interiors & styling

Paneled Bi-Fold Closet Door DIY


Maximizing Closet Space | Room for Tuesday

Since my closet post and guest room feature, I’ve had a lot of people ask for a tutorial on paneled bi-fold closet doors. In hindsight, I would’ve taken very specific images during construction to document the process. Unfortunately, during that stage of the renovation- I was totally over it. My mindset was only looking towards the finished project, rather than thinking of blog content.

With that being said, I do have a few images. You’ll have to excuse the quality and the mess in each photo because as I mentioned, this was a real life construction zone. Ha! Luckily, it’s a pretty straightforward and simplistic DIY, so I’m going to do my best to pull together a little tutorial for you guys! Here it goes, the secret to dressing up plain bi-fold doors…

I prefer the look of flat and simple, shaker style doors. It fits the aesthetic of my home and it’s probably the easiest trim to apply. I also prefer balance; I knew I wanted each inner square to be the exact same size. Once you have decided on the overall design and direction, you’re ready to get started!

1: Gather your supplies. You’ll need a pair of unfinished hardwood interior bi-fold doors. As long as your closet door frame is a standard size, you can purchase doors like this from any big box retailer. You’ll also need a saw, poplar planks, wood glue, wood filler, a level, sand paper / sander, primer, paint, brushes / roller, and hardware. If you want heavy duty doors, you can use a finishing nail gun in addition to wood glue.


2: Measure and cut. Because I’m a visual person, I like to make a little sketch and calculate the size of each square or trim piece. After you’ve calculated the length of each wood plank, measure and mark each piece. Remember the old rule, “measure twice, cut once”… I’m always at fault for skipping this step and it comes back to bite me. Next, you’re ready to cut the wood.

3: Assemble and adhere. If your design is the same as mine, you should have 8 long planks and 24 short planks. Begin by glueing the long vertical pieces first. Mount them 1/4 inch inside the edge on the sides and at the top and bottom.  I repeat, you don’t want to mount them flush to the edge (this is the same rule that is followed when installing window or door trim)! After the long pieces are set and squared, begin glueing the short horizontal pieces.


4: Fill and sand. Allow your doors plenty of time to completely dry (I’d recommend at least one day). Next, you’ll want to fill any cracks, crevices, or joint lines with wood filler. Some of the joints may have slightly expanded or contracted, wood filler should do the trick to fill any tiny gaps. Once the wood filler is completely dry, sand the doors until they’re nice and smooth.

gibson door 2

5: Prime and paint. In my opinion, this is the fun part because you can really see the transformation! You can either use a brush or a roller. I used a brush for the inner edges and corners, and rolled the flat panels. Like any other door or trim, I would recommend using a semi-gloss finish. Here the doors are smooth and ready for painting (and obviously the walls needed it too, ha):

gibson door1

6: Install (if you haven’t already), add hardware. You might have already guessed to install your doors. I actually painted while my doors were installed. It probably made it more difficult, but I was anxious to see them in the space. Some doors come with hinges, while others do not include hardware. I selected brass hinges to match by door knobs (agate pulls). The last step is adding the exterior hardware, then you’re all finished! If you need a little hardware inspiration, check the hardware section in this Etsy roundup.

Since my closet door update, I’ve been seeing beautified closet doors pop up more frequently in my feed. I loved this roundup by Jenny Komenda on Little Green Notebook. There are so many ways to dress up boring bifold doors. I hope you give my DIY a try; be sure to tag us, so we can share the results!

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  • Reply
    Carmen Gomez (Lilly)
    January 28, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Beautiful! I have a combination of louvered bi-fold and sliding doors in my bedroom and i want to replace them someday, these have me swooning!

    • Reply
      January 28, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      Thank you!! So glad you like them. xo

      • Reply
        March 13, 2019 at 12:44 pm

        I realize this is a long ago project but where did you get your door knobs? I am trying to find a place that has creative knobs for my closet renovation

  • Reply
    Whitney Shortt
    January 29, 2016 at 2:14 am

    Thank you for this tutorial! These doors are so pretty

    • Reply
      January 29, 2016 at 3:22 am

      Of course!! Thanks for reading! xo

  • Reply
    Amy Ehmann
    January 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Awesome results! I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    What is the paint color on the doors? I love them!

    • Reply
      January 31, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks, Molli! The paint is Benjamin Moore – Nimbus

  • Reply
    February 3, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Such a great makeover! So chic!

    • Reply
      February 3, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      Thanks, Megan!! xo

  • Reply
    diane jones
    February 14, 2016 at 2:28 am

    so hip !

  • Reply
    Jorge McMillan
    April 29, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    I think that these bi-fold doors are beautiful and go so well with the room. My wife wants to have doors like this, so I’m trying to find some for her closet as a birthday gift. This article helped me a ton and I hope that I can find ones that look like this.

    • Reply
      April 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks so much! What a thoughtful gift; I’m sure you’ll be able to find something similar and your wife will love them.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Did you use the exact 1x2x8 poplar boards you linked to on the Lowe’s website? An inch seems so deep and yours look thin on the closets (if that makes sense). Thanks!

    • Reply
      July 14, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      Hi Lauren! Yes, that’s exactly what I used on the doors…. although if you like the look of a thin door, you can totally customize this DIY! It also depends on the scale of your doors. My closet might be a different size than yours. I just purchased a material that made sense with the proportion and scale of my doors. Hope this helps! xo

      • Reply
        July 15, 2016 at 3:38 am

        Thank you SO much for the reply! Can’t wait to get started :)

      • Reply
        November 30, 2018 at 11:41 am

        I believe the thickness should be closer to 1/4″ thick on the boards. I purchased 1″ thick boards and they needed to be 3/4″ from the edge to clear. Can you please clarify? This post inspired me to create these beautiful doors. Thanks!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2016 at 4:09 am

    I really love your doors! And the color combo on the doors and walls. Was wondering if you could tell me what color you used on the doors and wall and what brand paint? The colors are very beautiful. Thanks!

    • Reply
      August 3, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Thank you, Christina! If I remember correctly, the wall color is Pure White by Sherwin Williams and the doors are Nimbus by Benjamin Moore. xo

      • Reply
        August 4, 2016 at 1:04 am

        Great! Thanks so much we are redoing are kitchen and love these colors.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 1:07 am

    Looks great. Where did you get the door hardware from? I can only find cheap hardware for bifold door systems! Thanks!

    • Reply
      June 6, 2017 at 2:47 am

      You can read all about the hardware in this post: I love it!

  • Reply
    Nikki Glass
    May 20, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    It’s been a few years since this was posted, but I totally copied your design (thank you so much!) but I really love those shell handles. Where did they come from?

    • Reply
      May 21, 2018 at 7:49 am

      So happy to hear this, Nikki! The hardware came from Anthropologie… but sadly, I don’t think they make that specific item anymore. xo

  • Reply
    May 14, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    I’m really new to all of this— so there is a 1/4 around all trim?!?! How have I not noticed this?!?! Will you tell me why? I am just starting a whole new renovation and I probably would have done this all wrong!!!

    Mount them 1/4 inch inside the edge on the sides and at the top and bottom. I repeat, you don’t want to mount them flush to the edge (this is the same rule that is followed when installing window or door trim)!

  • Reply
    October 31, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Love this look! Great tutorial! What color white do you have on the walls here? It looks so nice with the door color :)

    • Reply
      November 2, 2020 at 8:41 am

      Thank you, Lindsey! I believe the paint color is Pure White by Sherwin-Williams.

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