before and after

before & after: amanda’s doors

by Grace Bonney

this project may look simple, but the result is really fantastic. we’ve all had those cruddy hollow doors in our homes before, and today d*s reader amanda is helping us fix them up with her door-redo project. amanda lives in a 50+ year old ranch style home in connecticut and needed to redo over 12 non-regulation sized doors in her home. unwilling to pay a contractor thousands of dollars to replace all of them, she decided to “dress up” the doors herself. and for under $300 amanda turned her “fugly slab doors” into “applied molding beauties”. it’s such a subtle change, but really changes the feel of the room.

want to take on this project in your own home? click here to download amanda’s diy instructions for creating your own applied molding door upgrade.


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  • Wow-love the transformation! The trim gives the doors a lot of character. I’m saving the how-to instructions! Thanks for sharing…Maria

  • Now THAT is a super clever idea!!! I was expecting just a layer of paint or some mod-print wallpaper glued on– the moulding addition is a brilliant way to add character to that type of door. One could also use different moulding profiles and configurations. This is a really useful before and after!!

  • the before image was confusing, I thought you had two doors hung simultaneously on one door frame..

    I ‘lolled’ hard then I thought about how much fun it would be to make door sized graphics of the rooms behind doors, and lolled at the thought of small children walking into them.


  • Ya know– I hate to be the spoiler here, but I’m not nuts about the colonial-looking doors. I prefer the look of a simple, un-adorned wood door. If i do anything in my house, I’ll splurge on some good simple clean hinges, and keep the doors a natural wood color. But, they were well done, and I’m glad you all find them pleasing.

  • Great job Amanda! I’m in the sanding stage of doing this to my own horrible hollow cores. I am really curious, where did you find the nice flat trim? I’ve looked at the local big box DIY but can’t find anything suitable.

  • The doors look great – both before and after in my opinion.
    Word of warning for others: if you live in a modernist or functionalist house, think twice before transforming the original wood doors this way. Even though the doors look great after the transformation they may be a big mismatch with the style of the house, and if you don’t like the style of the house, well, then maybe you should change houses if possible, or try to see the beauty of the style it was built in before changing it too much.
    I have seen oodles of destroyed doors that don’t match the house they’re in. It makes the house look sad when it’s so obvious that the owners don’t appreciate it but would rather want something else. When I bought my home I stayed away from houses that were refurbished to something they were not meant to be, and I’m not the only one.
    But if they suit the house, go for it, great idea and well executed!
    (and yes, I am an architect, so I may be a bit style-hung up…)

  • great job on these! i have the same problem. (i don’t think those brown hollow doors look good in ANY type of house.)
    just wondering if you had any problems with the doors sticking after the layers of primer & paint?
    also, can you skimp on the sanding if you use kilz or zinzer primer? and finally why did you paint the doors after you put them back up?

  • I’m a year-and-a-half late, but I just found this post… the link to the instructions no longer works. Is it possible for you to send the instructions to me or redo the link? Thanks in advance for ANY help – my doors need help!

  • Hi..Had the same idea but was going to do it in a more difficult way..Thank you for making things simpler for me..but we can’t download your ‘amanda‚Äôs diy instructions for creating your own applied molding door upgrade’ :(

  • I would LOVE to do this to our crappy hollow-core doors at home. Could you please send the instructions – I can’t download them. Thank you!!

  • I can’t down the instruction and I have a couple of hollow doors begging for this restyle. Can you email them to me?

  • Me too, pretty please! I would love these instructions but the won’t download. Thanks o very much!

  • The before and after door trim project looks great. My doors are all like this and I have been thinking about replacements. This is a great, inexpensive transformation. COULD YOU E MAIL YOUR INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS PROJECT AS I CANNOT LINK TO THEM ON YOUR WEB SITE. THANKS DAVE.

  • Am I too late to get the directions? I love what you’ve done with the doors. It’s exactly what I was looking to do. Nice and plain. I don’t want to draw attention to the ugly doors, or put a chalkboard on them. The link no longer works, I would appreciate it you emailed me the instructions.

  • Are the doors just filled sanded and painted or did you use laminate sheets? The link doesnt work anymore… so if its possible I would love to read about your process, as my husband is going to refinish our doors. Thanks.

  • Hi can you send the link please as would like to do the same to the doors at our home many thanks

  • I would also love the instructions. I really like how the moulding isn’t too “raised”.


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