My Hallway – Paneled Interior Doors vs. Flat (Flush) Interior Doors

I’m still working on my rolling door project.  It rained yesterday, so I couldn’t take my doors out and spray them.  So I worked on framing out the doorway, but ran into a problem with it also.  Since I’m making the doorway narrower and centering it on the wall, I have an area that’s going to require new drywall.  Ugh.  Don’t you hate it when a project seems so simple, and two weeks later you’re still working on it?

Anyway, while I was working on that yesterday, I was thinking ahead to my hallway, and trying to decide exactly what I want to do in there.  As I’ve told you, I’m going to replace all of the doors with new doors so that I can widen a couple of the doorways for Matt.  On a couple of occasions now, I’ve wanted to head to Home Depot to pick up the doors I’ll need for the hallway.  I thought I’d just get the ubiquitous 6-panel door.  Prehung, pre-bored, $64 each.

But each time I go to Home Depot to look at the doors, I second guess myself.  Part of me wants to grab the flat (flush) doors instead and do something amazing with them.  I know a lot of people really hate flush doors and look forward to the day when they can “upgrade” their flush doors to paneled doors.  But the fact is that flush doors are a blank canvas, and there are countless ways you can make them look completely custom.  There are so many amazing flat panel door ideas out there!

Of course, you can add trim to them like I showed you yesterday, but that’s not quite what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about something more along the lines of Miles Redd’s gorgeous upholstered doors with nailhead trim.

flat panel door ideas - upholstered door with nail head trim, by Miles Redd, via House Beautifulvia House Beautiful

I’ve had that image saved on my computer in my “house inspiration” file for quite some time now.  Those doors are some of the most gorgeous doors I’ve ever seen.  No six-paneled, off-the-shelf door from Home Depot could compare to those in my mind.

This is another picture I’ve had saved for quite some time.  It’s basically the same idea, just a different color.  And these doors look painted rather than upholstered to me.

flat panel door ideas - upholstered door with nail head trim, by DKOR Interiors, via HouzzEclectic Hall by Miami Interior Designers & Decorators DKOR Interiors Inc.- Interior Designers Miami, FL

And of course, when you’re dealing with flush doors, you can do any design you want.  You’re not limited by a design that’s already on the doors.  I don’t really think something like this would work in my house, especially since I have five doors in my hallway that would all need the same treatment, but I do love the design on this door from Design Sponge.

flat panel door ideas - upholstered door with nail head trim in a diamond pattern, via Design Spongevia Design Sponge

And this geometric design by Amanda Brown from Spruce Upholstery is most certainly to much for my house, but I love the inspiration.

flat panel door ideas - painted geometric design with nail head trim by Amanda Brown of Spruce, via HGTVvia HGTV

If I were fortunate enough to have double doors, this design would be my top choice.  Wouldn’t this be beautiful on double doors leading to a master bedroom?

flat panel door ideas - upholstered double doors with nail head trim design, from Redmond Aldrich Design, via HouzzEclectic Bedroom by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Redmond Aldrich Design

I’m kind of a sucker for nail head trim, and I’ve really been itching to do a nail head trim project lately, but of course you can create similar designs with just paint.  It would certainly be easier and much faster…and cheaper.  I came across this beautiful inspiration just yesterday.

flat panel door ideas - painted geometric design on black doors, via Verandavia Veranda

So at this point, I’m still stuck on this decision.  I really don’t know if I just want to do the six-panel doors, paint them black, and be done it, or if I want to take the time to do something that’s not quite so common.  Either way, my doors will be black.  I’m not indecisive about my color choice at all.  I’m just undecided on the style of door I want.  Common and easy, or artistic and custom?  That’s the question.  🙂

In the meantime, I just hope the rain stays away long enough this weekend so that I can get my rolling French doors painted and finish up this project by Monday!

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  1. You just made me feel happy I have flat doors! 😀 But why do you say you don’t have double doors? I thought you didn’t have doors at all – doesn’t this mean you can buy whatever door you want?

