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Do’s and Dont’s for Painting Your Doors Black

By 03/12/2019January 8th, 202172 Comments

Are you thinking of painting your doors black? Here is some colour expert advice to help you decide with the do’s and don’ts for painting your doors black. 

In my last post about black shower doors, I edited it with a paragraph about flow later in the day. 😉 So if you’re considering this product and you missed it, go read the post again. Then, I’ll see you right back here!

Do’s and Don’ts for Painting Your Doors Black

Also, I have received many requests to post my opinion on painting doors black.

Since the planet is moving from grey to black, here is the scoop on when it’s a good idea and when it’s a bad idea to paint your doors black. AND in this case, it IS easier to paint again.

DON’T be afraid to paint your doors black if you think it might work in your house

Okay so I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever — in 10 years of writing this blog — said these words: “It’s only paint, if it doesn’t work you can paint it again!”.

I’m thinking NEVER.

I don’t throw that comment around lightly because actually, painting your house is expensive.

Lauren Liess

Painting one room over a few times — maybe you or your spouse is doing it? Okay that’s cheap enough. But truly, hiring painters to paint your vaulted hallways or living rooms, painting the trim and kitchen cabinets? Yea, not so much.

But a door? That seems easy enough right? I mean of course you can mess up anything, but certainly painting a door would seem like less of a commitment.

Hey, it just occurred to me that an even easier way to see if this would work would be to go out and buy 3 yards of cheap, black fabric and hang it on your door. This way you can see in advance if you’ll like it.

Okay so let’s start this tutorial by examining why the black door in this first image (above) works.

Because the black is repeated in the frames and the area rug and the pale floors provide a nice hit of contrast.

Wondering if black windows are the best choice for your new build – I’ve got some advice about that too.

This entry (below) has just the right amount of black as well. And black always look great with orange or red brick.


DO paint your hallway doors black if you have light hardwood

This hallway (below) with light, classic and timeless (with barely any grey) hardwood floors is chic and elegant.


DON’T go overboard by introducing too much black

Black doors with dark floors, or this much black trim (below), or certainly not with black walls too, will immediately take your black quota over the tipping point. Your walls should stay fresh and light.


If you’re not sure about what I’m talking about, take a look at both these hallways below. One has just the right amount of black in it (right), the other feels dark and heavy (left).

First Dibs | House and Home

This is just my opinion, but I learned my lesson about adding too much black years ago here.

DO add contrast when decorating with black

Does your entry look like this one (below)?

With the fabulous crisp white chairs flanking the door and the white tile floor inset with black accent tiles?

If so, then yes paint the walls black too. And notice the walls are also lacquered so the light bounces around, that’s an important step too.

Here’s another hallway with black walls, but notice everything that makes this work. The pretty doors, architecture, styling, white drapes with black banding.

These are all the ways in which black looks right instead of harsh.


Or if you have french doors along with your dark floors and lots of white around them both (below). The look is immediately lighter and just fabulous again.

Architectural Digest

But notice the last three images are not usually in the average house on the street.

If you have hallways with pink beige carpet, your doors need to be brown, not black.

Earthy colours generally  work best with browns and creams. Certainly, interiors that are still surrounded by decor from the Tuscan brown trend.

The world is full of bossy pink beige carpet.
CLICK HERE for help choosing the perfect carpet colour.

And, don’t get stuck on black doors. This image (below) has hardwood floors, but it would be just as pretty if your carpet was pink beige (which a lot of people have).

First, fresh blues are the ONLY clean colours that work with pink beige carpet. And the blue green walls relate to the teal doors.

Sherwin Williams 6943 Intense Teal | Source

If you need help with your paint colours, check out our eDesign packages here.

Related posts:

The Shocking Truth About Too Much Black

Is Black the New Grey? (Why yes it is)

Ask Maria: About Kitchen Cabinet Uppers and Lowers in Different Colours

How to Decorate with Black and How Not to Decorate with It

16648 pins


  • Dianne says:

    Love this post. I’ve been debating about painting my French doors black. It’s a 12’ length of 2 doors and 2 fixed glass that’s solid clear glass, no mutton’s. I get a lot of light, 9’ white shiplap ceilings, I’m worried it’s too much black though. Any advice?

