Don’t Forget the Doors! (And Railing…and knobs)

This – what I’m about to blog about right this very second – is something I almost overlooked. Something I almost wasn’t going to worry about. It’s not that big of a deal, I said. It won’t make that big a difference, I said.


If I only knew…

Details, friends. It’s those small touches that make such an impact. It’s often those little things – the things you often overlook – that end up mattering the most.

Take a look at this before photo:

painting doors

I was thisclose to being done the basement makeover at this point. THIS.CLOSE. And I thought to myself…gosh I hate that hardware. And that old oak railing! And it’d be cool to jazz up the doors with a nice color. Hmmm….

And this happened:

painted doors

I mean, WHAT A DIFFERENCE, right?? Craziness.

First, let’s talk about that oak railing.

oak railing makeover

I decided to not worry about removing it off the wall. Because sometimes I’m lazy. Or have zippy patience. Perhaps both. I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach the side against the wall, but I figured nobody was going to see that anyway. I mean, who stands next to the laundry room door and peers into the crack between the railing and the wall? NO ONE.

So I sanded it (well, what I could reach anyway!) down with an orbital hand sander. The kind with a bag so it wasn’t such a mess:)

oak railing makeover

And covered the stairs with a dropcloth, and got to staining. I went with Dark Walnut, by Minwax.

railing makeover

It’s SUPER stinky, so I had all the windows and doors open, fans going, all that business.

Then I took a tiny paintbrush and black paint to the little rusty gold thingys that hold it up.

A wipe on poly coat (Minwax) and we were done!


Now, just don’t come to my house and look on the inner side towards the wall, mmmkay?

Now, let’s chat doors.

painted interior doors

I wanted to do a color that would make a difference, but wouldn’t compete with the other colors. Nothing BAM! IN YOUR FACE! you know? So I studied the room. Reeeaaallly studied. I pictured the doors every color and finally decided that this light tan color – like that of the dropcloth runner on the art table, and in the weave of the baskets – would be perfection. And it really was.

I picked up a sample of Sherwin Williams Vanilla Sugar. Don’t you just love that name, first of all!? And that was all I needed for both doors. Oh yes – forgot to show you the other door to the kids’ closet!

Here’s the before:

painted interior doors

(You can see the lovely oak railing in that pic too;)

So let’s see the after!

railing and doors

I just think it’s amazing what a huge change a subtle color can make!

And as for the hardware. Here’s where you’ll think I’ve lost my mind…and frankly, I did too. I didn’t even bother with photos of this because I thought it was a joke that I was even doing it! But um…I did.

I added some Plaster of Paris to a sample of black paint and ummm…I painted them.

I didn’t even take them off the door.

And guess what? They look as good today as they did a month or so ago when I did them. Success!

In case you’ve never heard, something magical happens when you add plaster to paint. It somehow adheres to pretty much everything. Google it. I cannot take credit, and I have no idea where I heard it, but it works.

So I gave it a light, thin coat at first. Sort of like a “primer.” Once that layer dried, I did it again. And again. Holy cow, this is WORKING! I did the hinges too. HOW IS THIS WORKING?! I thought to myself. Once it was dry, I sprayed the heck out of it with clear protective spray paint. I covered the surroundings as best I could and sprayed it goooood. I thought, This is going to last like, a day, I’m sure, right?!


Here we are, with perfectly in tact black doorknobs and hinges, hand to God. Amazeballs.

railing and doors


And I couldn’t be happier.

railing and doors

So to sum up:

1. Don’t forget the little details. They’re often the big things.

2. Sometimes it’s good to be a little crazy. Crazy ideas are sometimes just genius things waiting to happen.

3. Don’t ever inspect my basement railing.




  1. Love it!!!

  2. When you first revealed this room, I kept thinking to myself that the door color was genius! I like a lot about the room and don’t think I would have ever considered that color for the doors but it really is gorgeous against the white trim. Nice job:)

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