Probably thanks to the wild popularity of white paint colors, I have been spotting black doors everywhere lately, and I don’t mean from the street!
In this post we will take a look at some gutsy homeowners who took the plunge into darkness with their interior doors.
After that we will check out the best black paint colors for interior doors, and finally, my step-by-step method for painting doors (including supplies).
This post may contain affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I use.
Should you paint ALL of your interior doors?
You might be wondering if you should commit to painting every door in your house, but that can also be scary!
The good news is that a lot of people actually don’t paint every single interior door when they take on this project.
Some have chosen to stick to a single level, they paint either all of their downstairs or all of their upstairs doors black.
Others have kept the trend to a smaller area, like an isolated hallway.
Many people choose to only paint the one-off doors in their house black, such as the inside of their front door, or the pantry.
It might sound mismatched, but the result is that certain doors look like accents, and other doors blend.
Are black interior doors more expensive?
Black interior doors are not necessarily more expensive, but you will be extremely limited in your options when looking to purchase doors that are already black.
Every single person that I spoke to had white doors painted, either existing or new.
The only exception is metal doors with glass inserts. Often these can be purchased in black, but again, that is pretty specific.
For your run-of-the-mill interior doors, painting is the way to go!
Do black doors make a room look smaller?
Black doors won’t make a regular sized room look smaller. What black does do, is absorb light. In small areas with limited natural light, black doors may make the space feel closed in.
Hallways are generally okay because there is still a lot of wall where you can introduce a light color.
If you have an entry way with a few doors in a small space, you may want to skip painting the inside of your front door, or not do black doors in this area at all.
In general though, homeowners and designers have said that black doors create the illusion of higher ceilings. That’s never a bad thing!
Are black interior doors timeless?
I would love to say that black doors are timeless, but it probably isn’t the case. Does that mean you shouldn’t do it? Heck no!
Home trends typically last a very long time, so by the time your black doors are over, you will probably be over it too.
Do You Have to Paint the Whole Door Black?
Nope! This is another one where anything goes! Particularly in bedrooms, many homeowners opt to paint the outside of their interior doors black and leave the inside white.
Just make sure you do paint around the sides of the doors, because sometimes they can show a little bit.
Hardware and Finishings for Black Interior Doors
What color trim goes with black doors?
Unless you’re a real free spirit, you have two choices for trim colors to go with your new black doors: White or Black.
Most people will choose to leave their trim white.
This might sound a little disjointed, but it allows the door to be a black statement without having to choose another place to end the black trim.
If you are going for a very clean and minimal aesthetic, consider painting your walls and trim in the same shade of white.
Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace is a true white with just a hint of softness, that can be used for both.
Sherwin Williams White Flour is more of a farmhouse white, but very popular with black and white color schemes.
Curious about black trim?
Spray Wizards Painting went for it in this billiards room, and carried the black trim all the way around the room:
They chose Sherwin Williams Whitetail for the wall color in this room, and Iron Ore for the black.
(Full warning: Iron Ore is more of a charcoal, it just looks black in this basement, and Whitetail is quite a warm white.)
GMD Painting created a color block black-and-white moment in this entryway, by painting the inside of the front door, all of the trim, and the wall, solid black:
The white here is Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore, and the black is Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams.
What style of trim to pair with black doors?
The trend for trim is still flat and square, but you really don’t need a specific style of trim to do black doors. If you scroll through the photos here, you will see virtually every style of trim, and it all works just as well.
What color of hardware should you use with black doors?
Black is fun because you can really do whatever you want with it!
- For a totally streamlined look, choose black for your knobs and hinges.
- For some contrast, go with gold or brass.
- Oil rubbed bronze has kind of fallen out of fashion, but often it’s just black with a hint of bronze, which could also look quite nice.
I wouldn’t personally choose chrome or nickel hardware, because it lacks a little oomph, but that’s the trend lover in me.
Black Front Door Interior
Just in case the only interior door you are curious about is your front door, I’ve got some inspo for that too!
Rachael from First House on Finn, has used Tricorn Black on accents throughout her home, including the inside of her front door!
Her white paint color is Sherwin Williams White Flour.
