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How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When my sister brought me on to the Topsail Beach condo renovation, she had a laundry list of DIY projects she wanted me to complete. One of them was dressing up the hollow flat doors with moulding panels. She showed me a pin that led to One Life to Love’s DIY beadboard panel doors. After seeing the photo, I knew it would be a great DIY upgrade to make. But, we decided to use real beadboard (instead of beadboard wallpaper) because it had to hold up to the stress of being a rental.

To Begin:

Start by measuring and marking the doors to determine the size of your panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Draw lines 5″ in from the top and two sides of your door.  Draw the bottom line  6″ up from the bottom. Finally, leave 5″ between the top and bottom panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When marking your doors, use a pencil and level to draw your lines.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

After we had our panel measurements, Caitlin and I headed to Lowe’s. But, she refused to push me in the cart (party pooper!)

DIY Add Molding Panels Flat Door

We pulled some 4′ x 8′ beadboard panels and took them to the lumber cutting area. We gave the Lowe’s employer our measurements and asked him to cut the boards for us. While he cut our beadboard, Caitlin and I gathered the rest of our supplies.

Materials:

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door Supplies

Instructions:

Assess the condition of your door. If there are chips or dings, you need to fix them before proceeding.

Apply wood putty and allow it to dry.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

After dry, sand the putty smooth.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Time to apply the beadboard panels. Squeeze construction glue onto the back of the beadboard panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the panels on the door and double check the level and plumb of the panel.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Press the panel firmly to spread the glue. Use the finish nailer to secure the panel around the perimeter.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the lower panel next.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

To trim the panel, measure and cut your trim molding to fit around the panel.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Set your top piece in place and secure it with the finish nailer.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the side pieces in place. Use painter’s tape to hold the corners tightly. Use more tape to secure the side piece if necessary.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the side molding with finish nails.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the opposite side and the bottom molding pieces. Putty the nail holes and caulk the seams. Then prime and paint the doors.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Ooolala. How about that transformation?!

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

The newly paneled doors make a huge difference in the look of the condo.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s all in the details.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Like what you see? Take the tour of the entire Topsail Beach Condo Renovation for more upgrade ideas.

PHGFancySign

109 replies
  1. Brittany H.
    Brittany H. says:

    I love this. I need a make a list of projects and then I need to make it happen. I love this and I think this is awesome. Hi, I am 21 and I work full time, how do you find time to get all your projects done. I am a beginning DIYer any advice?

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Brittany, well, considering this blog is my full-time job I make time to finish projects. But, I also make sure to make time for my kids. I don’t watch much TV and I rarely sit still (except when writing posts.) Also, like the HGTV shows, what takes you 5 minutes to read in real life takes several days. But, this is my passion, I love transforming the ugly to beautiful.

      Reply
  2. tati
    tati says:

    Great transformation – love the bead board!
    I have a silly question, one I’ve wondered about many times – How does anything nailed into a hollow core door hold?

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Tati, the small nails will only hold if you angle them when shooting them in. If you angle them at different angles around the beadboard, they will hold fairly well. But, you’ll also notice that I used construction adhesive for added hold on the beadboard.

      Reply
  3. Betsey
    Betsey says:

    I wish I had seen this about a year ago!! It would have saved me a lot of money in new doors!! Love this idea and if I ever move into a house with plain doors, this will be done to them!!!!

    Reply
  4. chelsea alexander
    chelsea alexander says:

    Do you know what the approximate cost was? And did you do both sides? I have been considering this but a new door is approximately $75 and I started adding up the cost of the trim and other materials and factoring in time and I came up with a figure close enough to the cost of just replacing the door that I thought I must have added everything up incorrectly! I have 9 doors in my house and would want to do both sides for at least 6 of them, so 12 sides and trim….

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Chelsea,

      We only did the outside of the door that faced the hallway. The insides are just painted white. I’m checking with my sister who purchased the supplies, but I think the cost was definitely cheaper than buying new doors. I will reply when I get the actual cost. And, this is a lot easier than hanging a new door in existing door jamb. And even easier than removing and hanging a new pre-hung door. Plus, I hate to throw things in the landfill, so this is a perfect project that has little environmental impact.

      Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Chelsea, I did a rough estimation on cost, and it cost approximately $25 per door (not including paint.) One 4×8 sheet was cut into 6 panels for three doors. And the molding we used wasn’t very expensive. The other supplies: glue and nails, etc. were minimal cost. And because we already had the tools, I didn’t count that into the estimate.

      Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Kelly, yes, we didn’t trim the inside of the doors because we were on a tight budget and were mainly trying to improve the view from the boring hallway of doors. So, yes, we just painted them white.

      Reply
  5. Sharon B.
    Sharon B. says:

    Beautiful transformation on the doors Brittany! I love the beadboard. I would have to buy a finish nailer to do this to my doors and I notice there are different gauges, like 16, 18, 23 gauge. I assume that refers to the size of the nails. Can you give us some advice on how to choose a decently useful but not too expensive finish nailer? Like what gauge is most useful and any other features to look for. Thanks very much. I too have those ugly brown doors and I don’t want to just paint them. I’ve seen pictures of doors with trim added, but the beadboard makes them look so much more special. Thanks for the great idea!

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Sharon, yes, gauge is the size of the nails. The higher the number the smaller the nails. I actually did a comparison post on finish nailers. I will be publishing it next week so stay tuned!

      Reply
  6. Nancy Wiebel
    Nancy Wiebel says:

    That is a pretty awesome project and the result is amazing! I’m in a new home and don’t need to do any update projects like that, but it’s so fun seeing a transformation like this. The finished door looks like it was made that way.

    Nancy

    Reply
  7. Mrs. Smith
    Mrs. Smith says:

    It was just last night that I was thinking to myself, “When I am rich and famous, we can finally replace all the hollow doors out for cute, paneled ones.” Looks like you saved me from buying all new doors! Clever, awesome, fabulous…just like you!

    Reply
  8. Kacy
    Kacy says:

    I am SO excited about this post. I have hollow core, flat doors everywhere in my house and I knew that I wanted to paint them (they’re currently a dark stained wood), but I didn’t know how to dress them up without making them look cheap. Thank you for blessing me with this post 🙂

    Also, we lived in Hampstead, NC for a while and loved visiting Topsail Beach. The last time we were able to go back for a visit was six years ago and we stayed in a condo on the beach. I miss that area and it brought a smile to my face to see it mentioned.

    Reply
  9. Miranda F.
    Miranda F. says:

    Awesome! My husband found your blog when searching “how to dress up a hollow core door”. I am so glad he came across this! thank you for sharing! This will save us a ton.

    Reply
  10. Dana
    Dana says:

    I know I’m late to this post but I just can’t help but comment. We are looking at purchasing a foreclosure and only planning on living in it for about 3 years. It is a true fixer upper and this is my answer to the old hollow core doors! If this were your home would you recommend doing both sides and for resale purposes? I also want to update the molding in the house and hoping to go with more of a craftsman style. Would like kind of molding look ok with the beadboard door?

    Thank you so very much for the idea and instructions! I can’t wait to get started.

    Reply
  11. Tasha Cordel
    Tasha Cordel says:

    Hey – amazing transformation. I had 2 Questions; read through the comments and the one I had about ‘nails’ into a hollow door was answered….but here is my next concern BEFORE I go ahead with this….

    WHAT paint/primer, etc do I use? How have your doors stood up? Paint chipping on the frame? I am most worried about going to all the work and then with the opening and closing….they look horrible (or the door frames do) in a month or so. ADVICE PLEASE and Thankyou!!

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Tasha, our contractor ended up priming and painting all the doors for us. It hasn’t been a full year yet, but when I checked on them in August, they still looked great. Number one is to use a paintable caulk to seal all the seams. Caulk is flexible and will stand up to any swelling and contracting of the door. Regarding paint and primer. From experience I can tell you that you get what you pay for with paint and primer. Use a good primer like BIN or KILZ. Be sure to lightly sand the door after each coat and wipe off any dust. Paints that hold up REALLY well on doors, trim and cabinets are Benjamin Moore Advance and Sherwin Williams ProClassic. They are expensive, but again, you get what you pay for. Here’s a great post on painting doors for more information. http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/how-to-paint-doors-the-professional-way/

      Reply
  12. Karin C
    Karin C says:

    Brittany,

    First let me say…AMAZING idea!! I feel the same way regarding replacing all our flat “natural” wood 1980’s doors. I cringe thinking they would go to the dump especially the heavier door leading to the garage. However they are hideous dated and clash with my brand new kitchen!! I would like your opinion if you were living in the property would you panel the interior side as well? I’m curious if you kept the popcorn ceilings Ha? Your opinion is appreciated!!

