How To Paint Doors And Trim Tutorial

How To Paint Doors And Trim Like A Pro

Hey guys! Let’s talk about how to paint doors and trim. I know you are waiting for my laundry room reveal, and it’s hard to wait, right? The laundry room is coming along really well, and if you are following me on Instagram then you are aware of the progress. This post is actually a part of the laundry room.

Let’s Get Started With The Tutorial!

When you think of redesigning or decorating any corner of your house, you go through a process. As I always say, “Decoration is a process to go through and over time you get really good at it”. To me, the entire decor process is therapeutic and I understand that, on the other hand, it can be tiring as well.  However, if you make your plan before you start anything, you already achieve 80 percent of your goal in order to accomplish a task.

Walk through the room and start thinking what would it take to make it presentable. Sometimes a can of paint can do the magic. In our old home I have painted all our trim and doors to give them a fresh look, and I am going to do the same thing with this house. You have already seen my small closet I painted, and it’s just the start of a lot more to come.

How to paint doors and trims

My other painted projects

Our painted living room

How a can of paint transformed our old kitchen

Our small coat closet in soothing blue

The Best Basic Supplies You Will Need

Supply List

  • Primer (I do prefer Glidden)
  • White Paint (The best paint ever)
  • Painter’s Tape and paper roll
  • Speckle filler (My most favorite)
  • Sandpaper (I use 120 grit mostly)
  • Caulk with Caulk gun (a must have)
  • Paintbrush ( I like the angled brush )
  • Small Roller (for the Doors)
  • Drop Cloth
  • Jar and liner
  • Knife

Bushra’s Lifestyle is a  participant in the Amazone Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. 

painting supplies
These are some of my most favourite supplies especially the paint. This is not a sponsor post at all, I am recommending this paint absolutely on based on my personal experience.

Prep On How To Paint Doors And Trim


The first thing I would do is clean the doors and trims in order to get rid of any dust or debris. If your door and trims are not that messy, a simple dusting brush should be more than enough. But, if you have children who like to mess with everything the best bet is deep cleaning. I prefer homemade cleaner… Warm water mix with Dawn soap and a bit of ammonia.  You can also use Clorox. Make sure you put a mask on while using either of the above-mentioned cleaners.

painting tips and tricks
Clorox with a microfiber cloth is best for cleaning. Put mask on, though.


Once you are done the cleaning. it’s time to tape off all the areas you don’t want to get paint on. If you are painting the first time I would recommend putting paper rolls on the floor just to be safe. I always use tape on either side of the trim unless there is wainscoting, as in the laundry room I am working with the wainscoting.  In this scenario, you would tape above the top board., and tape around the door casings.

Here is the before and after for you guys! I think I love the "after", which is so much brighter and lighter as compared to what we had before the "darker" and neglected room. I can't believe what a huge difference new flooring and paint made in this room!
Excuse my messy floor as I was sanding the crown molding and everything was falling on the floor.


The filling is one of the important steps when you are thinking of painting your doors, trims, wainscoting, or even rooms. I know this tutorial is about “how to paint doors and trim“, but by following this easy process you can paint any room, including walls in the house. The best filler is DryDex. It’s like magic once you apply it. It looks like pink when first applying,  but later on, it will turn white as it drys.

Good tip: Don’t put way too much filling. Just use it to fill things up. As my husband is good at woodworking. But in regards to painting or prep, that man can’t do either of them. He really overfills all the cracks and holes.



The last step in prepping for how to paint your doors and trim is sanding. I use 120 grit sandpaper and smoothly sand away from the extra filling. If you are painting walls, you can use an electric sander, but for doors and trims just use the sandpaper.

Good tip: Be very careful when you work with MDF as it’s not the greatest to work with. In our old home, we had beautiful wooden baseboard but since this house is builders construction we have MDF all over. However, light sandpaper for MDF is just fine.

Steps On “How To Paint Doors And Trim”

Step No. 1: Caulk

You are with me so far and following the tutorial on how to paint doors and trims, right? Oh, just keep reading.. You are going to totally give your room a new and impressive look!  Caulking should be done right before the priming job. I have experience with both ways to use caulk before and after the priming. I personally found it more beneficial when you caulk it before, for the better results.


Caulking really makes your job look very professional. Once, I was done with painting our guest room and I called the floor guy to fix something and he asked me who painted your trims. I said, “I did it”. He was very impressed, and said: “Wow, it looks like a professional did it!”. It made me so happy.

It is a fairly easy process. All you do is use your caulk gun to run a small line of caulk between the door casing and the wall, or wall and trim. I run in a straight line as I mentioned above. Frankly, I use a microfiber cloth to clean the extra or use my finger to make it really pretty. Some people use the caulking tool, but I am no fancy gal. I just make it work with my finger. You, by all means, can use the caulking tool.

Since I am going to put wallpaper, I didn’t bother taping on the wall

Step No. 2: Prime

Priming plays an important role. Especially when you are using it on raw wood or on a darker to a lighter color. If you are going from darker to a different dark color, I would suggest using a primer with tint. Otherwise, the white primer is the best. I use Kilz primer.

Use a paintbrush to apply your primer. I have always used the primer in the past, and the results were fascinating! I only use one coat though, as one coat of primer mostly does the trick. However, in our laundry room, I have not used the primer this time, as it was not as messy as paint. I just wanted to give it a fresh look, so I painted away. Wainscoting needed paint as well.