Remember Rachael because I will show you more of her home throughout this post.
This next black front door is nestled into a shiplap wall painted in Sherwin Williams Cyberspace.
I think Marissa of @in_vest_homes used Tricorn Black as well, but I can’t seem to find where she said that.
Here’s a better shot where you can see the barn door too:
Can you spot the black front door in this shot? :
For the white in here, Debra used Sherwin Williams Greek Villa.
This custom arched glass door provides just a hint of black:
This custom door is a bit bolder:
Black Interior/Exterior Doors with Glass
From french doors to sliding glass, here are the interiors of other beautiful doors!
This first one is a combination of true interior doors as well as the inside of exterior doors:
Jessica from @thehouse_on2060 has an absolutely gorgeous home! She used Sherwin Williams Extra White throughout, and Tricorn Black for all of her black accents.
Keep an eye out for more of Jessica’s doors in this post!
Here is another black door, this time a sliding glass one leading out to the patio:
Madison (@withmadisonaz) also painted the doors black throughout his house, so you will be seeing more from him. Full warning: His house is funky boho goals!
And finally, this black side door:
In a departure from the norm, this custom home features white trim around the black door, and wood through the rest of the room.
This black door looks amazing with the black picket tile in this kitchen:
The white in this house is Sherwin Williams Pure White.
Black Doors in Foyer and Hallway
The halls of Jessica’s house are a great place to peep black doors with snazzy gold hardware!
How about a little black board and batten too?
One more from Jessica’s black and white Texas palace:
Finally a departure from Tricorn Black, these doors are Benjamin Moore “Black” :
And another, this is Sherwin Williams Black Magic:
Black Bathroom Doors
The bathroom is one popular place to put black doors!
It makes sense, because like a pantry or front door, it’s a single door, and can easily be different from the rest in your home.
Talk about a glamorous entrance!
Obviously black doors are still very much on trend, because several of the photos in this article are from John Askew (@johnaskewcustomhomes) who is a custom home builder.
Customers are asking for black doors!
Here is another bathroom by John:
Note that this is one of the rare occasions where there is a color on the wall other than white!
I love a black and gold moment!
This sliding door is SW Iron Ore again, which like I mentioned before, can look black, but it’s not a jet black.
Here it is again:
Back to Debra’s house again for this black and white moment:
Note the brass hardware on both doors!
Now back to Madison’s for arguably the cutest bathroom ever:
If you love Madison’s house too, you will want to check out my post about Sherwin Williams Clary Sage, which features pictures of his super fun kitchen!
Black Pantry Door
Just like bathrooms, the pantry is a great one-off door to dabble in black paint.
Liz from @building_up_toelle used the iconic Tricorn Black again:
She later frosted the glass herself, using an adhesive film, but she did mention that the bubbles were hard to get out.
I have used the frosted glass spray paint before but can’t seem to find it on Amazon to link for you. I did find some really pretty privacy glass clings. Which seems like a great idea. Then you won’t have to worry about getting it right the first time!
(I might try one for an ill-placed window in one of our bathrooms!)
Now to Rachael’s again for this chic kitchen:
The white cabinets are a custom color match, and the walls are SW White Flour.
Black Bedroom Doors
Surprisingly the bedroom is probably the least popular place to use black doors, but it could also be that bedrooms are the least popular place to take photos.
(Well at least our kind of photos!)
Black and white boho boudoir anyone? :
Madison had a chuckle on his instagram over the “sheriff” door that came with the house. Black really does make everything better, because why does it look so good?
Loving the vintage doors in this bedroom:
Unfortunately, I don’t know the wall color in here.
Pros and Cons of Black Interior Doors
Here are a few of the positives of black doors, as well as a couple downsides.
Pro Going Black
- It’s chic! (I mean, obviously!)
- Doors look heavier and more expensive
- Black doors can make ceilings look higher
- Because black doors with white trim appear slimmer than white doors, they can even make a room feel larger
Downsides of Black Interior Doors
You might think that black doors will hide dirt and grubby little fingerprints, but the opposite is true. Black doors – particularly ones with any bevels or edges – need to be cleaned frequently
In very small spaces black will suck the light out of the room. Consider testing your idea by painting craft paper and tacking it up.
