DIY Modern Closet Door Makeover

Don’t settle for boring doors! Use your creativity and DIY skills to slay a closet door makeover project and add modern style to your home on a budget.

Emerge2 has a project that will take your closet bifold doors from boring to beautiful in seven steps.

Our makeover project will use 30” x 80” bifold closet doors. We'll update and repurpose the dated doors to make them more visually appealing. Having items ready beforehand makes for a smooth project.


  • Miter saw
  • Measuring tape


  • Wood slats (how many will depend on your style and size of doors)
  • Liquid nails
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Caulk
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Screwdrivers
  • Step ladder
  • A helper (to assist in removing and rehanging doors)

Step 1: Remove bifold doors from the brackets

One of the upsides to elevating the existing closet doors is you don’t have to change the hardware brackets. You can use what’s there. You may wish to change or add a knob or handle. The little touches make the project your own.

Step 2: Cleaning door panels

An affordable option is to use what you have at home. Use equal parts of vinegar and warm water. TSP is another product to remove dirt and oil from wood. You can use a spray bottle to apply the cleaning fluid. A cloth dampened with a vinegar wash or diluted TSP will also work. Wipe with a cotton cloth to clean.

Hidden between cracks and door openings are dirt and grease. Pay special attention to the handle areas to remove oils; this will help to prepare the panels for paint. Any residual oils on the wood panels will prohibit paint from sticking to the wood.

Step 3: Decide on the color

Choose something that will blend in with the existing décor or a pop of color that will be a focal point of the room. You may wish to use one solid color for this project or paint the slats in one color and the squares inside the slats in another. Use the measuring tape to measure the length and width of the doors to ensure you purchase enough slats.

Step 4: Cut the slats

For this project (30”x80” doors), you will need the following number of slats:

  • Two bifold doors equal four door panels
  • The doors are 80” tall
  • Each door panel is 15” wide

For this project, we will create three boxed sections in each panel. However, you can design your doors to have four in each by creating more horizontal slats.

Determine the number of slats you need with your measurement of one panel multiplied by four panels.

This project will use a 2” wide slat. You may wish to increase or decrease the slat width.

Each panel has two 80” lengths and four 11” horizontal slats.
2 x 80” = 160”
4 x 11” = 44”

Each panel will need 204” for slats.

Four panels x 204” = 856” or 71.33 feet (let’s round this up to 73 feet)

Nine 8-foot lengths will complete this project (without any miscuts)

Always add additional length to ensure you have enough material. Purchasing eight-foot pieces will eliminate extra cuts. Use them for the vertical slats on the panels, with enough left to create one horizontal piece.

Using your miter saw, cut eight 80” lengths for the vertical pieces needed. The residual 16” lengths can be cut to 11” for the horizontal slats in the panels. You will still need an additional eight 11” pieces cut from the last eight-foot slat. Sand all edges and ends to produce a smooth and professional-looking product.

Step 5: Attach slats to the doors

Start by laying the wood slat pieces on each panel to ensure the slats fit together and that there is no overhang. They should fit perfectly like puzzle pieces. When you are satisfied, apply the liquid nails to the back of each slat and apply to the panel. Apply the liquid nails in a smooth layer. Keep a clean cloth handy to clean the edges to prevent the glue from seeping out the sides. Follow the manufacturer's directions for the liquid nails and use the complete drying time so the slats are solid on the panels.

Fill in any small holes in the slats or panels with wood putty. Allow sufficient time for drying and then sanding.

Step 6: Apply caulking, primer and paint

When dry and clean, apply caulk to the seams of the slats to give a finished look to the panel doors. When the caulk is dry, apply primer and paint, or purchase an all-in-one primer and paint. If using two coats, ensure the first coat is dry before applying the second.

Step 7: Install new hardware

When the doors are completely dry, put on a handle or knob if you choose to do so. Now they are ready to rehang on the door hardware. Add a modern look to any room in just one weekend! You’ll be surprised how different your closet doors will look and feel.

If you have questions about this project, contact Emerge2 and we’ll do our best to help you reach your DIY goals.