how to paint interior doors

When we moved in, I added some personality to the main level by painting a few of the interior doors. I started by painting a few of the doors Tricorn Black, and I love the way it turned out! I think the black paint makes the hallways look more pulled together and adds to the historic feel of our very old home.

About three years ago, one of our sons requested a green door for his bedroom. With the four kids and the dog running around the house and even playing basketball in the hallways (can you believe it??), the green paint became scratched and scuffed. I repainted the door today in about 10 minutes, and it looks so much better.

Here are my tips for painting interior doors:

1. Use quality paint and a good brush.

This is the cardinal rule of painting, as far as I’m concerned! I’ve learned the hard way to pay more for the paint upfront — it saves so much time down the road! For this project I used Resilience paint by Sherwin Williams, an exterior latex paint. And, because the paint was so high quality, I didn’t have to apply a second coat.

My favorite paint brushes are Wooster shortcuts from Home Depot or Lowes. The brush handles fit in my palm, so they’re comfortable to use, and the bristles leave very few brush strokes. Plus, they’re not expensive, and they last for a long time if you clean them thoroughly.

Please, don’t try to paint a door using a foam brush! Foam brushes won’t apply the paint evenly and will leave streaks.

2. Paint inside the squares first.

All of our doors have 6 inset panels. I’ve noticed that the best way to avoid drips is to paint the most inset part of the squares first. If the photo below doesn’t make sense, please watch the Instagram reel linked at the bottom of this post. This is the kind of thing that’s easier to demonstrate than to explain in words!

3. Don’t touch up the paint after it starts to dry.

After you’ve finished painting a section of the door, it’s so tempting to keep running your brush over the wet paint! But try your hardest not to keep touching it up. Once the paint starts to dry, disturbing the surface will cause visible imperfections. (If I see drips, I’ll touch those up with my brush, but I try to disturb the paint as little as possible.)

As you can see from the photo below, the paint may look uneven and splotchy when it starts to dry, but please put down the brush and walk away. I promise, it will look much better after it dries!

4. If you have a pet, block off the area for a few hours.

This is a pretty obvious tip, but it’s something I had to learn the hard way! Please, learn from my silly mistake and keep your pet away from the wet paint.

5. Remember that perfection is not the goal.

None of my house projects look perfect! If you look closely at my doors, you can see lots of dried drips and rough patches where I should have sanded more thoroughly. But that’s ok — overall, the doors look great, and I try not to focus on the imperfections. Plus, if it’s really bad, I can easily paint it again.

Have you painted your interior doors? If so, leave a comment letting me know the colors you chose!

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