What colour to paint your internal doors and woodwork?

7/24/2018 12:51:00 pm HELEN STILES 0 Comments


I've been slowly making-over our kitchen/diner for the past couple of months (it's not been a speedy process as I've been doing everything myself, spending my evenings and any odd spare hours up a step-ladder until finally, the whole room has been completely repainted). The metro-tiles in the kitchen have also been removed in favour of painted splashbacks (controversial – we'll see how they fare over the next few months) and the lighting is in the process of being updated.  Of course, as with any DIY project, there have been lots of decisions taken – not least of which was what colour to paint the woodwork?

I know from my client work that the woodwork conundrum is a common one. Whilst I am a big fan of painting out all woodwork in the same colour – walls, ceilings, skirtings, architraves and even doors, it is not the only option. It's a contemporary look that has gained in popularity over the past few years because it looks less busy and forces you to notice what's in the room rather than its perimeters and edges. But I'm increasingly drawn to more colourful interior woodwork as well.


Colourful interior woodwork

Woodwork is a great place to add a bolt of colour, without committing to painting the whole room a strong hue. I was very keen to use some more navy in our kitchen (we already have a navy velvet sofa which you can see to the right in the pic above) and decided that the double doors into the room would be a great place to add some Hicks Blue by Little Greene Paint. These doors are the first thing you see as you walk through our front door (so yes, I've painted them Hicks Blue on both sides) and I felt they could handle a statement. Forgive my terrible photography skills, but until this is professionally photographed, they will have to do by means of illustration. The colour I've opted for is akin to the ever-popular Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball, with a similar grey undertone, but is bluer and slightly less dark. If that makes sense.

The next question of course is do you paint just the doors or the architraves too? I actually don't think either would be wrong, but I opted to paint the architrave in Hicks Blue as well, as it makes the entrance appear a little larger and therefore grander. (You can see how I've cut it into the skirting boards on the image above.)


Does all of your woodwork have to be painted the same colour? 

I don't have a problem with mix-and-match woodwork, although I realise that some of you might. I wanted to mark out the double entrance doors in a strong colour, but the smaller door you see to the left above, and more clearly in the image below, is the door to our very small utility room. I didn't want to draw unnecessary attention to that one and so painted it out to match the walls, handle and all.  I think it would have distracted from the double doors had I done anything else. The colour by the way is French Grey, again by Little Greene Paint.



The next image is the home of one of my all time favourite designers, Faye Toogood, who has used lots of different colours on the woodwork in her own home – it works as the shades all tone beautifully (mainly soft greys and blues). It also goes to show that gloss paint can look wonderfully contemporary.

Via The Modern House

And even with less contrast, this blue and green hallway woodwork looks beautifully smart and contemporary. I don't know what the paint colours are, but something like Squid Ink by Paint & Paper Library, combined with Studio Green from Farrow & Ball would give a similar look.

Via Shoot Factory

If you were feeling brave, you could certainly paint different doors in different colours. This would work well off a hallway or landing and you could choose gently complimentary or contrasting shades (just don't clash with the colours of the rooms!) It's something I might try in our hallway, once we've finished all the other work and can finally redecorate there.

This image from Cloth and Kind, whilst not strictly a doorway, shows the power of colourful woodwork in an otherwise relatively plain hallway. That cabinet and rug combination really makes this hallway sing:

Via Cloth & Kind


Or how about something completely different? If you can't decide what colour to paint your woodwork, then choose TWO colours, like these clever homeowners I stumbled across on Shoot Factory, (you'll either love this for it's originality or hate it for being aesthetic nonsense but it certainly shows the power of a paint job):


Via Shoot Factory

What's wrong with painting your woodwork good old white? 


Of course there is nothing wrong with this option. It is the traditional choice, and of course it can work (ideally if the rest of your room is also white). I don't want to judge others' choices, but with so many more interesting options to choose from, please don't just mark out your boarders in a hard white without giving it some serious thought. And I would certainly avoid white skirtings if your walls are painted a dark shade. If you're scared of choosing the wrong woodwork/door/wall combination, then look to paint companies like Little Greene Paint or Paint & Paper Library who both offer colour scales, meaning that you can choose different depths of the same colour for use on woodwork and walls. Paler walls and darker woodwork can enhance the feeling of light, whilst vice-versa is a more traditional stance but looks softer and more considered than plain-old-white woodwork.

If you're still after more coloured-woodwork inspiration, then checkout the whole Pinterest board  I've been collected over recent weeks. Now, just to decide what colour to paint the front door... but that's a whole other post...

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