Paint the Inside of A Door Today (& honest words about paint colors)

front door

march 2015

front door

march 2014


august 2013

It’s not the door I would choose but it’s the door I have.

So after we removed wallpaper from every wall in the house, and did a million other things, I finally got around to painting the inside of the front door. Because if it’s the door I have, but not the door I want, I’m at least going to take a risk and try to make it better.


front door before


I should have turned that light off, right?!


It’s still a work in progress, I’m slowly painting the wood trim in most of the house and painting over the doors in most of the house. I’ve been painting over things I don’t like for 20 years and I’m still surprised at what a difference a quart of paint can make.


If there’s something in your house that is less than ideal, or not your style and you just can’t change it, I hope you find a way to make it better. Take a baby step, risk ruining something you already hate and see what happens.


I know some of you are going to ask about the color and I’m going to not tell you the color on purpose. Because I promise, the color that you see on your screen is not the color that it looks in real life, and is not the color that it will look in your house. Over the years I’ve learned that telling my paint colors doesn’t actually help anyone–someone will email me horrified that my white looks green in their house–and they will be right. Picking a paint color is a crapshoot and anyone who tells you different is lying.

But don’t let that get you down…

You just have to pick a color, bring it into your house with your lighting and your floors and your windows and see how it looks. Just like perfume smells different on everyone, paint looks different in every house.  You can do this, and it’s worth it!

–remember what Andrea, from Better Homes & Garden’s told us when I asked her if it was hard to find homes to feature in their magazines:



Go forth and paint a door.


  1. Haha, oh man I JUST last week painted the door leading our walk up attic. It has stood completely unpainted for the last 2+ years, and has a million little windows and wasn’t super high on my priority list. But then I painted the hall leading to it grey and it looked great, but made the door all the more obvious. So I think I had some idea I would just paint it white like all the other doors, till I suddenly remembered I had a teeny amount of lavender left over from painting my front door, and have been wondering what tiny place I could make beautiful with it, when aha! I remembered the attic door. So all that to (try to) say – I now have a purple interior door and I love it :D

  2. I love your philosophy about paint colours. I never understood the obsession with getting the exact same colour as someone else. Your door looks dark grey to me, which I like. The colour of paint I have for my front door is dark greyish brownish. It will be nice, and make he door more important than all the builder-basic white doors in he rest of the house.

    It’s interesting to hear that the magazines are looking for people who take risks. I hate being just like everyone else. (Around here that means lots of brown, with dark leather furniture, and hardly any accent colour. Quite different from my white, aqua, and olive house!)

  3. After reading tons of those “how to pick the perfect white paint” articles, I found it really refreshing when you wrote about your back porch and said that you painted it white out of a can. Guess what? It is lovely. As we are in the process of painting a lot of our new-to-us house white in the midst of a giant overhaul, it was very freeing to know that it was really ok to make my life easier and just do white out of the can! Thanks, Nester!

  4. Just last night I painted an ugly, dark lacquered brown door at the top of our basement landing that leads outside. It’s visible in our kitchen (which we’re remodeling) and I just HATE looking at it. So, I painted it my trim color. Didn’t even take the hardware off. I promise you I actually quoted you, “it’s good enough!” Haha. It looks sooo much better. It’s fresh white and just disappears instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. I’m going to add a little curtain for privacy and I think it will soon be a cute spot instead of the dreaded landing we don’t want guests to see. Thanks for your inspiration!! :)

  5. I LOVE to paint things but I’m terrible at picking colors. The color I see on the paint chip never comes out like I imagined. Trial and error! I do love gray. I was considering painting the inside doors in my house black but now I’m thinking a dark cement gray (now let’s see if I can actually find that color). In the fall I painted my outside doors a deep coral. I have the old traditional white metal doors that have the 9 grid windows. My question is do I paint the trim around the windows or leave them white. Right now they’re white and it just seems weird. Our siding is a dark gray and our windows on the house are white.

  6. I love “picking a paint color is a crap shoot”. I thought I was the only one. I remember trying to pick the perfect yellow. I tried 4 different times because they all looked so different on my wall than they did on the little color card.

  7. Thank you for this! I painted the outside of my door forever ago and have been considering painting the inside ever since. Just out of curiosity, does the inside and outside color always have to be the same? My front door is painted black and I love it, but I just can’t picture a black door on the inside (right now it’s white). It seems weird to have a different color on front and back though.

  8. I love this idea to risk ruining something you hate, if there’s a chance to like it better. We ripped up our son’s red shag carpet this week and painted his subfloor dark gray. It loos so calm and relaxing. I took the risk because you painted your back porch floor. Thanks for giving me a bit of brave.

  9. I will live vicariously through you and the comments. I love painted doors. I refuse to paint the woodwork in my 120 year old Victorian though… which is why although I love this amazing house, I sometimes wish I had a more normal house that needed personalization and architectural features so I could DIY everything! They look wonderful.