    • Julie S says:

      I had a similar debate over my own, similar French doors. The window frames in my (built in the 80s) house are black so I thought it could work. I used a super basic paint app called Let’s Draw to take a photo of my area in question and draw black lines over the French door frames. And for me it was a clear NOPE!! There are enough dark/black elements in that part of the living space and adding the black door frames made it too busy for me. It was immediately obvious once I “photoshopped” it in. Perhaps this will help you or someone else reading to preview their own doors.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Well if you don’t repeat them anywhere it will immediately look like too much black. However other than that if you don’t overdo the rest of the black in the room it could be great! Maria

  • Tip says:

    Hi Maria,

    Usually is a good place to start to see where else pictures appear on the web and then from there, the oldest occurance is often the original or has a reference to the original. I searched your last pic and there were 559 results:


  • karen says:

    Not exactly related but I’ll post it here anyway. Our house is a brick Dutch Colonial. Almost 100 years old. The brick has aged and now has a patina from age and probably air pollution which is akin to a black glaze on cherry cabinets. White trim and black shutters. We are painting the front door and storm door black. I taped 3 black poster boards to the door to try it out and it looks great because a classic (not boring) color combination. Evergreen landscaping and an ivy wreath on the door tie it in to the rest of the curb appeal. Can’t wait until this is done and shows off a nice big brass handle and knocker. So if anyone is afraid of painting their interior doors then maybe an exterior door would work for them. Just thinking out loud.


    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes it does, someone else send that to me thanks! But I still need to know how to find it. I know how to search for an image in google but how do you find the ORIGINAL image? That’s what I need to know so I don’t have to do this every time! Thanks Tip! Maria

      • Suze says:

        As mentioned by “Tip”, if you go the site TinEye and load the photo, they will provide a list of all the places the image has been used in seconds. In this case, there were 559 results! As Tin also noted, the oldest one is usually the original. So, you find the earliest post – you can sort by oldest (this one was posted in March 2017) – and then follow that link. It led me to Pinterest where someone had pinned the original from the Sherwin Williams site. Followed that pin link and arrived at the page Tip subsequently provided. Took maybe five minutes overall? Crazy that this picture was used that many times without attribution!

  • Kari says:

    You’re right about the hallway comparison in that the one on the right does black well, with a light touch and the one on the left is darker and heavier. But I find both of them gorgeous. But I do like darker, dramatic and moody spaces as much as I like light-filled bright ones.

    • suzanne says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I love me a moody room. I find I don’t want to spend much time in them though. Like Maria said it’s a matter of personal opinion.

  • Nancy says:

    Maria – even though I think black doors can be pretty especially with whites and grey .
    But …I did that once ( and we don’t have any children at home )
    It takes work to keep them pristine.
    Dust shows easily on black doors they needed be to dusted every day .
    Finger prints shows up let’s just say black doors everything shows .
    I’d find a pretty color if I wasn’t using white doors and do that.
    But would never again do painted black interior
    Doors and outside even worse .

  • wizzer says:

    Thank you! Great, practical tips on using black. I have been curious to try out and this will give good guidance on how might pull off correctly.
    This article also had two other tidbits (below) that were helpful about pink beige. Now that pink beige is being seen around in design decor, would love a post devoted to it that talks positively (beyond it being most limiting undertone) about how to work with the undertone in decorating…either because you still have some left over from Tuscan brown trend or it is making waves again.
    –If you have hallways with pink beige carpet, your doors need to be brown, not black.
    –fresh blues are the ONLY clean colours that work with pink beige carpet.

  • Sandy says:

    Here in the city, black doors would be like black cars: WAY too hard to keep clean. They would need to be dusted every day: nice to look at but high maintenance. Not a problem in these high-end homes in the photos, but I’m too frugal to have maid service.
    They are beautiful though, especially the French door in photo #2.

  • Loren says:

    Beware of painting black, a south-facing exterior door. The heat and sun exposure can cause the door to warp.

    • mrsben says:

      @Loren: Agree … beware! As currently I have a very dark brown front door that faces North plus my home has a porch and its paint has held up very well, whereas the same color/paint on a door that has a Southern exposure (with lots of sun) aged very quickly in appearance plus it eventually ‘blistered’ ‘ to a degree. -Brenda-

    • Sue says:

      And adding a glass storm door will warp the black exterior doir and make it very hot.

