How to Paint Doors

Follow these simple steps for painting an interior door.

July 29, 2020
A white door in a bedroom

How to Paint a Door

A freshly painted interior door makes a room look new.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Just as paint color improves the look of a room, a fresh coat of paint on your interior doors can make a dramatic difference. Many people neglect the doors when tackling a paint project because they think it’s too hard to do. Although painting doors requires a few more steps, it’s easier than you think. Follow these simple steps on how to paint a door in your home.

Unsure about what color or finish to use? See our 10 Tips for Picking Paint Colors.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Materials + Tools

  • hammer
  • nail
  • painter's tape
  • latext paint for trim
  • brush
  • 4-inch roller
  • paint tray
  • 120 grit sanding block
  • rag

1. Remove the Door

The first step is to remove the door from the frame. Although you can paint a door without removing it, you will get much better results if it's off the frame. This will give you easier access to the door edges and the area of the door frame that’s normally covered by the door. To remove the door from its hinges, close the door. Then, insert the nail underneath one of the hinge pins and gently tap with a hammer. This should force out the hinge pin. Repeat with remaining hinges and remove the door.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

2. Sand and Clean the Door

Take the door and place it on an elevated surface (like a pair of sawhorses). Sand the edges and surface of the door with a 120 grit sanding block (Image 1). Be sure to gently sand out any bumps or loose pieces of paint. Wipe down the door with a tack cloth or rag to remove the debris from the sanding (Image 2).

3. Mask With Painter's Tape

Lay a piece of painter’s tape over the hinges (Image 1). Use a utility knife to cut around the hinge to remove the excess tape (Image 2). Tape around the doorknob (Image 3).

4. Paint the Door

If you are painting over a dark-colored door, doing a drastic color change or painting over unfinished wood, you should prime it first. Priming will eliminate the need for multiple coats of paint. If you are just painting the door the same color or close to the same color, no primer is needed. Typically, semi-gloss or high gloss paint is used for doors and trim. Glossy interior paints are easier to clean. Start with the panels in the door. Use a paintbrush to paint the recessed areas of the panels first (Image 1). Once all the panels are done, use the 4-inch roller to paint the raised surfaces of the panels and the rest of the door (Image 2). Lastly, paint the edges of the door with the roller (Image 3). Allow the paint to dry completely. Then flip the door and repeat on the opposite side. Note: If you have a flat door without panels, use a larger roller to paint the doors.

5. Rehang the Door

Once both sides of the door are dry, rehang the door. Line up the hinges and reinsert the pins. If you want to add a bit of pizzaz to your interior door, try adding accent colors or geometric shapes. This is also a perfect time to evaluate the condition of the door hardware. If it's time for an upgrade, switch out the hinges and doorknob before rehanging the door.

Related Advice

Easy How-To: Geometric Painted Door Overhaul

Add some geometric bliss to your space with this colorful door makeover.

Learn How
A white door in a room.

How to Paint a Door

A freshly painted door will make a room look new.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

More Advice on Doors

How to Paint a Front Door

Give your home a fresh dose of personality with a brilliant new hue.

How to Hang a Door

Follow these instructions to hang a solid core interior door with minimal effort

Next Up

Kids' Halloween Costume: Candy Dots

In a pinch for a clever homemade Halloween costume? No worries, you can quickly whip up this sweet costume for your child.

Make a Festive Glass Bottle Candleholder in Just 3 Steps

This natural and casually elegant candleholder is simple to make and perfect for all of your holiday gatherings.

3 Easy + Practical Uses for Essential Oils

Freshen up your home in a snap.

Save Water (and Money!) With a DIY Rain Barrel System

Don't let an abundant natural resource go to waste. Build a rain collection system right in your own backyard with our easy-to-follow instructions.

Glossy Accents Redefine a Home

Add sophistication with high-sheen paint to dress up rooms.

Easily Craft a Designer-Worthy Breakfast-in-Bed Tray

Give a basic tray a colorful makeover (on the cheap!) to create a beautiful, spill-proof surface that's perfect for enjoying a light snack while you snuggle under the covers bingeing your favorite show or curled up with a good book.

How To Pick Your Perfect Colors

Answer these five questions to find a color scheme right for you.

How to Make a Stenciled Tea Towel in Minutes

This easy stenciled tea towel makes a perfect, personalized gift.

Make This Easy Rainbow Layer Cake for St. Patrick's Day

This St. Patrick's Day cake has it all — a rainbow in the middle and a pot of gold on top.

Blah to Bespoke: How to Stencil Drapery Panels for a Designer Look for Less

Give basic white drapery panels a not-so-basic makeover with an oversized stencil and budget-friendly acrylic craft paint for a look that says you splurged — when you really saved.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.