    Reply
  13. Jan Brown
    Jan Brown says:

    Loved your post, we are buying a place at the lake. It is old and needs updated. I was wondering, if it would be easier to take the doors down. Just thought it would be easier to glue and paint them and the door jams.

    Reply
  14. Nicola
    Nicola says:

    Hi Brittany!

    This is an amazing idea and I’m thinking of trying it this weekend to dress up my apartment front door as I can’t afford to replace it at the moment.

    I just had a couple of questions – when you were working out the measurements, was it 4″ from the top to the edge of the bead board or to the outer edge of the moulding? Also, do you remember how wide your moulding was?

    Going to go and explore all your other ideas now! 🙂

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Nicola, it was 5″ in from the sides and top to measure for our panels. After you have the panels cut and installed, then measure for your trim. I think the trim was about 3/4″. But, I’m not 100% sure.

      Reply
  15. Courtney
    Courtney says:

    Beautiful door!

    Any suggestion on how to re-create the look with a curved top panel? One that looks exactly like yours- except the piece at the very top is curved?

    Thanks

    Reply
  16. Sally
    Sally says:

    Hi! I’m trying to add moulding to a flat door but I’m having trouble finding moulding that is small enough. What type did you use? I was just at Lowe’s and I didn’t have any luck. Thanks! The doors look great!!!

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Sally, I’m sorry you are having a hard time finding the moulding we used. I don’t know the name of it, but you can use any moulding you like for your project. Just take pieces off the shelf and lay them out with beadboard to see how they’ll look.

      Reply
  17. brenda
    brenda says:

    others have really said it all. just wanted to add my WOW to the conversation. lots of terrific ideas but the doors have to be the most bang for the buck. I am wondering how it would look with a wood stain look rather than paint. my hsb is usually in horror if I mention painting anything that starts out life looking like wood.

    Reply
  18. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    This is an awesome idea. I am getting ready to redo my bathroom and this is perfect for my doors. My only problem is my doors are not flat doors. They have the raised “grain” in them. Any suggestions on how to deal with that along the sides? I hate them but would like to save some money.
    Thank you for your posting. I just found you through another post from Pinterest. i will be checking out the rest of your projects.

    Reply
  19. Lea Stoehr
    Lea Stoehr says:

    I know I’m quite late on a response, but I came across this site when trying to update my flat doors. Although I used glue and hand pounded nails instead of a gun, I used many of the same techniques you described above. Thank you so much for making this site. I did two doors in my kitchen just
    Ike this and they look awesome!!!

    Reply
  20. Diana
    Diana says:

    I want to do this!! My doors have like a faux raised wood grain texture to them…do you have any suggestions of how I could fill them in first?

    Reply
  21. Michael Clement
    Michael Clement says:

    Just a quick Thank You for posting this project what a great idea! I am just finishing up a door that had seen better days located in my Mom’s Real Estate Office….I made a few additions like I used chair rail trim for the frames, added the wood embellishment and her initials…she almost started crying (for joy) when I revealed it! Keep up the great work and have an awesome summer!

    Reply
  22. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    How did you cut the trim for around the beadboard? I want to do this but I’m not sure if i will know how to cut the trim wwith the angle.

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Catherine, you need to measure your own door. Here’s what I recommend: “Draw lines 5″ in from the top and two sides of your door. Draw the bottom line 6″ up from the bottom. Finally, leave 5″ between the top and bottom panels.” Then measure the rectangles you drew to get your sizes.

      Reply
      • catherine fortenberry
        catherine fortenberry says:

        Thank you. My husband explained that he would measure 2.5 inches above and 2.5 inches below center of doorknob to determine where the boards should end/begin. We are looking forward to doing this on our doors. Thanks again!

        Reply
  23. Erica
    Erica says:

    Loved this so much, I am doing something very similar to this on my front door now! Only question I have is did you caulk the inside seams on the panels or just the outside seams? Thanks!

    Reply
  24. Bj
    Bj says:

    I’m gonna do this. New house. Someone had anger issues and punched them. I got bread board at Lowe’s. The sheets were damaged. I knew i could figure something to do with them. Put half sheets on bath wall. Now gonna do some doors!

    Reply
  25. Candace
    Candace says:

    The inside doors in my house have holes in them from a guy putting his fist through them. Can I cover the holes with patches, like the ones used on walls, then cover with bead board?

    Reply
  26. Sue
    Sue says:

    I love these! I was trying to get out of fixing he plea in my hollow wood doors, however. How important Ian it to repair Holes before you begin the project?

