My house was built in 1978 and still possesses must of it’s original “charm”. One of those “charming” features I wanted to see gone were the cheap, plastic-y looking, fake wood grain wearing, flat hollow core interior doors.
No where does this feature bother me more than in the first floor hallway. It’s a small space, maybe 7 ft x 5 ft and there are FOUR dark doors off this space; my room, my son’s room, the utility closet and the bathroom. When the doors are closed it looks like a dark, 1970s nightmare. The first floor is pretty open and the hallway is visible from most rooms so there is no escaping it. I wanted to replace them with some nice, paneled, solid doors, but at $250+ per door that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I’ve painted virtually every other surface in the house so it was only a matter of time before the doors got their turn.
To start, I ran a power sander over all the surfaces to try and knock down the shine a bit. I didn’t go crazy with the sander. Remember, these doors are made of just a very thin layer of wood. If you sand too much, you will go right through the door! Just a light sanding to help the paint adhere better. Wipe the door with a damp cloth to take off any dust from sanding.
The doors would be improved with just a coat of paint, but I wanted to go the extra step and add some character. I purchased some thin, unfinished wood moulding to make fake “paneling” for each door. For the bedrooms & utility closet, I only did moulding on the hallway side of the door, the other side is painted, but still flat. For the bathroom door, I did both sides because people spend a bit of time in there with the door closed. I sketched the panel design on each door with a chalk pen, keeping the measurements the same for each door so they would look uniform. Using a simple miter box, I hand cut the mitered corners. Next I glued the trim to the doors with construction adhesive & a caulking gun.
After the adhesive dried, I primed the doors with a high quality, high adhesion primer and then painted the doors a nice clean white. I found that I got much better results using a little sponge roller. I had been trying to cover the doors using just a paint brush and was disappointed with all the brush marks, but the sponger roller gave great, smooth coverage.
The doors looked so pretty, I decided the whole hallway needed a makeover to match! I installed new door knobs (a super easy DIY), and painted the walls the same grey as the living room. Finally, I got some pretty turquoise spray paint and painted the old, tired mirror frame for a bright pop of color!
What do you think? I LOVE it, I can’t believe the difference and how much brighter and more modern that whole end of the house feels. I actually love them so much I don’t even want to replace them with solid doors anymore! I think the moulding cost me about $10 per door and another $10 for each doorknob. Add in the primer, paint, adhesive and spray paint and it was still less than half the cost of ONE new, solid wood door and I got FOUR new looking doors & a mini hallway makeover!