How to make your hollow core doors look expensive when you're on a budget.


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How to make your hollow core doors look expensive when you're on a budget.

By jonnathan.rivas

Monday, April 11, 2022

Hollow core door makeover ideas | Schlage

Quickly give your home a more elegant and modern touch without breaking the bank when you try one (or more!) of our favorite DIY hollow core makeovers.



Nearly every home has at least one – boring, flat-panel hollow core doors. Quickly give your home a more elegant and modern touch without breaking the bank when you try one (or more!) of our favorite DIY hollow core makeovers. It might look like you spent a fortune on upgrades, but you’ll know better.

1. DIY Beadboard doors

Beadboard doors work for almost any style of home. Get this simple tutorial from The Shanks, who used beadboard wallpaper to achieve the look they wanted. At one-third of the price of actual beadboard, it’s worth thinking about.


Brittany, the Pretty Handy Girl, used molding and beadboard panels to dress up the hollow, flat doors of a rental property. She opted for panels instead of wallpaper to stand up to the rigors of rentals.

2. Panel doors for every budget

This step-by-step tutorial from Jenna Sue Design Company takes a plain slab door and turns it into a five-panel door. It looks like a million bucks but only costs $12! The black paint gives her doors an extra luxurious appeal, too. For a flawless paint job, be sure to check out these door painting tips and tricks.


When we found this next DIY update for a flat-panel door, we literally gasped out loud. “Just $3!?” Originally Worn takes “budget” seriously by using boards for lattice fencing – hers cost just 17 cents per foot – to create panels.


Create the illusion of raised panels and banish dull, flat doors with this quick and affordable tutorial from Lowe’s. With just a few supplies and a bit of time, you can create a classic look you'll enjoy for years to come.
If you’re up for a project that requires a bit more advanced tools and techniques, we have something for you, too. Jenna Sue is at it again over on Remodelaholic. She updated this old, synthetic closet door by adding veneer and authentic details. Say hello to a beautiful, rustic new look.
You can also check out This Old House’s detailed tutorial on adding panel molding to dress up a hollow core door. We’re talking a transformation from slab door to grand entranceway.
When an all-new garage entry door proved to be too expensive, Simply Beautiful by Angela used plywood left over from another project to turn a flat door into a three-paneled masterpiece. Add to that a Schlage Accent lever with Camelot trim in Aged Bronze finish, which matches the other hardware and fixtures in the entryway, and this space went from drab to character-filled at very little expense.

If cutting and trimming and molding and measuring is more than you’re looking for right now, take a page from Seeking Lavender Lane’s book. They used drop ceiling tiles to give that same paneled look with hardly any tools.


3. Plank Doors

Panels aren’t the only way to add architectural detail. Beth at Home Stories A to Z gave her boring hollow core doors a lift with a herringbone detail. And because she affixed the wood to the face of the door, it successfully covered the cheap-looking panels that were already there.


My Happy Simple Living chose vertical planks to give their hollow core doors a stylish makeover. Because you’re adding thickness to the door, there are a few adjustments you’ll need to make to the jamb, but we’d say it’s worth it.


4. Glass Details

Remodelaholic showcased yet another great way to rejuvenate a hollow core door by adding glass. With some elbow grease, you can not only improve the look of the door but also add some light and beauty to an entire room. It’s the perfect opportunity to incorporate decorative glass into your home.

Once you have the glass, you can dress it up even more. Instead of investing in stenciling, frosting or etching though, try this faux stained glass hack from Lovely Indeed.


Hanging a mirror on a hollow core door can be trickier than it sounds. You need the mounting brackets to be secure and strong enough to fully support the mirror and keep it from cracking. Home Guides has tips for that. If you’re looking for extra detailing, Young House Love shows how to frame out your mirror on a hollow core door.


5. Dutch doors

What could make a door feel more different than turning it into two? Angela at Unexpected Elegance gives you a step-by-step guide to turn that slab door into a Dutch door. Be sure to choose the right hardware for your new entryway.


6. Upholstered Doors

Fabric isn’t just for couches and dresses. Upholstering your door is a great way to incorporate your favorite pattern into a room. If you love the Granny Chic style, this could be for you, too. The Interiors Addict showcased a monochromatic large floral-patterned fabric on this hollow core bedroom door.



How About Orange gives a variation on his hack for dressing up a hollow core door. They applied the fabric with cornstarch and water. This temporary solution is ideal if you constantly change your mind or live in a rental.



Upholstery nails, whether you apply fabric to your door first or not, can also add stunning detail. There is some debate over whether this works better on solid wood doors, but Design Sponge shows you can achieve a bit of glam with nail-head trim. They used this detail in their 1910 home and we can definitely see it working in an Art Deco or Hollywood Regency-inspired room.



7. Stick-on Fun

While we’re talking about unusual places for traditional materials, what about wallpaper for your doors? Your favorite wallpaper pattern, a peel-and-stick variety like Little Vintage Cottage or even contact paper can create a whole new look.


There’s no need to limit yourself to just patterns or certain colors. Choose a mural decal to create the illusion of a scenic vista or an all-new room. Because sometimes the dream of a secret bookcase door never dies, no matter how old you get.


8. Pet doors

This one might not make your door look expensive, but it will have Fluffy feeling like a million bucks. Add a pet door, perfect for hiding litter boxes in closets, with this tutorial from First Home Love Life.

9. Creative inserts

We saw with that cat door that cutting out portions of a hollow core door is pretty simple. Use the same idea and add an insert. Driven by Décor replaced part of these closet doors with corkboards. Molding adds a bit of extra sophistication both above and with the faux panels below.

10. Sliding barn door

In her ongoing adventures of creating a home one project at a time, Christina Maria repurposed the hollow core door in her kitchen in a truly unique way. Using some imagination, careful planning and little know-how, she turned it into a sliding barn door – adding privacy while taking up minimal space.

11. Painted Beauties

If you’re thinking those sound great but more than you want to take on – project burnout is a real thing – then keep it simple. Rain on a Tin Roof shows us how striking a pantry door of all things can look with black paint and new hardware.

Consider different types of paint, too. Design Sponge used chalkboard paint, then drew architectural details on the door to make it look as if it had columns and molding. You don’t have to be an artist to pull this off, though. Try chalkboard paint on a child’s bedroom or playroom door and let them flex their own creative muscle. Or try it on a kitchen pantry door and use it to make your grocery list or as a command center.


Some geometric details or a mural can also spruce up a hollow core door. HGTV shared a tutorial for this bold and beautiful project. Although it already had some simple paneling, the colorful update would look equally beautiful on a plain flat-panel door, too.

12. Easy Updates

Dream Green DIY took on an approach even easier than simply painting. We’d say that Schlage lever is a huge improvement over the scratched and dinged knob originally on the door. How’s that for an elegant upgrade without a major commitment?

Vintage Revivals shows how a door upgrade doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing commitment. Replacing all the doors in the 80s house wasn’t in their budget, but they wanted a new look to fit their updated bathroom. The final decision? Add faux paneling and go with a bold golden paint just on the door’s interior. That kept the view from looking mismatched in the hallway, but still allowed for a needed style boost.

No matter how you give new life to your hollow core doors, remember that a refreshed set of door hardware can help complete the look. Visit the Product Selector tool on for help finding the perfect look for your doors. And don’t forget to find us on Pinterest and Instagram for even more inspiration.