  10. Another question about matching…. Do you feel interior doors have to match as long as colors fit into the color palette of the house? In my open floor plan most the doors can be seen from several angles – two leading outside and two inside. I really want to paint them, but have been wrestling with this issue.

    • Calista,

      You should do what makes you happy! We are preparing our house for the market and I never realized how much I missed out on doing things for us to enjoy. If YOU like it (and provided the people you live with can endure it ;) ) then DO IT. :)

      We painted our front door Carmelized Orange (by Behr) to offset our hideous orangey brick fireplace. At first I was scared we had picked something along the lines of Home Depot orange, but after it dried and a couple of coats later, I LOVE IT. It’s the cheeriest door on the block. The risk is so worth it. :)

  11. LOL! picking a paint color is a crap shoot….no truer words my friend…no truer words…well besides…that lovely script canvas you have hanging by your (freshly painted) door

  12. Its so pretty!! I recently painted an electric fireplace and then put fake wood wallpaper around the firebox, it looks so pretty!! It was going to waste in storage and I thought what the heck, it cant look worse!! Now its a pretty addition to a guest bedroom and I have gotten a ton of compliments!! Paint and a little removable wallpaper can make a huge difference!!!

  13. Too funny with the timing! Just last night, in one of our secondary bathrooms, I decided to paint the cabinets, door, and trim. I thought, this is my house, if I want orange and turquoise and black and green, who cares!! The next owners can paint the dang thing white again. I want Morocco and that’s what I’m getting!! Vive la difference!

  14. Ah, you got me. I was about to ask the door color. Well, I think it is wonderful, and even if you won’t tell us, I may go in search of a similar color (and test it in our house) in the near future. :-)

  15. Love your painted door – it looks great! I did this a few months ago. After a few years of paint swatches in various colors and having my door be the butt of jokes when friends and family stopped by, I finally painted it a nice shade of pink. I have never been a pink girl, but recently a little has crept in here and there and it’s nice. Mine is a combination of three sample pots mixed together – which made a really great shade of pink that even my husband likes. Although, I think what he really likes is the fact that the door is now one color. :) I don’t really like my front door either, but changing is not high on the priority list right now.

  16. Wise words, wise words…and the motivation to paint up some stuff in my house!! Thanks for not telling us the paint colors!!!

  17. Love this idea!! And I totally agree with your policy on paint colors…makes sense.

  18. So true about paint colors – still I like to know what other people choose with the disclaimer that it might look different according to the lighting. I have painted entire rooms and immediately hated it – twice! I don’t like strong color on my walls. This summer I begin the arduous task of wetting down and scraping all the popcorn off my ceilings! Then I want to paint them as white as possible because I don’t like shadows! Pale, chalky ivory, pale blue – those are what I am leaning towards for all my walls!

  19. One question: what kind of paint do you use on the door? I want to paint the inside door leading to our garage. It’s a dark corner, though, so I’m a bit unsure what color to go. I really like the look of black or charcoal doors.

  20. I have this vision in my head of a gorgeous mustard on the inside of our front door, but it’s a rental and I don’t know if our landlord would love that… But if it looks better than before he can’t get too upset, right?? ;)

    • Is the door painted already? Will you live there more than a year? If the answer is YES to both of those, and if it were me, I’d paint it, then paint it back the regular color before you move out!!

  21. A few years ago I painted my garage stairs bright green. I love it. They were just bare wood and boring and my aging eyes would trip on them. For real. So, I had some random BM free paint pint offer and chose a bright grass green.

    Hm, maybe I should paint the door too!

    • we should have some sort of challenge day where you have to close your eyes and grab one bucket of leftover paint, then walk through your house and paint something!

  22. About the paint colors – truth! I love that they have the new samples now that are inexpensive (as opposed to repainting an entire wall/room – which I have done…more than once…) and you can buy a few and see what works. I find I have to look at it in the light of morning, afternoon and evening, sun and rain to know how I will like it all the time. Me and paint have a love/hate relationship : )

  23. What a stunning house you have! Such a complete difference from when you bought it. I have to say I did the same thing to my door….I hated the way it looked including all the hallway doors and painted them a taupey/greyish color. Look fantastic!

  24. I am interested in the song lyrics you have hanging there. I love that song and I love the idea of hanging lyrics up! Where did you get it?

  25. Have you thought of replacing just the glass on your door and not the whole door since it’s not what you love?

  26. Love the gray door. It reminds me of my daughter’s door (which she doesn’t love) and the gray is similar to the color in her living room where the door is. I’m sending her this link so she can be inspired. Thank you!

  27. I love the door idea but I really love your wide plank wood floors. What kind of flooring is it? It is exactly what I would love to have.

  28. Thanks for the nudge. Last year, I painted the outside of the door that leads to our backyard a turquoise-y color and LOVED it. It just went great with the pool, and the plants and all of that. After reading your post yesterday, I decided to paint the door a different color, just to change it up. What could it hurt, right? Turns out…I liked the turquoise-y color better, so I painted the door back to that color. No regrets, right? It was fun!

