How to Convert Bifold Doors Into Swinging Cafe Doors

6 Materials
3 Hours

Nothing screams the 1970’s and 1980’s like good old bifold doors. Am I right? I remember living with bifold doors growing up. I also remember they never stayed on their track! We were lucky enough to inherit a few sets when we moved into our rustic beach cottage. In an effort to transform these old things, I’m going to show you how to convert bifold doors into swinging cafe doors for our master bedroom closet.

The best idea I could think of was to replace the bifold door hardware and install cafe door hardware (some call it saloon door or butler door hardware). This puts the doors on a swinging hinge that stays shut when not in use.

Before I get ahead of myself with the bifold door makeover and cafe door hardware, let me show you these 1980’s bifold doors.

Bifold doors before the makeover

Cut moulding for the doors

Use a miter saw to make 45 degree cuts to create picture moulding for the front of the door that will face the bathroom. I’ll leave the backside (the side that faces the closet) without moulding.

Glue Moulding to the doors

Use Gorilla Glue to glue the moulding to the doors. You can also use a finishing nailer.

After the glue dried and the moulding was secure on the doors, it was time to paint!

Paint the doors

Choose a paint and paint the doors!

Install Cafe Door Hardware

Follow the instructions that came with the hardware.

Installing cafe doors hardware
Install doors on their tracks!

I'm not going to lie, getting the top hardware to fit was a bit of a headache. I've shared some tips in my video of how I was able to make it work.

My new doors!

Don't they look so much better now? They are more functional too!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Ana Diciolli
    Ana Diciolli
    on Oct 31, 2020

    all my cabinets are busted I have to rip them out what's a different way to approach it without having to buy a complete new completely new cabinets for the house

    • HandyGirl
      7 days ago

      i agree with Terre. Another thought is to repair the existing cabinets? Don’t know what’s wrong with them. I just “fixed” a door that looked like someone hung onto it and messed up the hinge and cracked the door where the hinge is attached. I used glue, then bondo, on it, worked on the hinge a bit and now you really can’t tell the door was ever broken. Of course all that only worked because I planned on painting the cabinets. Another thing: if you have thermofoil cabinet doors you can remove the thermofoil using a heat gun, then remove most the glue using goo gone, prime using automotive filler primer, then sand and paint. If you have a base cabinet that’s been chewed on so looks bad but is still structurally sound, you can adhere eucaboard or bead board to all your cabinet bases to make them all the same then paint. Remove the bottom trims first, then you will need to replace those cause they will no longer fit. Just some ideas to “rework” your cabinets instead of replacing.

  • Cardinal
    7 days ago

    I hadn't thought about changing bifold doors. But when I bought my home 33 yrs ago, i remodeled and had the contractor build me what i called..."old western swinging bar doors" that went into the kitchen. Everyone has always loved them. They swing both ways and can stay open on either side. I want to build another set but can't find the same hardware. Where did you get the swinging door hardware you used? It is similar to my old doors but not all of them allow the doors to stay open.

    • Reggie
      6 days ago

      Check out your local habitat restore where they sell stuff both NEW and reclaimed.

  • Linda
    5 days ago

    How to make the doors swing or pull out instead of swing in

    Also what if you have 4 panels instead of 2 like a double bifold and you want them to swing/pull out as pairs

Join the conversation

2 of 4 comments
  • Rynn
    on Oct 24, 2020

    i did something similar in an old farmhouse bathroom. The original door was tiny, but enlarging the door meant that here was nowhere for the door to swing without blocking something. So i basically split a bi-fold door into two smaller pieces which worked so much better. Love your results! What a nice upgrade without spending a fortune. Great job!

  • Jill H
    Jill H
    on Oct 25, 2020

    The tiny gap at the top would probably bother me too so I would just attach a small piece of moulding across the top (& down the sides) to cover it up for an even more finished look! Since they swing IN to the closet, the moulding shouldn’t hinder them from closing.

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