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Thursday, May 26, 2016


No matter if it's in a quaint cottage or Windsor Castle, the one thing that completely elevates the look of a door is moulding!  We are fortunate that the interior doors in our home are solid and heavy, and most of them already had decorative moulding added to the flat doors.  The doors to our Master Bath were an exception, and I fancied those up last year for my Master Bedroom makeover.

When planning my recent Powder Bath makeover, since it was such a small space, I wanted to pack the room full of interesting details. One spot that was full of opportunity was the back of the door.  The front of the door that faces the hallway was already trimmed in moulding, but the back was plain.  Wanting the back of the door to have a surprise factor when one entered the room, I chose to paint it a bold color, but knew it needed to have trim added as well.  Although I wanted some detail, I also wanted to keep it simple, so I just mirrored the design that was on the other side of the door.

It's a fairly easy job to add a simple box moulding design to a door.  It's ideal, and fastest and easiest, if you have a brad nailer and a power miter saw, but this job can be done completely by hand if you don't have those tools available.

Materials needed:
Level and/or ruler
Wood Filler (I like this one or this one)
Caulk (make sure it's paintable)

First of all, decide the pattern that you want to make (I'm just doing a simple box today) and how big it will be.  Since my door already had moulding on the other side, I just copied that side.  Be sure to account for where the knob will go as you're measuring your design.  If your starting from scratch, it can be very helpful to mark out your design with painter's tape, first, then adjust as needed if your proportions don't look right.  When you know what size you want, measure how long each side of the box should be.

If your moulding has a definite outside and inside edge, for this box design the outside edge should always be the longest, with the diagonal working down to the inside edge.  Make your measurements on the outside edge.  Cut each end at a 45 degree angle.  One tip here:  always buy extra moulding!  Most likely, if you're like me, you will make a mistake or two cutting and will need to try again.  Even when you're measuring twice and cutting once, which way your cuts should go can get a little confusing!

If I needed multiple pieces of the same length, I moved a little quicker when I used a piece that I had already cut as a guide for another piece, rather than measuring each piece out.

After you've made your cuts, lay out your design to make sure everything is going the correct way and actually fits together well.

Lay your moulding out on the door, making sure that each piece is even from all sides from the edge of the door, and that each piece is level.  Once again, laying your entire pattern out first is important, making adjustments where needed before you begin permanently attaching each piece.  It's not a bad idea to use a few strips of painter's tape to hold your pieces in place once they are in the correct spot, then begin attaching them.  Using my brad nailer, I found it helpful to just put one nail in each piece to start with, then I could still tilt the pieces just a tad if they needed to fit together better.  Then, I went back and added a few more nails to secure each piece.

(This door was black before.  I sanded it down a little before I started, that's why it looks uneven.)

If you don't have a nail gun, use a bead of wood glue on each piece to attach to door, then secure with painter's tape until the glue is cured.  I usually use a small bead of glue even with my brad nailer, just to avoid having to use so many nails.

After all of the moulding is attached, fill in the nail holes and any gaps in the mitered corners that might need it.  I find that cutting a small strip from an old credit card works as a perfect tiny flexible putty knife to push the filler down into the cracks.   Sand all of the filled spots well when the filler is dry.  Make sure to do a great job sanding so that the filler completely blends with the trim (run your finger over it too to make sure you can't still feel a bump there), or it will be noticeable after you paint. 

This next step is at your discretion... I've done some of my doors each of these ways.  If desired, run a bead of caulk around your moulding where it touches the door, making sure to wipe away the excess and smooth as you go (several types of caulk are tough to sand off if there is too much).  This is such a great tip for working with caulk- it really is easy and makes a big difference in the final appearance of your project.  Sometimes, my trim has been so tight against the door that I've skipped this step, but I did use caulk on the powder bath door because I wanted to ensure that no slight gaps would show around the moulding.  

After the caulk is dry, you're ready to paint!  You'll need to prime your moulding for sure if it's raw wood.  Following the directions on the can for drying time, and after the primer is dry add your final color to the door. 

To paint the door, I like to use a combination of a good brush and foam roller.   I brush around the edges and corners of the moulding, and then follow up on all of the flat surfaces with my foam roller.  

Color- Sherwin Williams Dragon Fruit (darkened just a little from the original)

I wanted a glass knob, but they were a little tricky to find (at a reasonable price).  I ended up using this one from Lowe's.  It's a cheapy at less than $15, but we made it work for now, and it's actually working well!  The finish was bad shiny brass, so I sprayed it a more muted gold to tone it down a bit.  And here's a little secret... the plates are supposed to screw into the door, but since this knob is probably a replacement for a more vintage door than ours, the hole in the door was too big and there was nothing to screw in to.  So.... the knob is holding itself together just fine, but the plates are purely for looks (I even had to glue the brass screws into the plate so the holes wouldn't be empty).  

I also added a hook to the back of the door.  On occasion guests will use the powder bath to change clothes, and I wanted them to have a spot for hangers if needed.

I hope that process makes sense, let me know if you have any questions.  Moulding really is one of the best ways to get a big bang for your buck when adding details to a space, and once you practice the basics it's so easy to do!

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Hi Jennifer, your're definitely right about mouldings adding a touch of class, they can make a basic looking door look a whole lot more expensive. This might actually be a great thing to recommend to anyone looking to sell their home and get the best price they can. After all it's straightforward to do, but gives a result that completely changes the look and feel of a room.

  2. I so need to do this for the walls in my Dining room, thinking of updating it for Fall ORC! Thanks again dear!

  3. Thanks for the tutorial Jennifer! Do you think this could be done without taking the door off its hinges?

    1. Yes, it just might be a little more tricky! I'd definitely use lots of painters tape to get everything perfectly in place, then slowly permanantly apply one piece at a time.

    2. Thanks Jennifer! Have a great (long) weekend!

  4. What a huge difference moulding makes. And that color! So fun!!! I love that surprise when someone goes in and closes the door.


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