It's a design opportunity that's easily missed: Even the most stylishly decorated rooms often have bland wooden doors with cheap hardware.
High-end designers have always made doors a priority, says Brian Patrick Flynn, an interior designer and founder of decordemon.com.
But many of us ignore the doors in our homes, not realizing what a difference they can make to the look of a room.
Whether your style is traditional or modern, subtle or bold, improving your doors can give your rooms an easy face-lift.
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Interior designer Emily Henderson, host of HGTV's "Secrets from a Stylist," uses doors as a canvas for anything from wallpaper or stenciling to textured paint or artfully applied gold leaf. Decorated doors can "bring a bit of surprise glamour," she says, and highlight architectural elements.
Painting with bold or contrasting colors can quickly make a door the star of a space, says Flynn.
Try painting an entire door white and letting it dry for at least one day. Then put painters' tape over the areas you'd like to keep as white accents, and paint the entire door another color (glossy black is great, said Flynn). After removing the tape, touch up any imperfect spots with a tiny brush.
Another option Flynn suggests: Have doors upholstered with leather or geometric-print fabric to add softness and style. Leather is easy to wipe clean, he said, and "if it ages over time, that only adds to the look."
Bringing the look together
"Look at your doors," says Los Angeles-based designer Betsy Burnham. "Do they all match?" If you want a cohesive style throughout the home, try painting every door the same color and accessorizing each with the same hardware.
Burnham usually chooses white or off-white paint for doors and door frames, "but in one house I did all the doors sort of a khaki," she said, "which was more modern." If you want a bolder statement, she suggests painting all the doors a dark shade of charcoal and using oil-rubbed bronze doorknobs.
Doors are a great way to personalize a space, Burnham says. A classic six-panel door has a different feeling than a heavy wooden plank door with lots of dramatic hardware.
Front doors can be a great place to express your style. A custom-designed door with expensive hardware can have a huge impact and be worth the investment, Burnham says.
One option is to "keep the house sort of neutral and do a pop of color at the front door," she says. "We've seen red doors used really well. You could even do a bright teal."
Inside your home, you can use doorknobs and other hardware "like jewelry," Burnham says. Try crystal or chinoiserie knobs, oiled bronze metal hardware or shiny chrome, depending on your style.
Adding square footage
If closet doors swing out into a small room, consider replacing them with bi-fold or pocket doors.
Remove closet doors entirely and turn the area into open shelving. To give it a finished look, wallpaper the closet interior and hang tieback draperies where the doors were.
Burnham says this idea only works if you're someone who will keep storage areas neat. Many clients ask to have doors removed to expose open shelving, she says, "but it's a really special client who can keep that looking great."
If you do remove bi-fold doors, don't get rid of them. They make great freestanding room dividers, Flynn says.