  • I love this post! Black paint can be so glamorous !

  • Victoria says:

    After a great deal of consideration I painted my interiors doors black and am so thrilled with the results. (although I did have to change my door handles from black to gold because they were too hard to spot at night). Yes, they do show dust but white showed dust too. I took the plunge over 5 years ago and not once did I ever regret going dark. I get compliments on them all the time. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

  • Lucy says:

    Lots of good advice on painting black! I love the drama of black anything but it sure is easy to overdo! Case in point IMHO is the black room with the white chairs above. To me it becomes caverness! I have a client who just installed new doors and painted the outside black and the inside white. After seeing them painted I wish we would have done black on both sides because she has enough black accents inside to balance them out with picture frames, chest and light wood floors etc. She decided that they would be too much upkeep with dust, fingerprints etc.

  • Holli Amato says:

    I was just thinking of this! After you designed my fabulous black and white kitchen, I am now thinking of how to bring black down the hallway and have been thinking of painting the doors black. So, do you paint both sides or just one side?

    • Maria Killam says:

      It depends on if it works on the other side. It’s fine to have only one side black. Maria

  • Barbara Sewell says:

    I’ve also been contemplating painting my interior doors black, dark gray or navy (interior color scheme is blues with white) but my question is do you have to do ALL the doors for cohesiveness? My first floor alone includes four sets of double doors (two closets, pantry, between the kitchen and laundry/back hall) plus a powder room, basement door, inside of the back door as well as a door into the garage. My thinking is it needs to be all or nothing but it’s a lot and that’s not including upstairs doors (bedrooms, bathrooms, linen closet). Thoughts?

    • Maria Killam says:

      I think you have to pay attention to sight lines. . . if it’s a door at the end of a hallway it could be more important than the rest, etc. And heavens no you don’t have to do the upstairs if you’ve done the downstairs 🙂 Thanks for your comment Barbara! xo

  • Great post Maria, I painted a clients doors black about 9 years ago with white walls. Looked great then. Looks current now!
    I need to get photos of that home!

    How to search for an image in google:
    On my PC I open up or .com, in the top right, it says images, click.
    New page opens up.
    Click on the camera in the search bar,
    click open upload an image.
    Click, search my image.
    Ta Da, it pops up 95% of the time.
    Hope this helps. xo

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    My personal preference with black doors are when they are used with white walls & natural wood accents. In my small home the contrast would be overwhelming. And you know how I feel about anything that causes me more housekeeping. ?
    Ain’t nobody got time for more dusting.

  • Brandy says:

    I’m loving all this black! The *almost* blacks are quite popular—can you talk about how to chose whites/off-whites that will go with these blacks? Do warm whites go with blacks? Or mostly cool whites?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Either one, so make sure you consider what colour your fixed whites are in your home before you choose the trim! Maria

  • Ann says:

    Shiny black interior paint or any glossy like formula will show every dry wall imperfection and most houses aren’t all that good. Also, l love black exterior doors, but professional painter says a west facing door with black paint will soon have you thinking nightmares!

  • Sandra says:

    Right as always, Maria ! Buying a yard of black fabric is easier than painting anything.
    And in two years, when the black paint is dinged/faded … then what? Gives me a
    headache just thinking about it….

  • Julie S says:

    Any post that leads with a Lauren Liess room is getting clicked through by me 😉 Great job of showing as well as telling (as usual) Maria! Our contemporary partly-renovated house has medium wood floors, off white walls for the most part, and old orangey wood hollow core flat doors that we’ll be replacing as budget allows. As the house came with black steel window frames I know black doors could work… I’m totally going to drape them in black fabric to see how it feels in person!

  • susan says:

    Our HOA decided to paint all our front doors black, and while it did give the complex an updated look, I wasn’t prepared to have to wipe it down so frequently. They show everything!

  • Brigette in France says:

    Love it! Great examples. My sister in law has black doors: front and interior doors. I thought Kelly Green would have looked great in the entrance area- it’s quite busy, there are doors on each wall. I almost cried when I discovered her grey stripy wallpaper 🙁

  • Cheryl Hucks says:

    Great information! You explained in perfectly. One picture is worth 1000 words.

