DIY Interior Door Makeover (Five Doors At Once!)

The first time we walked through our house, I was mentally noting all of the things that must change immediately if we ended up closing on it. I was excited, naive, and confident we could fix them all in the few weeks before we moved in. Anyone with more house-buying experience is reading this and already knows... 90% of them didn't happen. Two years later, we finally got around to refinishing most of our interior doors, and the sense of relief is palpable!

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

We had five interior doors that were old, brown, beat-up hollow-core doors with the cheapest possible brass knobs. They were dingy, splattered with paint, and the one to our bedroom even had a hole knocked in it. When we moved in, I assumed we would just buy nicer solid-core replacement doors... until I actually went and priced out nicer solid-core replacement doors. Oof! They were expensive, and I couldn't find ones that didn't look like generic big-box store doors, with the exact same recessed panel style. Our home is a 1930's Cape Cod-style, and I wanted a little more character than those flat brown doors had! So, inspired by Jenna Sue's recent DIY door makeover and White Nest's very detailed tutorial, we took on the project of making over these five (five!!!) interior doors, even though we don't yet own a miter saw.

Let's look at some before photos, and where we are now!

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 
 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 
 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

Before starting in on this hefty DIY project, we did consider second-hand doors from our local architectural salvage place; the pros of this would be having something age-appropriate to the house, likely something solid-core, and avoiding buying new to be more environmentally friendly. The cons were potential lead paint concerns when we have children, and the added work of having to remove doors, clean off old paint and refinish them, and install them back in the door frames. Painting the old ones in place started to sound better and better.

Materials Used

  • TSP cleaner (Be careful with this stuff, and follow the directions! It works miracles but is pretty tough stuff.)

  • Sandpaper (I use this 220 grit Pro Grade stuff)

  • KILZ 2 Primer (I had some leftover from earlier projects)

  • Valspar Signature interior paint in Semi-Gloss (color-matched to Simply White by Benjamin Moore - I had half a gallon leftover from an earlier project, but did end up buying another gallon because I painted so many layers on the doors)

  • A mini-roller for the big, flat areas (I use these ones from Lowes)

  • A good short-handled paint brush (this one is my absolute favorite)

  • Spackling (I almost always use this Dap kind that goes on pink)

  • A putty knife (whatever size you are most comfortable with, similar to these)

  • Patch kit if any holes are present (I used one like this, and cut it to size)

  • Wood trim (like the one shown below)

  • Wood adhesive (I had this kind by Dap leftover from an earlier project, and used almost an entire tube of it - it worked really well!)

  • Good painters tape (I used 3M's green tape)

  • Rags and drop clothes

  • New doorknobs (We chose the Kwikset Hancock in Venetian Bronze to match our entry doors, and did four in Bed/Bath style and one in Hall/Closet style)

  • Cat door (after trying multiple ones from local hardware stores, I went with this one on Amazon and it was perfect!)

BTW, this is not a sponsored post - it's just what I used, and what works for me!

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

Following the tutorials, I spent half an hour carefully examining trim options before choosing the one shown above. It won due to having a pretty reasonable price, coming in 7ft length, and being flat on one side (making it easy to glue to the door). It was a good size, and would capture the character I was trying to add to the door. 

If you have a miter saw, that's awesome! I'm jealous! We do not, and so spent about two hours taking turns holding the trim in place and sawing it with a miter box and saw. One of us held it in place and sawed the angle on one end, then slid it over and the other person sawed the other end. When cutting, be sure you are cutting the angles so that the thickest part of the trim is on the outside, and the thinnest part is on the inside of the rectangle. I mistakenly cut the angle on the wrong side at least once! As we cut the pieces, we laid them out on the floor to be sure the fit was right and that we were cutting the correct pieces (seen below)(also, we need to replace this carpet STAT).

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

In the meantime, I got to work on the doors themselves! Over the course of two weekends, I did the following steps to all five doors assembly-line style, so while I had primer out I primed them all, etc. It was tedious, but efficient!