Black doors only work with a limited amount of wall colors. One black door is a different story, but if all of your doors are black, and all of your trim is white, introducing another color can look busy.
Best Paint Colors for Black Interior Doors
Generally speaking, to find the blackest black paints, you want to find a color with the lowest possible LRV.
The LRV of a color indicates on a scale of 0 – 100 how much light a color reflects (or doesn’t reflect). True black has an LRV of 0 and pure white has an LRV of 100.
In the paint world, we are working in a range of about 2 – 93 because no paint color is purely black or completely white. For a black paint, an LRV of 2 – 3 is ideal.
Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black
Tricorn Black is often sold as the blackest black on the market. If you see someone slapping black paint all over their house, 9 times out of 10 it will be Tricorn. You probably picked that up in this post!
If you head to my post about Tricorn Black, I also cover a bajillion other black and charcoal paint colors.
The LRV of Tricorn Black is 3.
(Bear in mind that Sherwin Williams does round their LRV numbers, so Tricorn could actually be 2.8 etc.)
Sherwin Williams Black Magic
I don’t know for sure, but my guess would be that Black Magic is Sherwin Williams’ second most popular black. I have seen it used a good amount, and it definitely looks black.
The LRV of Black Magic is also a 3.
Benjamin Moore Black
Technically, based on the LRV numbers provided to us, Benjamin Moore “Black” is darker than Tricorn, with an LRV of 2.48.
I actually don’t see this color around much, but it’s a solid choice!
Benjamin Moore Black Satin
Black Satin has an LRV of 2.49, so it is right there with “Black.” The main difference is that Black Satin has a bit more blue in it.
Still an excellent solid black choice!
Behr Limousine Leather
Unfortunately for all you Behr lovers out there, black is just not their thing.
Limousine Leather is the darkest black that they offer, and it has an LRV of 5! That’s nowhere near the inky blackness of other manufacturers.
That being said, I’m sure on a small surface like doors, Limousine Leather would look dark enough.
Valspar Cracked Pepper
Good news if you are on a budget: You can head to Lowe’s to pick up one of the blackest blacks available!
Cracked Pepper has an LRV of 2.089! Yes please!
Test out all of these black paint colors the fast and easy way, by ordering peel-and-stick samples!
Samplize will ship you a large “sticker” made of actual paint. You can reposition it to check out the color on any door.
The best part? It really does end up being cheaper than buying the test pots and sampling the old fashioned way. (Plus you can order all the colors you want!)
Canadian? Hello Paint does the same thing, without the expensive international shipping.
Choosing a Finish for Black Door Paint
Stop right there before you snag a can of semi-gloss ma’am! Particularly if you have old imperfect doors, or you aren’t a confident painter.
Semi-gloss on black will show off every imperfection in the light!
Satin finish would be my choice for painting doors in general, but especially dark ones.
You could also choose flat (matte) but that can be a little more difficult to clean.
How to DIY Black Interior Doors
Prepping Your Doors for Paint
First things first:
- Clean your doors well. Warm water and vinegar will do the trick.
I’ve learned from being a professional painter, that paint isn’t as picky as you might think. A basic cleaning is good enough. There’s no need to use alcohol or TSP. (Provided you aren’t dealing with heavy grease or nicotine.)
I like to use a basic microfiber cloth like this.
- Sand if you need to
This is up to your discretion. If you are dealing with previously DIY painted doors, you will probably see some areas that could be smoother.
You will also want to sand if the previous finish is very glossy.
The easiest way to sand is with an angled sanding sponge like this. This is a must-have if your doors have any bevels or crevices.
- Wipe again (If you sanded)
- You could at this point remove your doors from their hinges, but you and I both know you probably won’t do that. (Same, Sis.)
If you do have a place to lay them flat, most DIYers wished that they had just done this from the beginning, but it’s up to you. If you are tackling this project alone, taking the doors down isn’t the easiest task.
If you are planning to spray your hinges, taking the door off is a must!
- Remove the door handles. Not going to do that either? I feel you.
I really don’t mind being extra careful painting if it means less prep. That being said, door knobs aren’t typically that hard to take off.
