How To Upgrade or Repurpose Your Hollow Core Doors
Home Decor and the Ugly Door
I really do enjoy our late-1970s home. It is a little frayed around the edges, and still sports plush carpet on the stairs and a couple of massive raw cedar "feature walls," but we are slowly working to update it just enough to be able to express who we are apart from fancy ceiling work and "bonus rooms" over the garage.
During the time our home was built there appears to have been a minimalist builder who pushed for hollow core wood slab doors throughout the house's interior. I guess they were meant to match the "pocket doors" that slide open to the kitchen from what was a formal dining room and from the foyer into the living room. There are twelve of these hollow core doors in our house. The monotony is broken only by a couple of cubby holes and a basement covered by rustic cedar doors: yes, very 1970's three-kids-and-a-dog.
So, I am on a mission to find out what we can do to upgrade those dull, grungy mahogany doors, something that saves us from dumping them and purchasing more expensive, more attractive doors.
Perhaps you are reading this article because you, too, want some notion of what to do with your flat, boring door. Fortunately, many people have had this idea before us and have posted their work on the Internet.
1. A Simple Elegant Door
In this example, Thrifty Artsy Girl at the Home Talk site dislikes the 'slab' doors as much as I do. She selects two doors-- from a bathroom and bedroom-- to demonstrate, with excellent photos, the process that she used in this small sample.
- She painted the doors and the trim around the doors
- She shows the few tools that she used (example: miter box, pencil, ruler, glue, etc.)
- She provides great photographs to take you step-by-step through the process of transformation of a "hollow core bore" into a very chic and elegant door.
The Before and After Pictures
2. Updating 70's Bi-Folding Closet Doors
We do have these bi-fold closet doors as well, in a couple of places. You have seen them, even if you have never lived with them: dark brown varnished hollow doors.
While the dark slabbiness of the doors is not attractive, the fact that they are made from wood and not a plastic product is one reason for taking the time to do a bright, fresh upgrade. The other reason is that you can potentially save around $100 if you put in the hard work yourself. This project over at Apartment Therapy takes only about 4 to 6 hours to complete. (In my home it might take 4 to 6 months to complete, but it's all good).
The Apartment Therapy site lists the tools needed and the steps needed to complete this project from start to finish!
Is this a project you plan to undertake in your home:
3. Fitting Glass Panel into a Hollow Core Slab Door
This project might be better-suited to someone who knows more about carpentry and glass-fitting than a beginner or even an "intermediate" project-doer. I am frankly amazed that a dull hollow core door could be transformed into this very smart-looking glass-fitted door.
"Dezine" does a photo tutorial, showing the steps that go into building this posh door. He used this one in a bathroom, with 3 coats of a frosted glass spray for privacy that also allowed light from the bathroom window to filter into the dark hallway. I can see this as being a door to a home office, or two inexpensive hollow core doors with glass inserts to form double French doors.
Repurposing Your Hollow Core Slab Door
If you don't feel like putting X number of hours into transforming an old slab door into something attractive and updated, you might want to donate those doors to one of the Habitat for Humanity "Restores" or you may want to repurpose the doors for something you will use, a blanket box, a piece of art, or anything that will prevent the door from ending up in our over-filled garbage allotments. Here is an idea: