How to Paint White Interior Doors Black

April 10, 2020

Tips for painting your interior doors from white to black. 

One of my favorite changes I made to our last house was painting the interior doors black. It makes SUCH a statement. 

Black paint is one of the easiest ways to upgrade the look of plain or builder grade doors!

I got most of the doors in that house painted before we moved: 
black interior doors white room

You can see how I painted those interior doors here. It's not always as simple as just painting -- there are some things you'll need to check before starting. 

Those doors were all painted in Graphite from Benjamin Moore, mixed in Sherwin-Williams paint. That one is a very dark, dark gray...almost black. 

I went with a satin paint finish on those because they had so much texture.

Many of you have asked why we didn't go with black doors in this house. I did have them quoted when we built, but the price seemed high when I knew I could do it myself for the cost of a gallon of paint. 

And I wasn't sure I'd want them here...I wanted to live with the doors as is first. We're still completely in love with our white doors. :)

But about a year after we moved in I got the itch to try out the black on one door -- I painted the back side of our garage door and LOVED it: 
interior black doors

I picked that door because it wasn't in the middle of the house where a lone painted door would stand out. 

The black door paint I used here is Sherwin-Williams' Tricorn Black in a semi-gloss finish.

Even though I loved it, I haven't been in any rush to paint more doors, until recently. 

Our pantry door is in a sea of light walls and white cabinets, so I figured some contrast would do this spot well:
five panel solid wood door

Check out the door painting post I mentioned above to get all of the tips and details you'll need! 

I talked to our builder after I painted the door in the mud room and found out everything is painted in latex, not oil-based paint. So there was no need for me to prime like I always have. 

(Although a tinted primer is helpful a when you're going from white to black!)

I never take my doors off the hinges when painting -- there's no need. 

This is my trick for easily covering the hinges with painter's tape: 
easy way to paint around hinges

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Cover them and then use a razor to cut around the hinge. This green painter's tape is my absolute favorite! 

Peel the tape off the door and leave it on the hinge so you can paint right over it: 
how to paint around hinges on door

I usually leave the door knobs on, and tape around them. But it doesn't take long at all to remove the knobs beforehand. 

I recommend taking a photo of how your knobs are installed before disassembling them!

To paint, you'll need a small angled brush and a foam roller (here's the handle you need for that roller). 

I use the brush around the detail first, then paint with the roller immediately:
how to get super smooth finish on doors

Don't skimp on the paint with the roller! But don't push super hard when rolling it on (or the roller will leave paint marks along the sides). 

I did three full coats and then some touch ups here and there. 

I know the wet paint looks rough here, but give it some time to dry. 

The result will give you a smooth, shiny finish that looks like it's been sprayed: 
get sprayed finish with paint roller on doors

By the way, you can spray doors with a sprayer as well! I just find it easier to leave it in place. 

(Check out this post for my favorite paint sprayer and how to use it.)

I am never disappointed by a black door. Ever. :) I absolutely love them:
classic black interior doors

It really breaks up all of the white in this spot. I adore our five panel doors, and this really brings attention to them. 

The most common questions I get when it comes to painting interior doors a dark color: 

Should I paint the door trim and baseboards as well? 

This is completely up to you, but as you can see, I choose not to most of the time. Even with a dark door, the white trim looks "right" with all of the other trim in the room. 

I think the contrast is good! 

I do love how painted trim looks in a room, but in that case I usually match it to the wall color, not the door.

Won't a dark door just show dirt more? 

I have found the opposite to be true. I tend to notice dust build up, fingerprints and scuffs on our black doors less

Overall a darker color will hide more, in my experience. 

Both the satin and semi-gloss finishes clean up great!

What kind of paint should I use on interior doors? 

There's no need to go with stinky oil-based paint anymore. Latex paints have come SO far -- they go on beautifully and hold up to wear and tear well. 

I recommend a semi-gloss paint made specifically for doors and trim. A high gloss will give you a more contemporary/modern feel.

Be sure to check to see if the original paint is oil or latex-based first!

Will painting my doors a dark color hurt resale value of my home? 

In my experience, NO. 

Keep in mind though, the layout and amount of natural light in your home may matter.

If you have a long, dark hallway with tons of doors that are kept closed most of the may be too much. (Try adding daylight bulbs to brighten up a space like that.)

A more open space where the doors are more spread out will look and feel much more natural. 

Do I have to paint ALL of my doors black if I do one? 

Nope. Do what you want!

We only have two painted in our home and if someone noticed that...I'd give them a cookie. :)

In our last home I painted all of the doors on the main level and basement, but not upstairs. 

Do I have to paint both sides of the door? 

No, especially when you are painting a door that stays open most of the time. 

If you decide to paint just one side, paint the edge of the door from the direction it's traveled through most.

So, in our pantry, I painted the sides because it's usually open and we see them all the time.

But if I was painting the interior side of a bedroom and leaving the main space side white, I would keep the sides white. 

I hope that makes sense! 

Bottom line:  If you don't love your dark door, you can paint it back to the original color!

Yes, it's more work. But in the scheme of DIY projects, this one is an easy fix. :)

I especially love how our new black pantry door ties in with pendant lights and stools at the island in our kitchen: 
black five panel pantry door

I've told you before how much I love a touch of black in a room. I think it grounds a space in a way nothing else can. 

The bit of contrast always looks great!