  1. Taped off any areas as needed

  2. Cleaned with TSP cleaner

  3. Lightly sanded

  4. Wiped down with damp rag

  5. Added two layers of primer

  6. Patched both small and large holes, spackled areas of missing or damaged veneer

  7. Sanded spackled areas

  8. Wiped down with damp rag

  9. Glued and taped up the cut trim pieces

  10. Caulked the corners of the trim (the tutorials I linked to talk about this more)

  11. Primed the trim

  12. Painted three layers of paint

  13. Replaced doorknobs

  14. Touched up areas as needed

Luckily, my awesome friend Laura (who lives across the country) entertained me via phone while I primed and primed and primed. Also, my shoulders still hurt.

A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.

Above, you can see that one coat of primer left things still VERY patchy - yikes. The second coat of primer made SUCH a huge difference! To be honest, these doors were so old and banged up, a third coat of primer would have probably been worth it.

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

Before putting the wood trim up on the door, I used my level and t-square and a pencil to lightly mark where it should be placed. This reduced the amount of times I had to move the trim around after it had glue on it - cleaning the glue up is not easy! I added glue to the back of each piece of trim, stuck it to the door along the pencil line I had made, checked it with a level, then pressed it more firmly down before using painter's tape to hold it in place while the glue dried. I left it like this overnight, just to be sure things didn't shift around! I only caulked the corners where the trim met, and it really looks like it was always there now.

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

One of our doors (the one to our bedroom) had a bigger hole in it; I'm assuming it happened when the previous owners were moving a piece of furniture through the door or something. At first it helped make a case for just replacing the doors, but I've used patch kits in the past and they've made an area almost undetectable -  for a few bucks why not try? It turned out so much better than I could have expected! As you can see above, it's invisible to the eye now. I actually had to look back at process pictures to figure out where it was on the door, when I was taking that after-photo. I did spackled/sanded/spackled/sanded several times to get it ultra-smooth.

I opted to leave the old doorknobs on during the priming/painting process since it gave me a handy wet-paint-free place to grab when I needed to open/close the door while working on it. The new doorknob bases were the same size as the old ones, so it worked out. The very last step of the whole process was switching those flimsy brass knobs for these oil-rubbed bronze ones; we used the same ones as when we painted our main entry-way doors.

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

The door leading to the basement stairs is in our kitchen, and had a very beat-up old cat door when we moved in. Touring the house for the first time, the cat door is actually what sold me on it, though! We had been dealing with cat-ownership in a small apartment for a year while we house-hunted, and the whole litter box situation was so frustrating. Finding a house with a cat door to a basement was a game-changer for me! It's the little things, what can I say. The flap broke off shortly after we moved in, and eventually I removed the old cat door frame leaving just a hole in the door.

Finding a cat door that fit that hole was not so easy; I tried a few from local stores and none fit. I finally ordered one from Amazon that was so close. I ended up using a small handsaw to cut another couple of inches off the top of the hole, which was easy to do on a hollow-core door. The cat door we found is telescoping, so the front and back of it fit right together through the hole, and we don't need to worry about dirt getting trapped in the bottom, or using trim to cover up where you can see the hollow inside of the door. It's awesome!

A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.

Lucy appreciated the hole in the door, as it made coming and going from the basement very easy. I, however, did not enjoy the situation both from an aesthetics and a heating bill point of view. As you can see, she struggled for a few days to get used to the new cat door, which has a magnet at the bottom that helps keep the flap closed. I can assure you that she now has the hang of it, and barges through the cat door with ease! Also, you can see that the spackling was still pink when I took this photo; the old cat door had used screws through the actual door, and the new one doesn't.

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

No lie, this project was a LOT of work. If you're just refinishing one door it seems like a quick weekend project - FIVE doors definitely changed the scope of things. It was so worth it though! The doors are now clean, bright, and no longer something I feel like apologizing for whenever we have guests over. I think they give the space a lot of character, too - it fits the tone of the house. It saved us quite a bit of money, too - all in all, I estimate we spent about $289 total to update all five doors. We already had the primer, tools, and even about half of the paint which helped cut down the cost a lot!

Approximate Cost

  • Wood trim: $145

  • Gallon of paint: $32

  • Patch kit: $3 or so

  • Doorknobs: $90

  • Cat door: $19

If you didn't have to buy new doorknobs or a cat door, the price would go down significantly! If you had to buy all of the tools, sandpaper, spackling, etc. it would go up quite a bit. Just something to think about.

