How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

09 June

There are a lot of ways that you can spruce up your home without breaking the bank and without hiring a contractor.


Aside from the contents of your home, you can make your home feel warmer, cozier, prettier... more YOU with some easy DIYs that won't cost an arm and a leg but they make a big impact.


Some ideas are:


  • Painting (a whole room or an accent wall)
  • Wallpapering (an entire room, an accent wall, or even the ceiling!)
  • Upgrading lighting (get rid of those boob lights!)
  • Refreshing doors and door hardware (door knobs and hinges)


Today I want to show you how to refresh hollow core doors on a budget and without replacing the door.


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission which helps keep my blog up and running but it won't cost you a penny more)! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


First though... what are hollow core doors?


Hollow core doors are fiberboard or laminated wood doors that are flat on both sides and primarily hollow inside with the exception of the edges. The edges are either MDF or soft wood such as pine so that you can install hinges and doorknobs into something solid. Hollow core doors also have cardboard honeycomb structures at key points inside to help them maintain their structure.


They are pretty boring but also very common. They gained popularity in the 1950s and 60s but are still used today, it is what many builders use unless they get a special request to use something else because they are inexpensive and easy to install.


We have hollow core doors throughout our 1960s tri-level home and I don't like them but don't want to spend the money to replace them all either so I decided to give them an update!


You only need a few things to make your hollow core doors look like expensive paneled doors.



Step 1 - Determine measurements


Determine the measurements for your molding trim. I created a little drawing (definitely not to scale ๐Ÿ˜‚) to show how I am placing the molding on our doors.


The top molding piece is three inches from the top of the door, the bottom molding is 6 inches from the bottom of the door, the sides are 2 1/2" from the side edge of the door, and the space between the top and bottom boxes is about 5 1/2".


Mark your measurements on the door so you know where to place the molding.

How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

Step 2 - cut the molding


Use the miter shears to cut the molding with 45-degree miters and the length you need for each piece to create your boxes.


TIP: If you need a piece of molding that is 24" long, make sure that you cut it with the miter shears so that the points of the miter cut are 24" in length (where the arrows point in the image below).


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

Step 3 - create the boxes


Arrange the molding on the door to create the boxes. Use wood glue and some tape to hold them in place while they dry.



How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

Step 4 - paint and caulk


Once it has dried for about 24 hours, remove the tape and paint the door. 


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget


Use a good-quality angle brush and a small foam paint roller for the best results. Using a foam roller will ensure that you don't have brush strokes.


You will need at least two coats, maybe more depending on the paint and color you've chosen.


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget


Once the paint has dried you can fill any gaps in the trim with caulking.


Miter cuts are hard to get right even if you are very experienced... they just seem to have a mind of their own!


But never fear, do your best and caulk the rest, that's my motto! ๐Ÿ˜‚


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

That's it, doesn't that look so nice?! I think it's such an improvement over the flat, boring doors.


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget
How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget


I've been making my way through the house doing this to all our hollow core doors.


How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget


This door is in our living room. It's the door to our clantry (closet + pantry = clantry ๐Ÿ˜‰) If you saw our finished kitchen tour: Storage Ideas for Small Kitchens (And a tour of Our Kitchen), then you have seen this clantry already.



How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget

If you enjoyed this post, I'd love it if you would share it!


PIN ME!

How to Update Hollow Core Doors on a Budget





Posted by: at 09 June Tag:

Comments by Facebook

Comments by Blogger

  1. AnonymousJune 09, 2023

    This is a fantastic idea’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, it's something that you can do with no power tools too! :)

      Delete
  2. What an improvement! Good job! (and I love your motto.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. HUGE improvement with very little money - love it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your door looks amazing Tania! What a great budget-friendly project.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Tania, I just bought myself a fixer upper and it has plain hollow core doors that I don't have the budget to replace. I remembered you wrote a post about how you made yours look so good with trim and paint. I did a quick search on your blog and found your post! I'll be referring to your tutorial often when I tackle this project - thank you ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marie, so good to hear from you! You bought a fixer-upper?!?!?! How exciting! Is it something you'll move into, something for rental income? Something else?? I'm glad you remembered the door makeover project, it's super easy to do!

      Delete
  6. Hi again Tania, its a small bungalow in a 55+ community for me to start my new life in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How exciting! I'd love to hear more, send me an email at Tania@littlevintagecottage.com!

      Delete

Post a Comment

I love your comments! If you want to be notified when I respond to you, check the "Notify Me" button under your comment.