Adding decorative trim to bi-fold doors to turn them into something more custom is nothing new (we used inspiration from Room for Tuesday and DIY Playbook, and Project Palermo recently turned her doors inside out to do the same!), and we were determined to make this work for the closet in our Scary Room, too. It’s a great solution to create a higher end look from an everyday item! As much as we wold have preferred a set of side-by-side swinging doors, space is limited in this already narrow room, and we want to have full access to the contents of the closet. The trick with ours is that we wanted the doors to mimic the look of our extra-deep RTA cabinets installed above, and a closer look at the cabinet doors had us realizing that we could, fingers crossed, easily replicate this look with the use of 1″ x 3″s and decorative molding. Luckily, we found a near identical match for the detail trim at this Chicagoland lumber supplier, and we got to work, hoping and wishing that we really could make a pair of bi-fold doors look, well, nice! Fancy, even.
SUPPLIES + TOOLS USED:
Flush bi-fold doors
1″ x 3″ pine boards
panel molding / small decorative trim
2 x hardware per set of doors
Spackle (our pick)
Caulk (our pick)
Finish nailer with 1 1/4″ and 1″ nails
Screwdriver / drill (to install track)
Paint sprayer or brush + foam roller
Fine grit sandpaper
What We Did:
A 1″ x 3″ common board is really only 3/4″ thick x 2 1/2″ wide – which is also the exact dimensions of the paneling around our cabinets. The end goal was to have the front of the newly trimmed bi-folds be flush with the front face of the surrounding drywall, meaning, we needed to figure out the placement of the track after the 3/4″ thick trim detail had been added. Essentially, we simply needed to recess the bi-fold track by at least 3/4″ inside the door jamb to account for the additional trim. Then once we add the 1x3s to the doors, they’ll be nice and flush to the front of the drywall! We played it safe and came in a full 1″ from the front face of the drywall, installing the track and adding the doors per the instructions that came with them:
We made sure that everything aligned properly – check! – and then it was time to add the trim! Here’s what we did: 1) Taking a tip from Room for Tuesday, we made 1/4″ marks all around the outer edge of each set of panels. Where the two panels meet (at the hinge), we only came in 1/16″. The trim will need to be installed on the inside of these marks, an absolute necessity for the doors to properly open and close on the track without rubbing against the door jamb. 2) We cut the vertical lengths of 1x3s on our miter saw first, lightly sanded the freshly cut edges, and ran a line of construction adhesive along the back. These were all straight cuts. 3) After aligning them along our tick marks, we used 1 1/4″ finish nails to set them into place:
4) We chose to have only one horizontal panel in the middle of each door, and we cut those next. Using our square ensured that we stayed nice and level! 5) With all the 1x3s in place, we could move onto the smaller panel moldings. These cuts required mitered corners, and we did a dry fit in each section before 6) securing them into place with 1″ finish nails:
We excitedly hung the first completed door to make sure we were on track (har har!), and after one round of practice, we were able to finish up the second set in about half the time!
All the nail holes were spackled and sanded, and I even ran a thin line of caulk around the inside and outside of each panel for the most seamless look. Finally, it was time to paint! We still use and love our Wagner Power Painter Plus for it’s fool proof usability and smooth paint finish (bonus points for being budget friendly, too!), and we used the same Behr Ultra Pure White semi-gloss paint that’s in the rest of our home. Tip: We used disposable cups to prop the doors up – a bit of advice we picked up from Julia years ago.
Our bi-fold doors are hollow core, but to be honest, we first searched high and low for solid doors. Not only did this turn into The Impossible Task, but when we were finally able to track them down, they were easily three (if not four!) times the cost. Well, we’re happy to report that the addition of 1x3s gives the doors so much strength, and all our initial worries flew out the window. Most importantly, the 3/4″ thickness of the 1-bys paired with the panel moldings is a near identical match to the cabinets above:
We talked more about the rest of The Scary Room’s trim in this post, but you can see that they’ve since been painted! It took a good three coats to cover all that raw pine, but my goodness, all those weeks of trim labor was well worth it. And below, you might be able to notice that we added a small strip of pine stop in front of the track, making it completely invisible. We also added two knobs on each set of doors to give the illusion that we have four separate doors, rather than a pair of bi-folds! (Plus how cute are these latches? More on these finishing details next week!)
Since diving into all things Scary Room, we’ve been able to almost double the amount of usable closet space, and although we’re not quite to the point of closet organization, we’re just thrilled that we’ve gotten this wall – this room! – to an official starting point. And hey, we’re not too far off from our original plans!
So, go forth! Show those bi-folds a little love.