Black Interior Doors



A couple years ago, the Mister & I ripped all the carpet off the stairs, added new treads, stained them dark walnut, poly’d them (3 coats), and painted the risers white.  The whole hallway was painted (Benjamin Moore) Revere Pewter, one of my all-time favorite neutrals.
Every. Single. Spindle. was removed, primed, painted (2 coats), and replaced.  The banister was painted and poly’d (3 coats).

It’s lovely and updated and we love it.

<The fact that the tile flooring at the base of these stairs still has to all be replaced is on my ignore list.  For now.>


Moving to the second floor, at the top of that newly gorgeous staircase, is 4 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a linen closet.  And if you’re new here, this is a typical family home, 25 years old, 8 foot ceilings – so the hallways here?  Totally conventional, standard, predictable, average, oh, too many adjectives?  Get my point?  They’re Bored Sh*tless, line 1.


Here’s a photo of the second floor of our house BEFORE we even moved in.  The image you’re about to view is graphic, and the abundance of orangey oak and pinky-beige is disturbing.

Sorry to do that to you, but sometimes life isn’t pretty.  Here’s that same second floor now:

Black doors.  Beautiful, elegant, black interior doors.  Of course, painting out all the door frames in white helps too.

All the old mahogany flat panel interior doors were replaced.  But friends, these are not ‘special’ or ‘upscale’ interior doors – these are run-of-the-mill, $35 Home Depot 6 panel doors.  But in black, they become special.

The decor in each bedroom is (of course) different, so I still wanted the side facing into the bedrooms/bathroom to be white.  Not at all difficult, and no tape was used.  In fact, none of this project was difficult, it was time consuming for sure, but pretty easy for such dramatic results.


When we installed the new doors <ahem, 2 years ago>, we updated the handles and hinges to a brushed nickel lever.  But FYI, I have spray painted door handles in the past with great success.

I used Sherwin Williams All Surface Lacquer in ‘Caviar’ for the doors, satin finish.  Use a 1 1/2” angled brush in all the panel detail, then a small foam roller on the rest.  The foam roller is imperative to a smooth finish.

The louvered door is the linen closet.  It was purchased unfinished wood, so was spray primed with Zinsser Cover Stain, then brush painted.  All the doors got 2 coats, back and front.  The white used is Sherwin Williams ‘Oxford White’, satin finish.


So I’m feeling pretty good about checking this off the house “To Do” List – yes, it took 2 years to get to a project that took a weekend to complete, but hey, whatev, it’s done.  Which means the rest of the projects ‘on deck’ for that area can be tackled:

Like ditching that old berber for hardwood, into the bedrooms too.  And replacing all the baseboards.

I figure I have 2 years.


If you’re planning to re-decorate, re-design, or renovate, I can help you create the extraordinary. Fall in love with your home again.

Link parties I participate in: The DIY Showoff Project ParadeMy Uncommon Slice of Suburbia ~ Domestically Speaking ~ TheDedicatedHouse ~ Somewhat simple ~House of Hepworths ~ Show and Tell Friday ~ Chic on a Shoestring decorating ~ At the Picket Fence ~ Stuff and Nonsense Finding Fabulous ~ Youaretalkingtoomuch ~ Under the Table and Dreaming BetweenNapsonthePorch ~  SavvySouthernStyle ~ RestoreInteriors ~ HouseontheWay ~  ItsOverflowing ~ JenniferRizzo

If you’re planning to re-decorate, re-design, or renovate, I can help you create the extraordinary. Fall in love with your home again.

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  1. WoW! What an amazing transformation. It looks very classy and sophisticated. Love the textured carpet. I adds another element of depth to the upstairs landing. I may have to check out the Revere Pewter color. I have been looking at gray paints and can not seem to find the right one.

    Love your blog by the way. I have been checking in for a while now and only recently decided create my own blog. As far as taking a long time to complete projects, I am right there with you. I get cranky sometimes if something takes too long though. 😉

    • Thanks Julie! BM Revere Pewter is not quite a true gray, but it’s such a great color, especially for transition areas. Thanks for the love, glad you’re here, and good for you starting a blog – great fireplace surround, btw! Go paint your doors 🙂 xoT.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous! I’m loving the interior black doors! Great transformation…Thanks for sharing!
    House on the Way

  3. Oh I am so in love with your stairs and the doors! I wish I could talk the hubby into letting me paint the doors-silly question but did you just do the outside of the doors? That’s my fear because the inside being black wouldn’t go well with any of the bedrooms we have!