  • mrsben says:

    Informative post, Maria! Myself I do love the visual appearance of black doors but personally would be hesitant to do it. Reason being, I do ALL of my own painting and I currently have a very dark navy on my interior vestibule door and my study/office is done in the similar colour however as both will be changed out shorty to a white; I know there will be lots of priming to do. To conclude; as a warning make sure ‘black’ is for you if you are hiring a professional as it may prove to be costly so take Maria’s advice and invest in a few yardages of black fabric to try it first. -Brenda-
    P.S.: As it is a dark colour and particularly if using a ‘gloss finish’ , remember it will show every blemish if not done properly.

    • Nancy says:

      Matte black lacquered doors .
      Glossy is really a lot harder to care for .
      A door finish should look like a cabinet finish .
      Best bet is a shop and a spray lacguer finish

  • June says:

    Black fabric–to test an area, such as doors–sure works….but I hung shiny black GARBAGE BAGS! (I’m cheap…..and they were on hand)

    • Carolyn says:

      You can also buy cheap black curtains to try them out and return them since they weren’t used.

  • Cathy Trentacosta says:

    what is your feeling on painting kitchen cabinets black on the bottom and white on the top cabinets?

  • Nancy says:

    I painted my doors black left the molding around them white and had silver polished door knobs…they looked great and yes it took me awhile to paint them all but man did they turn out great I got so many compliments. When I wanted to paint them my husband said I don’t think so….so we compromised on doing the kitchen pantry doors first to see if we would even like them black and to his surprise he really like it. It took me 3 weeks to paint 17 doors I took my time and they looked great no brush marks I used Flotrel and boy did it make a difference…I still say that painting them helped me sell my house faster.

  • Deb Landy says:

    Thank you Maria. This issue can benefit from unpacking the color partulars. It’s a bold move to paint doors a color.

  • Vivian says:

    Not related to black doors but thought this article released today might be of interest

  • Emily Plicka says:

    Aloha Maria, I have a black paint + earthy tones question for you: I just went to the Sherwin Williams store yesterday (I got samples from your new build package), and I mentioned my interest in black paint, possibly for doors, and that I wanted to get a sample of a black that would coordinate with my SW Natural Linen walls and Egret White Walls (both with Alabaster trim, ceilings, and millwork), and the SW employee basically says, “Black coordinates with everything.” But I remembered this recent blog post of yours, and I thought, I’d like to see an example of when black does not coordinate with earthy tones. I’m not sure, but I think maybe Natural Linen and Egret White might both qualify as earthy tones? So would black be a mistake with those neutrals?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Emily, Great question, I would never steer you wrong. Pale earth tones work with black which is what you have.

      And ‘which earth tones’ work and don’t work with black is not a quick straightforward answer. All colour rules can be broken with good styling and repeating the colours that don’t seem to work and now suddenly work.

      However, if you have a hallway with dark pink beige, builders carpet, brown would look better than black. And if you took that same hallway with any undertone grey carpet, black doors would look better. However, both of these rules can be broken if you had artwork in that hallway that had them relate nicely.

      Hope that helps, Maria

  • I’m behind on your posts dear Maria but I’m SO glad you introduced a blue door photo! I’ve been contemplating painting just my back door (which is mostly glass) the same blue as my powder room. (Van Deusen) A good way to introduce more flow? Plus, as you say…it’s only paint on a door! Love all you do!

  • Francie Shetler says:

    Will it look like a hodge-podge if some doors are black and others aren’t? I was definitely going to do my interior front door. But down from there, I have have a narrow hallway with 4 doors which are close together and I agree with your advice that it would be too busy. Also considering the interior of my French doors, but there are 3 sets each in different rooms (kitchen, family, living). DO you think all 3 of those to be consistent and tie the downstairs rooms together?

    • Maria Killam says:

      It’s fine to consider an entry as a custom space with the front door and then if you have 4 doors in a hallway that’s like another ‘room’ if it works, I would not just paint every single door black in your house 🙂 Hope that helps, Maria

    • Patricia Griffin says:

      We too have gloss black interior doors in two homes. They are gorgeous! Everyone who visits love them too. We have a dog and a cat and two young children who haven’t have any negative effects on the; neither has dust. We clean them easily with a duster and dirt is actually less easily seen than on white doors.
      I would have made the same decision to paint out doors black again in given the choice because we just LOVE THEM!

