How to Update Flat Doors Using Throw-Away Cabinet Doors

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When we purchased our 1960's era ranch home, we did a lot of remodeling, but opted to "update" our flat doors without replacing them. This project cost us $0. We salvaged the cabinet door fronts from a cabinet shop trash bin (with permission), and used left-over primer and paint from our original remodel job. We now have "one of a kind" doors in our home.

Hubby was given permission to take a bunch of cabinet doors from a Cabinet Shop's trash bin. This shop makes high-end cabinets, and if they are not perfect, they throw them away! We were able to get about 40 door fronts in different sizes for free. I took down my flat doors, and began laying out designs utilizing as many of the cabinet door fronts as possible.

After carefully measuring and deciding on the positioning of each panel on the doors, I used a carpenter's pencil and outlined the cabinets for placement. I rough-sanded the doors so the contact cement would adhere better. Then using strips of 2x4's, I clamped the glued doors and let dry overnight.

We opted to keep our vintage blue tile bathroom when we remodeled. I used the smallest cabinet fronts on the drawers, and larger ones on the doors of our vanity.

Painting in process on vanity doors. I have several cabinet handles/knobs, and will decide which ones will look better, then attach them.

Bathroom linen closet doors get panels too. These have been primed and are ready for painting.

Finished doors. I had enough panels to do both sides of the doors that opened into bedrooms, baths, etc. Closet doors only got panels on the outside.

Project practically completed. Any areas that have gaps will be caulked.

We love the look of our flat doors now. This was just prior to caulking any gaps between door and panels.

Suggested materials:

  • Unfinished Cabinet Door Panels   (Cabinet Shop Throw-Aways)
  • Primer and Paint   (Left over from remodel)
  • Carpenter's pencil
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  1 question
  • Lou Ann Lou Ann on Apr 11, 2017
    What kind of glue did you use? Awesome job!!!


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2 of 55 comments
  • We are just starting a project in our guest bathroom using bead board. I am thinking this would be an option instead of replacing the cabinets. I might have enough scraps to do it with no additional cost. Thanks for the idea!

  • Audrey Brown Audrey Brown on Mar 19, 2018

    Very beautiful, I tried this with picture frames and beadboard wallpaper, yours looks way better than mine, wonderful job!