How To Paint Your Interior Doors…The Easy Way (Part 2)

I painted the doors to my family room and they look AMAZING!


If you’re thinking about painting your own interior door (or doors!), you can read all about what tools and materials I suggest you use, and what colors to pick, in Part 1 of “How to Paint Your Interior Doors…The Easy Way.”


Today, I’m going to cover Part 2,

“How To Actually Paint The Door”


As it turns out, if you have raised panels on your door, there’s a right way to paint it.

IMG_4384Oh geez.  This is really happening.  No going back now!

1) Paint the middle of each panel first – the flat part.

See how my door has three raised panels on it?  You want to paint those middle parts first.  Start by painting the middle of each raised panel (my favorite part, because they are flat and easy to paint).


2) Paint the insides of each panel so the entire square is now covered.

After painting that flat middle part, you need to cover the beveled part of the panel as well.  You can see a glimpse of what I mean here:


3) Now paint the flat surfaces surrounding the panels.

I absolutely love this graphic from Pretty Handy Girl.  After painting your panels (Step 1) she’s showing you in this picture to paint the flat cris-crosses as Steps 2 and 3.

And go WITH the wood grain, not against it.



Via Pretty Handy Girl

4)  Let dry.  Then repeat!

I’d say three or even four coats should do the trick.


You could theoretically paint your paneled door willy nilly.  I have to say, when I started following this process (Raised panels first!  Then beveled part of panels!  Finally the flat cris-crosses!), my painting looked remarkably better and dare I say even professional.

This project was so easy and successful that I’m basically eyeing every door in the house.  I’ll let you know which one is next…


For help creating a home that you love contact me about design services.

How To Paint Your Interior Doors…The Easy Way (And My New Column!)

When my friend Alexa painted her upstairs doors black I couldn’t believe how pretty it was.  What a dramatic change!

I couldn’t wait to do the same in my own house.  I was happy to find out that painting an interior door is an easy project that can be completed in a weekend no problem.

Here are two doors that lead into our family room.  The Before:



And the After:  


Painting interior doors – so worth it! 

This took me two days, but in total only a few hours (I squeezed in painting during nap time and after the kids’ bedtime.  And I had to pause between coats to let everything dry).

I learned a few lessons from this process and I’d love to share.  Okay, ready?  Here’s PART ONE of my step-by-step tutorial: “how to paint your interior door…the easy way”.  (I’ll post Part 2 next week!).  


The Prep. 


1) Remove Grime.

Make sure your doors are free of grime and fingerprints.  I just wiped mine down with a damp cloth (but I read that you should use something more “serious” if you have gunk on your doors).   Let those dry for a minute.


2) Remove the hardware. 


3) DON’T Sand the Doors!

I didn’t sand my doors.  But as an official “tutotial giver”, I guess I should tell you that you probably should sand.  Ugh.  So annoying, let’s just paint already!

But, just in case you are more meticulous than I am, my opinion is that the best sand paper for sanding a standard, wood, painted door is 151 grade.  The sand paper is fine and not coarse.  Just purchase a few sheets at the hardware store and use them in your hand; don’t worry about an electric sander or a sand block.  You can lightly go over any old paint drips or imperfections to make everything uniform and smooth, but seriously if your door is in good shape and you’re not overly concerned about perfection (I’m not) then don’t bother.  After sanding you’ll want to do the damp cloth thing again to get rid of all the dusty stuff.


4) Keep those doors on their hinges!  

Makes life so easy.


5) Put a drop cloth or an old beach towel under those doors.

I really am SUCH a lazy DIYer that I didn’t even bother to do this at first.  Big mistake.  Paint drips, people!



The Brush. 

I wanted something that was relatively precise (angled, didn’t leave behind huge brush strokes) but I didn’t want to pay that much.  I was very happy with this one!



It’s just a standard brush from my local hardware store that costs a few dollars.  I recommend looking for an angled brush that is a blend of polyester/nylon, and about 2″ wide.  If your door is perfectly flat, then you should probably go with a wide, flat brush or a roller (the angled brush is good for raised panels and detailing).


The Paint. 


1) A word on Primer.  

Don’t bother with primer!  Okay, wait, that’s not true if your door is something other than white.  Have a dark wood stained door?  A bright yellow or red door?  Okay, yes, get some primer and slap one or two coats on there.  My door was white so I felt really good about skipping this step.  If you are going to prime your door, my favorite is Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 White Water-Based Primer.  It’s great because it’s indoor/outdoor, and it’s made for ANY surface so you can always use it again for some other project.


2) Now for the fun part!  What color??  

I chose Old Navy from Benjamin Moore.






I was going to go all cutting edge and choose a military blue or a deep purple or something.  But who am I kidding?  There’s a reason Old Navy is all over Pinterest and on so many decorating blogs.  It’s a great color.

My recommendation is to go with a color you love – be creative!  It’s just paint.  If you really hate it you can do it over.  I would love to paint all our bedroom doors a classic black lacquer, or my kitchen door this awesome shade of yellow or this incredible mossy kelly green.


