Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Choosing Paint Colors for Interior Doors

A Door to Nowhere
This is a story about accenting decisions for interior doors, using the white door in the center of the picture as a case in point.

When I came to this house to do a staging consultation to get it ready to go on the market, I immediately noticed many details had been accented, including the doors, windows, wall vent, railing cap, doorway arch, baseboards, etc. 


The problem of seeing all those details first, instead of seeing the room as a whole, was exaggerated by the high contrast between the stark white trim and the walls. Left as is, there would be much less attractive pictures for marketing, making it a weaker competitor, especially because the house was vacant and all those details had nowhere to hide. Not only that, if prospective buyers came after all, the house wouldn't show as well in person as it could with a few simple fixes. 



Utility/Closet/Storage Area Doors

When I explored the room, I discovered that the center door led to a utility room, not to a living area. When the door to the adjacent powder room was closed, as it was most of the time, those doors side by side created visual confusion and focused unnecessary attention on a door that lead essentially nowhere. 


To create a more attractive, harmonious, photogenic impression, I recommended painting the utility room door (and all the other undeserving details) in the wall color to make them become texture that blended, instead of things that drew the eye. Even if you're not selling, it's a solution worth considering for your doors that lead nowhere, such as those to utility or storage areas, or to closets. 

Hallway Doors

Hallways are another good place to think about accenting decisions. In a long hallway with many doors, consider how much you want to call attention to them, particularly in the following situations:
  • When most of the doors are on one side.  Accenting could make the hallway look lop-sided.
  • Doors that lead nowhere. Accenting them could create confusion, as in the case above.
  • When there is more than one type or style of door or cabinet door, particularly if some have more merit than others. Accenting everything could bring attention to doors that don't deserve it, or add too much detail.

Details

Resist the temptation to create even more detail with accent colors, as in the case of the arch in the room above, or this inset panel door. 


Before-Overzealous Accenting





After-Simple Texture 
















Contrast


In addition to accenting with restraint, consider using paint colors with less contrast. One way to do that is to compare their LRV values (Light Reflectance Values) found at the back of most paint fan decks, and choose colors whose values are close, say no more than seven points difference. 


When it comes to deciding how to paint interior doors, there's a lot to be said for accenting wisely and keeping things simple.

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