        1. She’s doesn’t have a double wide opening. To have double doors you need the opening to accommodate them and she doesn’t in the hallway I don’t believe, and I don’t think by the pictures she could change that.
          Kristi, I LOVE the idea of black painted flat doors with decorative painting as in the picture above!

  2. I love nail head trim and would love some advice on best way to do it. Here is my back story. Hubby and I went couch shopping, I knew the couch I wanted had nail head trimming, but we found the exact couch without the nail head trim and $200 dollars cheaper. My husband promised he would add the nail heads. He is more skilled than I.
    Now he said it is not as easy as he thought and said he will download a template. As you can guess couch still is without nail heads. I should probably take on the project, is it something a novice can do. I want two rows of nail heads on the front facing arms of couch.

  3. I love the doors in the last photo. If it were my house, that would be the one I’d pick. The only thing with the nail head trim is that with the gold leafing in the kitchen, I think it might be too much (but maybe it is far enough away from the kitchen?)

  4. You won’t be happy with common and easy, but maybe a simple design on the majority of doors and then something unexpected and special on a few of them.

  5. I liked the simple trim molding on the doors from White Nest that you showed yesterday. In a hallway, I would think that with that many doors, an elaborate design might be too much of a good thing. The doors from White Nest were elegant, simple, and would not compete with your music room doors or kitchen cabinets. Plus, they’d be relatively easy and inexpensive to do. The soft black color would be dramatic enough, imho.

    Something like this maybe:

  6. Hmmmm. You could do the flush doors, paint them the same color as your kitchen cabinets, and then add trim similar to the White Nest picture and gold leaf the moldings to coordinate with your kitchen. Would that be too much green?

  7. Hmmm…Probably going against the grain here…I know hallways are mostly doors, but do you really want the focus of your hallway to be the doors? I know it is visually separate from the room with the sliding doors you are working on now, but those doors are so beautiful, won’t more doors that are ornate detract from that? I kind of feel like less is more here, but everything you’ve done so far looks great, so who am I to say? Can’t wait to see the sliding doors when they are done!

    1. I concur, Deb. If EVERYthing is a focal point, then nothing is. I love your sliding doors, Kristi. Just awesome. But I’d vote for simple doors in the hallway.

  8. My concern about upholstered doors would be keeping them clean. Pets rub against doors, hands can leave marks, etc. Would the cats think they make nice scratching posts ? And as others have mentioned, since there are several doors in a smallish area you might be better off with a fairly simple design.

  9. Why not use that idea for the interior doors in your master bedroom and have all the doors in the hallway 6 panel black?

  10. As some other people have said, black will be a statement on its own. I think black doors with simple trim will be best – otherwise they may vie for attention with the lovely french doors you’re already working on.

  11. I have to agree with Allie-in this application simple might be better. Your sliding doors with thse elaborate (beautiful!) peacock handles and fretwork will garner alot of attention and your other doors could cause whiplash! 😉 And really sometimes simplicity has a beauty of its own.

    If I were you I think doing something like that on the inside of a room could be special.

  12. You are so creative Kristi and have such amazing ideas. I see you choosing flat doors and doing something creative, but in saying that, it’s hard to say what, until you have the hallway finished and decorated to see what style would suit your hallway doors the best.

  13. Go for the flat panel doors… You can paint them black and install them and then upscale them down the road when some of your other projects have slowed down. 🙂

    1. Oh yes, this might just be the thing. Simple, understated yet lovely. With so many doors you won’t want the competition with everything else, IMHO.

    2. YES, I love Cindy’s recommendation of the doors on “Driven by Decor”. Those would look gorgeous black and not look too busy with all the doors clustered together in the hallway. On the other hand, I adore the nailhead idea and look forward to any projects you could share with adding nailhead design to existing furniture. You’ve got great taste and whatever you decide will be beautiful. Thanks for the best blog ever!

  14. If you want the simplicity of stock doors though with a unique twist, consider these arched panel doors:

    You can also get them with grooves if you’d prefer that. We ordered ours from a builders supply store. They were the same price as standard six panel doors, but they look special without any extra effort. They’d also give you subtle curves which you mentioned you wanted to incorporate.

