How to Update a Flat Interior Door


Gone are the days of the flat panel door. Not only are they outdated, but they can look cheap when surrounded by a modernized setting. The good news is that standard flat panel doors can be both dressed up and updated by simply adding some molding. This project is a quick and easy way to bring old doors into the current era and add some customization, depth and class to any doorway.

Things You'll Need

  • Damp rag
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Protractor
  • Decorative molding
  • Hand saw
  • Miter box
  • Stain or paint to match door
  • Wood glue
  • Level
  • Trim nails
  • Pneumatic nail gun
  • Wipe down the surface of your interior door and use your tape measure to determine where you'd like your molding border to be positioned. Use your pencil to mark the height and width of your desired shape. Simple rectangles are most suitable for first-time designers. Mark the spots where each of your four angles will converge. The size of your door and your personal preference will determine the width and height of your molding.

  • Use your pencil to transfer the measurements onto your molding. Use your protractor to draw 45-degree angles that correspond to each of your measurements. Remember, that two 45-degree angles make a 90-degree angle. Your molding rectangle will require four 90-degree angles, which translates to eight 45-degree angles.

  • Use your hand saw and miter box to cut out your angles. Try to visualize how each cut will fit together as you make your cuts. It's important that your miter cuts are accurate. Your molding will not fit snugly together if your cuts are off. You should be left with four pieces of molding, two long and two short. The two long pieces should be the same length, as should the two short pieces.

  • Stain or paint your molding to match the door in question. Allow the paint or stain to dry completely.

  • Apply a thin bead of wood glue to the back of one piece of molding. Apply the glued piece of molding to the door using your pencil marks as a guide. Use your level to ensure a perfectly vertical application and secure the trim piece to the door using the trim nails and pneumatic nail gun. Nail the piece at points two inches from the top and two inches from the bottom, with one nail in the middle. Repeat the process of gluing and nailing for all four of your trim pieces.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're adding molding to more than one door, you should use the same measurements for each door to ensure a uniform look to all your doors.
  • Use caution when using tools of any sort, to avoid injury.

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  • Photo Credit the door image by Zbigniew Nowak from protractor image by timur1970 from sawing wood image by Aussiebloke from nails image by Witold Krasowski from
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