    Maybe I’ll start with the door from inside our garage that leads into the house-my 3 kids have destroyed it anyway!

    • Ok-idiot here lol-just saw you kept the interior white haha!

    • Hey Lisa (I won’t call you idiot, despite your request :)) – this seems a common thing on this update, the convincing the Mister part. I won’t lie, mine didn’t fully embrace the plan – and now? He absolutely loves it. Paint the interior side of your front door black, that’s a good place to start….and it’s a change I recommend so often in Color Consultations with clients! Good luck, Happy Convincing! xoT.

  4. So much better in black!!!! love it!!!!!

  5. What colour did you paint the banister?

    • Hi Susan, the bannister was also done in Black Caviar (Sherwin Williams), but in Semi Gloss. With 2 coats of polyurethane. Thanks for visiting! xoT.

  6. What a difference, it looks amazing.

  7. Wow, the black totally works! Black & white is so classic, perfect for your home. LOVE everything you did. I also love that you have an IGNORE LIST! Ha, I am definitely starting one of those!

    • Thanks Jenna, that’s so nice of you! I think an Ignore list is an important part of home ownership, don’t you? 🙂 xoT.

  8. Um … wow! Both to your downstairs and upstairs transformations. Isn’t it wonderful that orangey old oak can be given a new life and elegant style with paint ?! I’ve been deliberating painting several doors in my house black and at this point it seems to be a no brainer. Just need to buy paint and do it, thanks for the additional inspiration. The All Surface Lacquer sounds like an interesting paint that I haven’t used and I guess I should go to the SW store and ask some questions.

    • Well I’m happy to be the inspiration you needed Robin! Yes, it is wonderful that it can be given a new life because the alternative would be expensive!! lol! I like the AllSurface Lacquer, I’ve even used it on brick with great success….my other favorite SW is the ProClassic, which (at least here, anyway) doesn’t come in an Ultra Deep Base, so can’t be tinted black. My doors were new primed, so I didn’t have to prime – you’ll want to be sure what’s on yours before you jump in! Good luck! xoT.

  9. Well, goodness, what a transformation! Everything looks so crisp and sharp! Just lovely. Thank you for sharing. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Toodles, Kathryn

  10. Wow – what an elegant transformation! I recently painted the upstairs doors in our hallway with black chalkboard paint – same idea with a little fun kick 😀 Of course, the rest of the doors here are dark, glossy PURPLE!!!

    thanks for sharing – it looks amazing…

    • Thanks very much Gena! Chalkboard paint IS totally fun. So, I hafta ask about the dark glossy purple doors – design decision? My iagination cannot fatham, must see pics! Glad to see you got through Sandy okay! A group of us have a “Socks for Sandy” drive going on, have a look! xoT.

      • Our house is Lavender, Tracy, and every room has a smattering (or maybe a little more!) of lavender and purple. So…. the deep, glossy purple doors are what I like to think of as PERFECTION!


        • Well, I saw the Lavender house, and did pick up on the name 🙂 I bet that looks so creative and fun!

  11. I love this! I have been thinking about doing this in my home and this might be the extra push I need to do it one level at a time. I love your staircase and I have been wanting to pull the carpet off my stairs as well. Just finding time and a hotel to stay at to keep 7 people off the staircase is another story while it dries! thanks for inspiration!

    • Hey Stacy! I definitely recommend it, it really makes such a great difference! And yes, doing the staircase was almost a week long project, that involved late night staining (after bed times), and the Mister & I then sleeping in the family room (main floor) on an air mattress! Kind of like camping at home, lol. Glad to inspire, thanks for visiting! xoT.

  12. It’s just how I would have painted it! I’ve been waiting to buy a 2 story so we can have a bold black and white staircase!:)

    I painted our front door a bold black as well.

    Love it!

    • Thank you so much “Lucy”, I did our front door as well not too long ago….Thanks for visiting, I’m poking around on your site now! xoT.

  13. That is an amazing before and after. I love it!

  14. I love this! It looks great – I wanted to let you know that I featured this today in my “What I Bookmarked This Week” post – stop by and see.

  15. Christine says:

    How long did it take you to do all the stairs? How do you remove all the spindles?

  16. Christine says:

    Love it! How long did it take to do the stairs and was it easy to remove the spindles?

    • Hi Christine! The only thing that was particularily difficult about this project was templating each stair to create the new oak tread; it was time consuming and required days of staining or urethaning at night so that it was dry by the morning, and sleeping in the family room so we could do that, lol, but not “difficult”. We removed the entire bannister and all the spindles, to paint them and do the stairs. They’re just screwed in. Plan carefully and prepare for about a week 🙂 xoT

  17. Nichole says:

    This is absolutely beautiful! (Yes! I’m STILL reading! lol!) I LOVE this look, have you ever tried dark doors in a smaller hall space? Does it still work with lighter wall colors and white door frames?

