Ugly Interior Doors – Paint or Replace?

Okay people. I actually need advice here. So give me your honest opinions. (I mean it!! Brutally honest people!)
Every single interior door in our home is the same – a thin, cheap, hollow pressed wood door, covered in scratches and dings and topped off with a cheesy gold doorknob that was probably totally chic in the 60s. Maybe.
There is nothing really WRONG with the doors in our home aside from being worn and tired looking. Mostly they just aren’t what we would pick if we had unlimited funds. They’re right on the border of “we should replace these” and “we can live with these”. Here’s a little snapshot of one of our blah looking doors in the hallway:


I knew that painting the doors was an option, but I thought, “Nah, these will look lame, even slathered in a fresh coat of paint.”
Buuuuut, when we were remodeling my daughter Tessa’s playroom a couple of months back, we decided to use her door as a kind of test run, to see how the doors would look painted.
Since we were half assing it (we figured we’d end up replacing the door if it was a complete disaster) we didn’t really do it “right”.. no sanding, no priming, etc. In fact, I was so impatient to get the project done that I rehung the door before it was completely dried. BAD IDEA! Look what happened first time I closed the door:


So yeah.. when a paint bucket lists a drying time… ummm, maybe listen to it. Haha.
Anyway, all of this is to say, I don’t really think the door looks all that bad painted! Even with the cheesy gold doorknob, the door looks brand new to me. With new knobs and new door hardware (hinges and strike plate) I think it would look fantastic actually! Here’s the finished door:


So now I’m thinking that painting the doors in our home (and doing it right this time) and upgrading the hardware instead of replacing the entire door would be a wise and economical upgrade!
My only concern is, will painted doors hold up over time? Will dings in the paint show up more than dings in the wood? So far this one painted door has held up well over the last few months.. I’m tentatively thinking of painting all the others!

What do you think? Paint or replace? Share your thoughts below!

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Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at or via the contact form on her website at

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at or via the contact form on her website at

43 thoughts on “Ugly Interior Doors – Paint or Replace?

  • 14 April, 2015 at 3:56 am

    i think the painted door looks great! i would try painting the doors and upgrading the hardware before totally replacing the doors. it’s worth a shot and not too expensive to try!
    love, liz

    • 14 April, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      I think that’s what we’re gonna do.. worst case, it’s only a waste of paint, right?!

  • 14 April, 2015 at 5:47 am

    You’re right it doesn’t look that bad painted! But what kind of door would you replace it with? Maybe we need to see the new door to judge fairly 😀

    Danika Maia

    • 14 April, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      That’s the thing.. the interior doors within our budget are just plain, flat white doors! lol! So I’m thinking painting might be the cheaper option until I become filthy rich, or feel like splurging on new doors, haha..

  • 14 April, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Paint all the doors white! I like it a lot and even though I don’t know whether the wood will come through again, I guess you can always fix little spots with re-painting. Although I think it should be okay.

    • 14 April, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      So far there are no dings on Tessa’s door.. well, aside from the stripped paint on the side, but that was totally my fault, haha!

  • 14 April, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I’m not exactly a professional on this area, but I would go for painting, plain white doors are my way to go!

    XO Imke

    • 14 April, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      I am thinking of other colors.. but yeah the white doesn’t look too bad!

    • 14 April, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      True! Don’t fix what’s not broken, yeah? ^_^

  • 14 April, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I can remember these doors from one of the houses we lived in a few years back now…

    I think the door you painted white has come up well and, if it gets the occasional knock, marks can usually be wiped away with a damp cloth.

    If you have money to spare and are not happy with the doors replace them. If money is tight I would go for paint the doors and spend money on doing fun things with the family – doors can wait, but happy family times shared together make memories forever.

    All the best Jan

    • 14 April, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Yeah, when it comes to, say, Disneyland or new doors, the choice is a no brainer for me. 😉 Great advice my friend, thanks for the input! <3

    • 14 April, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks! I like them too, but they are in TERRIBLE condition!! That’s another thing on the to do list! hehe!

