Modernizing Bifold Closet Doors

When we moved into our new home, the first space I wanted to make my own was the kitchen.

Let me show you a quick before photo so you can get a sense of what we had to work with …

As you can see here, beside our kitchen there is a set of bifold doors (actually two sets) that cover our pantry and laundry closet. My goal was to modernize these doors, while also tying them in with the rest of the kitchen, so it felt like one large space and flowed together better. We used this hardware from Etsy in various sizes (mainly 5 inch and 10 inch) for both the kitchen cabinets and the doors. We also used cabinet paint color (White Mocha by Behr) to tie the bifold doors into the kitchen.

Here is the finished result …

I’m passing the post over to Collin now to show you how he DIYed these doors!

-twelve 2′ x 4′ x 1/4″ plywood 
-wood glue
-wood filler

circular saw
-nail gun
-electric hand sander
-measuring tape
-pencil and piece of string
-two clamps
-4′ level (optional)

First, cut your 1/4″ plywood into 4 pieces (8 total, 4 per door). The dimensions will depend on the size of your bifold doors, but since our doors are 30″ wide by 80″ long, I needed to cut 2 pieces of plywood to 15″ x 4′ and 2 pieces to 15″ x 32″ (to make the total length of 80″). To do this, lay down all of your pieces of plywood on top of each other and use a 4′ level (or any straight edge) and some clamps and clamp it to your plywood to use as a guide for your circular saw to ensure a perfectly straight cut. Use your sander to sand any rough edges before attaching.

Attach the cut pieces of plywood to the fronts of your doors with glue and a nail gun, with the 15″ x 4′ pieces on the top half and the 15″ x 32″ pieces on the bottom half. Fill the line where the two pieces of plywood meet with wood filler.

You will have leftover pieces of plywood that will be 9″ x 4′ from the cuts you made earlier. Take a pencil and make a mark at 1′ and then again at 2′. Tie a piece of string to your pencil and with one hand hold the string at the middle 1′ mark and trace a half circle with the other hand as shown above.

Now, take a jigsaw and cut out your half circle. Repeat this 8 times or less if you clamp multiple pieces of 9″ wide plywood together and cut all at one time. Make sure your jigsaw is set to its slowest speed and take your time to make sure to cut these perfectly! Use your hand sander to smooth out any rough edges and to also sand out any small mess ups from the jigsaw.

Mark the middle of the doors with a pencil and attach the half circles opposite each other on either side of the door, with each end of the half circles meeting at the halfway point in the door. You also want them to be 1″ from the inside side of each door panel as shown above. Attach with glue and a nail gun and fill all of your nail holes with wood filler. Lastly, paint them and add some handles/knobs and you’re done!

Our home is FULL of these doors, so next we’ll be doing the closets and one in our bathroom as well. I love the chance to add a creative detail to something that is otherwise pretty boring.

Thanks so much for reading! Elsie + Collin

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson and Collin DuPree. Photography: Collin DuPree and Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Please ignore or at least delete the ridiculous nit picky criticisms directed at you from the perpetually woke commenters. Nothing you will ever do will be enough for them. This is a design blog, not a forum to address the question of inequalities.

  • You’ve done an incredible job!

    Mariya |

  • Hey there, cool project! I heard somewhere that these doors were typically louvered so that laundry spaces had proper ventilation, which is part of why I’ve left mine alone. Did you change any ventilation things in there? If it’s fine to use regular doors and make little to no adjustment ventilation-wise, then I may just make that change myself! Thanks!

    • Hello! Know-it-all architect here to answer your question!

      Yes, the doors to these little laundry closets are louvered to provide ventilation for the air flow of the equipment. A dryer pumps in a lot of air while it cycles, so it needs to be in a well-ventilated area. You should be able to look up the owner’s manual for your specific washer/dryer and find the manufacturer’s requirements for air flow and ventilation around the equipment (if you don’t abide by their ventilation requirements, you’ll be voiding your warranty – that could be okay with you if it’s not a new machine). In some jurisdictions, louvered doors for air flow on laundry closets are actually required by code. However, assuming this is your owned private residence and not a property which you own and rent out to tenants (specifically apartment complexes should be wary of passing inspection), it’s not likely that you will be in a situation in which an inspector is checking out your house to cite you for a code violation. The code requirement is more about energy efficiency than safety. If you install non-louvered doors, just be aware that if the doors are closed, you’re going to negatively impact the efficiency of your dryer. And then you could also just install regular doors and leave them open while cycling the dryer.

  • to clarify, after the bifold doors have the plywood over the top are the slats still visible from the inside of the door? we’re purchasing a home that has all slatted bifold doors and i’d love to know logistically how this works. i guess i can’t picture it. ? thank you

    • Yes. If you were standing inside the closet you would be able to see the slats.

  • Love this idea to update bifold doors without spending a fortune!

    Also, I hope that Collin is required to wear a uniform and that it’s just a t-shirt that says, “some guy named Collin.”

    • Ha! He probably would. Collin is the best for so many reasons.

  • Can you re-take the before picture to show the same pic but with the new doors?? I’d love to get an overall comparison of how it looks. I definitely like these doors a lot better, they look nice!

      • It’s frustrating seeing you take the time to comment in this fashion but not address appropriation in the side hustle post. It’s also, unfortunately, not surprising. Business as usual.

        • I agree that it’s disappointing. I’m actually really confused as to why y’all are ignoring that comment. I can see why it would make you feel really uncomfortable and attacked, so I understand addressing it wont be easy.

