Good Questions: What Color To Paint the Doors When Walls Are White?

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Hello AT,

After repainting our apartment, my wife and I are trying to figure out what color to paint our interior doors (the doorknobs are going to be stainless steel). The obvious answer is white, but this isn’t going to work. The doors are currently white, so are the walls... and since there’s no way to get them to match perfectly, one will always look "dirty" or "off-white" which is something I’d like to avoid...

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She (my wife) suggested a dark blue, I’m thinking a darker shade of gray. A seemingly simple problem is starting to turn into something that’s just eating up way too much of my time, I need input from a 3rd party. Help please!

Thanks, Pete

Dear Pete,

First of all, you can absolutely do white doors with white walls, and you could choose either the same color in semi-gloss to switch it to a "trim finish" or you could go with an off-white that is a bit cooler like China White.

However, keep this in mind: your doors are really connected to your walls and are the extension of that plane, so we would encourage you to think of keeping them pretty close in color.

If you want to do a color, choose either a warm color (greys can be warm) or a cool color (blues) to match the rest of your room.

Stainless steel is generally a cool finish, so cool colors would go well with this. Greys of any kind should as well.

Our advice would be NOT to go too dark, but to find an off-white that has a color in it that you really like, test it first and then try it on one door before doing the whole place.

Anyone else?

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.