    • LOL Nichole – stay as long as you’d like!! It is SUCH a great look, and I’ve had it done in clients homes as well with success. I don’t think (in this case) size matters – it’s the dramatic impact that works, so I say, go for it! xoT

  18. Lori Liebe says:

    I love the look of your doors! My husband and I are going to start painting. What colors did you use on the walls and ceiling?

    • Thanks Lori! The walls are Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, and the ceiling is just plain ol’ flat white ceiling paint! The black doors are really a great look, I hope you love it too! xoT

  19. Love what you’ve done to the house! I just moved into a similar situation!
    What color paint did you use on the handrails of stairs? What color white are spindles??! Thanks so much! Love your style!

    • Thanks Chris!! The spindles & stair stringers are Sherwin Williams ‘White Heron’, and the handrail is the same as the doors, Sherwin Williams ‘Caviar’, with 2 coats of Polycrylic for added durability. It’s been a couple years now since the handrail was done, and still no signs of wear, so I highly recommend that step. Thanks for visiting! xoT

  20. This is exactly what I want to do to my livingroom/hallways of the house we are building .. I’m set on these colors but have so much trouble deciding on kitchen/foyer/dining room colors

  21. MuskieNurse says:

    Absolutely love! What color paint did you use on the spindles and door frames? It looks amazing!

    • The spindles and stringers are Sherwin Williams White Heron, the door frames are straight-out-of-the-can white. Thanks, I highly recommend doing it, it’s an easy ‘upgrade’! xoT

  22. Painting our doors are next on the list and I can’t wait. Love the idea of just painting the front and side, due to various room decor. Did you only do the upstairs doors or all your doors, including your downstairs? We have very little black in our home and I’m debating on all the doors.

    • Hi Melanie! I chose to only do the second floor in my house, not the main floor. I based that decision more on the style of the house though – I think it would look amazing in other style homes. I think it really depends! Good luck, xoT

  23. how do I paint a steel door black? and what would you suggest for the trim? I don’t like the white.

    • Hi Bonnie – I suggest you speak to the experts at your local paint store for what products to use on a steel door. As for the trim, I suppose that’s personal preference – I think white is a crisp and clean balance to any colour in a space and a consistent element throughout an entire house; you may prefer to paint out your trim the same as your wall colour.

  24. Lisa Rossignolo says:

    Tracy –

    I just started repainting my house in earthy tones. Moss green entry, orange kitchen and brown and cream living room.. Going to paint the doors in black but do you think it will look good with warm colors instead of cool??? In addition, I am ultra modern and my husband is Tommy Bahama. Trying to decorate to the Tommy Bahama theme but running into decor ideas. Our living room has 30 foot ceilings and 2 half moon windows. Ur thoughts????

  25. Hi Tracy! Love the transformation! We’ve been contemplating this for years. It is now officially on our “to do” list.
    How did you do your banisters? You mentioned two coats of polyurethane …I don’t even know what that means. our spindles are white, so we’re one step ahead:)
    Do you have to polyurethane the doors too ?

    • Hi Kelly, I used (again) Sherwin Williams All Surface Lacquer, but I did prime the bannister first with Zinnser Cover Stain because it was wood. Ask at Home Depot aout Polyurethane, they’ll help you out 🙂 Protects it, adds a sheen (if desired), makes it more durable. No, I didn’t poly the doors, no need, they don’t get touched frequently (like a bannister), or stepped on. Have fun! xoT

  26. Thanks you 🙂

  27. Hi Tracy,
    Did you light sand the doors prior to painting them?

    • Hi Kelly! I did not sand the doors at all, I just cleaned and degreased them thoroughly. I used a high quality, hard finish paint though, Sherwin Williams All Surface Lacquer. Good luck, you’ll love the result! xoT.

  28. Hi! I realize this is an old post, I hope you see my question! Did you remover your doors when you painted them? If not, what was your process? thanks!

    • Hi Daisy! I did not remove the doors first, I just used the small foam roller (per steps in the post), and did the front and sides in black while they were in place. Hope that helps! xoT

  29. Hi Tracy!

    I have seen this on Pinterest so many times, and I am in love with the look. I purchased a house about 3 years ago and I am stuck on design ideas. I would love to have your help with ideas if possible. I will be using your idea for my hallway.