          You don’t have to agree with the commenter who’s saying you’re doing something wrong by using the term or having “side hustles” – it would just be nice to know that you’re at least listening when people bring up a different way of looking at and thinking about something like that. Reading that article was a huge eye opener for me because I didn’t know the origin of the term. I don’t necessarily believe that you (or white people in general) should not be “allowed” to use it, but it has really made me think about it.

        • Hi MJ-

          Yes, I saw and read the article you linked. I think I was confused and didn’t realize you meant the issue was appropriation, from your comment I took it to mean you thought us promoting the idea of people having side jobs or finding ways to create side income was wrong, and that owning property might also be wrong. I thought your point was that we take up too much space and we should stop. I clearly misunderstood you, as you wanted to point out that you think using the word ‘hustle’ is appropriation. I will link the article you sent again here so others can read it.

          On a separate but related note. I have noticed that the IP address you comment from sometimes has the name MJ or Melissa (which I assume are both you, sometimes I go by Em instead of Emma) but there is also a ‘Karen’ that leaves comments as well. Maybe this is a roommate or neighbor, I am not sure. But I also can see that you are very active in leaving comments and they are always negative. You have already left a new comment on our most recent post about how you do not think we should ever link to Amazon (which you’ll see I’ve written back you, I think you had a very good point especially around books which we have since changed). It is totally OK for you to have criticism for us and voice it. I really mean that. But also, maybe you should consider if our site is actually adding value to your life or not. If it’s not, maybe for you it’s not a positive use of time. You are still very welcome here, and if you have criticism it is also welcome. Like I said, we changed how we now link books because of your comments so it’s been helpful. But if we are not adding positive value to your life we may not be a site you should check often?

          • I left a comment as Karen once to make a point in the ridiculousness of your responses in the house flipping post. I’ve commented as both Melissa and MJ because my comments asking you to show up in hard questions have often been ignored, and it’s frustrating to see, as I mentioned above in this post, because you don’t hesitate to show up in light and appeasing comments.

            I grew disillusioned with your content years ago. During the 2016 election when you tiptoed around problematic events and claimed that you didn’t want to be political, I witnessed the danger of Midwest white girl niceties, especially on such a powerful platform. Hailing from the Midwest myself, I’ve worked on conditioning them out of my system in the past ten years of antiracism work I’ve been doing. I don’t show up in your blog to get anything useful for myself; I show up to hold you accountable because that is some of the most important white folks can be doing right now.

            It blows my mind that you label my comments as “negative”, employing the lazy and harmful negative/positive binary instead of being able to hold hard questions and important discussion. Elsie and I went back and forth on this in the house flipping post. After your “week off”, you claim that you are ready to do the work: doing the work involves engaging in discussion, no matter how fatigued you may be. That’s the responsibility that comes with the platform you have.

            My comment on the side hustle post was, indeed, both about appropriation and harmful business tactics. I was imploring you to examine how many ventures and properties you truly need. As white women, your access is significant; you contribute to equity issues. Taking up space and power are some of the most important questions white folks can be asking themselves. We have to go beyond diversity and inclusion.

            It’s both harmful and not shocking to see you say that you were not willing to investigate what I was suggesting or even comment to back to me to acknowledge it. Again, you felt “attacked” by something “negative”, so you just didn’t engage? And now you comment only after I have pushed and pushed, and you ask me to consider if this is a good use of my time?

            I also don’t “think” using the word hustle is appropriative; it is. It is your responsibility to research, to question, to sit with, and to adjust. Your week off of posting content doesn’t demonstrate any change in behavior. Donating and finally reading after all these years and doing more “behind the scenes” work is not enough. You are more aware than you let on, and you play into safety and appeasability as you always have, which is some of the most dangerous behavior you can show up in. That’s why I’m still here.

          • In respect to your comment about owning property and taking up space as a business woman— why is it so controversial to consider making room for others?

            I personally loved your blog for years, and still return to for Laura Gummerman’s content and to utilize older tutorials. Your newer content can be alienating to people who came here for DIY. I can not afford to spend thousands of dollars furnishing my home with your links. Furthermore, I can not afford to buy a house, period. Part of that has been proven to be due to the proliferation of Airbnbs in my city, and around the world. It rubs me the wrong way when you actively promote home ownership while simultaneously engaging in business ventures that prevent average people the chance to own a home. There seems like a blatant refusal from your team to admit this proven fact, as well. It would be wonderful to see you use your talents and partner with Habitat for Humanity again, as shelter is becoming a huge issue globally.

            I think the attitude of making room for others can be in all areas of business. You could even do this by appointing marginalized people to take over some of your newer projects. While I found your response to MJ respectful, it did seem like you missed the point.

        • Just want to note a couple of things so you know you’re not alone MJ. Firstly, your comment about appropriation of the term “side hustle” still hasn’t been addressed in Emma’s reply to you here. Secondly, I find it hard to believe the ABM staff was confused about you referring to appropriation in the original comment when you began the comment with “Please read regarding appropriation.” Hear you MJ. Speak up ABM.

      • I think the question here was if you could take a picture from the same angle as the before picture with the new doors to compare how they look.

      • Ummm…okay, I realize why you replied that way, but I would have thought you could figure what I mean! I meant take a picture of the room NOW from the same angle as the “before” picture so that we can see that pic with the new door.

      • This is the house they are living in…? This isn’t their old house.

        • Hi! We are still living in this home- FYI (and yes, we are moving again we’ll be sharing that story on the podcast next week). But the reason we didn’t get matching angles (before/after) is honestly just that I messed up those. I didn’t get enough before pics of that angle. So sorry about that. XX!

          • Thank you so much for the reply, greatly appreciated! The doors are lovely.

  • Love this simple DIY! Will have to try it out on some less than modern doors in our laundry room. Also, that jumpsuit is everything, where is it from?

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