The wood trim was by far the most costly part, which surprised me, but I think it is what makes the doors look so much more original to the house, and adds a lot of character. All that trim = worth it. We needed about 7 lengths of trim for each door. If you were only doing one door, the trim cost would only be like $28 which sounds so much more reasonable than our $145!

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

Of the five doors we refinished, the one above, right next to the stairs, is my favorite. This little spot just looks so much better after our staircase update and now this door being 100000% better. I'm still loving how that green (Dark Linen by Benjamin Moore) on the stair risers gives it some personality.

 
A DIY makeover of five (!!!!) doors at once! How to make old hollow-core doors clean and bright with paint and trim, from danielle and co.
 

You may have noticed a few things in the picture above, if you are as critical as I am; namely, the old yellow light-switch that needs swapped out, the missing trim around the doors, the lack of baseboards, and the painted-over hinges. We still have a lot to do, but none of it would have made much of a difference without these doors being transformed.

Would you take on refinishing five doors, or just replace them with new? Have you spent multiple weekends on a project to save $$$?

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!

 

 

Amazon Amazing Lighting: 10 Stylish Pendant Lights

I'm a big online shopping fan. I get the idea of retail therapy, and while a trip into HomeGoods can be fun and energetic it also can be stressful. Also, what is it about the grocery store on Saturdays that brings out the competitive spirit in people? Once, in Wegman's, I watched a women completely freak out on everyone else for not following "the rules of the dairy aisle" - it was pretty intense and I still don't fully understand what the unwritten policies are for picking up a gallon of milk! I turn to Amazon for a lot of things; we have an Amazon Prime membership and definitely make the most of it. Amazon has everything from my favorite flavors of Larabars, to Volkswagon hubcaps (that one surprised me). I actually just bought a new cover for our bathroom exhaust fan, and it's a discontinued model!

BTW, this post is not sponsored even that I realize I sound super effusive about my Amazon shopping. I did include affiliate links - all opinions, however, are my own and I'm pretty sure Amazon has no idea that I exist.

So, when I was browsing for lighting options for various rooms in our house, I was surprised that Amazon had so many options that were unique and stylish looking! Some of them were cooler looking than what I found at much fancier retailers! I thought while I had so many of them bookmarked, I'd go ahead and share my favorites!

10 style pendant light options available on Amazon - they may surprise you! Style round-up from danielle and co.
 

10 Stylish Pendant Lights On Available On Amazon

  1. Mini Style Chandelier, from Light In The Box via Amazon
  2. Single Light Mini Pendant, from Miseno (I just checked and this is no longer on Amazon, but is on Houzz so I've updated the link here... Hopefully it will be back though!)
  3. Ecopower Industrial Edison Pendant Glass Hanging Light, from CLAXY via Amazon
  4. Round Clear Glass Pendant Lighting, from WinSoon via Amazon
  5. Embarcadero Three-Light Pendant, from Forecast Lighting via Amazon
  6. Indoor 3-light Black Pendant Chandelier, from Jojospring via Amazon
  7. Fresnel Collection 1-light Pendant, from Progress Lighting via Amazon
  8. Schoolhouse Collection 1-light Mini Pendant, from Progress Lighting via Amazon
  9. White Lotus Ceiling Pendant Kit, from Excelvan via Amazon
  10. Polygon Wire Pendant Light, from YOBO Lighting via Amazon

What are your favorites? I think mine is No. 4. It's just so round and pretty! I also love how simple No. 8 is... it reminds me of farm houses when I was growing up. I love that sense of nostalgia. No. 7 is pricey but looks so hefty and has such a presence. No. 9 is SO affordable, it would be hard to resist for a nursery.

Have you purchased higher-end looking finishes or accessories off Amazon? Do you look there first, or are you more of a brick & mortar shopper?

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Hide Those Cords With a DIY Sofa Table!

Cords are the worst. When you love technology, you have to tolerate it's relatives (i.e. the cords and the chargers). That's just how relationships work! Our living room is where a lot of laptop, phone, and tablet use happens and is a hub for tangled cords, routers, signal extenders, etc.  A solution was needed, since this space is small and anything messy has a big impact.

