I need ideas for replacing shutter doors please

Mark Montano
by Mark Montano
I need to replace two unsightly shutter doors in my kitchen and I have no idea what to use instead. They hide the washing machine and pantry so they do have to open completely like shutters. I'd appreciate any ideas you might have. Thanks so much. Mark Montano
  29 answers
  • William William on Jan 15, 2017

    Hey Marc! I had a client that had metal bifold shutter doors in her townhouse. Also hid the washer, dryer, and pantry off the kitchen. Her color scheme was white, grey, and black. Measured the opening and went to Menards, bought two sets of SOLID plastic vertical blinds to fit the opening. They were light grey (perfect) and had vertical ribbed pattern. I mounted them so they opened from the center so she could have access to either the pantry, washer and dryer or both with no obstruction. The floor sloped to one side (floor drain for overflow) so I had to cut the verticals 1/4" with a jig saw. They come in all colors, design, and patterns.

    • See 1 previous
    • Designer Diane Designer Diane on Jan 16, 2017

      Paint them. I was just visiting a friend of mine's house and he had plantation shutters and they were a beautiful color of light brown that looked wonderful. If they had been white they would have looked horrible.

      Adjust the top so they meet in the center without being lopsided. Pick a light brown that would compliment what is in the room and get out a sponge roller (one of the small ones for ease of working with the small slats) and paint.... it's easy. If you don't like the light brown idea pick another color that would look good in the room.

  • Joan Dinesen Butler Joan Dinesen Butler on Jan 15, 2017

    I can't think of a suitable replacement but it would be fairly easy to spray paint them another color. Something bright and cheerful would change the entire look of the room.

  • Mary Ruther Mary Ruther on Jan 15, 2017

    fabric with a casing on spring rods...super simple and you could change it out with different fabrics for different seasons or occasions....and you could have tie back hooks on each side for accessibility ~ the look would soften the whole room

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 15, 2017

    I would try to paint them to match the rest of the area as not to make them obvious as fabric or different colors will draw attention to the area you are trying to disguise. That is if you cannot find your appropriate size replacement as William stated.

  • Jennifer Kyzer Jennifer Kyzer on Jan 15, 2017

    Do you have room for sliding "barn doors"?

  • Judy Judy on Jan 15, 2017

    We have a similar setup in/by the kitchen with solid hollow core bi-fold doors which help cut down on the noise from W/D. It never crossed my mind to not like them. They match the kitchen cabinets (light blonde). I love having the W/D in the heart of the home where loads go in and out quickly between other tasks. Laundry is no longer a separate activity! I like your doors!

    • Jane Jane on Jan 17, 2017

      Me too....a little fresh paint would make them look great.

  • Maya Houmann Hansen Maya Houmann Hansen on Jan 16, 2017

    I have used really nice wallpaper to cover the doors, and it looks a milion !

  • Jeannie.mcquaid Jeannie.mcquaid on Jan 16, 2017

    What is your kitchen cabinetry like? Is it also white?

    If it's the busy looking slats in the doors that you don't like, get some sheets of masonite and cut to fit in front of the louvres. Paint it to match or decoupage fabric on the panels. Panels would also reduce the sound on laundry day.

  • Kat6246506 Kat6246506 on Jan 16, 2017

    One way to make it not look so cheap would be to add nice, wide moulding around the doorway. I do agree that they need to be at least painted as well. I like the barndoor idea if you have enough wall space on either side. Another idea would be to add barndoor hardware (like they do with garage doors).

  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 16, 2017

    In one place we had this very issue. We simply took them off and dressed up the laundry space, covering the units with table cloths, adding some nick nacks on the shelves, made it a nice part of the room. as an open pantry look. The room increased in size visually and looked real nice

  • Carol Carol on Jan 16, 2017

    Check Pinterest for different style bi-fold doors and some DIY projects to change shutter style to panel style. there was one set they made to look like barn doors that was interesting. I have oak panel bi-fold doors painted white on my bedroom closet, and plain flat panel hollow core doors in another bedroom. Check with Lowe's, Home Depot or a millwork store for different styles.

  • Wow, Mark, great project! So many have suggested painting them or replacing them with a curtain.

    If you want to make them “useful” you could make (or buy) and hang (with command hook tools or nails) chalkboards over each section. (SO many tutorials on Hometalk).

    If you want to go decorative, you could remove the slats on the top, put tension rods at the top and bottom of the openings and hang fabric.

