interior wooden door

How to improve the appearance of wooden doors

Updating your doors can make a huge difference to your home interior’s overall look and feel. A fresh look and style, or a change in design can bring your home up to standard and give it a new lease of life. You might not want to replace your doors, but instead try a different colour, or sand them down and revarnish for a fresh look. If you think there is no life left in your doors, then a replacement could be the right action. Either way, you’ll probably need to treat them for a long lasting protection.

interior wooden doors

Read on to see the best ways to refresh and renew your interior doors.


Before you think about which shade to use on your door, you need to get rid of any old paint first. It’s important to remove paint from wood effectively so that you do not damage the door. This can also prevent old paint from bleeding through. 

The type of paint initially used can alter your method. Some paints may be removed through heating and then scraping off the residue, while others may require some form of paint stripper.

I always find it’s best to remove a door from its hinges and take it outside for this job. Then you’re not restricted by obstacles and you won’t make a mess of the rest of the decor.

Regardless of the method you use, wear protective equipment to stop fumes or debris from affecting your health.

This can be a lengthy process but will save money on a new door. Make sure that all the paint has been removed before applying a new coat.

Keep it neat

Before you start to paint your doors, you’ll need to sand them down. Removing any dust this causes can help to prevent it from causing lumps and bumps under your paint. The type of paint or gloss you choose is also important. You may need to consider how hard-wearing your want it to be, as well as the environmental impact. 

When beginning to paint, it can be tempting to slather on layers, but this can cause drips to form. Instead, working slowly, and allowing the paint to fully dry before beginning a second coat, is vital. Looking into the type of door you have can also be ideal, especially if you need to paint around panelling.

Replacing your doors

This is sometimes the quickest method to updating your decor. Be sure to measure the opening and get the right door to fit. Most doors will allow for about 10mm to be cut from the top and bottom for the best fit. Check the particular door before purchasing. Newer houses will generally accept a new door without having to remove any material.

You’ll need to either move the door furniture or purchase new ones. Just be sure to buy the correct sizes for your door. The thickness of the door will play a part in this. You’ll need a handle, a tubular latch and some hinges. It’s quite easy to forget about the latch as some handles can be purchased with them and some without.

interior door

There are plenty of videos on YouTube on how to fit door furniture but you’ll likely need some specialist tools like a router, hammer and chisel. A hand plane or electric plane can also be ideal for the little adjustments.

Regular cleaning

Your wooden doors may start to look dated if you allow dust and grime to build up. Realistically, painting them can only do so much. You may want to incorporate wiping down the doors into your normal cleaning routine. This may not require special cleaners. Warm soapy water can be used to clean, and even baby wipes may have been found to remove smudges and dirt

Antibacterial cleaners can also be good for high-traffic areas where germs may have spread onto the door or its handle. Treating marks, including pen or crayon, as soon as possible may be useful in preventing permanent stains. This way, your doors may be able to go longer before they need to be repainted.

Looking after your home can be difficult, especially if you have young children underfoot. However, by considering how to make your wooden doors look great, and keeping them that way, you may still be able to make each room look vibrant and stylish. 

If you’re updating your doors then you might also consider updating your architrave at the same time. Check out my handy guide to replacing your architrave to a professional standard.

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