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When it comes to painting our homes, the walls get all the attention. Solids, stripes, limewash, murals—we’ve seen it all. Even our ceilings and floors have become privy to a dose of color. But what if you don’t have a whole weekend to dedicate to covering an entire room? Doors are an often overlooked surface that make the perfect creative canvas, especially if you’re short on time.

Whether it be a pocket door, a closet door, or a front door, swathing a threshold in color results in a large-scale, moving work of art. Some of our favorite DIY door-painting ideas combine multihued abstract shapes and go outside the bounds of the trim. Here are nine spaces that will inspire you to pick up a brush.

The Sweet Treat

Patience and a lot of Frog tape were the keys to the color-blocked wall in Three Six Nine blogger Joy Lofton’s kitchen. After carefully drawing her pattern on the wall and door, she painted one shade at a time, starting with the largest section. Psst: For curved lines, the tape will stand out from the wall and not lay totally flat—don’t worry! Get the full step-by-step here

The Not-So-Secret Garden

During the height of the pandemic, French artist Nathalie Lété covered her countryside home’s walls and doors in fantastical florals, leaning toward childlike depictions rather than realistic ones. “It’s my imaginary garden. I try to paint freely—I didn’t want it to look like wallpaper,” she says.

The IKEA Hack

The six Pax wardrobes that line Jordan Ferney’s Manhattan living room look custom because they are mounted onto platform risers 8 inches off the ground. When the Oh Happy Day! founder decided to cover everything in Kale (a bright teal paint from Valspar), she continued to paint onto the wall to underline the cabinets’ permanent feel.

The Warm Greeting

Using a ruler and pencil, designer and DIY pro Liz Kamarul drew lines up from the edges of her front door frame to the ceiling, continuing the silhouette about 2 feet onto the ceiling itself. She then sketched a horizontal line to connect the two before filling it in with Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster shade.  

The Semipermanent Display

Old pocket doors add a ton of charm to a room, and the beauty of painting them in a bold design is that you can hide it when the mood arises. In this space, Kamarul tackled each shape in the arrangement without any blue tape (even she admits that bleeding is inevitable—embrace it!). Instead she suggests using a different brush for each blob and taking the time to achieve a seamless edge by hand.  

The Scalloped Surprise

Photographer and mural artist Champagne Dubois used an unconventional but nonetheless exceptional method for nailing the scalloped edges around her dining room threshold: She traced (part of) a mixing bowl. The ceiling’s curves, on the other hand, were created by taping a pencil to the end of a broomstick.

The Low-Lift Lines

An even easier doorframe outline involves using linear strips of painter’s tape. Simply apply three lines of tape around the door’s molding, then follow the rest of our editor’s directions. Make sure to use an angled brush (to really get into the grooves of the frame) and layer on two to three coats of your color, depending on how saturated you want it to look.

The Folding Florals

This botanical bunk bed room by artist Sophie Parker of Wife NYC for Jove Meyer spans the walls, ladder, and even the undersides of the bunk beds. Most important, it turns the narrow bifold closet doors, which have the tendency to look dated, into a work of art.

The Contemporary Curb Appeal

Geneva Vanderzeil upped her home’s curb appeal with a pink front door arc (the hue is Haymes’s Humas) that she created by using a trusty pencil and a piece of string that measures the width of the entrance. From the sanding to the final coat, the whole thing cost only $50.