DIY Project: Transform Old Wooden Doors From Drab to Fab

A couple of years ago we were finally blessed with a home of our own. We had viewed over 100 homes (that's a lot, I know) before finding the right one. It is an older home, but we loved that the previous owner had added a lot great updates to it. From day one we've had big dreams, which involved multiple design and small renovation jobs to make it our total dream home. Of course those big dreams do require tons of free time (if you're doing them yourself) and a lot money to buy the materials.

We're the kind of people who prefer doing things ourselves. I mean after all, these kinds of projects could be a lot of fun, especially when you see the fruits of your labor. Since we're not natural born home remodeling professionals, we sometimes have to do a little research here and there. One day I was perusing Pinterest for inspiration on an idea that I'd thought about doing, when I came across several raised panel door projects. I'm not sure why these images came up, because I was researching something totally unrelated, but perhaps it was a sign.

You see, for the past year we've been contemplating the idea of replacing our interior doors. Besides our two exterior doors which are completely updated, we only had one updated interior door. The rest of them were these wooden hollow core doors from the 60's. Now, don't get me wrong I do like the look of natural wood–we actually have several very beautiful natural wood accents in other areas of our home that we wouldn't even think of changing, but we both preferred the look of a white paneled door over these old plain wooden ones.

Of course replacing almost every door in the house can be quite an expensive task. We would need at least seven new doors to complete the entire rest of the home, and the cost of each one could really add up. On top of that is the concern of finding the perfect fitting door to accommodate each of our doorways. You see the doors they have in stores may work well with newer homes, but older homes weren't always built with those standard sizes. We definitely have a few that would've needed to be custom fitted and trimmed. This would have only added to the headache of replacing all of our doors. With that being said, we decided to take a completely different approach to giving our current doors a more up-to-date look. How did we do this?

Three simple things:
  • We painted them white
  • Added wooden trim and then painted that white, as well
  • Added some extra finishing touches to the hinges and door knobs (I will explain more about that, below)

What We Used:
  • Wooden trim (these often come in large strips of a few feet)
  • A miter saw
  • A brad nail gun
  • A leveler
  • Primer
  • White paint
  • Painter's putty
  • A roller (for the door) and a paint brush (for the trim)

Before I go into the details, I first want to thank my husband for this one. Although, I came up with the idea to transform our doors using this method, he was the one who did all of the labor. With a little one at home and a lack of babysitting, it is sometimes difficult to tag team the work that needs to be done, so we often take turns doing what each of us has to do. After we discussed what we wanted and picked out the trim together, my hubby really took the lead on this one.

The garage became the work area for this project and each door was done one at a time. After taking the door down, we removed the hinges and door knobs and put them aside (we worked on those later on). First, we lightly sanded the door and a coat of primer was added to each side. Since we were going with a lighter color, we thought we'd have better results by doing this. After each side dried, we proceeded with a coat of white paint on both sides. After letting that dry, we continued this step one more time, giving each side of the door a coat of primer and two coats of white paint. 

After everything was completely dry, it was time to add the wooden trim. If you visit your local hardware store, you'll often find there are lots of different designs to choose from. We saw a really nice one with ivy leaves that we almost bought, but decided to go with a simple, yet elegant design, so we chose something that looked more like this pine molding. My husband measured the trim to the door to see where he would need to cut it. He used a miter saw, since they do a nice job at cutting diagonal corners. Using a leveler to make sure each cut piece of trim was straight, he then proceeded to nail each one using a Brad nail gun. In order to conceal the nails, a small dab of painter's putty was used in each area.  After the trim is nailed on and the painter's putty is dried, you just add two coats of white paint to the trim. Once that paint dries, the door is all set to be put back.

Now of course, no transformation job could be complete without those little finishing touches. They really help complete any project. The previous owners really liked that burnished bronze look and had added little accents of this around the home. We enjoy the look, as well, so we've been continuing the trend by including new light switch plates, hooks, fixtures, etc. Of course, purchasing new hinges and a door knob for each door in this finish would have definitely added up in cost, so I had an even better idea. The kind folks over at Rust-Oleum were especially interested to hear of our home project plans, and were generous enough to send us over several cans of their Universal Flat Metallic Spray Paint in Burnished Amber.


Since Rust-Oleum's Universal Flat Metallic Spray Paint is a paint and primer in one, it did an amazing job at offering rich, full coverage to whatever we used in on, no matter what the previous finish was. The trigger on the can offers a nice even application of the paint onto many different surfaces and can even be sprayed at any angle. It can also be used on both interior or exterior items since it's completely rust proof. To make sure we had an adequate amount of coverage, my husband used two coats of Rust-Oleum's Flat Metallic Spray Paint on each item. 

The Universal Flat Metallic Spray Paint in Burnished Amber really turned these old weathered brass door knobs into an elegant, more modern look:


 Hubby gave them a light sanding before applying the paint


We couldn't forget to also give those old hinges some TLC:

And here are the FINAL RESULTS:



Since this door is in a hallway, I had to get a bit creative with some of the camera angles to provide a full picture of what was done.

  In addition to adding a more updated look, repurposing our old doors means less waste.  A few trees saved, perhaps!


I am going to digress from the door project for a minute. We got a bit excited to see how easy it was to transform the most overlooked things with a beautiful elegant burnished bronze finish using Rust-Oleum's Universal Flat Metallic Spray Paint. We decided to go ahead and change up some other things around the house.

We took our cotton ball/swap jars and matched them to the decor:



Even though our silver bathroom air vent was in perfectly good condition, we wanted it to match the rest of the bathroom fixtures:




Now, back to those doors–between the upstairs and downstairs, we've already finished several of them, but it is a slow and steady process since we do have to squeeze the project into our already busy lives. Now that the warmer weather is here, the paint will be able to dry quicker, allowing for a more speedy completion. Currently, we have two more doors to do downstairs, and three more upstairs, and are hoping to have everything done by exciting!

Overall, I am so happy we decided to go the DIY route with our doors.  I couldn't be happier with the results! They really pop, offering a fresh, updated look that really brightens up the place. With the Rust-Oleum Universal Flat Metallic Spray Paint we were also able to add those extra special finishing touches to complete the job (along with a few additional makeovers throughout the house ). I really love the color of this paint since it did such an awesome job at complementing the other accents we had previously added around the home. Plus, we saved ourselves a pretty penny by not having to purchase new doors and hardware. That's money we can now put towards other projects we have on our list or perhaps a little extra summer fun!

Many thanks to Rust-Oleum for being part 
of our most recent home project!

Updating Old Wooden Doors