Painting Interior Doors Black & Updating Brass Hardware

Fall is just around the corner, and for some, that can mean not only a change of season, but also wanting a change of scenery in the home. One way to create an updated look in a home is by painting your doors classic black. It's no secret: I love black! I love to wear black, my office used to be black, and when we lived in our Florida town home in 2010, I first started experimenting with painting doors black (read my post here). Although that first door was only the interior of the front door (because of HOA), I instantly fell in love with the transformation the black door gave to a builder basic white door. When we moved to Phoenix, and found a house to rent, I applied my love for black doors to our kitchen dining area, to help update the space + create more harmony in our rental home. Having white doors in an area with cherry kitchen cabinets, charcoal walls, and black appliances was just going to be too choppy (read more in my post: renters painting tips). Although I really wanted to, I refrained from painting all of those doors black, since we were renting. Fast forward to the home we bought November 2014, and one of the first tasks I did before the movers arrived was to paint all of the doors black - and wow, what a difference it made!

Satin black doors, satin brass hardware, updated light fixture, a runner, and a small entry vignette all ways to update a builder basic entry...

 Builder basic blah before...

Painting white doors black can become a tedious (and boring) project, but it helps to break it down to smaller paint projects - for example, paint doors black by 'line-of-sight' sections. This way, if you get side tracked by another task, you won't have one white door next to a black door in the same room. It also helps to focus on painting the door fronts first, and come back at another time to do the inside, because you may want to keep the backside white (for example for a pantry, powder room, or a small closet).

I did this, and I think this Fall, I'll go ahead and paint the backsides black (living in a space does that!). As for the door moldings, I'm contemplating whether or not to paint the white door casework black (or grey in the master) like the dark doors as well. I do though like the way the white relates to the baseboard and crown molding. Another option to consider with painting base & crown moldings is painting them the same color as the walls - but gloss. Chances are though, the next buyer here will prefer the white moldings too.

The one door in the house I did not paint black was the french door coming from the living room, opening to the backyard deck. All of our window mullions are white, and since I treated this door as a window - to give the fireplace symmetry, I framed it with window panels - I kept this door white. I love my black, but I'm not about to start painting all the white mullions black. Although I love that look too - the next person who lives here may not. This area is relatively conservative. And if they do, that leaves a project for them to personalize their space with.

When we changed the exterior door locks, we went ahead and purchased a more updated (transitional style) exterior door handle in an antique brass.

Also when we moved, I renewed our faded black exterior front door in an exterior black satin. Inside, I went ahead and painted the front door a satin black as well (along with the stairway railing & newel post!), but I think for Fall, I'm going to refresh the door - inside & out with a gloss black. Inside, the black gloss will help reflect more light in a small space, and outside, it will give a more sophisticated curb appeal.

Walls - Behr Porpoise (eggshell) - Trim semi-gloss white - Time to paint the doors black!

Black door painting - tape off hinges, and if you're keeping the hardware, you can just cover with foil if you'd rather not remove (but it's much easier to paint removing door handles!!) 

Painting Black Doors
Before - During - After

This house was built in 2005, so it was already starting to feel a little dated with the builder grade white doors, especially paired with the yellow-base polished brass door knobs. In the Florida townhome, we had updated all of the door handles to nickel levers, but I knew I didn't want to go the silver route here - not to mention, changing door hardware can start to become expensive, especially when it's for 14 doors in a house. Since I was painting the doors black, I tried something with the existing brass hardware - and it worked!

Dated & Polished (left) - Updated & satin (right) 

Updating brass hardware - from dated yellow & polished to brushed & updated satin finish.
No paint - No chemicals. Just sandpaper!

By simply taking one of my (fine) sanding blocks (I've used for furniture refinishing), I was able to buff off the dated yellow shine from the existing door knobs, and created a more matte, brushed brass - satin finish. This not only saved us the expense of changing the hardware, it also helped to salvage the existing hardware -- without any chemicals or added expense (other than buying another sanding block for under $5!)

So as my husband patched and sanded wall holes + painted Kilz in all of the closets (good germ killer when you're first moving in!!), and the painter we hired was painting the common areas of the house (LR, DR, Kitchen, hallway, stairway, master bedroom and bathrooms), I started my black door painting, and brass hardware update, along with painting all of the door casing and baseboards a crisp white.

The brushed brass door hardware also worked with the master bedroom doors I opted not to paint black, but instead I painted a darker grey. Out master bedroom has three doors (plus a pair of 15-lite french doors we added) which with our existing black furniture would have been WAY too much black in one space. the darker grey I used for the bedroom doors, I also used when I painted the existing 2 old oak bathroom cabinets (I'll share more about in an upcoming post!)


The hallway upstairs has another six door, two of which are a pair of bifold doors for the laundry closet. All are painted black, and I continued doing the satin finish brass hardware upstairs, except for the laundry closet doors - They originally had plain painted wood knobs, I replaced with a antique pair I picked up on our trip to Atlanta earlier this year (great souvenir!) 

Doors are updated - now just need to update hall light fixtures & floor covering!

For previous black paint choices, I've just grabbed any pure black paint I could find - But this project was going to be pretty big (12+ doors!!). I wanted smooth, strong coverage, with easy clean-up at an affordable price, and Behr paints fit the bill (not only for the doors, but for painting our entire home!)

Interior black door paint - Black Suede - Satin finish
Exterior black door paint - Black Suede - Satin finish
Interior grey door paint (master bed & bath)- Behr Marquee - Magnet - Satin Finish
Sandpaper block grade - Fine 

Paint is not only an economical means of updating the look of a home on a small budget, but using black paint, on doors, helps to give an updated and sophisticated look to a home. Consider painting your doors black if you are:

- Looking to refresh your home before the holidays.
- Seeking a more updated look before selling your home.
- Relocating and want to remove the builder grade style of your new dwelling.

And to really take classic black doors up a notch, try a high gloss black for your front door, inside and out! (which is on my 'to-do' list for Fall!) Think of high gloss black as adding a black patent clutch or pumps to your LBD!  

Hope you are inspired!
Thanks for stopping by!



  1. LOVE your black doors! and have inspired me. Question: How long did it take you to paint all hose interior doors? I'm seeing it as a huge time commitment since I have tons of doors!

    1. Thanks Teri!!

      Yes - it is a huge commitment, and if I didn't have A.D.D., I probably could have finished faster! :)

      Although the Behr paint included a primer, I did need to give doors 2 coats - I painted the doors in 3's: Pantry double doors & basement one day, next day coat closet, powder room, and entry/front door -- The following week, upstairs, again in threes. Because it's black paint going on white doors, each door needed dry time (which was quick with Behr!) but still each needed two coats to give solid coverage - and they are still solid today: No scratches, easy to wipe clean, and no color fade on front door.

      I did the same process on the grey bedroom doors as well - except for the solid wood French doors we added: those got one coat tinted primer first, then one coat magnet (Marquee) Behr paint.

      All door trim & baseboards were done with Behr Semi-Gloss white.


  2. They look perfect. Lynda I have a question the frames in the second pic from the bottom where can I purchase the same one?

    1. Thanks Rose!!

      The ones I have are old store display frames I've had for a (long!!) while -- but I did a search, and found something similar online at -- Classic Black Metal Floater Frame -- 15 x 15 -- -- Hope this helps!


  3. Thanks Lynda for taking the time to do the search for me that was really nice of you.

  4. I just love the photo progress and paints you used. Just amazing to see how white doors can look so dramatically different painted a darker color. I could not believe there were sheers on the little door windows...No Bueno!!! I also love the idea of sanding the brass knobs who knew ...I will be forwarding my cousin your post she purchased an older home with tons of brass knobs and dreaded purchasing new ones.

    1. Thank you so much Monica!! Sorry for the delayed response - Hope all is well and you enjoy your holiday season!!

  5. What grit sand paper did you use for the knobs? Im so impressed with your efforts to improve your living space with paint on the doors and walls and the idea for the knobs is blowing my mind right now. My home was built in 1996 and still has builder everything including polished brass knobs. Im talking 20 doors on 2 floors. Lots of money to switch those out.

    1. Hi Judy! I used a sanding block with angled edges - I believe it was Fine (which is 220). Yes - switching out hardware can add up. Having some gold accents mixed into our decor helped relate the existing knobs. Check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore or ebay for knobs too. (maybe mix glass in a hallway or bedroom). Hope this helps and happy to inspire :)

  6. Love the black doors Lynda! For A long time I thought I was the only one who would use black as an inside color. I have painted the entire inside of a coat closet in the past. I loved it because it was like a little secret that would surprise my guests, always a fun conversation starter.

    Brandi Bradley @ Rotax Metals

    1. Thanks Brandi! For over ten years, I had an all black office, with only the desk being wood + chrome. i heart black. great idea for the coat closet -- May have to do that after I paint the powder room -- black ;-) THX!! xo

  7. Where did you buy the light fixture by the front door? It looks really good! Also, what kind of wood floors are those?

    1. Thank you!! It's the large orb light from World Market. I picked it up for $60 at a location near me that unfortunately closed. It WAS bronze, but I painted it matt (flat) black before hubs installed.

  8. Great ideas for those doors and I want to try this myself now! I have worked with a locksmith before in the past to put brand new knobs on all of my doors and have found that it has helped to update the look of a room in no time at all. I've worked with experts just to save myself time.

    Earl Mark @ Eastway Lock

  9. That looks amazing with the brass hardware. I have never seen black doors that I was actually a fan of and you have now changed my opinion. With the brass hardware, there is a great rustic, almost British countryside look to it. And I love that you did it with the full house. I have seen some that are half-done.

    Giovanni @ Coastal Contract Hardware

  10. Awesome door designs used in interior designing,door hardware look's is very nice thanks for sharing.
    top interior designers

  11. Hi Lynda! Just pinned your pic on pinterest! Wondering what color/kind of flooring you have?! is it a red laminate wood??
    Love it-So inspired!

  12. I am painting my downstairs living room grey with an accent wall darker grey..I have one door on the accent wall and 4 on the light grey wall what color would you paint the doors? same as the wall they are on or reverse the colors? help plz

  13. Love this idea! I'm painting the ceiling in our basement black suede in a flat finish to give it an industrial look. However I cannot decide on a color for the walls. Any suggestions???



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