Painting trim and the way we paint interior doors

Did you see that clever title?  Yeah.  It’s not ironic or anything.

Lately we’ve been working on Weston’s room.  He’s officially in there.  Officially in an unofficially unfinished room.  I can’t wait to officially finish it.  It’s gonna be my favorite room.  ever.   I think.  I hope.  I’m pretty officially unsure.

So the room started off a wonderful shade of the brightest blue ever.  It was like a Smurf vomited up Katy Perry’s hair circa 2012 onto the walls.  The trim was a mess.

So we repainted.  It’s Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan.  It’s the same shade we used in the kitchen but it reads COMPLETELY different in this space.  It’s funny how paint does that….reads different in different light.

So it came time to paint all the trim.  The wall color looked terrible against the old trim color but I was hoping that with a fresh white coat (or four), the trim would make the gray walls pop a little more and create an overall cleaner effect.

But first it required some major sanding.

My mom came over to help.  She did all the ladder stuff (I swear my fear of heights is getting worse and the thought of being up there around the entire room was chilling to the bone).

I did all the trim on the floor and the doors and windows.  In order not to get it on the carpet, I had a few big pieces of cardboard that I slid underneath the trim while I painted the rest.  .

We also had to paint the ceiling.  Once the trim was done, the ceiling was looking so very creamy tan.  It was in obvious need of a fresh coat of white.  This picture is a horrible color representation but you can see that the ceiling was almost as dark as the walls.

Okay…now onto the “painting doors tutorial”.  It’s really quite easy.

First you want to paint all the trimwork and leave the door.  Second…use a primer because doors are one of those areas that get touched A LOT and primer helps with any greasiness or whatever is left over.  Third….paint in the right order.

I paint the most recessed areas first.  Use uber thin coats.  It will cut down on drippage.

Then paint inside the recessed panels.  Again…watch for drips and after the full area is coated, take a slightly paint-dipped brush and drag lightly the full length of the panels so that you don’t have brush marks.

Then paint the horizontal panels.  Make sure you use the paint brush with horizontal motions and again…lightly drag at the end so that you have minimal brush strokes.

Last you wanna do the full vertical panels.

Then after you are finished, check for any drips in the corners or any overtly thick spots (you wanna thin those out so that you can get the best coverage and the smoothest finish).

And that’s it!  You are officially done with this post :)




  1. Karen says

    It’s looking great!! Have you ever tried a foam roller for doors? It really speeds up the whole process, I wish someone had told me about them sooner!

    • says

      I have used them. They make things REALLY fast! I usually don’t grab it though because it means that I used up a roller and then still have to clean a brush…it’s the laziness in me.
      xo – kb

  2. Diane says

    Did you consider spraying the doors? I am slowly working my way around my upstairs refreshing trim, door molding and doors. I recently bought a sprayer and I’m considering trying it on the rest of the doors since there are still 10+ to go.

  3. Lindsay B. says

    How tall are the ceiling’s in Weston’s room? They look high – I would have trouble on a ladder painting that crown molding too! Love the blog.

  4. says

    I’m thinking of painting all the wood toned doors/trim in my house but the task just seems too overwhelming. This is one of those times when I wish I were rich enough to just hire it out. haha

  5. says

    I don’t have any brilliant insight into painting trim (I stink at it), but your mom is adorable! Hope she stayed that happy through all the painting. : )

  6. says

    This is helpful. I find my house full of Band-Aid colored trim daunting to attack, but it must be done. Just out of curiousity, why didn’t you use your super awesome sprayer instead?

  7. Janet S. says

    I just wanted to say that your mom is so pretty and mighty sweet to come do the overhead trim painting for you.

    You have won the mom lottery Katie Bower. You are so blessed.

    • says

      I definitely recommend removing it if you have the time. You will still go through the same motions though. Since I wasn’t painting the side of the door with the hinges exposed, I skipped it.
      xo – kb

  8. Donnie says

    Great work and nice color. I like the white trim in contrast with the wall color.

    When do we find out who won the stove exhaust hood? It never hurts to wish and hope when your kitchen needs one and there is a gaping hole where one should be. :)

    Thanks for the great work and inspiration!

      • Michelle says

        Do you usually update the posts with the winners? Im always scared that the email will go to my spam or something and I will miss it if I were ever chosen

        • says

          Jeremy does the picking of the winners and the post gets a quick shout out at the end to the first name of the winner and the email goes to the winner at the email address they provided.
          xo – kb

  9. says

    What’s that paint tray your mom is using? Does it hook onto the ladder? I’m intrigued by it but I swear by the HANDy Paint Pail for trim and cutting in. Have you ever used it? Once I discovered it, I was so in love and kept telling my husband how great it was. After days of fawning over a paint bucket (!!) my husband asked if he should leave me alone with it for awhile! ;)

    • says

      Yup! I think most paint trays hook onto ladders (I haven’t met one that didn’t)…I think actually most ladders have specific size holes and things just for specific tools. I’d have to look it all up but I’m pretty sure :)
      xo – kb

  10. says

    “It was like a Smurf vomited up Katy Perry’s hair circa 2012 onto the walls.” <— This is why I love your blog…. and you. Although we've never met, so I'm aware that comment is borderline creepy.

  11. Trish says

    Looks beautiful, Katie. What kind of paint did you use on the trim, is it oil or latex? and what sheen is it? What a difference the white paint makes. Can’t wait to see it finished!

  12. Kate says

    We just recently moved in to a new home where the floor with all the bedrooms and main bath had BLACK trim and yellow walls AND ceilings. It was disgusting. Painting the ceiling, walls and trim were SO much work (especially for painting-novices) but after five days, I am so happy with the results. Black trim.. I mean.. really.

  13. amy says

    I agree with the poster about a small foam roller. I have painted 20 door sides and I use the brush for the insert parts (squares on the door) but with the roller, it took literally 5 minutes to do one coat each door! My doors needs 1 primer coat and 2 paint so it was like painting 60 doors! I couldn’t have done it without the small foam roller

  14. Kristen J says

    AAAAHHHHH DINGY TRIM! We just dealt with a similar situation in our house. The previous owners’ preferred shade of muddy antique white made my beautiful new Sharkey Gray walls look straight-up PURPLE. Oh, and our Ben Moore Gray Wisp bedroom was an alarming shade of toothpaste next to the old trim. Amazing what a can of off the shelf white can do :)

  15. says

    Did you sand down the door before painting? We’ll be painting our interior doors soon (they’re showing their 1970’s age in icky yellowing tones). Our bedroom doors are made to look like louvered doors, and I fear the idea of having to sand all those slats. I’d love to know that I can just prime right over them & know that the paint will hold up to door abuse.

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