Exterior Curb Appeal

Open Sesame: 12 Ways to Dress Up a Drab Door

Does your house suffer from drab door syndrome? It’s a common diagnosis. We tend to view doors as necessities—all function and no frill—so we don't see them as the decorative elements they are, or could be. But a door is a room's introduction and finale, both the first and last thing we see as we pass through. And there are doors everywhere! If we take closets into consideration, an average-size home could easily have 20 or more doors. Giving at least a few of them a little attention can go a long way. There are lots of ways to give your doors a little pick-me-up. Simple embellishments will give you almost instant gratification, but if you’re up for a bigger design challenge, you can give a door a head-to-toe makeover by stenciling an intricate design or by stripping it down and applying a distressed finish. Here are 12 decorative touches, from easy to expert, that can give your door the distinction it deserves.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Chalk It Up

The Style Files

A ho-hum door can become a conversation piece with a few coats of chalkboard paint. It’s a project you can finish in a weekend, including drying time, so by Monday, you’ll be chalking poetic.

Related: 10 Creative Uses for Chalkboard Paint

Break the Mold


Send your door right into the third dimension with the addition of some molding.

Related: Know Your Moldings: 10 Popular Trim Styles to Spiff Up Any Space

Stencil Potential


Stencils are a wonderful way to adorn your entry, whether you choose a few small designs or a pattern that covers the entire door. This stencil from Royal Design Studio was applied using an off-white latex paint, followed by a light layer of stain to give an antiqued look.

Related: DIY Wall Stenciling

Stick It to Them


With a decal, in just minutes you can have a door that makes a strong statement. This vinyl sticker from Cool Wall Art is designed to fit a standard door, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use it on a wall too.

Related: 10 Ways to Unleash the Potential of Your Blank Walls

Just for Fun


Sometimes the simplest ideas give you the biggest bang for your buck. These “legs crossed” stickers, available on Amazon, are sure to give your bathroom guests a chuckle.

Paper Swoon

Wow Wallpaper Hanging

Today’s wallpaper goes way beyond your grandmother’s florals. With a seemingly unlimited selection of colors, patterns, and textures to choose from, once you’ve dressed your door with wallpaper, you may find yourself itching to cover the walls as well.

Related: 12 “Off the Wall” Ways to Repurpose Wallpaper

Neatly Trimmed Nails


These boldly painted blue doors have been carefully detailed with upholstery nails to create the illusion of panels. To create your own nailed trim, first plan out your design with blue painter’s tape, and then use a hammer and awl to start a hole for each nail.

Related: Know Your Door Styles: 10 Popular Designs

Behind the Curtain


We use curtains to adorn our windows, so why not use them on doors as well? Although fabric panels are more common on glass doors where privacy or shade may be desired, they can add an interesting design element to a solid door, too.

Related: How To: Paint Your Curtains

A Wreath for All Seasons


We expect decorative wreaths around the holidays, but they can brighten up your doors year-round. Shop your favorite home decor store for a wreath that suits your style or make your own, like this jute-wrapped monogram wreath from Two Twenty One.

Mirror, Mirror on the Door

Frame Fanatic

If you want a space to look larger, an array of small mirrors on the door can do the trick. Mirrors are also believed to maximize a room’s feng shui by shifting the flow of energy and creating a sense of calm.

Related: Mirror Magic: 10 Ways of Using Mirrors to Your Design Advantage

Delightfully Distressed

The House of Smiths

Distressed furniture continues to be one of the most popular interior design trends. But though the look is rustic and “cheap,” the price tag for antique finishes is anything but. Fortunately, you can take matters into your own hands by distressing a door yourself in a DIY minute.

Related: 8 Ways to Age, Distress, Gild, and Add Shine to Your Next Project

Shiny and New


Without having to do anything to a door’s surface, you can dramatically transform it with a new handle. When you spring for the new knob, consider replacing the door hinges as well; the old ones may show their age next to a shiny new piece of hardware.

Related: How To: Install Door Hardware