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Update Your Flat Paneled Door with Trim

Do you have old doors and need a new look? Being able to update my flat paneled door with trim was a great way to give it a more expensive look, without having to replace the entire door.
How to add trim to a hollow core door and make it look like a raised panel door #addtrimtodoor

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It was just an inexpensive flat panel, hollow core door that was in place when we bought the house, updating the flat paneled door to a raised panel door was a way to make the door look so much nicer.

Update a hollow core flat panel door with trim to give it a raised panel look
For 8 years, I looked at this ugly door, not sure what to do with it… I finally decided a paneled door would be nice. Plus, I had nightmares of this mirror falling on one of the kids. After removing the mirror (Always make sure to take proper safety precautions before attempting any kind of DIY and removing a mirror.), and filling the holes, one of the first things I needed to do was to see how big I wanted my panels to be, and spaced on the door front. I used other pre-made paneled doors for reference. I marked out where my panels would go.
Mark where your trim wil go
I cut my molding with a regular old, inexpensive Mitre Box with Saw. I would recommend if you only have a regular miter box like I do, go with pine molding for your flat paneled door with molding trim. Oak is impossible to cut and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you after cutting these 8 pieces, my arms was tired and I was sweating… I am so out of shape.
Cut your trim with a miter saw to make a flat paneled door into a raised panel door
After you measure and cut you pieces lay them out. I found the trick to cutting the right length is to make sure that I am measuring from longest part of my 45 degree angle.
Lay out your panels for your raised panel door diy . #panleldoordiy
Lay them out on the floor to make sure you have the right size pieces. I ended up cutting  a piece wrong, so I was glad I bought a little bit for overage. It’s also important to make sure that the trim is in the right direction when it’s cut. used hot glue at first to tack them on and hold them in place, and then realized that wasn’t the best thing to use. Powergrab glue really adhered it to the door. Panel nails can be used as well too, but I would probably pre-drill those holes. If you like the look of wood trim, check out how we used wood trim with our wallpaper.
glue and affix trim to the door to make a faux raised panel door


When updating the flat panel door with trim, I used a level to make sure they were on right as I put them on. After putting them on, I also put a wood embellishment at the top.

Level your trim and use wood fill for any corners that don't quite meet on your trim.

And then I used wood filler in any spot I had a huge gap like here (Let it dry and sand it smooth.).
Wood putty any gaps in the wood trim
Once it was up, I let it dry for a day so the wood glue could cure. The hardest part was making it so the kids didn’t close the door.

Then, I could get to the best part, which was I painting the new raised panel door with a semi-gloss which brought the entire thing together, and made it look like a real raised panel door.

Paint your door and trim for a cohesive look when making a raised panel door from a flat paneled door.

I love how brand new the door looks!

For fun, I added an antique brass door tag I bought during a trip to  Kentucky.. It says “law offices”.
Vintage brass tag on door
I thought that would be kind of funny for a bathroom. I wish I had found one that said “library.”   The flat paneled door with molding trim to faux raised panel door project including trim and paint cost around $30.00.  I already had the paint. Time-wise, My panels were 37 x 17 1/2 and 23 x 17 1/2 and it took about 3 hours to measure, cut the trim and glue.
How to add trim to a flat paneled door after
I love how it looks, and am ready to tackle my other doors!

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  1. I’ve seen this project on HGTV and I love it! Yours turned out perfectly Jen and I love the added whimsy of the brass tag. Have an awesome weekend girl!

  2. now why didn’t i think of that!
    beautiful, Jen

    what are you up to now … ooops, right you’re knee deep in the kitchen cupboard makeover!!

  3. I’m going to do give this project a try! I have no sense of aesthetics, however. What ratios would you recommend, both for the height of the top panel to the height of the bottom panel and for the relationship of the panel widths to the door width? Thanks for all you do. It helps us un-creative people to fake it decently well.

  4. Jen! First of all, I’ve missed you …. I can only imagine the FUN we would have had if I bunked with you for FC. Still mourning the loss of memories of that trip. Sigh…

    moving on!

    Just spent so much time catching up on your FAB blog – and I can’t wait to see your kitchen all painted….gasp! NOT WHITE! So excited. Missing you, loving your blog posts, and am excited that you own a piece of…you. 😉


  5. As a miter saw dropout myself, I’m very impressed that your project turned out perfectly. It looks easy, but takes measuring, measuring and sweat. Did I mention measuring? Looks great! Love, Penny

  6. that’s really a good project! we have old doors so most of them have the inset details already but that is a perfect fix for the flat door. i love the sign too, fun!

  7. This looks great!!! Where did you get the wooden design at the top? Did you do this for both sides of the door and what type of paint did you use?


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