5 Simple Steps to Distress a Door…or Just about Anything

Over the last couple of years, I’ve become quite fond of everything farmhouse.  So, little by little I’ve been slowly transforming my humble 1000 sq.ft. space into my own little farmhouse retreat.  If you too are a fan of the Gaines’ HGTV show Fixer Upper and Joanna’s farmhouse decor, you can easily add a bit of that rustic character to your own space by following 5 simple steps to distress a door of choice or just about anything else in your own home.  




-Interior Door removed from the hinges 

-1 Can of spray paint in a flat/matte finish (color of your choice)

-1 Quart of  traditional interior paint in a flat/matte finish (color of your choice) 

-Steel wool pads 

-1 Drop cloth


This project can easily be accomplished in one weekend and will run you no more than $30, unless you need to purchase a new door and even then, you can find a basic pantry or bedroom door for about $30-$35.  So all in, supplies and door included, you’re looking at $70 max!


Before you pick up your supplies at your local big box store you need to think about the paint colors you’d like for your door.  I recommend going with colors that will complement your existing color scheme.  My home is a combination of cool blues, neutral shades of white, beige, and grey with pops of red here and there to add a little flare.  The pantry door would be an accent in my kitchen, so I decided to distress it in red and blue to match the rest of my decor.  When selecting your colors, it’s important to keep in mind that the traditional paint, in the quart-size, will be your primary color and the spray paint will be your secondary color.  The secondary color will only be visible, minimally, on the areas of the door that have been distressed.  In other words, the secondary color will bleed through the areas where the top coat has been scored.  This picture will give you a better idea of what I mean.


So, after you’ve selected your paint colors and have purchased all of your supplies, I recommend finding an open space outside where you can do your project.  Before beginning, use the drop cloths to cover any areas that you’d like to keep free from overspray such as walls, decking, patio furniture, garage floor, etc.  Once your space is covered up, you want to start by painting your door with a liberal coat of spray paint.  See instructions for dry time on the back of the can and apply a second coat if necessary.  After the spray paint has dried thoroughly, apply a coat of your primary color.  Again, see instructions on the back for the can for dry time and apply a second coat if necessary.  From there, grab one of your steel wool pads and go to town scoring the mess out of the door until you begin to see shades of your secondary color being revealed!  Distress it as little as you want or as much as you want until you’re satisfied with the final product.  Hang the door back on the hinges and you’re all done!  🙂


To sum up this project in 5 easy steps:


  1. Buy your supplies.
  2. Apply your secondary coat of paint.
  3. Apply your primary coat of paint.
  4. Score the door with a steel wool pad.
  5. Attach the door to the hinges.


I hope you find this tutorial helpful!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!