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How to dress up plain, flat panel interior doors

If you are tired of looking at your plain, flat panel doors, dress them up. It is as easy as applying a little paint, and in some cases, an embellishment or two.

Flat panel doors are utilitarian; they don't really add anything to your home's aesthetic. If you want to give them a facelift, it is as easy as adding paint and embellishments.
Cheryl Dangel Bartolini
An ordinary flat panel door can go from plain to extraordinary with some paint and embellishments.
Cheryl Dangel Bartolini

I started with two ordinary flat panel interior doors, each stained a dark, walnut brown. Instead of blending into my décor, they broke it up with two vast dark holes. If the doors had some visual interest, such as raised or recessed panels, I'm certain they would have looked much, much better. As it was, however, they were detracting, not adding to my interior design.

With nothing to lose, I decided to paint both of them using Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan. I chose this paint because, like an old tool chest that I recently refinished, Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan does not require any sanding or priming of the old surface before painting. Because I detest prep work, this is always a plus with me.

The first door is between my foyer and my garage. Here, I chose to use the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. After two coats, which dry very quickly, I applied her dark wax to give an aged patina to the door. You buff off the wax as little or as much as you want, depending on how much you want to age or distress the item you're working with. (For complete instructions on how to work with Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, please refer to the Annie Sloan website.)

Next, I installed what I can only describe as a wrought iron and wood narrow reproduction garden gate that I found at Hobby Lobby. It was already distressed and was just the right embellishment for this otherwise plain door. (For photos, please see the slide show.)

The next door is a closet door in my family room. Here, I chose to paint the door in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence. Once my two coats were dry, I applied her soft dark wax, buffing it off in some areas and leaving it darker in areas that would have gotten more wear. Next, I took sand paper and distressed the door even more, giving it a few scrapes and dings to replicate years of general wear. Surprisingly, this treatment gives the door more character and interest, at least in my mind's eye.

As the final touch, I hung a wine cork bulletin board on the door. Now, the door blends with the room and serves a practical purpose, too.

For more information on Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, visit Annie Sloan Unfolded or For a list of retailers, click here.

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