  • 14 April, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I guess I would go with the painting for now. I painted my doors a couple of years ago and they look fine. For now. I don’t want to keep them forever but it was definitely the cheaper option.

    • 14 April, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      That’s kind of where I am right now too!

  • 14 April, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Girl, I feel your pain. I have the saaaaame type of doors at my house- they’re painted, which helps, but I’ve totally got it on my wishlist to replace ’em all in time!

    Le Stylo Rouge

    • 14 April, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      What color did you go with? I’m thinking something other than white might look great…

  • 14 April, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I vote sticking with painting and upgraded hardware for now. I think white will especially brighten up the rooms. Also, fixing small dents or scratches on the doors isn’t too big of a job. I would probably only replace the doors if you aren’t happy with the painted look or if there’s actual problems with the doors!

    • 14 April, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      That’s what I’m thinking too! Great minds, yeah?!

  • 14 April, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I like the look of the painted door and new hardware would be a nice touch! But, I have no idea how a painted door would hold up…

    • 14 April, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      I’m thinking I’m gonna go with paint… for now. 😉

  • 14 April, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I would give painting a try and buy new nobs. I think it will look great. So keep up the good work 🙂 And be patience <3

  • 14 April, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Great post! I painted my door at the last house I lived in with my mom. It stayed painted so beautifully. I just did one side, though, because it matched my room. The other side stayed brown given that my mom didn’t want white doors anywhere in the house.

    Connie | Sponsored by Coffee | Bloglovin’

    • 14 April, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      Yay!! I’m so happy to hear that it stayed beautiful!! That is my primary concern… that it’s not going to hold up!

  • 14 April, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    We had a house with crappy, old doors and took the time and painted them all. they looked so very nice after! We upgraded the hardware too and it made a huge difference.

    • 14 April, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      That’s awesome to hear! I think that’s the route we’re going to take after all…

  • 14 April, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I like the clean lines of the older doors. I say paint and save your money for nice hardware. 🙂

  • 14 April, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Do you like the painted doors or are you putting up with it because of money?

    Rather than buying paint and painting them, I’d just wait a bit longer and save up and replace them all so I was 100% happy with them. I always think spending on your home is a good investment.

    Corinne x

    • 15 April, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      I’m not in love with the painted doors, but I don’t hate them either… so I am honestly torn. I DO hate the old doors though, haha. I think I might paint them for now, since we have a ton of excess paint (left over from the previous owners)..

  • 15 April, 2015 at 1:31 am

    I’d probably paint. You could always replace at a later date! I’m sure there are pros and cons to either.

  • 16 April, 2015 at 6:21 am

    The painted door looks great! I’d definitely paint rather than replace

  • 16 April, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Gingi, I would paint the doors properly and replace the hardware, I think they will be awesome… just make sure you have a good quality paint… maybe in a few years you can replace them or maybe they last even longer 🙂 xox

    • 16 April, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Yeah, I think we’re gonna do that! Hopefully they hold up! <3

  • 14 March, 2016 at 3:48 am

    The CHEAPEST way is to replace with a curtain if this is just a closet door or pantry door BUT when it’s something else & requires to a door there, then the CHEAPEST way is to paint the door the same color as the wall but you’ll need to prime it first, besides, having extra paint always comes in handy for touch ups on the wall too. Next is to upgrade the knob to silver or glass type. Another option is to put pretty wallpaper to cover the door or use duct tape along the edges and put a huge picture/art on it. Another option is to paint & add white square wood molding/thin pic frame to make it look like a 6 panel door. Or you can just cover the door with a huge canvas art w bright/colorful scene. I would have to see the whole room in order to advise but you get the idea, just have fun & make it your own style 🙂

    • 12 July, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Mat, i have these doors in my house and now that i have seen her paint and your ideas, i am gonna try these things being a new homeowner without a huge budget. I thought about the thin picture frames and paint,or the wallpaper. i like color and am not scared of doing different things.

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