- Set up your drop cloths.
Unfortunately it isn’t super eco-friendly, but poly drop cloths are better for painting doors because they can slide underneath even when there is little clearance.
This one comes with tape, which is perfect, because you will need to tape it to the floor anyway. Poly drop cloths also double as a way to keep your paint supplies from drying out between coats.
- Tape off door handle and latch
When I do use painter’s tape, I prefer Scotch Blue. It’s not too expensive and it peels off easily without ripping.
I have done a lot of painting over the years, so I generally don’t tape anything. Rather than trust my tape job (and spend time doing it), I carry these baby wipes and clean up when I goof.
(I’m sure any wipes would do, but I always use those ones.)
You’re ready to paint!
Best Supplies for a Smooth Finish
For cabinets, doors, or anything else that needs a super smooth finish, I always use a foam paint roller. The tiny little pores in a foam roller produce a super even texture.
You can often get these in an affordable kit like this.
A kit is the best way to go because you get your handle, rollers, tray, and a disposable liner. The only other thing you need is a brush!
For maximum control, the Wooster Shortcut is my favorite paintbrush ever. It ticks all my boxes and tickles all my fancies. (I know, I know, it’s just a brush.)
How to Paint Your Doors
There are two ways that you can paint your doors: Roll or spray.
Spraying will almost always give a slightly better finish, and you can totally do that! Spraying also requires more space, setup, and cleanup.
I’m going to assume that you want the easier DIY solution of rolling, so that’s what I’m going to talk about. If you do want to spray, you can often rent a sprayer, and they are not all that difficult to use.
Step #1 – Cutting In
If you prefer, these steps can be reversed, but in general it is easiest to do the brushwork first. That also allows you to smooth out as many brush lines as possible when you return with the roller.
Use your paint brush to cut carefully around any hardware you left on, and over any design features that the roller will miss.
For some of this work you can actually use the roller too. For bevelled edges I like to use the rounded end of a foam roller to squish paint into the tricky areas. It helps give a more uniform finish than doing large areas with a brush.
You can also use the roller on the edges of the door (and yes, you will want to paint those even if you only plan to paint one side of the door).
Step #2 – Rolling
Roll the rest of the door! To be honest, leaving the door handles on helps a little when painting, because you have something to hang on to for leverage.
A white door will need a minimum of two coats. Don’t be shy about really loading up your roller to get good thick coats on.
Most paints need 4 hours to dry between coats. I’m a rebel, so if it has been two hours and it’s dry to the touch, I will usually go for it.
Staining Wood Doors Black
For most of this post I assumed that you were working with some form of standard hollow core door, but if you want to keep the grain on solid wood doors, try a stain instead!
Choose a Black Stain
I will preface this by saying that I have not stained wood doors before. I have used a number of stains (dark ones included), but I wasn’t impressed with the black that I tried before. I think it was Minwax Ebony?
This Minwax “Charred Black” stain has excellent reviews (for that specific color, weathered gray not so much!) and is what I would try if I wanted to stain my doors.
Prep Your Doors for Stain
The prep process would be the same, except for that you will definitely want to sand.
To get ready for a stain I would use a palm sander, because hand sanding a previous finish completely off is a real chore!
Staining Your Doors
You won’t be able to reuse brushes after staining, and you aren’t doing detailed work, so just purchase a value pack of inexpensive brushes.
After the stain has been applied liberally with a brush, wipe off with painter’s rags and tidy up any messes on the hardware.
(You can also use old clothes from around your house, as long as they are lint free.)
It’s a good idea to test a small square of the stain inside a closet door, or somewhere else inconspicuous, to get the hang of it.
Try different times between brushing it on and wiping it off to see what works the best. I typically leave stain on for longer than the directions (even twice as long) to get a better color.
In the Mood for Modern Black Doors?
I hope this post helped you decide if you are going to the dark side!
- Black interior doors are a chic statement, and in general won’t shrink your room
- Going black does require a little additional upkeep
- Choose Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black, Benjamin Moore Black, or Valspar Cracked Pepper for the ultimate dark doors
- Use a foam roller for the best finish without fancy spray equipment