How to Create a Raised Panel Look on Flat Doors


Maybe you walk through your friends and family’s homes admiring their raised panel doors. And you're definitely interested in achieving this look without the cost of replacing your existing, fully functional flat-panel models. It’s possible to paint doors to achieve a paneled look that doesn’t require the skills of a professional or the expense of specialized tools. Fool your friends into thinking you’ve replaced all the flat-paneled doors in your home with a few coats of expertly placed paint.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups warm water
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Kitchen sponge
  • Plastic grocery bag
  • Painter's tape
  • Latex primer
  • Paint roller or brush
  • Semi-gloss interior paint
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Create a mixture of one-quarter cup white vinegar and 3 cups warm water in a plastic spray bottle. Screw on the bottle’s top before shaking it vigorously to mix the ingredients.

  • Spray down the entire door with the white vinegar mixture. Work the mixture into the door with a kitchen sponge. Allow the door to dry completely before continuing.

  • Cover the door knob with a plastic grocery bag. Attach the bag to the knob with painter’s tape to avoid unwanted paint stains.

  • Apply a thin coating of latex primer to the door with a paint roller or brush. The primer prevents the wood’s color or grain from seeping through the final paint coats. Allow the primer to dry completely, or at least eight hours, before continuing.

  • Cover the door with a layer of semi-gloss interior paint. Using a brush or roller, apply the paint in even, back and forth strokes. Allow this first layer to dry for at least three to four hours before applying a second coat.

  • Create the panel’s shape with pencil. Using a ruler and a pencil, create an even number of panels on the door. The number of panels is determined by the size you’re after. For instance, if creating a six-panel door, draw the outline of three matching pairs of panels that have at least 1 inch of space between each pair.

  • Cover the pencil lines with painter’s tape. Fill in the space between the painter’s tape with a coating of semi-gloss paint that is one to two shades darker than the paint color used in earlier for the entire door. Allow the first paint coat to dry for at least three to four hours before applying a second.

  • Allow the final coat to dry for at least eight hours, or overnight, before carefully pulling off the painter’s tape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Further the illusion of panels by surrounding the painted panels with wood trim. Cut the trim to fit before gluing or nailing the sections around the painted panels.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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