Now I may keep going in the house...I'm starting all over. ;) 

Two down and a ton to go!: 
white kitchen gray island black doors

Have I convinced any of you to paint your doors black over the years? Black interior doors are a classic and add warmth and interest to a space!

I love other colors too -- a light gray is beautiful. Dark navy would be awesome! 

And I almost went with a dark green for the doors in our home. All would be lovely! 

If you're interested in any items you've seen in this post, click on the photos below to shop: 

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  1. I love the black door and how clean it still makes your kitchen look. What color are the walls btw?

  2. You convinced me awhile ago...we just have to replace our 6 panel doors with 5 panel first.

  3. YES! I love your black doors and you definitely inspired me. I had seen one of your blog posts before about black doors and mentioned it to my husband. He was not convinced. Then a few months ago, we went to model homes for inspiration for our master bath, which we are redoing. We saw a model with all black doors and he said "I love that...I thought you were going to do that to our house." I painted them all a few weeks later. You can see a before and after on my Instagram.

  4. I am sooooo tempted to do this to my pantry door as well. Will you post a picture with the door closed possibly?? I love all your ideas!

  5. Just stunning!!! I love the contrast against the white.

  6. Love your posts on black doors. You encouraged me to try it in our new house build. I went with BM Kendall Charcoal. Love it!

  7. I started changing my doors over only did three so far and did them in a matte black Tricot which shows everything I noticed you did your in a semi Gloss is that a easier clean? Matte has not been an easy clean

    1. I've found both to be easy to clean, but we had more of a textured door with the eggshell finish so maybe that helped?

  8. I don't know about black because the color scheme through out my house is grey lavender and cream except for the kitchen. However, a deep grey is on my mind now. That black looks so rich and beautiful and keeping these white doors clean is driving me nuts!

  9. Are you exterior doors metal? I used black paint on the inside of our exterior doors (door paint from sherwin williams) and it is chipping like crazy. The doors were supposedly pre-primed but I am starting to wonder.

    1. I'm guessing the doors were painted in oil-based paint. Check out this post to see how to find out if they were and what to do...

  10. Hello TDC, I love your blog and have learned a lot. I noticed that you have Kitchen Aid appliances and wanted to ask how you like your ovens. I am thinking of replacing my double wall ovens to the micro/oven as in your kitchen from my straight double ovens. I rarely have used the lower oven and would like not to have a separate microwave in the island where it is now. I would love your comments on the oven preheat time and if the microwave works as well as a separate microwave. I love the look of it and have all Kitchen Aid in my kitchen now. If you have time I would love your opinion or if you can direct me to a past blog you may have posted on them I would greatly appreciate it.

    I have a second question about refrigerator door handles. My KA French Door Refrigerator has the older style handles and my new dishwasher and future ovens have the new round handle type. My fridge is only about 5 years old but it has the old style handle but otherwise looks exactly like the new ones. I wanted to change out the handles on the refrigerator and bought the new handles that match the new appliances but the holes are different and now I am stuck with the handles that were $300 and cannot see a way to make it work. The old handles have a different type of mount which I easily removed but the new ones would entail taking the complete inside of the fridge door off so the screw can go in from the back. I tried to return them but it seems impossible to do. They said they would send a return auth. and FedEx for them but they never did and it's nearly impossible to get through to KA for help. I have to make these work somehow. I looked on youtube but none of them address how to attach a different type of mounting that holds the handle on. So sorry to post this in comments. I plan on painting a few black doors too! Thanks so much.

    1. Hello Donna! I love our KA appliances! I talked about our fridge here, but I'm not sure they make this specific one anymore...

      Overall we are very happy with them and would recommend them. I'm sorry I can't be of any help with the handles! Have you called to ask if there's an easier way to install them?

  11. You were my inspiration and my guide. I painted all 17 doors last year and love them. I was on the Christmas housewalk after I did it and they were the talk of the town. Your tutorial helped me know how to do it. I did take each one down and it took me about a month to get them all done. I had an assembly line going and worked on 2 or 3 at a time. Thanks again for your ideas. I've used a few more of your ideas over the years.

  12. I have several of my doors painted black in my home and love them! Scrolling through Pinterest I came across your powder room door. Can you tell me where you purchased the men and women brass plates for your door? I am getting ready to paint more doors black!!!

    1. At a local shop, but you can find links to them online here!

  13. I really want to paint our interior doors black, but the hinges are white, should I paint those black as well?

  14. Hi! I looove the black doors! I’ve been trying to convince my husband to let me paint our doors but he’s not convinced. I do have a few questions. Do you paint both sides of the door black? I have 2 bedrooms that I’m not sure a black door would look right on the inside.

    Would it be weird to paint all our doors with the exception of our pantry and laundry room doors? We have darkish brown kitchen cabinets and I’m worried black doors right next to brown cabinets would be too much.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. You don't have to paint both sides! :) If those doors aren't right next to the other ones that are painted I think it will be fine!

  15. I love it. I've been entertaining the idea of painting the interior side of all my exterior door black.

  16. Hello! Love the look! Can I ask what color cream you used in the bathroom. I have butter yellow and really love it, don't want grey, but do want to tone the buttery yellow down a little. Looking for a very light creamy color, a light straw if you will.. but do like how your bathroom walls with the white wainscoating look with the black door contrast!
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Thank you! That color is analytical gray by SW. :)

  17. I am considering this for my pantry and laundry doors - did you sand the existing doors first? My pantry door is pretty grimy so do you recommend sanding or cleaning really good with soap and water first?


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!