How to decorate interior door frames

Updated March 23, 2017

People often overlook decorating interior door frames, but your door decorating can function as a focal point. If you have a frame but no door, your interior door decor is visible from multiple parts of your home and can serve as a transition between two decorating schemes or palettes. The best aspect about decorating door frames is that it requires only a small amount of paint, finishes and accessories, so updating the look demands little time or money.

Clear and clean your door, door frame and the area around your door. Clutter tends to build up around doors, which kills the effect of interior door decor. Dry-dust the door frame and then wash the door with a cleaner appropriate for the door's materials. If you plan to paint, avoid using oil-based cleaners or any polishes that interfere with applying new finishes.

Emphasise the shape or style of your door with architectural elements. Give your interior doors more prominence by flanking them with columns or topping them with arches. For a sleeker look, add a narrow floating shelf that extends from either side of your door, even with the top of the door. For a bohemian bungalow aesthetic, place bookcases flush against the sides of your interior doors to evoke the look of built-in shelves. A floating bookshelf or cubby above your door frame makes the space appear like a library.

Match the door frame, the architrave (the outer segment of the door frame attached to your wall) and surrounding architectural elements to create a streamlined look and give the illusion of more space. Otherwise, paint with a bright, complementary colour to make your door frame stand out. Satin and gloss finishes work best for door frames, because they camouflage dirt and dings well.

Decorate your door frame with temporary, seasonal pieces. Hang a garland of pine boughs around Christmas, and switch to leafy plants or vines when spring arrives. If your interior door frame is tall, set up mobiles or hanging objects such as stiffened doilies, using monafilament or translucent fishing wire. If your door frame sits lower, keep decor flush with the frame so it does not interfere with people entering and exiting the room. The area above and around a door frame may feature framed photographs or paintings.

Illuminate your interior door decorations. Electric or candle wall sconces provide ambient light and focus attention on nearby decorations and artwork. For brighter light, point overhead track lighting or miniature, gallery-style spotlights toward your door.


Door decor gathers dust quickly, so clean and maintain it often.

Things You'll Need

  • Architectural elements
  • Furniture
  • Lighting
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About the Author

Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.