    You could hang artwork over each upper section(again with the Command hook products… or nails). This could be changed at will. J

    If you have the space, a couple of homemade barn doors to slide outward from the center.

    Depending on the size of the slat sections, you could cover them with closet door mirrors you can find at Walmart.

    Have fun!

  • BabyBoomerSC BabyBoomerSC on Jan 17, 2017

    I would change out the louvered doors for ones that look like door panels and then paint them to match either your existing cabinets or your walls so they blend in. Change out the door hardware to something pretty as well.

    I've also seen a faux painting technique on the doors (not louvered) looked good as well, something like a hammered metal look would be cool if you're looking for something different/decorative.

  • Dix17428875 Dix17428875 on Jan 17, 2017

    Attach Vines & flowers in the slats on the doors to break up plainness of the boring expanse of the doors.

    • Mark Montano Mark Montano on Jan 24, 2017

      I love this idea. When I lived in NYC I did this to my window bars (East Village necessity at the time) and it looked great. Especially in the winter.

  • Dee Dee on Jan 17, 2017

    I bought frosted Glass french doors to replace the shutter doors. Much easier to keep clean and looks great.

  • Laura Glinski Rosales Laura Glinski Rosales on Jan 17, 2017

    Paint them red, teal or a pop of color you love. Add molding around the outside and new knobs and hinges. Paint and hardware will make it feel brand new.

  • Joanie Joanie on Jan 18, 2017

    You could stripe paint them. Paint 3 slats, leave 3, paint 3 and so on. Paint your walls something to match. I would leave them for sure, just make them stand out a little.

  • Ella Ella on Jan 18, 2017

    barn door rails hung with doors of your choice

    • Shaley Shaley on Feb 01, 2017

      I like this idea, just take louver doors off make them into one panel by removing thin trim holding in slats, remove slats and wood glue. use decorative brackets on out side or inexpensive ones on inside where they can not be seen. Then replace where the slats were with frosted plexi-glass or frosted real glass, or rice paper on real glass, add thin trim back and you are done hang and enjoy.

  • If you do not have room for the hot trendy barn door thing, or if it does not go with the style of your home, I would replace with flat bi-fold doors that you can embellish as previously suggested. If it were in my house, I would attach bulletin boards on the top half and use as an idea board for future projects, place to display greeting cards - party invites, appointment cards, etc. - turn it into a message / calendar center. Cover the cork with fabric that coordinates with your decor.

  • Dee Dee on Jan 19, 2017

    I forgot to mention I went to Habitat for Humanity Restore to buy my french doors. I got it for $20. Top part is frosted glass, bottom part is wood pannel.

  • Jan17694080 Jan17694080 on Jan 19, 2017

    use the barn door slide doors that are in style

    • Cheryl Buchholz Tulloch Cheryl Buchholz Tulloch on Mar 25, 2017

      Or just one sliding barn door. I like them white also just add moulding around frame. White or other colour will pop, if you'd rather they blend then paint same colour as walls, paint the moulding the same. Maybe new hardware or paint existing hardware.

  • L.K. Ober L.K. Ober on Jan 19, 2017

    You can get very nice looking bi-fold door kits at Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, etc. They look good and are easy to put up.

  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Jan 19, 2017

    Fid some large cardboard pieces (refrigerator box) and cover with polyester quilt batting and wrap with fabric of choice. Apply to current doors with stick on Velcro.

  • Robin Robin on May 28, 2017

    HI Mark, loved your craft book!

  • Claudia Curl Claudia Curl on Apr 05, 2019

    Hey Mark, I don’t have an answer for your doors, just wanted to say hello and thank you! I have two of your books and I have made a few projects from them. I was glad to come across your projects on here as well, as there are plenty that are new to me! Thanks again! Keep up the creative work! -claudia

  • Van48735009 Van48735009 on May 25, 2020

    Can you do some hand painted wooden chairs? Like the anthropolie ones

  • Deb K Deb K on Mar 01, 2023

    Hi Mark, you can paint them. Or try a few other tricks, hope this helps you out.



    You could also add mirrors to them to make the room look larger

  • Mogie Mogie on Mar 02, 2023

    Replace with double doors. I had ones with the vents and those are a pain to dust. Plus double doors look more modern and not as dated as bi fold doors especially with louvers.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 19, 2023

    Panel them over and then paint or Wallpaper panel.