    • Hi Jamera – that’s awesome, I’m glad you found it, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results. Of course I can help, you can email me directly at to discuss that further. Thanks for visiting! xoT

  30. Hey! Love this gorgeous diy makeover!! What sheen did you use for the revere pewter paint? Egg shell?
    Question about the doors- what is your opinion on painting the closet door and interior door to a bedroom? I am repainting guest room and was contemplating doing the closet door and back of regular door.. Let me know when you can!

    Thanks again for the pinspiration!!!

    • Hi Leah, thank you! yes, I used eggshell (it’s my preference – I just don’t like matte, seems to just suck the light out of a space)….I’m not sure whether you mean painting the room doors black or the wall colour – but I think painting them the same as the wall colour always looks great. xoT

  31. Jean Crawford says:

    What is the brand/style/color of the carpet you put in. It is really nice.


    • Hi Jean! I wish I could help, but I don’t have that info 🙁 But it was a very neutral cream (not too yellow) berber that was really easy to work with. Thanks for visiting xoT

  32. Brenda Newby says:

    Hi Tracey,

    We are planning to paint our doors black as well. I just love the look! My fiance is worried though that because dark colours of paint tend to be softer, that it won’t be durable. Thoughts? Also, do the black doors show dust any worse than white doors do? We’re planning to use a satin finish. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Brenda – Great, I’m sure you will love it! I’m not so sure about your fiances paint theory, yes, the bases are different, but it’s the paint that matters. If you feel you need more durability than a regular latex paint offers, BMoore, Sherwin Williams, etc all offer lines that are more durable, scrubbable, more like an oil/alkyd. I have used Sherwin Williams ProClassic & All Surface Enamel with great success on dresser tops and furniture that are quite high use. Interior doors actually are not, other than grazing around door hardware. I never found the doors to be dusty, but a regular once over with a feather duster, white or black, is probably a good idea for a healthy environment. Yes, absolutely satin finish ! Good luck xoT

  33. Hello Tracy,
    They look absolutely amazing! We’re planning to paint our old wooden doors as well, but they have wood grain and also varnish. Did you remove the varnish from the spindles before putting the primer on? Or is using the primer good enough for the job? They look so smooth and I don’t see the wood grain in your photos!

    • Thank you! I used Liquid Sandpaper on the spindles, I did not do more than a light scuff sand on them – there really wasn’t any wood grain showing after primer and 3 coats of paint. Doors might be a bit different because they are vertical and so flat…and honestly, unless you love those doors, it’s pretty inexpensive to replace them (at least it is here) – so that’s what I did rather than the time & effort (& expense) of painting them. Good Luck! xoT

  34. Barbara A Ceo says:

    i have the same railing, spindle in oak on our open stairway to second floor. How did you remove spindles for painting? Mine are white, but builders grade, and I could leave them that white but don’t know an easy way to paint around the bottom. Or, maybe it won’t be easy. An suggestions.

  35. Gail Neale says:

    Hi Tracy. It is perfection. You gave us everything but the carpet info, unless I missed it. Can you tell me more about that?

    • Hi Gail, thank you! I really can’t give you any carpet info, it was there when I purchased the house…a fairly run of the mill etched/patterned berber though, if that helps. Lighter than sand, darker than white 🙂 xoT.

  36. Hi Tracy! Love the work you did! Absolutely ahhhmaazing!! Did you sand your doors before you painted them?

    • Well thank you very much Marites! I didn’t sand, they were factory primed so I was able to just paint them. You would need to adapt the process depending on the door (wood, unprimed, etc). xoT

      • Is your trim the same throughout your home? Are your doors always closed?

        • Hi Renee, yes the trim was the same throughout. And that’s a very odd question, but no, for regular daily living the doors are not always closed – but given the post topic was “Black Interior Doors”, photos with the doors closed so that the reader could actually see them seemed logical!
          Thanks, T xo

  37. Sorry didn’t mean it to sound odd. I am thinking of doing different trim in bedroom then trying to think about transition to hallway. I am very perplexed on how to transition. So I was questioning your closed doors just wondering how the other color looks when door is opened.

    • LOL – that’s ok Renee, now I’m a bit clearer on what you’re referring to! You don’t say whether it’s the colour or the profile you’re having different; baseboard or door frame; but I’m assuming it’s colour based on your comment door close/door open – consistency in trim colour is critical (IMO), even if the profile is a bit different. Just creates a more ‘polished’ result overall. Hope that helps!

  38. Is the All Surface Laquer the same as the all surface enamel? Thanks


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