Priming really helps to prevent the dark stains or any imperfection. It also prevents your paint from peeling off the wood. This time I worked with MDF. Hence, I skipped priming. I am going to use it in our bathroom as I am replacing MDF baseboards with more durable ones because my kids splash a lot of water while taking baths.

how to paint

Step No. 3: Paint

After you’ve done with all the necessary steps, it’s time to start the paint process. Yes, the pre-steps take time in order to get ready for how to paint doors and trim. Make sure your primer is dry before you apply your paint. I mostly wait for a few hours and that’s more than enough. In the past, I have used Glidden paint and it was wonderful. It’s easy to clean and it’s durable with kids.

The last paint project in our old house was to paint our media center I happened to discover Glidden paint, and I am sold forever. It’s like a no-brainer and a super time saver. When I use something, I have to think about my kids first as they are into everything. For instance, they really don’t need to check out my china dishes under the cabinets, but they would like to explore a whole lot of the world. Hence, I look for the product I can handle and easily clean with them.

It’s a personal choice but I always like white trims as they just look very clean and crisp. They make spaces look wider. I know it’s delusional but to be honest, that’s how I feel. On top of it, if you are not using white paint on your wall then you should consider it, because it will make your wall color pop!

paint brush
Any 2 inches angle brush would work great. I would also like to have that little bucket with the liner to make your process easier.

How To Paint Doors And Trim Application

Roller VS Brush

I like to use a brush in order to apply paint as opposed to a small roller. I have had experience with both, and ended up liking to use a brush over the roller for trims with exception of painting wider trims. The roller works best when it comes to slab doors.

Don’t Remove Trim

I would like to mention that if you going to paint the first time, don’t try to remove your trims… you will be asking for a mess. Normally I would remove my doors, but this is the first time I didn’t even bother, and there is no difference. Well, I wish I would have known this before!

Panel Doors

panel doors

So far now I have painted almost 12 slab doors and a few panel doors. While painting panel doors, keep this in mind:

  • Always use a brush
  • Paint the casing first
  • Don’t remove the doors
  • Paint the panels first
  • Paint the clear area around the panels
  • Let them dry at least 4 hours before you touch them
  • If you are painting white and have children, use the paint I mentioned above, and you will thank me later!

I would highly recommend this paint:

glidden paint

There are no visible brushstrokes with this paint, and no drips. It’s a great formula! The only drawback is that it’s a little more expensive than the other doors and trim paint you would use, although it’s totally worth the price. I recommend extra high gloss sheen.

Step No. 4: Tape Off

Take the tape off when the paint is a bit wet, but not too wet. It’s very easy to remove the tape on wet paint as opposed to when it’s totally dried. I learned this with my personal experience. It doesn’t take off any paint and the tape comes off very easily. If your paint is completely dry, then use the sharp knife to loosen up the tape on edges.

Special Tip For MDF

MDF is not great to work with, but mostly builder’s homes have that kind of wood all over. If it gets bad or rotten the only way to fix it is replace it. However, I have recently learned the trick is that if you use DryDex with a bit of water and then place DryDex on it like plaster, it works the best. As you can see below in the picture of my casing around the door.

how to paint trim and doors
See, it works like a charm!

I have written this tutorial based upon my personal experience on how I paint doors and trims. However, I am not a professional painter. I am just a gal who shares how to save money while making your house beautiful by doing different inexpensive DIY projects. I have been painting since 2010 when we purchased our first home.


how to paint doors

Hope the tutorial helps. I would love to hear about your favorite paint or any special supply you prefer to use when you paint to make your life easy! 

Happy Painting, and here is my ebook on how to chalk paint furniture! chalk painting ebook

                     Yes Please, send me a free eBook


22 thoughts on “How To Paint Doors And Trim Tutorial”

  1. Wow, Bushra, that is a big painting job! I agree that caulking makes a huge difference, especially when done well. That spackle filler is hard to judge sometimes because it seems to trap air bubbles underneath when you layer it in. In the past, I was filling a “kid damage” mark in one of our corners and I must have layered in a couple of air bubbles because after my “smooth” spackling job dried, it ended up shrinking and I had to put in several layers to get it nicely covered. Then, when I went to sand it, I broke some of the air bubbles and ended up having to spend longer than I wanted to, sanding those out… 🙂 your projects look great, especially the wainscoting! I love that! What a fun way to freshen up a room.

    1. Thank you Sarah for being such a great reader! I know, I have been there, you get better with trial and errors. I am sure you wouldn’t make that mistake again. I recently learned that little trick of water spray on MDF wood and it’ made a huge difference on my door casing as I wasn’t ready to replace it. I love the wainscoting as well.

  2. Wow…such a well composed and detailed post. I absolutely love all your graphics. You are a pro at DIY projects. Your passion just shines right through and you have mastered the art of the blog posts on this! You are going places friend.

  3. Great post as always Bushra! Love how you break everything down by category, and make everything very clear. I’ve painted several spaces in our home and I’ve always really enjoyed the whole process. I think it’s a fun activity to do with your family too. And you save so much money doing it yourself as opposed to hiring a house painter!

  4. Bushra, I love how you say “easy” and then go ahead and mention things and techniques I have never heard of! haha I really enjoy DIY projects, but have never had the guts to do something so substantial in my home. There are a couple of things I am thinking of fixing once we’re back, so I will be definitely using your blog as a guidance. Let’s see how “easy” this will come to me ? ? ?

    1. Hahahahah, thank you so much Darja. When I moved here from Pakistan everything was difficult for me as I never did anything back in Pakistan…we purchased our first home I. 2009 and ever since I am into all these DIY projects….I am sure you will do great!!!

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