A Good Facelift

By Kate Riley July 23, 2009

If you thought you were getting a juicy discussion on Hollywood’s best lifts and enhancements, I’m truly sorry to disappoint.  This topic is not nearly as scintillating. 

I’m talking about closet doors.  Those standard white doors installed by contractors in every house built in America in the last 15 years.  (That is, unless you can afford those upgraded wood or custom doors that we drool over in glossy décor magazines.) 

As you regular readers know, I am in the process of remodeling my home office.  I have ignored this space for years, but no more ! I’m starting from scratch this time.  A blank canvas.  I realized that before I could hang my gorgeous grasscloth wallpaper (in the most amazing slightly luminescent gray blue, oh joy!), I had to touch up some trim.  And I had to paint the closet doors.  The paint was dingy – yellowed from years of sunlight – and they are the first thing you notice when you walk in my home office.  No. Thank. You. 

Instead of just painting them white, I thought I’d give them a bit of interest and a hint more sophistication.  After all, they practically take up the entire wall, so why not embellish? 

Here’s a look at mine, post paint job:

used wall color 2

Do you want to see the wall of doors before?  With the mess behind and in front?  Well do ya?  OK, fine – your wish is granted.  Here is the room before, from a few months ago.  Sad, I know. 

office closet before  

And After:

closet doors final 2 

mimic detail 2

Do you like how I added the detail on the door so that it picks up the detail on my revamped ‘Cinderella’ office chair?  This chair is the only piece from the previous room that is staying. 

chair detail with door 3 

It was an easy fix.  I worked with the existing architecture of the door, and taped it off with painter’s tape.  Then I mixed some color from my existing trim and wall paint.  The wall color is ‘Seafoam Storm’ by Valspar, and the trim is ‘Swiss Coffee’’.  For my inside panel, I mixed 50% of the very translucent Pratt and Lambert ‘Opulence Silver’ with 40% ‘Swiss Coffee’ and 10% ‘Seafoam Storm’. 

 front panel paint

I added a bit less of the ‘Seafoam Storm’ to mix the color for the surround.  Two coats later, I had a tone-on-tone painted panel door. 

I found these wood appliqués at Lowes that mimic the detail on my office chair.  I primed and painted them, and then glued them to the doors. 


mimic detail 2 

Layer one is complete.  Now on to hanging the wallpaper, finding the perfect chandelier, refinishing the desk, painting the cabinets, organizing the storage accessories, the list goes on.  Whew, I’m tired.  I need to rest. 

But speaking of closet doors, when I was doing research on upgrading my own doors, looking for design inspiration, I Googled “painted closet door” and “wallpapered closet door”.   Strangely, there was not a lot of good images out there to look at.   I didn’t find much at my favorite go-to design and DIY sites either.  But I did find some other embellished closet doors out there in cyberspace.  Are they good or bad?  I’ll let you be the judge.

From HGTV.  Love these. 

hgtv closed door

Bulletin board doors from Domino

memo boards by domino

Painted Doors by Painter Girl 

painter girl

Wrapping paper door from Grace at Design Sponge

wrapping paper design sponge angie

Simple paint and molding from Better Homes & Gardens

bh&g closet door

Painted doors from Chez Larsson

chez larson doors

Patchwork wallpapered door from Posie Gets Cozy

posiegetscozy wallpaper door 

Map door from Better Homes and Gardensbhg map door

Cherry Tree decals from Design Amour

design amour cherry blossom closet doors

Chicken wire and fabric from Country Living

chicken wire and fabric country living

Chalkboard door from Country Living

chalkboard pantry door country living

Painted and embellished door by Centsational Girl

mimic detail 2

Have you done something special with a door?  Do tell. 

Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter the Tim Irving art photography giveaway – it ends Friday at 11 p.m. PST.


  1. Those look great! I just painted my closet doors (after 5 years in our house!) and I was thinking about adding embellishments.

  2. gorgeous! they look so good! When i get in my new home, i will be thinking about this for the guest room.. thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Your closet doors turned out beautiful! Mine are borrowing stained wood (they're solid wood) doors. I'm finding them rather blah but having the trouble of painting them.

  4. Oops. I obviously haven't had my cup of coffee yet! I meant boring wood not borrowing wood. Silly me!

  5. I've always wanted to paint my doors exactly as you did. I just have not gotten around to actually decorating the entire room so no point in painting my doors first!

  6. Great job, the doors look fantastic! I can't wait to see what else you do with the office.

  7. Yours is my favorite. Yet, another project that I want to do and to add to my list!

  8. They look great! I see you've some great inspiration pics too. Love the blue/gray you've chose. Looks fresh and soothing. Very pretty!

