Interior Barn Doors and How to Paint Them

Split barn door opening up to interior bathroom. Doors are painted white with black metal slider.

Functional and offering a pleasing rustic appeal, interior barn doors are an excellent choice for added charm. Completed with a distressed or rustic look, these large doors on rollers can add some rural chic to a modern space. Their large size and sliding design also allow for either opening up larger spaces or to fit in tight spaces where a traditional door may not work.

If you’re after that coveted rustic look in your home, let the professional painters at Five Star Painting show you how to paint barn doors.

How to Paint Barn Doors

Making your own interior barn doors glow with rural charm is possible with a little DIY know-how. Rustic white is a common choice for both rustic and vintage aesthetics.

To make your rustic white barn door a reality, you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Crescent wrench
  • Drop cloth or tarp
  • Sanding block/sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Drip tray
  • White paint
  • Steel wool (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions for Painting Barn Doors

1. Remove Door

If this is an existing barn door in your home, remove from the mounting track and place on your paint station (with drop cloth beneath).

2. Remove Hardware

Remove any hardware from the door including the handle and hanging rollers with a screwdriver and crescent wrench where needed.

3. Sand

Using the sanding block and fine grit sandpaper, work the entire surface of the barn door. You do not need to take off all of the existing paint or stain. The goal of sanding is to smooth the surface and remove any sheen from the existing finish. Be sure to work in the edges on the cross pieces as well. Remove dust with a clean rag.

4. Paint the Door

Pour paint in a drip pan and start with the brush to work around the edges of the door all the way around. Use the brush to also paint the edges of the cross pieces in the center of the door. Use the roller on any flat, larger surfaces, finishing with the brush to dissipate roller lines. Let dry and paint other side. Apply additional coat(s) as necessary.

5. Reinstall the Hardware and Door

Once the paint has dried, reinstall the handles and hanging hardware with the screwdriver and crescent wrench. Hang the finished door back on the wall mount and you’re done!

How to Paint a Barn Door Rustic White

Close-up of white painted split barn door with black metal slider opening up to interior bathroom.

If you follow the steps above, your barn door will have a fresh, clean look to complement your home. When people seek to learn how to paint a barn door rustic white, they often mean to ask how to distress and finish a white-painted barn door to make it look antique or weathered. There are many techniques to make painted items look older, but this one is the simplest and quickest.

This finish option will give you the new paint color and will also add a rustic or weathered look to the final product.

1. Follow steps 1 through 4

Follow steps 1 through 4 as detailed above, sanding and painting the door as normal.

2. Add Wear

Using a piece of fine-grain sandpaper and steel wool to remove sections of the new paint. This will allow portions of the wood to show underneath and provide a weathered look. Clean off paint and dust with a rag.

3. Finish

Using a clean brush, apply a coat of clear polyurethane to seal and protect the door. You may also use a colored topcoat to add dimension to the final finish.

4. Reinstall Hardware

As before, use a screwdriver and wrench to reinstall the necessary door hardware.

What About Staining the Door?

Opting for a stain finish rather than paint will afford a more antiquated look and will showcase the grain of the wood in the door.

1. Follow steps 1 through 4

Remove the door and hardware and sand the door.

2. Stain

Using a paintbrush, apply the preferred stain to the door, making sure to complete the edges and detail work first. Use a rag to wipe off excess stains in a straight motion going with the grain when possible and avoiding circular rubbing.

3. Finish

Once again using a clean brush, apply a coat of clear polyurethane to seal and protect the finish.

4. Step 4: Reinstall Hardware

Use a screwdriver and wrench to reinstall the necessary door hardware.

Your Door Painting Experts

Following these steps should result in a new and attractive interior barn door for your home. Whether opting for the clean coat, the distressed look, or the stain finish, there are several ways to make the door fit your décor and your aesthetic.

Not sure of your door-painting abilities? Unsure which look is right for you? Leave door painting to the pros at Five Star Painting! For the final finish you desire, call (888) 261-3633 or schedule an appointment online to get started.