Welcome to day 2 of the 14-day decorating challenge.

Yesterday we short-cutted our way through lighting.

In case you missed it because you were recovering from the eclipse, you can read about the one thing that every lamp needs here.

Today we are talking doors—the unsung heroes of the decorating world.

Everyone kind of forgets about them.  We open them.  We knock on them.  We shut them.

But sometimes we get so busy about the walls and the ceilings and the floors that we forget to invite them to the decorating party.

Until now.

Here’s a short cut to transform a builder-grade door for under $10.


Here’s the subject of our short cut for today.

This hollow core builder-grade door.

The gatehouse is full of them.

How do you transform a door when you’re budget has already been spent on the ceiling and the floors and the walls and cute nail polish?

The answer?

Meet a door’s best friend—paint.

We want to pop out those panels.

We want to give the door visual interest and make it shine and look high-end.

We want the neighbors to sit up and take notice and say, “That is some door.”

Tape off the center panels.

Tape off the handle.

Tape off the hinges.

Make sure that all the tape is securely affixed.

Press down the edges with a card.

Then paint the door.

This is the door after one coat.  I painted it SW Mindful Gray.

Obvi. 🙂

Let dry and then paint a second coat.

And then?

All that’s left is to peel off the tape.

Hello new door.

It is so nice to meet you.

No one will ever call you builder’s grade anything again.

They’ll just call you beautiful. 🙂

PS  You could recreate the same look with a flat door, too.  Just tape off faux panels and follow the rest of the steps.

PPS  And now here’s a word from our 14-day shortcut sponsor.

Click here to read the first chapter.

Click here to pre-order.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Oh, sister, you have given me the best inspiration possible this morning. My pantry door needs a serious upgrade since we painted the walls and are working on the cabinets. My island is about to Agreeable Gray and now, so will my pantry door! Victory shall be mine in the kitchen!

  2. Image for Moriah Cameron Moriah Cameron

    Love this! We will be adding another bedroom so I'm keeping this idea tucked away for the door 😉 Thank you and cannot wait until you're book is released. Congrats!!

  3. Image for Kymee Martinak Kymee Martinak

    I learned from someone else I do have to say that I like the way that it works is to use tinfoil for the hard to tape areas. Thank you Carrie Anne love this blog. love your photos love your style in writing and your subjects you write about. Thank you for being you Kymee

  4. Image for Kris Kris

    Aha! We have flat builder grade doors (which I loathe) but I have better places for my money right now than to upgrade those ... LOVE the idea of taping off panels--even I could pull that one off! I think I'm gonna like your 14 day challenge ... I am all about maximal impact for minimal cost and effort. You rock (but you knew that already!).

  5. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    At first I thought you painted the trim around the panels yellow, and I thought, that's cheerful. The gray with white is much classier and more subtle. Just enough to rise above builder's grade origins.

  6. Image for Vee Muller Vee Muller

    Saw the first door picture, didn't look real close, and said " yellow, what a nice change!" Then kept reading!! Haha! The door turned out real nice. (Yellow and white would have been nice too!)

  7. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    That looks so great!! Here's what we did. We had really cheap hollow core doors -- the ones they stuck in those older homes. Well, we bought little framing kits at Lowes and stuck them on the doors. We painted the inside of the rectangle a little darker shade than the door. Looks better than what we had. I really like your idea -- not too labor intensive but it puts the red lipstick on the door. Hugs!!

  8. Image for Cindy DeMay Cindy DeMay

    My son is moving out and his room is going to be our dining room, since it's right off the kitchen. This will be absolutely perfect to do to his door....uhum, his old door. Thank you for such a grand idea.

  9. Image for Carol@BlueskyKitchen Carol@BlueskyKitchen

    I love real 6~panel doors but in our house now we have 6~panel faux doors made with molding. Way too expensive to replace them when we did the remodel. But maybe Sweet Shark would let me paint the back door. Would he even notice? Do I dare? Please, someone double dare me!

  10. Image for Sandy Sandy

    I just pre-ordered your first book. How could I not? I gave your posts A+'s way back when Thistlewood was in its infancy. Congratulations and hey, come to northern Ohio for a book signing. Would love to meet you and have my book autographed . Rock on, Karianne.

  11. Image for pamela pamela

    Such a great Idea!! the door looks great!!! I was ready the other post and they were great.. Carol @ blueskykitchen your so sweet.... you asked for someone to dare you giggling. Well here it goes I double dog dare you :D.. giggling.....

Comments are closed.