  • queencafe says:

    We just painted interior with black doors hallway with my light oaky hardwood floors. Gorgeous esp at night with my hallway lights. Now we want to have black front door n keeping back of front door original color brown stain. Still debating. What do you think please?

    • Maria Killam says:

      That’s fine the inside of the door is about inside decor and the outside relates to your house. Maria

  • Michelle Mc says:

    I am planning on painting the interior doors upstairs black. The doors lead to the bathroom and 3 bedrooms. Question is…do I paint both sides or just the side facing the hallway/landing?

    Thank you!!!!

    • Maria Killam says:

      The doors definitely don’t need to be the same colour. Treat them individually inside. Maria

    • Patricia Griffin says:

      We have our upstairs bedroom and hallway bathroom doors painted black but chose to do both sides. I’m sorry that I strongly disagree with Maria regarding the wisdom of changing colors on a door. There will always be a visible edge to one color where it changes color. This doesn’t look well. You will probably be looking at the narrow side of the door from the inside where the change in color would be very apparent and confusing. Can you imagine how any mistakes in the painting on a clean edge would look? Uck! Keep the same color on both sides. It’s easier to paint this way and can even be sprayed.
      We have used unlaquered brass, which ages wonderfully, on all of our doors for consistency and wouldn’t change a thing.

  • michelle says:

    Love this article, thanks Maria. I’m considering painting my LR brick fireplace and leaded french doors black. Walls are cream and trim is white. But my sofa, armoire and chair are brown (I know, it’s a lot of brown…working on it lol). Are the black fireplace and french doors a bad idea w/so much brown in the room? Thanks

  • Janet Sydoruk says:

    Black doors what sheen though ? Satin or semi gloss ?

  • Shauna says:

    I love the idea of black doors and am considering painting over my mahogany wood doors as we hve too many wood colours in our home. Please help me decide on a color. Do I go black, soft black like ebony BM, or iron mountain BM? Or do I paint lighter or do I just try and ignore the mahogany 😆… the walls are light, there is a lot of light but there are a lot of doors also, 11.

  • Robbin says:

    Just moved into a new home and will paint doors black. Question is, do I paint all the doors, on all floors, black or is it to much. 1st floor is a great room/entry, living room, kitchen; open floor plan), basement with a bedroom & bath, 2nd floor bedrooms bathroom laundry room Black and white theme throughout. And, do you paint both sides of the door or should the inside flow with the color of the walls inside the room? and what about the sides of the door, black or inside color? Thanks for your help!

  • Janice Muir says:

    I have a confluence of doors at my entrance including the front door, garage door ( both the same door), glass French doors and a narrower door to the powder room. They are all solid doors. They run for 10 feet at the entrance with a window 5 feet away. The walls are white in the open area of some 1000 sq feet. The hardwood floors are Brazilian Cherry. Can these doors all be painted black without closing the area in? … I have painted the French doors black and they look great! However, I am concerned that I am overdoing the black? …Thank You Maria!

  • Cindy says:

    Thank you for your post, Maria. I have a 1968 ranch that I am moving from a Mexican-influenced design to Mid-century. It will always be a Mexican-MCM fusion because we have terra cotta Saltillo tiles throughout. I am considering painting the 5 doors in the hallway black. I have also considered natural birch doors, but that is pricier. The walls were recently painted white. Do you think the orange of the Saltillo tiles doesn’t work with black doors? Thank you 🙂

  • April Brumm says:

    do you paint both sides of the doors or just the side that is to the hall??

  • Katie says:

    Can you ever paint a door black with oak trim?

  • Abby says:

    So glad I can actually talk to someone about this!! I am painting my French single pane doors black on the inside, and they lead out to the deck. The house and the doors on the outside are white. I am wondering how much of the edge of the doors and door jambs I paint black?
    I want to see what it looks like when the doors are wide open. I cannot find any photos and dont really know how to explain it any better than this.
    Can you help me? Im hoping this post is not a trillion years old

    • Maria Killam says:

      The problem with black painted french doors is at night all you’ll see is black holes everywhere. I have french doors that are all off-white and it’s really pretty against the already black world of windows at night. Hope that helps, Maria

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