I’ve owned three houses and with all of them, a key step in customizing the space was painting the doors. As with all things DIY, I’ve slowly figured out the best way for how to paint a door and thought I’d share with you some tips and step by step instructions.
how to paint a door
choose a door color
Since I personally use so many colorful accents, I like all of my walls to be white. Then, I start with painting my doors the same white. My go to white is Ultra Pure White by Behr.
I love Ultra Pure White because it is the paint that is on the shelves- no mixing needed! And it’s a bright, 100% white, that reflects light well for a sun filled interior. Here it is on my main bedroom door, trim, ceiling and walls-
The fun thing about doors is they can be any color you want! From a neutral like white, gray, or beige to a fun color. The world is your oyster!
WHAT PAINT FINISH TO APPLY ON DOORS?
For doors, I suggest using a satin or semi-gloss sheen. Why? Doors are touched all the time, especially in high-traffic areas. Touching means fingerprints and dirt. Using a satin or semi-gloss finish means the door is more durable and easier to wipe clean.
Plus, a glossy paint makes the door stand out against the wall if it’s painted in a eggshell or flat paint.
Here are the products needed to correctly paint a door-
- Wood Filler– this is needed if working on an older door with dings or divots in it
- Sand Paper– for cleaning up after the wood filler or old paint drips. I use 220 grit
- 6-in-1 Painter’s tool– I love this tool! It’s great for removing old paint drips and cleaning up any lumps on the door’s paint
- Drop Cloth– I use a drop cloth with canvas on top and plastic on bottom so any paint drips don’t bleed onto the floor
- Painter’s Tape– My favorite painter’s tape is Frog tape. I find it to bleed less and stick better than other brands.
- Paint Brush– A 2″ angled brush is my favorite for painting doors. The angle helps it get into the cracks
- Mini Roller and Tray– This is nice for painting the flat parts of the door.
- TSP cleaner– I like this liquid option because you don’t have to mix anything or rinse it after using (like with the powder version)
- Rag– use a tack cloth to remove all dust
- Paint– I use Beloved Pink by Behr in satin
step 1- prep the door for painting
For this project, I’ll be painting my main bedroom door. I thought it could a pop of pink and I have a fun idea for hanging vintage shoes to the side of the door!
Now it’s time to prep! This is probably the least fun part, but proper prep is what makes for a beautifully finished door.
Start by using the 6-in-1 Painter’s tool to remove any paint drips or lumps on the door. The top of the tool is a nice scraper for getting the door nice and smooth.
After that, fill any holes or dings with wood filler. Note, sometimes when removing paint drips, a few layers of paint will come up and need to be filled. Using wood filler is only necessary if the door is older. My door is original to our 1905 house so it needs lots of love!
Once the wood filler is dry, use sand paper to sand the wood filler until it is smooth. This door had quite a few paint drips, so I sanded those as well.
Next, continue the prep by removing the hardware if possible. I took off the hook. Instead of removing the door knob, I taped it off. If the whole door needs to be painted, taking off the door knob will save time and ensure no paint gets on the metal.
Wash the dust and grime from the door with a decreasing cleaner. I like to use TSP- it comes in a liquid now that you can use it on a rag to wipe the door clean. Make sure to let it dry completely.
do I need to prime?
The next step is to prime your doors if needed.
You will need to prime if:
- The door is new and unprimed or wood.
- The door has been painted with oil-based paint.
How to tell if the paint is oil based? Put rubbing alcohol on a raG and rub it on the door. If the paint transfers to the rag- it’s latex paint. If nothing comes off, it’s oil-based paint.
For primer, I suggest using Kilz all-purpose primer. If you aren’t sure if you need to prime, it’s better to prime. Primer is less expensive than latex paint and will block stains and help the paint adhere well to the door.
You don’t need to prime if:
- The door has latex paint on it already
- The door is new and came primed
If you need to prime, make sure to apply it in the same order as the below steps indicate.
My door was perviously painted with latex paint so I skipped this step.
step 2- paint paneled doors in this order
Now that it’s time to paint the door! Did you know there’s an order to which paneled doors should be painted? Let me walk you through the steps the ensure the best finish-
First paint the panel trim.
Use a 2″ angled paint brush to apply paint to the trim around the panels.
Second, paint the panels
For this, I used the same paint brush. It’s better to use a mini roller for a smoother finish. Make sure to use a roller when painting a door that’s 100% flat without any panels.
Third, paint the mid rail, top rail, and bottom rail.
Continue to paint section by section to avoid drips and get a smooth finish.
Forth, paint the mullion (the middle section of the door).
Fifth, paint the two sides- the hinge stile and the lock stile.
Then, the whole door front is painted and just needs to dry.
step 3- sand and paint a second coat
Once the door is dry, lightly sand any imperfections with 220 grit sand paper. Wipe the door clean and then apply the second coat of paint.
step 4- painting the side of the door
For my door, I choose to only paint one side. But most of the time, it’s important to paint the front, back and sides. I choose to only paint the side facing the bedroom since the other side is the playroom and has a lot going on.
To paint the side of the door, tape off the hinges. Use an exact-o knife to perfectly tape just the hinge. My hinges have been painted over the years, but this is more important if you have metal hinges.
When painting the whole door, remove the doorknob so that it’s easy to paint the side.
One note about painting the side of the door is to proceed with caution. Each coat of paint on the side of the door adds a thin layer of plastic.
Over time, the paint can build up and make it so that the door doesn’t open and close well or sticks. Sanding or planing the door may be needed if the door has been painted too many times.
my vintage shoe collection
For awhile now, I’ve been collecting little vintage shoes. I especially look for white ones with gold trim and pink flowers!
Vintage shoes speak to me because I used to love to wear high heels every day. I had many beautiful shoes and they made me so happy!
I still love pretty shoes, but choose to wear more practical shoes because of the season of life I’m in. But, just because I don’t wear them, doesn’t mean I can’t hang them on the wall!
These shoes were found at thrift stores, estate sales, antique stores, and on shopgoodwill.com. I’ve been collecting them for over a year. Now it’s finally time to hang them!
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how to hang ceramic vintage shoes on the wall
To hang the shoes on the wall, I used Command poster strips. The shoes are meant to sit on a flat surface so they don’t have any hooks for hanging on the bottom or side.
I positioned the Command strips to the bottom of each shoe.
Then I put the shoes on the wall. Note, make sure to hold the shoes on the wall for 30 seconds so they stick.
And here’s how the sweet, dainty little shoes look on the wall next to the newly painted pink door! As you can see, I can grow my collection by quite a bit and continue the shoes down the wall.
I was really nervous about the shoes sticking- especially the ones I put on the wall on their side. But they’ve hung on well! It helps that we have little to no humidity in Utah.
Anyway, I’m quite happy with how this little area turned out. What do you think? I hope the tips on how to paint a door were also helpful!
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