    Reply
  27. Bonnie
    Bonnie says:

    Awesome idea! I have hollow doors in my home too and had considered buying and installing new 6 panel doors, one of which would be very expensive since it was not a standard width. The total cost of that upgrade for a total of six doors was quite prohibitive. I plan on trying this but will use stain instead of paint. Thanks again.

    Reply
  28. Emma Metson
    Emma Metson says:

    Thanks for sharing this DIY Brittany! I know it’s been a while now, but have the doors stood the test of time in the rental?

    Quick question: Did you use the nails as well because construction glue alone wouldn’t be strong enough? Or is that just a personal preference?

    Also, did you use primer on everything before painting? The door looks shiney, like it had a gloss painted on it before.

    I think they came out looking great, and I’ve always thought that real beading looks better, so good choice! 🙂

    Reply
  29. Theresa
    Theresa says:

    I have been staring at a door in my kitchen for the last 2 months and thinking, “what am I going to do to this door?” Then, WahLah! I saw you had crafted the perfect solution and gave instructions on your website. I used beadboard above painted cabinets to fill the space exposed when I removed a drop ceiling, so this is the answer. Thank you!
    I am renovating the house I am living in – northern NJ, 960 sq and built in 1900. Your Etta project is truly inspirational. So glad I found your site, Brittany.

    Reply
  30. Phil
    Phil says:

    Hi. I want to do 4 panels rather than 2. Does the 5″ measurement from top, sides and in between panels still apply? Thanks

    Reply
  31. Natalie Swirsky
    Natalie Swirsky says:

    Love love love this idea, I’m currently repainting my dark ugly brown doors (all 10 of them!), they already look loads better!

    My house was built in the 20’s and nothing is standard size, all my doors are custom size (even the door handles are lower than standard doors!) and the door jams are also custom this saves me thousands of dollars vs replacing them. I’ve seen this done on a few other blogs however I appreciate your instructions as they are much more detailed and answered some questions I had.

    Appreciate your post and can’t wait to see how much better my house looks afterwards.

    Reply
  32. Tanya Severin
    Tanya Severin says:

    Can this idea be also done to bathroom and kitchen cabinets and what material to replace bottom layer of cabinets. Would it be the same ? i want to get rid of this brown to it is all over this house big project on doors and cabinets , where can i get some good ideas

    Reply
  33. Jyn
    Jyn says:

    Great job on the door-looks great! We’re looking to upgrade our plain, rough looking 1950’s hollow core doors as well. We painted a few, but they seemed to swell and scratch off the paint on the edge that closes. Any tips to avoid this?

    Reply
  34. Eve D.
    Eve D. says:

    Thanks for the inspiration on this! I tried the same thing on my doors, minus the beadboard (just because I didn’t think it matched the era of my house). The results are fantastic — so much better than I expected! I’m just finishing up the last of five doors and it makes such an amazing difference in my hallway. It has been a lot of work, but so worth it!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] You’ll literally want to show someone the door with this upgrade idea.  Add molding to plain doors to make a powerful statement.  Pretty Handy Girl tells how to get the job done here. […]

  2. […] You can find an awesome transformation from Pretty Handy Girl, here. […]

  3. […] I added bead board and molding to all the hollow core doors to give them a more attractive look. Here’s the easy tutorial for adding moulding to a flat panel door. […]

  4. […] Więcej zdjęć oraz instrukcja krok po kroku tutaj: prettyhandygirl.com […]

  5. […] like overdoing the water theme, I want subtle accents that give a lake cottage vibe. I loved this diy door minus the knob and preferably in charcoal […]

  6. […] found this post by Pretty-Handy-Girl, and tweaked it to better suit our budget. If you want to have a slightly […]

  7. […] As in love as we were with these doors, we ran into a deal breaker right off the bat. Panelling the front and back made the door hang improperly. Rectifying this would take quite a long time and we had 8 doors to do! With plans to panel a closet door or two like this, we continued our search. Our inspiration came from the Brittany, the Pretty Handy Girl. […]

  8. […] hollow stock doors like mine may not look so spiffy painted, but with tutorials like this one from Pretty Handy Girl and this one from Addicted 2 Decorating, I think I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve for adding […]

  9. […] doors. Molding can create dimension and give an new feel to any old “boring” door. Pretty Handy Girl has a fantastic DIY tutorial for adding more dimension to your flat […]

  10. […] How to Add Molding Panels to a Flat Door […]

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