3) But what KIND of paint? 

You’ll see my doors are very shiny.  To achieve this look, I thought I would have to cover the doors with a clear coat of lacquer after painting, but the local paint store guy encouraged me to just go with Benjamin Moore’s “Advance” line.

So glad I listened to him.  The paint is water based, and it’s pretty forgiving so it’s easy for a novice painter like myself to use.  It’s also got great coverage and it has this tremendous high gloss finish and a hard lacquer shell when it dries.  Perfecto!  I recommend it.




What about Hardware?

I went with these wonderful knobs from Anthropologie.   They are stone dipped in a gold paint.  I love Anthropologie’s knobs - can’t recommend them highly enough for their character and style.


For other knobby ideas, check out this recent post I wrote on swapping out knobs on your doors and furniture, and where you can find some great resources.


Did I miss anything?   Any questions out there?  Please comment below or just shoot me an email!


I have more to say about the ACTUAL painting of my doors.  Turns out, there is a right way and a wrong way.  I learned my lessons, and I write all about it in my second and final installment:  Part 2, How to Paint Your Interior Doors…The Easy Way.



In other news…

It’s been an exciting few weeks over here at Return To Home.  I’m so happy to announce that my new column with Westchester Home Magazine is live!  A few times a month, I’ll be dishing out product tips and ideas, easy DIY projects, and plenty of decorating advice.  Please check it out here and let me know what you think!


For help creating a home that you love contact me about design services.

My Picks: Brass Inspired Decor

It’s no secret that brass and gold are taking over the decorating world and leaving silver and brushed nickel in their dust.

I gathered some fun “brass inspired” pics for you to take a peek at today.


Look at this brass coffee table and sunburst wall art!  Of course, we could never let a toddler come near those spikes or the white sofa.  The whole place would be decimated in about fifteen minutes.

brass sunburst


I love that bar carts have made a comeback.  I purchase mine at Target for $130!  This gorgeous one is from Arteriors, and another great source is Society Social which has the most adorable stuff.

bar cart


Have you come across Cedar & Moss yet?  I love their simple, mid-century modern lighting, and I swear I have to triple-check the prices because they are so incredibly reasonable.  
cedar and moss lighting



I mean, this table is so beautiful I think I just cried a little!


console table


One of my favorite DIY projects EVER.  THIS is an IKEA shelf that was spray painted gold.  And it looks like a million bucks.  I’m just bursting I love this so much.



IKEA etagere


A great way to inject brass and gold into your home is to bring in a “sea urchin” or two.  I love the stateliness of this one, from Waiting on Martha:

starburst statuete



I purchased my sea urchins from Target (of course – what do I NOT get from Target?!).  They’re over there on the left, hiding in the corner:


Lorri Elder Dyner, multiple projects


Oh, also – Dwell Studio has a terrific sea urchin as well that you can find on Wayfair.  I use them a lot in my projects.

For more fun inspiration, come over and check out my Pin Board, Brass Inspired Decor!

The origin of all these photos for this post can be found here.



For help creating a home that you love contact me about design services.

Reclaimed Wood End Table: High & Low Lessons Learned

So if you’ve read this blog before you already know that I’m passionate about making decorating user-friendly.  I love design that is accessible to all of us and I love a good deal.  My life’s mantra might as well be “why pay $600 when you can pay $30?!”

This is why I’m kicking myself.

A while back, my husband and I purchased a reclaimed wood table from a dealer, and put it in our family room.  Here it is:

Family Room

Family Room


It’s actually petrified wood!  You can’t even tell how cool it is and it cost a fortune.

Here it is, hiding in the shadow of our sofa:

Lorri Elder Dyner, multiple projects


I’m kicking myself now because I really could have found something that made a real impact and didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

I didn’t take my own advice – find something equally stunning for a fraction of the price.


I’ve recently stumbled upon two reclaimed wood end tables (also known as “live edge” wood tables) that are visually beautiful and that don’t break the bank.

So you don’t have to go through the same madness I did, dear Reader, I’m telling you about them today.


Here’s the first, a lovely reclaimed wood look from Room & Board for about $400:


room and board end table

The Allard End Table, Via Room & Board, ~ $400



And the second, the most amazing little reclaimed wood side table from Pigment:albion slice final

Albion Burl Slice Table, Via Pigment, ~$140

Yes, you read that correctly.  That side table is less than $150!!!  I know, I can’t believe it either.

So there you have it, two beautiful reclaimed wood / live-edge end tables for under $500.   You are welcome!  And let’s just say I learned my lesson.  :)

By the way, I was in Atlanta last week at the annual Interior Design Bloggers Conference. Wow, what an eye-opening few days!  I was able to meet some of the best in the business, learn a ton about being a decorator AND a blogger, and make new friends.




[ Check out my Instagram feed to see more of the excitement! ]

For help creating a home that you love contact me about design services.