  15. I love all those ideas. I don’t think most people dislike the flat of the flat doors; it is the hollow flat doors that scream cheesy. I have seen those hollow core doors in person once they were made pretty, and once you touched it the door to open or close it, it still felt like a hollow core flat panel door. Long way to say — if you do the flat, you should think of getting a solid door, that way the feel will live up the awesome look you will give it.

  16. To me, all of your door examples are trying too hard. I do like the Amanda Brown door as art. But not as as door. Go with paneled doors in black. Keep it simple and understated. Let the other elements in your home stand out.

  17. Hi Kristi, I stumbled upon your blog on 4th of July weekend of this year and I have been hooked! I went through all your history posts and check in with you every single day. Just when I think your next post can’t get any better than the last you prove me wrong!!! I love your style and love that you do it on your own and on a dime. About the doors- I love the Eclectic Bedroom door by San Francisco Architects. You can do that same design of the full circle in one door instead of two and that would carry that circle theme nicely from your music room doors. I don’t think it would be too much at all. In fact, paneled doors might not be enough, I think, in a home with such a show-stopping kitchen and your very showy music room doors. I know whatever you choose you will amaze and surprise us all over again ;). Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. I was thinking the same thing about doing the circle design on a single door. Don’t know why that wouldn’t work just fine.

  18. FYI…Kristi just wanted you to know the doors that you love are from The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Thanks again for being such an inspiration. 🙂

  19. Oh, flat panel and artistic and custom for sure! What if you did the same design as the fretwork on your rolling doors. Actually, you could even cut out some more fretwork and adhere it to the doors. Or do nail head in the same design. Or paint the design in gold on the black doors. Or . . . the ideas are endless. I know you’ll do something amazing and do it well!

    By the way, I don’t know if you live near Austin, but I’ve been perusing the Craigslist free listings quite a bit lately and people often give away their old flat panel doors. Just a thought.

  20. I like the six panel doors, painted black. I think you have plenty of statement pieces already. But, it’s not my house, so you should go with what makes you happy.

  21. Have you ever noticed when you have a subject that is a little bit out there you don’t get as many responses? I didn’t have a lot of time earlier but came back to look at some of the pics you posted. Most of these doors are in really high end homes. I am not saying that you do not have, or will not have a lovely home, but I think I have to agree with a few other brave souls on here in saying that you have a lot of important and one of a kind designs in your home now, or will when have when you finish your rolling doors and kitchen, and there is only so much one house can take before looking like something from “The Housewives of NJ or Beverly Hills”. Sometimes, less is more. I think you should do your doors black and if you get the flat ones you can always put some trim on them. I like the six panel doors and I also like the three panel that homedepot has on their site. It is expensive but different, I think it would look nice with board and batten on the walls. Gotta run,Blessings as always

  22. A door that anybody, anywhere can pick up any time at a chain store with locations all over the country, or something artistic and custom? What might she choose? Hmmm … 🙂

    You know you want the gorgeous custom upholstered doors with custom nail trim. Do it. I love the Miles Redd doors (which remind me a lot of your beautiful kitchen cabinets).

  23. How about flat doors painted to match the design on the roller doors….instead of a wood insert, just paint the pattern with a template.

  24. Your peacock doors will make an awesome statement but if your eye will travel to 6 additionally awesome doors, they will all lose their impact. Black panel doors would be my choice, with colorful art on the walls.

  25. I would recommend to go for the painted look from Veranda. I do not know much about diy…..but i would like to share my opinion….While doing the nail head trim…..once you finish upholstering or painting and then nailing….if at all you are not satisfied with the way it looks, redoing can turn out to be a nightmare….

  26. Beautiful alone, but a lot in an averaged-sized house with fretwork doors and a gold leafed kitchen (both fabulous, by the way). I think there is a rule somewhere that you have to be named Zsa Zsa, Liberace or Donald in order to have everything “fancy.” 🙂