question is do I need to paint both sided of the doors. Right now I’ve just started painting the side that leads into the main part of the house but not any of the back sides. And if it is ok to leave the back sides the original white trim color do I paint all the edges Wrought Iron or leave them white. To me the white looks fine because the frame of the door is white but maybe I’m just being lazy. 🙂 Thanks in advance.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Stacy Yes – that is fine to just paint one side and you do leave the edges in white. If you decide it doesn’t suit you can always change it but that’s OK. Glad you like the effect Samantha

  5. Avatar
    Stacey says:

    Hi Samantha, I’ve just gone ahead and painted the majority of my interior a soft green, and now of course i’m at a loss as to what colour to paint the doors. The problem is that there is quite a lot of timber trim in the house, which my other half absolutely loves. If he would let me paint the trim (and the doors) white, all my problems would be over. I’m not sure whether i should paint the doors the same soft green as the walls, with the timber trim around it, or paint them white, but then only the ceiling and the doors would be white, or paint them a different colour entirely. There are plenty of other colours that might tie in – the rest of the furnishings in the main rooms have a sort of industrial-bohemian thing going on (kind of sounds terrible, but it works on a few levels) with black hardware and pops of colour everywhere, but i worry that i’d be turning the place into a fun house if i vary too much on the colours.. Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Stacey I think as a compromise you could leave the internal doors in timber and just paint all the trim white – skirting boards and architraves. This gives you some nice fresh relief against your soft green and also makes the door a lovely feature – less is more so getting rid of some of the timber makes the remainder look really nice. Perhaps give that a try? Samantha

  6. Avatar
    Margaret says:

    Hi Samantha, our interior walls are a soft creamy grey off white. The windows/ ledges and all doors are painted tea, which I loathe. We also have a wooden staircase leading upstairs off the hall.
    1. I was thinking of painting the window frames and doors the same colour as the walls. Would this be ok or should I go a tad darker than the walls?
    2. Should I also paint the staircase in the same colour as the walls, and do the cap in say a warm black?
    The house is quite large and open plan.
    Thanks for your advice.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Margaret you can go either way – a slight contrast is more of a classic look while trim and doors the same as the walls is more contemporary. I do like the idea of bringing in the black for the handrail as this will provide some definition to the staircase. Hope this helps Samantha

  7. Avatar
    Mary Ellen Perfett Hilko says:

    Can I paint the inside of my solid front door black, leaving the side lights white that match the trim on the foyer? I am concerned about the flat surface of the door being black, all the pictures I have seen have some dimension. Would a dark gray/black be a better choice or just staying white?

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Mary Ellen you can certainly just paint the door rather than the architraves too – in fact this is often the case with a feature door colour. In terms of whether you use black or a dark grey, consider the other elements in the space – do you have any artworks? If so are they framed in black or something else? Lighting, furniture, hat rack etc. Consider all those elements and then decide. A matt finish will absorb more light and this may work better for you if you do opt for black. Good luck Samantha

  8. Avatar
    Sarah becker says:

    Hi Samantha I’m a bit stuck on what fireplace to put in lounge. In fact I think I keep trying bits out and changing my mind as I don’t like it when I’ve do e it eg painting fireplace instead of keeping it wood. How do u overcome that?

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Sarah you need to consider whether you want the fireplace to be a feature or just blend into the surrounding area. I tend to like a feature the best as it is naturally a focal point in the room. I hope that this answers your question Samantha

  9. Avatar
    Pamela says:

    I want to paint my interior doors. We have quite a few. Should I match them to the window frames ? Or should I treat the exterior doors and window frames as a separate entity.

