Door Design – Painted, Reclaimed, Steel & Stained
They often go unnoticed, but anyone who’s ever designed a home will tell you that doors are exquisite storytellers. Your front door serves as your home’s first impression, offering a sneak peek of the style and comfort within. Meanwhile, interior doors take cues from surrounding architecture, further strengthening the design story you’ve so lovingly crafted. Old or new, rugged or sleek, what you’ve got hanging on those hinges shares a lot, and we’re here to make sure you get the story straight – scroll on!
Tried and true, painted doors are considered standard in residential design. Although painting your front door a welcoming hue has long been popular in the South, it’s a look found in homes all over the world. Just try searching “front door” on Pinterest, and you’ll quickly discover the ongoing love affair people have with a stylishly painted door.
Expert Tip: Going bold with your front door’s paint selection is a wonderful way to add personalized character without the commitment of a full exterior remodel.
Newer on the scene is the trend of coating interior doors in saturated tones to complement surrounding furnishings and decor. When done right, it’s a look that kills. Currently, blue, black, and grey seem to be the most popular color choices.
As with any paint, it’s important to sample the hue throughout your home before committing. This is especially true for a color that will be in multiple rooms with varied levels of natural light.
Expert Tip: Similar to choosing wall paint, it’s important to pay special attention to the finish when you’re painting doors. High gloss finishes tend to highlight imperfections, while flat ones can be more difficult to clean. Keep things safe by opting for a semi-gloss or eggshell finish. Both provide a nice sheen, and they’re relatively easy to wipe down when the need arises. (And let’s be real, you know the need will arise…)
A little bit rugged with an interesting sense of history, reclaimed doors are a firm fave! When possible, we incorporate them at the start of a design, but they’re also a personalized element that can be added in later.
Keep your eyes open! You might just stumble upon exquisite reclaimed doors while shopping abroad, and it’s those treasures tied to a memory that make a house a home.
Expert Tip: Think big by going small! You don’t have to commit to a full-sized reclaimed door. Consider installing smaller ones on your kitchen, bar, or mudroom cabinets for maximum charm and impact.
Dark, strong, and handsome, we love us some steel doors! Though they’re most often used on exterior entries, steel doors look mighty fine inside as well. Clean, contemporary, and highly durable, they lend a sophisticated style that’s tough to beat.
Expert Tip: Most steel doors actually have to be primed and painted! We gravitate towards the blackest of black options like Farrow & Ball Pitch Black or Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black for a rich, timeless look.
Once again, don’t be afraid to downsize. Metal doors on cabinetry are an intriguing alternative to typical matching uppers. The striking storage towers in this kitchen are a subtle echo of the larger steel doors off the adjoining breakfast and living rooms.
It’s also important to consider the shape and scale of your steel doors in the context of surrounding architectural elements. In this entryway, the curved profile of the doors perfectly suits the barrel-vaulted ceiling and serves as a softened foil to the more angular iron lanterns.
When it comes to choosing a steel door style, the options can feel endless! Here’s a little guide that may prove helpful [note: “lites” refer to the individual panes of glass in a door that allow light through]:
Stained doors are a classic option that work nicely in homes boasting an aged or historic vibe. You’ll also find a lot of stained entries in Mediterranean and cottage style homes. The door shape and warmth of your stain will make a significant impact on the look and feel of your space, so as always, be sure to sample plenty of options in your home’s unique lighting before issuing a final verdict!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with one of your home’s stain colors as a basis for new, complementary stains. For example, if you already have wood floors, color-match the stain, and then create a custom stain that is either a few shades darker or a few shades lighter. Essentially, you will be over-saturating or de-saturating the color, and it’s pretty easy for a professional to start with 25%, 50%, or 75% in either direction. This ensures that your doors and floors coordinate without matching, and that all of the undertones feel consistent.
Expert tip: Staining doors is almost always more expensive than painting them. Protect your investment by applying the appropriate stain product based on location (exterior vs. interior), and always top things off with a proper varnish or sealer.
With so many door design decisions, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind! Remember that your doors should be reinforcing the architectural and emotional story that your home and surrounding neighborhood are telling. You can make a bold statement by thinking outside the box, but it’s still important for there to be a sense of harmony among colors and materials. Think of your door like a bold lipstick – choose the right one, and it makes your entire ensemble. Choose the wrong one, and you risk overpowering your look altogether.
We hope we’ve shed some “lite” (pun intended) on the subject of doors! Drop a comment below with your favorite style, source of inspiration (#ihavethisthingwithdoors), or lingering questions – we’d love to hear from you!