Best black paint for interior doors, plus how to paint doors yourself

Benjamin Moore Onyx on the door in our primary bathroom

On the never-ending list of ways to update your home, painting your doors black is a fairly easy upgrade. It’s on trend, but still classic, and if you value speed over perfection like I do, you can probably do it in a couple of hours on the weekend. In fact, the hardest part of the whole shebang might just be deciding on the best black paint for your interior doors.

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The good news? There are fewer top black paint options than there are best white paint options, so it should be easy to whittle down the best color choice.

Black interior doors in my home

Choosing the right shade will depend on a few things. First, the paint color should complement the other colors in your home. If you have a warm white paint, like Benjamin Moore Simply White or Swiss Coffee, on the walls, go for a warm-toned or neutral shade or black. Ditto goes for choosing a cooler black for cooler tones.

You’ll also want to decide if you want to use a true black, or a deep charcoal or espresso shade. Either can look black in the right light (and when not placed directly next to a true black color), and the results will be softer and less high-contrast.

Here, I’ve listed out the go-to black paint shades for interior doors, which includes the one I used on the doors in my home, plus a few tips I’ve learned about how to tackle this DIY project.

How to paint an interior door

A black interior door in my home

Painting an interior door is fairly straightforward, but the exact process you use will depend on whether you have a solid door, or a windowed door.

For solid doors:

Painting the interior door in our bathroom with Benjamin Moore Onyx

First, paint any inset sections with an angled paintbrush, taking care to smooth out any drips or paint that pools in corners before it dries. You may have to check in a few times to be sure no new drips form.

Then, once that paint is dry, use a roller to paint the flat areas of the door. I recommend at least two coats of paint for a door because it’s a high-touch surface.

For windowed doors:

Use painters tape or my preferred method, mask & peel, to protect the windowed sections of the door. Then, use an angled paintbrush to paint the grids and trim around the windowed sections.

From there, use a roller to roll the paint over the flat sections of the door.

A few tips I’ve learned for painting doors:

-Don’t use glossy paint unless you’re a pro. High-gloss paint is hard to get right, because you can’t brush or roll over it too much or you’ll ruin the finish. Semi gloss or satin are much easier to work with.

-Remove the painters tape before the paint dries. To ensure the cleanest lines, make sure you remove the painters tape prior to the paint drying, so any paint that dries on the tape doesn’t rip up the paint on the door.

Are black interior doors timeless?

Black doors are definitely having a moment in interior design right now, but they’re still a classic. For one, black is always in style (little black dress, anyone?). And, if black is a prominent color in the rest of your decor, a contrasting black door is a good way to tie your decorating scheme together.

One of the best things about painting your doors black, instead of buying new interior doors that are already black, is that if you ever decided to change your decor, you could just re-paint the doors. Painting interior doors is a simple and inexpensive enough project that you don’t need to worry too much about changing your mind down the line.

The best black paint for interior doors

Here are five of my favorite black(ish) paints for interior doors. I’ve included three “true” blacks and two charcoal gray colors if you’re looking for a slightly softer hue.

Sherwin Williams Iron Ore

Iron Ore is actually a very dark charcoal color that can either look black or gray depending on the lighting conditions and the room.

I love Iron Ore because it’s a neutral tone. It doesn’t have any noticeable greens or blues peeking through, which means it works in all kinds of spaces. Note, that in a very bright room, the color can look more like a dark gray, so be sure to test it in your space first.

Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

Image via Dear Lillie

Like Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, Benjamin Moore Wrought iron is a soft shade of black that can also be considered a charcoal color. Because of this, it doesn’t look too stark against white and gray walls. It’s a bit more blue-tinged than Iron Ore, but still largely neutral.

Benjamin Moore Black

Black interior doors in my home

Want more of a true black? Benjamin Moore’s Black is it. I love this color for modern spaces, especially with true, crisp whites, but it also works well as a contrast point for traditional, neutral spaces.

I used this color for my interior doors downstairs in my home to do just that. I love a classic aesthetic, but this true, crisp black makes the whole vibe a bit more contemporary. With an LRV (light reflective value) of 4.5, this paint color is much darker than both Wrought Iron and Iron Ore.

Benjamin Moore Onyx

When I painted our upstairs bathroom for our One Room Challenge Makeover, I used Benjamin Moore Onyx for the bathroom vanity. And then I decided to paint the interior doors in the bathroom also, so I used the color for that, too. I love the result! It’s a bit softer than the BM Black that I used downstairs in our home.

It’s another neutral shade of black, which I personally prefer.

Farrow & Ball Pitch Black

Image: SSS Design

Another off black option is Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Black. I love this color because it has lots of depth, and just looks luxe and suede-like, especially in the brand’s satiny Modern Emulsion finish. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for a black paint without any noticeable blue undertones.

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