    Thanks in advance

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Pamela unless you are making a feature of your doors, they should be painted the same as the architraves and skirting boards (architraves for doors and windows). You can choose to use a feature colour for the doors but you need to consider this carefully as you have so many. Sometimes you can just paint double feature doors or the inside of the front door etc. Generally though I would say to match them to the trim throughout the home. Hope this makes sense! thanks Samantha

  10. Avatar
    Joanne says:

    I have just decorated my bedroom 2 walls navy/silver wallpaper 2 walls silver/grey paper. I have bedroom door and one cupboard door on navy wall and one cupboard door on silver/grey wall. What colour should I paint my doors/skirting? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Joanne If the silver in the wallpaper is the same on all four walls then I would pick out this colour for the doors, perhaps just a similar pale grey. You need to find a link between the two different colour schemes and then perhaps either use a colour that matches or something a little lighter. Hope this helps Samantha

  11. Avatar
    Nina says:

    Hi Samantha,

    I’m in the process of repainting my kitchen and bathroom cabinets and also replacing and painting the interior doors. My dilemma is can I paint the main living area doors a different color from the rest of the house? Such as the hallway and. Bedrooms? Both colors are very pretty and neutral and do not clash. The walls throughout the house are white so I am also thinking of painting the door trim the same color as the doors.

    Thank you!


    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Nina I find that you need a link with a colour scheme throughout a house but I think you could get away with painting the doors differently if you feel they work together but I would keep the architraves and skirting boards the same – presumably a white – to create a link and a seemless flow. Hope this helps Samantha

  12. Avatar
    Lorraine Wessels says:

    Have open floor plan – Sage green walls, white mantel, and dark Andiron green front exterior door. What is yr opinion on painting mantel sage green and interior doors dark Andiron green?
    Thank you!

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Lorraine I love dark interior doors but it will completely change the look and mood of your home. I think if the walls are sage green the mantel should be a contrast, either dark or leave it as white. You need to consider your architraves and skirting boards too – the mood will be much fresher if these are in white against the dark doors. It can certainly work but just consider the overall mood of the house and how you want it to feel. Let us know how you go! Good luck Samantha

  13. Avatar
    Emma says:

    Do all the doors in the house need to be painted the same colour. I was thinking black on one floor but another colour for the other floors?

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Emma internal doors and trim create a good flow through the house and link the colour schemes nicely. I like to paint feature doors a different colour sometimes – perhaps double doors into a living room or the inside of the front door, but I wouldn’t recommend painting different colours on each floor of the house – it could look like a hotel or nursing home!!! Samantha

  14. Avatar
    Annie Vanderjagt says:

    Hi Samantha
    I have a similar dilemma with a previous reader. My husband loves all the wooden trims and architraves. The internals doors are wooden but cheap. Could I just paint the wooden doors and trim around them but leave the rest of the trims around windows and architraves wooden. Also this would be a more simple job for me to tackle!

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Annie yes – absolutely! This will lift the scheme and also hide the doors if they’re not great quality but still leave a touch of timber to keep your husband happy! Good luck Samantha

  15. Avatar
    Mark says:

    Hi Samantha,

    Great article.

    My partner and I are renovating a 1920s Australian Federation house with dark wooden floors and need to decide on door colour.

    We are going to have white walls and trim with shaker style doors which would either be white or light coloured oak veneer.

    The existing original doors are pine (very tired) and though we like lighter coloured wood for furniture, we are a little hesitant with regards to going with lighter wooden doors with darker floors for fear that it would lack cohesion with the floors.

    We have considered whether we should bleach floors lighter or stain floors black but both are a bit of a departure to the roots of the house which is in a heritage listed area where all the original floors in the area are dark brown (the natural colour of old growth Jarrah – an West Australian timber). Some houses did have a Japanese Black treatment historically which leaves floors very dark but not sure whether this would loose to much of the warmth that the floors natural grain brings.

    White would still work and look great but the oak might feel even better and though you can always paint the timber but not do the reverse with a cheaper white door it’s an expensive way to end up with a white door.

    Love to hear your perspective of this.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Mark your house sounds fabulous and there is no way that I would change the floors – just restore them as they are. My feeling is that white doors will work the best as I feel the light oak is out of keeping with the Federation style and also makes introducing furniture difficult too. Hope this helps with your thinking Samantha

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