The living room being small also means our sofa is really stuck between a rock (a wall) and a hard place (a bedroom door). Side tables just felt awkward, so we ditched them and instead use a small garden stool from Homegoods as a handy place to prop feet or set drinks. It just wasn't enough space, though, and I longed for a place to put a lamp and the other little odds and ends that are nice to have within arms reach. It finally dawned on me that a long, skinny table behind the sofa could potentially solve both of my problems.

BTW, I cannot wait to get a new sofa someday. Our current one is comfy enough, but is pretty beat-up and a little outdated with its puffiness. Right now I'm all about working with what I have, though!

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 

A DIY sofa table is by no means a revolutionary idea, as any Pinterest search will show you. I wanted to share our take on it, though. I know before DIYing something I'm always trying to find as many different versions as possible, so I can see how it might look in a space similar to mine or find any little shortcuts or tweaks that would customize it more.

Out of all of the zillions of tutorials out there, I found a few particularly helpful and inspiring. Young House Love's sofa table is beautiful, but too beefy for our space. Jenna Sue Design's sofa table seems like an easy and affordable enough build, but we wanted one with a solid side so you couldn't see all of the cords. Mango and Tomato's sofa table seemed the easiest, but we needed a shelf to set some electronic gear and our landline phone on. Urban Jane's sofa table was the most helpful tutorial, and is what I mostly went with... but without using a board on the back of it as a brace (we wanted our table to lie flush against the wall), without the middle vertical board (ours was short enough it didn't need the extra support), and with a second hidden shelf added using the same hardware used for the top board.

Hopefully that helps you see how customizable this project is, and how easily multiple tutorials can be combined to make something that is juuuuust right for your space.

Supply & Budget Breakdown

  • 6' long whiteboard boards from Lowes (3 of them, totaling about $30 with tax).
  • Corner brace hardware (2 packages of these ones, about $7 with tax).
  • Wood screws (I had some of the right length on hand, but make sure yours aren't so long that they go all the way through the board!).
  • Standard household tools (a power drill and rags and a drop cloth for staining).
  • 220 grit sandpaper (I splurged on this Pro Grade stuff, so $16 for 20 sheets... I only used 2 sheets I think).
  • Wood glue (I have a big bottle of this kind, it's only $6 for a decent-sized bottle and holds well.)
  • Dark Walnut Stain (this one from Minwax... a little goes a long way, so this quart has lasted me like 5 projects already).
  • Polycrylic finish (I love love love this one from Minwax. I've tried it in various finishes, and the semi-gloss is by far my favorite. It doesn't take a lot of it, and it just works super well.)
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.

Before buying supplies, I carefully measured the length and height of my sofa, to be sure it would end up exactly how long/tall I needed it. I didn't want the table very deep, so kept in mind to find a board narrow enough. It was important it landed at the right height at the back of the sofa, so drinks could easily be set on it.

We are not yet proud owners of a table or miter saw, and so I took the easy and affordable way out and had the very helpful staff at Lowes cut the boards to size. They do a great job, and their saw can get things really really even. I put it together in our living room, drilling pilot holes for the screws after dabbing a little wood glue where the boards would join.

As seen below, it was not very convenient sitting in the middle of our living room. However, the weather in New York does not allow for a lot of hobby activity in garages or outside. Oh well.

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 
 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 


After it was all put together, I did drag it out to the garage and wait for a day warm enough to stain and polycrylic it. Luckily, stain isn't as picky as paint and it didn't have to warm up tooo much before I could get the project finished. I did two coats of stain and two coats of polycrylic, carefully sanding and wiping down every inch before staining and in between polycrylic coats.

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 

See how handy it is at hiding all of that stuff?! All those cords used to just sit in the middle of our living room. Okay, maybe not really, but close enough. That shelf does a great job of holding everything, and it's easy enough to pull our sofa out a bit to reach things when needed (which is only once every few weeks). Plus, it's a great place for the cat to hoard all of her toys. #eyeroll

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 

On top of the table we keep a lamp, a few pretty things, some coasters, and a little humidifier/essential oil diffuser. I like this one because its pretty, and it really does make the living room feel a little cozier and smell so nice.

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 

Do you follow tutorials to-a-t, or combine a few to get something exactly like what you need? And do you build it in the middle of your living room? (I'm betting if you live in the Northeast you might...)

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!