What Paint Finish Is Best For Interior Doors and Why 

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Interior doors face the most wear and tear, so it’s important to repaint them once they start looking ugly. However, it’s easier said than done. But by selecting a paint finish that is durable and washable, you can extend the life of your door paint by a few years.

Semi-gloss is the best paint finish for interior doors because it can be cleaned easily. The finish is durable and has a glossy appearance that isn’t too bright but also highlights the surface it’s applied to against flat walls.

Picking a color for doors and trims is relatively easy, but when it comes to selecting the finish, many people need help deciding which way to go. I will reveal how to choose the right paint, finish, and color for your interior doors so you can paint confidently.

Should interior doors be matte or glossy?

There are five paint finishes: high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell, and flat. The first two are obviously glossy, while satin sits right between glossy and matte ends. Eggshell has a very subtle sheen to it; therefore, it can’t be called glossy.

As a rule of thumb, glossy surfaces are more durable and easier to clean than their flat counterparts. Since interior doors get their fair share of traffic, it’s just smarter to select a finish that doesn’t ruin easily.

Apart from washability, glossy surfaces have the ability to draw attention to themselves. So, when you paint your doors and trims a high-gloss or semi-gloss finish, it stands out against flat walls, especially if everything is painted the same color.

Hence, a glossy finish is better suited to interior doors surrounded by matte walls.

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Is satin or semi-gloss better for doors?

The satin finish feels velvety to the touch and has a low sheen. Even though it is slightly shiny, it’s still not as glossy as a semi-gloss finish. Satin paints can be cleaned easily compared to flat colors, but the semi-gloss finish is more durable and hard-wearing, making it a better choice for doors and trims.

You can learn more about how washable each paint finish is to ensure you select the correct one for your home.

Semi-gloss or High-gloss: Which one is better for doors?

High-gloss paint is hands-down the most resilient of the lot, and it’s perfect for areas prone to nicks, stains, and high traffic. Naturally, you’d feel it is the better choice for interior doors. But the finish also has a downside: it brings out every surface imperfection.

Moreover, high-gloss can be ‘too bright’ for some people as it gives an enamel/plastic-like finish. Semi-gloss, in comparison, offers all the benefits of a glossy surface without extreme shine.

Why you should choose semi-gloss for your doors

Semi-gloss finish is widely used for doors, door jambs, and interior trims. Homeowners prefer this finish as it can easily withstand continual dusting and rigorous cleaning with a damp cloth. Since doors accumulate dust just like other furniture in your home, you need a finish that can handle regular cleaning. Hence, a semi-gloss finish is perfect for interior doors.

You can use a semi-gloss finish on the following interior doors:

  • Slab doors
  • Solid wood doors
  • Raised paneled doors
  • Hollow-care interior doors

Doors are a focal point on plain walls, and a semi-gloss finish brings attention to just that. In addition, the semi-gloss sheen is available in a wide variety of colors, so you have plenty of options to choose from.

Is oil-based paint more lasting on doors?

Door paints are either water-based or oil-based, and both have different properties.

Latex or water-based finishes are perfect for indoor use because they are quick-drying and have low VOCs. On the other hand, oil-based paints contain harmful fumes you’d rather not expose your family to.

However, oil-based paints are much more long-lasting and durable. They are also ideal for use on wood surfaces.

Generally, water-based paints are recommended for walls, ceilings, etc. but not on furniture or doors. Oil-based paints are best for doors and trims because they dry to a hard finish and can be cleaned easily. So, you can always search for oil-based paints specially formulated for indoor use to counter their high VOC content.

Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Paint Stop Rusts is an excellent option as it’s an oil-based, semi-gloss paint formulated for indoor and outdoor use. The color delivers a solid finish that withstands abrasion, fading, and chipping, making it an ideal choice for interior doors.

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Also, make sure to paint your doors when the temperature is ideal, so it dries quickly.

How to select a paint color for your doors

Now that we have discussed paint finishes let’s look at how to pick the right color for your interior doors.

You first need to decide how much attention you want to draw to the doors. Do you want them to stand out against the walls? Or do you want them to blend right in?

Painting your doors white against white walls creates the illusion of open space. It brings light into the room and makes it appear brighter. On the other hand, if you paint your doors a statement color such as aqua blue, grey, etc., they stand out because of the high contrast.

Therefore, the color you choose for your doors ultimately depends on the theme you have going in your home and your personal preference.

Can you paint your door and frame a different color?

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Yes, you can color the door and its frame a different color. For example, if the walls are blue but you want the doors to be white, it is up to you to paint the frame either blue or white.

If you pick blue for the frame, it will blend seamlessly with the wall around it and make the door color pop. Similarly, painting the frame white will make it appear cohesive with the door.

Remember to maintain some kind of balance with the colors. If you paint the doors, walls, trims, and frames all a different hue, the result might look haphazard and all over the place.

It’s better to paint the door frames and trims the same shade, so there is a uniform flow of color around the room.

Helpful tips for selecting door color

  1. If you prefer a classic look, paint the door, trims, and walls the same color.
  2. Whether you have light or dark walls, neutral-colored doors go well with both hues. You can color your doors beige, white, black, taupe, tan, or grey.
  3. If your door has architectural details that you want to highlight, paint it two shades darker or lighter than the walls.
  4. For wallpapered rooms, you can pick a deeper color from the design for the door and the lightest color for the trims. 

Some people prefer a wood finish over other paints. You can check Giani Wood Look Paint Kit For Front & Interior Doors if you have a similar preference. It delivers a faux wood finish and is available in Black/ Walnut, English Oak, Honey Oak, Red Oak, and Royal Mahogany.

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If you plan to renovate your doors, don’t forget to spray paint your trims and breathe new life into your home.

Traditionally, doors are painted the same color as the surrounding walls, but now homeowners opt for stunning accent colors to add some personality to the room. Statement colors work best for doors that have unique molding and paneling. So, if you want to spruce up a dull room, paint your door a bright hue for a pop of color.


Is it better to paint a door standing up or laying down?

The best way to paint a door is by laying it down, as it ensures that there are no drips or runs. While painting the door standing up sounds convenient, it will not always give the smoothest finish.

Do doors need two coats of paint?

If you want to achieve good paint coverage, you will need at least two coats of paint on the door. When buying paint, measure the door’s surface and keep two layers in mind.

Should I paint the door frame the same color as the door?

It depends on your preference. If you want the door frame to look prominent, choose a color that is darker than the walls and different from the door.

What is the most popular color for interior doors?

You will find white interior doors in 99% of homes. This is because white creates the illusion of open space and lets the furnishing and décor in the room take center stage.


Selecting the right finish for your doors is easy if you know what you’re looking for. Just remember that doors are constantly handled by people living in your home, which is why you need a durable and wipeable finish. High-gloss, semi-gloss, and satin finishes are all washable, so the final decision is up to you! Make a wise decision today and enjoy a lasting finish for years to come.

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