  9. I've so got my wheels turning right now about all the that I would like to do with our closet doors!! Thank you for the tips and the beautiful presentation! You did an amazing job!!

  10. You need to send me a complimentary towel to VA so I can wipe up the drool! ;) I am seriously drooling over the awesome paint job. We had a just plain kitchen door that opened into our Living room. T sawed it in half, adding trim and knobs, and we have a great (working!) Dutch door. :)

  11. oh my gosh, i lOVE it!!! this is exactly what i needed to see. i've been thinking i need to do something with the pantry door in my "brand new" kitchen and i think i've found it! great job and thanks for the inspiration!!!

  12. Great job Kate! I've seen inside doors painted with a highlight on the trim /moulding/cut out part in a lot of French and Euro homes. Love the look. :)

  13. I absolutely love this post. It is a wonderful idea that I am definitely going to use!

  14. Oh how pretty! I've always wanted to do something with some of our doors along those lines. Still on the list, but not high priority. I love how yours looks and those other photos are beautiful too!

  15. I'm new to your blog and sure do love your ideas! The doors are beautiful!

  16. I'm new to your blog and I'm quicly beacoming a fan of everything you've done in your home. You have an amazing eye for design! Thanks for all of the inspirations.

  17. That looks great, very pretty! Love the embellishment. I did a similar project on the linen closet door in our master bath (with the embellishments). Glad you showed the chair – it looks pretty as well! Well, at least you are on your way to your new home office. Have fun with it!

  18. They look terrific. Thanks for gathering the other inspiration photos as well. It's nice to have many in one place!

    PS Did you get the email I sent you regarding the berry bowl giveaway?

  19. Your closet doors look great! I have been thinking about doing something fun with the closets in our guest bedrooms. I think you officially just inspired me to go for it!

  20. Thanks for putting the tour together. I am a little surprised you weren't finding more but then maybe your blog will get all the hits.

    Come by for my GIVE-A-WAY this week by 10 pm Fri.
    and then check out our newest addition.


  21. I didn't really do anything special persay-I just ripped them off and put them under the house. Come on over to my house and see what I am talking about. No, my office is so NOT as pretty as yours and yes, I do have a bright green wall-with matching carpet that I had to work with-but I do like the end results much better!! Let me know what you think!
    I have been a lurker for a long time-ok-not that long, but long enough to be inpsired. Keep up the great work. I can't wait to see the wallpaper!

  22. Personally, I find closet door makeovers much more scintillating than tales of plastic surgery. There may be something wrong with me.

    Love those doors!

  23. These look great, and I particularly like the little twiddly wooden bits from Lowes.

    My guest room has delightful mirrored closet doors with a goldie-color metallic surround. Really ikky. I think when Beloved Husband isn't looking, they might meet the business end of a can of spray paint.

  24. Love the embellishment and the color! How did you measure out the paint to get the right mix?

  25. Looks great!! I love the detailing you added, that's a really nice touch. :)

  26. Goodness, those look SO great! What a clever idea, to take something simple like paint, and give it a whole new look. I have a question about the trim color, is it a white color? Hard to tell from the photos but the name of it was "Swiss Coffee" which sounded more beige.
    Great work!!

  27. I only WISH I had boring white closet doors…we have the 70's fake dark wood doors. I'm thinking of adding some molding to bring out some personality :)

    Thanks for the inspiration photos!

  28. Such a simple upgrade, but it looks so different and wonderful! You get an A+ yet again!!!

  29. Do you ever get tired of hearing me sing, "you are the wind beneath my wings?" YOU ARE! Such a simple way to UPGRADE! {I hear angels singing!} I LOVE your project the bestest! But the chalkboard idea is FABULOUS, too!

  30. Your doors look wonderful! Very sophisticated. Love the other door inspiration pics that you shared too.

  31. LOVE LOVE LOVE your door makeover! I've thought of trying the chalkboard accents on my pantry door, but haven't tried it yet!

  32. Those look great! I wonder if you can achieve the same effect by adding molding to a plain door? But then they may not slide correctly….hmmm….I may have to think on that! Can't wait to see your finished office!

  33. I’m this way, door glass, cabinet doors, such as different patterns, motifs have been doing .. any size and doors, closets in such areas as new designs do .. the world furniture industry’ve made products, many well-known celebrity furniture companies are being used by .. can contact me by e-mail address

  34. Do you know anyone who has painted their mirrored closet doors from a brass color to a brushed nickel look?

  35. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  36. I don’t see the pictures anymore :( Can you tell me what kind of doors these are? My house was built in the 80s and we have those awful bifold doors that are always coming off the hinges and look a hot mess. I want sliding doors but all I find at the local big box stores are mirrored doors. Any idea for where to purchase wood sliding interior doors? Thanks!

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