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A little before and after this week seems like just the thing I need to feel like I’m back at my usual DIY programming (and the last project I’m likely to finish before #DIYcember ends). Want to know how to paint a paneled door like a pro? I’ve got the answer for ya!

how to paint a paneled door like a pro

I thought about painting the door ages ago and couldn’t make up my mind. I was loving all of the inspired images I found on Pinterest for black interior doors… but there just never seemed to be the right time to make this little project happen. Then, just as tidy little projects tend to do… I got a wild hair and thought, why the heck not today?

door after

And so it began, night after night, coat after coat. Thin coats sure take a while, but they’re the best way to reach desired results.

In progress

Finally, after a fourth (!) coat on the door, I have updated something in the house just over a 2-year window of first imagining it. Huh. Imagine that.

door before
door after

After screwing the door hardware back on, I decided I liked loved the brass on the glossy black door. The hinges are painted over from when they were painted ivory (somewhere around the dawn of time, give or take a decade), so that will have to be a problem to solve on another day.

Painting a paneled door is pretty simple. To make it look as professional as possible, you should paint the door in the following stages:

how to paint a six panel door

Start with the inside panels, painting the boxes first and then the center panels. From there, paint the middle section of the door, first starting with the vertical, then the horizontal sections. Finally, paint the outer part of the door. Your brush strokes should be in the same directions as in the image above. For my project, I used a small foam roller (for doors and furniture) and an angled paint brush.

Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover

The paint itself was Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch in gloss black and stuck exceptionally well (I did a scratch test after the first coat, but since latex will peel off of oil-based paints, make sure you know what you’re painting. A cotton ball soaked in denatured alcohol will help you prevent a lot of frustration like Allison from House of Hepworths unfortunately experienced). I only needed a half pint (I love how tiny these cans are) but used all of it, and looked more like navy blue as it was being applied. I would have been okay with a slightly bluish hue, but after only a few minutes, the paint dried to a perfect black. Easy to paint, easy to clean up, and a dramatic upgrade to boring off-white! Next up: the staircase.

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  1. I love it! I had no intentions of paiting the inside of my door, until I read this!! :) Going shopping for some paint this weekend!!

  2. That process looked a little painful (FOUR coats?!?) but so worth it in the end. Thanks for sharing and reminding me about doing this project on our of doors. Luckily, it's already brown to begin with ;)

  3. Hi Sarah,
    I can’t believe I have never found your blog before!! Absolutely love it!
    I am currently pretty much single-handedly undertaking re-doing my whole house and now the colder weather is coming in, I am turning my attentions to things that can be done without having to go outside (much). My internal doors need a revamp and I was thinking of bright colours to make them pop but that black looks classy and dramatic so I think I may have to steal your idea. I hope you don’t mind! :/
    Keep up the good work, I will be checking in regularly.
    Casey :)

  4. Curious if you sand the door first to help adhesion! I painted a couple doors and one got bumped and the painted peeled off?

    1. A light sanding is always a good idea. I usually do that with interior doors that have glossy surfaces and use a primer (or use a deglosser, which also creates more of a rough surface for primer to stick to). This particular door was a metal door that had a flatter paint on it, so it didn’t have a glossy surface where the paint would peel off like you’re describing.