One of my favorite parts of our budget bedroom makeover is the closet door transformation (you can see a video of the room makeover here). Since the bed faces the closet doors I knew I need to do something that would make a big impact on the look without spending a ton of money. The doors are literally floor to ceiling metal doors on a track. While they are great function-wise allowing access to the very top of the closet, they definitely looked their age-about 42 years old.
My first step was a little recon trip to Lowe’s to learn more about closet doors. After perusing the closet door aisle and talking to an associate I learned that what I feared was true. They just don’t make ’em like they used to. To get closet doors in the size we need would’ve cost well over our $300 budget. If we opted to buy traditional doors that they had in stock we’d have to create a drywall header for the doors. That meant framing, drywall, and lots of time I didn’t have. It probably would’ve come in close to our $300 budget anyhow so back to the drawing board I went.
Learn more: Fashion Bar and Polka Dot Closet Makeover
While I was making my way through the store for some other supplies the idea to spray paint the doors dawned on me. I’ve spray painted hooks, tables, and even a lamp so why not closet doors?
After a discussion with my husband we decided to go for it. The worst case would be that we had to replace the doors anyway, and the best case was that it would work. Fingers crossed I picked up a few cans of spray paint. On the first two doors I used Valspar spray paint in white that I had on hand, but it just didn’t coat well. So back to the store I went and picked up 5 cans of Rust-oleum’s spray paint in white in a semi-gloss finish. I wanted some shine, but not too much shine.
Let’s take a look at the before. You’ll notice I was too eager to get a before shot of the doors in place.
How to Spray Paint Metal Closet Doors (or just about anything)
Step One: Take it outside. First up I removed the closet doors. While they are big and bulky the removal process was pretty simple-simply removing two screws.
Step Two: Clean it off. I paid the kids to wash the doors down with the hose. They were pretty filthy (especially on the inside), and then let them dry. I went over them with a damp cloth and scrubbed them as needed with a little Mrs. Meyers cleaner.
Step Three: Prep a space to spray paint. On a not too windy, not wet day I laid out plastic tarps and laid the doors down to paint.
Step 4: Spray it on then repeat.
While you can use primer it’s not necessary anymore with most spray paints. After a good shaking I was ready to paint. Read the instructions on your spray paint for more info. Light coats are the name of the game when it comes to spray painting anything.
I took my time and did light coats. It took about 2 full coats and some touch up on the sides and edges.
Learn more: Desk Chair Makeover for a Tween Girl
Step 5: Dry ’em out. Once they were dry they just had to wait for the rest of the room to be done. I also spray painted the handles with oil rubbed bronze spray paint I had on hand.
Step 6: All done! Install the doors and stand back and admire my handiwork.
They look a little patchy in the photos but in person they are crisp and white. Much lovelier than waking up to rust and dingy doors every morning. There’s nothing like waking up to a crisp and clean view now. My only regret? Not doing this sooner!
Let’s look at the before and after together.
Have you ever spray painted anything? Leave me a comment with what you’ve done or would consider doing with spray paint.
I’m so glad I found this post! We have 12 metal bifold doors in our house, and they’re all an ugly cream color with rust accents. Wood bifold doors seem to be at least $80 each, and they’re often just primed and need to be painted anyway. I was happy to see the metal doors could be painted successfully. We scrubbed the rust spots with steel wool, borrowed an inexpensive pressure washer to clean the doors off, let them dry, then used the Rust-o-leum spray paint you recommended to paint them. We did three light coats with ~5 minutes between coats. We used about one can per door, and they look so much better, especially considering a can of spray paint only costs $5. We bought inexpensive cabinet knobs to replace the old knobs. The only thing I might do differently on the remaining doors is to use glossy spray paint instead of semi-gloss.
I did this with my wooden closet door. I bought my house and someone had painted the wooden closet door to match the walls. It was awful. 2 years later I finally bought 2 cans of rustoleum 2x paint & primer semi gloss white and bam! Its a brand new door! Im so happy with the result I am planning on trying to do the same with my guest room closet doors. These are the hollow veener dark old style “wooden” doors that someone had lacquered. I have always hated them but figured even if I mess them up they cant look worse! And who knows, maybe I can do the actual room doors as well if it turns out since its not in the budget to replace them yet. The possibilities are endless!
I used 2.
hi there~ I’m wondering how may cans of spray paint it took to do the doors pictured here? 🙂
Cool. Our one door looks like yours. Thanks for the tip and pictures. Why don’t they make wooden closed doors anymore?. These metal ones are so heavy to move around. We have to wait until the rain stops in the East and before the humidity starts.
HeartWork Organizing says
I’ve done this many times for clients, and it’s always amazing what a lift spray paint can give these older doors. Here’s a frugal tip for your next painting project: http://heartworkorg.com/2013/09/26/diy-paint-props/