  29. The door looks great! I have a question about the ceiling. In the 3rd photo from the bottom, it looks like the ceiling is partially popcorn and the rest smooth. Curious if you’ve successfully removed popcorn ceilings and if so, would you be willing to fill us in? Our home has popcorn ceilings throughout and we’ve been putting off fixing them for years. Contractors have told us it would be cheaper to just tear down and replace. We love the look of planked ceilings but that can add up fast when you need to do the entire house. Anyway, curious if you’ve got a solution??
    Thanks so much!

  30. I painted the doors in our foyer (entry and closet) Urbane Bronze SW. It’s similar to yours but slightly darker. I love the way that it makes a statement and is different than anyone I know personally. Is your wall color up for questions? I’m a big believer in grabbing paint swatches before deciding on a color but knowing yours would be a good place to start! BTW your floors are AMAZING!

  31. Barbara Bussey says

    As someone who owns a retail shop with furniture paint, I totally get the power of paint. When painting walls, I have found that painting poster board, from the dollar store, gives you a pretty good idea of what the color will look like on the walls. And yes, it does change so much, from room to room, depending on the light. How many little partially used sample paint jars are there, floating out in the universe?! Gazillions, I’m sure. You’re making great progress! Just getting all of that wallpaper gone, is a major undertaking. Bravo!

  32. I read this article this morning while standing in my newly remodeled kitchen. We didn’t have enough money to do the back hall and bathroom, but I realized that I really hated the green and white stick-on tiles in the hall next to the new kitchen. So up they came, the kids wanted to help, and after 3 layers we found the original 100 yr old hardwoods in beautiful condition! Hubby is now sanding them down and about to seal them in their natural state. So excited I decided “why not risk it?” Thank you so much for the inspiration!!!

  33. So right now I am in the process of painting a built-in bookcase/large t.v. space in our living room. (We don’t even have a large t.v.!!!) It is really poorly made and I have not liked it since we moved in almost 5 yrs ago. It has taken me a long time to decide which color to go with, and I chose a tealish green. I am super nervous, but also remarkably excited to see how it will turn out. As you pointed out, it can’t get any worse!! My husband is gone for the week so I hope to get it done before he comes home!

  34. I’ve been staring at all of our doors in the house since we moved in August. The previous owners painted them this hideous (to me) beige color. Everyone that visits says they love the color, but I don’t. I have been trying to convince the dear husband that we would all be happier with them painted black. He only hears the “work” involved, not the end result! I’ve recently discovered my new best friend—the black matte spray paint can–and everything is getting a fresh coat! :) I’m hoping he will come around soon so I can stop looking at that hideous beige!

  35. Helllo…I love, love the picture with the beautiful words in your entry. Would you mind sharing where you got it. Looking for something similar in my family room. Thank you!

  36. Thank you! I won’t ask the paint color, but is it exterior paint? I really want to put our outside color on the inside of our door, but I read it wasn’t recommended to use exterior paint indoors…but if you’ve done it and survived I think it should be okay. Sorry if someone already asked you this.

  37. Hmmm… now I’m looking at the inside of my front door, which I don’t “hate” but really is just okay. Never thought to paint it, but am now considering the leftover brownish-orange paint left over from a nearby wall. That must just turn “okay” into “amazing.”

  38. What an amazing transformation! Thank you for being such an encourager to all of us! You make it ok for us to make mistakes and I can’t thank you enough for that! I’ve actually painted all of our interior builder white doors black and I LOVE it! I never thought it would make such a difference. The funny thing is, no one notices the change until they really study the rooms. It looks natural (even though black interior doors sound crazy) and it really enriches the space. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Lovely! Can you use regular wall paint on the door, or do you need a special paint? My door already has a finish on it. I’m wondering if I can paint right over it. Thanks for any advice you have.

  40. Am I wrong? I disagree with everyone. I would like to know the paint colors! In fact that is the whole reason I look at blogs about homes. Yes, it is true that colors are different in different lights and homes. But, know the color gives me a place to start and then I am able to make changes if I think paint color is to yellow, pink, or green in my home.
    I guess I am just am oddball, but when you are looking at home bloggers for inspiration and they won’t give you details what they have done……it doesn’t really help me anymore than looking in a magazine and going crazy looking at paint chips. PAINT CHIPS are what never look right on the walls.
    Sorry, I just disagree………

  41. I love you. I love you so much and your honesty. I’ve hated . . . liked, lived with, loathed, accepted, and now loved my home . . . still without painting. It needs it so so bad, and every single thing of yours I read gives me hope. BTW, we are writing our family’s manifesto/credo about what we believe our home is meant for. Not giving the paint color is the best thing for us . . . I know you are teaching us to fish! Hugs and appreciate you!

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