Monday, September 7, 2015

38 Closing off the Coat Closet: From Bi-fold Door to Hinged Swing Door

Something we have been wanting to check off of our list since long before we started our renovation, was to transition our coat closet doors from bi-fold style to a swing door style.  With the bi-fold setup, we found ourselves with less accessibility on the right side of the closet, items would fall down behind the door and we would have to remove the door to access them, and the ease of opening/shutting the doors lessened over years of use and abuse.

Up until recently, we had been living without any closet doors at all, you can catch up on our last coat closet update here.

As I shared in my last kitchen update, we had converted a set of bi-fold doors to hinged swing doors.  I had also stained them with a walnut finish and wasn't loving the results.  After a lot of moaning and groaning and not being able to get the finish right, I decided to just paint them white for now.  I have a feeling they won't stay white forever, and a part of me died a little inside when I primed over the stain, but it was the right choice for us at this point.  I am hoping (fingers crossed) to bring in some better suited wood tones in another way down the road.

For this project, we used:

Because we removed all of our previous trim during demo, we were starting with a blank slate doorway. Also used (not pictured above):

For the new door, we needed to add a slightly shorter header to our frame, so we did that with a simple 2x4 scrap board.

We then installed the door jamb kit, which we cut to size with a miter saw.  The shims ensured each side of the jamb was straight and level.

The shims can be cut in a variety of ways; we used our oscillating tool for a quick zip (and with a helper we also kept a shop vac nearby to snag any indoor cutting dust).

The jamb was affixed to the door opening with our brad nailer.

As Bryan worked on installing the jamb, I prepped the bi-fold door to be finished.  First step was to remove the existing hinges and lay the doors out to be sanded.

I started with a rougher sanding block and worked my way to a finer grit for a super smooth finish.  Once both sides of both pieces were completely sanded, I wiped them down with a slightly damp rag to pick up any dust particles.

As we know I then stained the door slabs.  Fast forward a few weeks later, they received two coats of oil based stain-blocking primer to prep for paint.

Once the primer was dry, each side received two coats of Benjamin Moore's Simply White in a Satin finish.  It is the same paint used on our fireplace built-ins, and is a very close match to our cabinet and trim color.

Back to the frame again... After the jamb and trim were installed, we were able to measure for hinge placement.  Once we determined where the hinges would be placed on both the frame and the doors, we traced an outline of the hinge with a pencil.  Bryan then used a chisel and hammer to notch out a place for the hinges to be installed.

Quick Tip: Do this step after you paint the door jamb.  It will make your life much easier, I learned that the hard way.

We pre-drilled our hinge holes and then affixed them to the jamb with screws.

Waiting for the doors to dry...

Once the doors were dry we were able attach them to the hinges and install the door hardware.

To hold the doors in place while closed, we affixed a magnetic door catch to the top of the frame, as well as magnetic hardware to each door.

The best part?  Well, that we finally have finished closet doors of course!

But really the special moment is that these doors offer a full swing, opening all of the way back to the wall and giving us complete access to the closet space.

This project wasn't all that difficult once we got moving with it, definitely another one of those, "Why did we wait so long" moments.

One more project off of the dwindling kitchen list (and a few new ones added): 

  • Install HVAC/Range/Downdraft
  • Install counters
  • Set island cabinets
  • Install hardware on island cabinets
  • Replace garage door
  • Install flooring
  • Frame in refrigerator
  • Finish installing cabinet side panels
  • Install cabinet toe-kick
  • Install cabinet crown moulding
  • Panel gap above fridge
  • Trim floors, doors and windows 
  • Finish toe kick in front of dishwasher and around island
  • Install backsplash
  • DIY a coat closet door
  • Add shelving and/or doors to nook above coat closet?
  • Update dining room cabinets/legs/moulding
  • DIY message center

I still haven't quite decided what I plan to do with the area above the closet, my mind changes every couple of days.  We don't really need it for storage but I am not sure that I want to keep it open or exposed.

As far as everything else goes, just a few more pieces of flooring to patch in down the hall (which we are laboring away on Labor Day), as well as some trim to finish up and we will basically be done with the construction portion of the renovation (until we potentially start back up with an entryway addition...  #holdme).  And we still (STILL!) don't have a working range/downdraft/HVAC setup and I am not sure we can handle cooking on an electric hotplate for much longer.  Fingers crossed that is all sorted out shortly and we can start backsplash sourcing/shopping within the next week or two.

Until then, our oldest son's bedroom is in need of a few small updates and I am quite excited to switch gears for the next couple of days.  More details this week!

You can follow all of the kitchen progress here.


  1. Jen, I love the white doors! With the addition of the handles, I think you nailed it...hope you love it too!


  2. I love the door hardware! It's all coming together. I'd have such a hard time without a stove- when we moved in to our new home I found realized they didn't hook up the gas to our cooktop. I panicked. #spoiled #dramaqueen :) I've got a give it to you!

  3. I love it! I also love the cabinet and basket, where did you get them?

    1. Thank you Ellen! We created a frame for some drawers we purchased at IKEA, which I shared here:, and the baskets were from the Container Store quite a few years ago. I still run into them online here and there under the title "Carrie Bicycle Basket", but they are now quite expensive which is a major bummer (they are my all time favorite basket, ever). xoxo!

  4. It looks really great. What a great thing to do.

    Just wondering, did you put the sides of the doors that had the middle hinge to the side so you can't see where the hinges were? Or is that part of the door unnoticeable now it's painted?

    1. Great question! We flipped the doors so the previously hinged side is now on the outside and affixed to the jamb (in inside where the doors meet is smooth). A little wood putty and paint conceals the previous hinge holes.

  5. Love these closet doors! Did you use the original bifold doors to make the new full swing doors? I have a few bifold doors I would love to do away with!

    1. This process will work with any bi-fold, old or new so you could definitely do it with ones you already own. :)

  6. What a great idea! It looks awesome!

  7. So awesome !!! I love this idea :)

  8. Great job and a great look! If I had things my way, though, every interior door in my house would be a pocket door! The door is either closed or invisible!

  9. Enjoy reading your blog so much! Thanks for sharing this great idea

  10. Wow great transformation!!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  11. I love the look of the doors - the hardware makes them so elegant. Nice job!

  12. The doors make a huge difference and I actually love the white. You guys make everything look so easy! Xx

  13. For the area above the closet, you could hang some artwork to cover the openness. If it is light, you could use the command strips to see if you like it closed.

    Since you won't be able to access the spot on a frequent basis, whatever you put there should make you smile.


  14. We're building a house and I actually just learned this morning that this type of door is called a bi-hinge door. I saw that written on the door jamb of our future coat closet and freaked out a little bit thinking we'd overlooked that door and were going to be stuck with bi-fold doors! Our builder explained that bi-hinge is like what you've done and bi-fold is what you had before! Anyway, it looks great! Awesome job.

    1. I had no idea, thanks for sharing Jenna! And congrats on the new build, I bet you are so excited. :D

  15. This is what we've been thinking about doing with our bedroom closets. Thanks for sharing how you did it!

  16. Love how it turned out and those handles are perfect!

  17. Cute update and pretty hardware. Love how you've transformed your kitchen and living area, very airy and classy. One thought, it would be fun if you made that dark blue bit of wall that is under your closet (not sure what to call that) a chalkboard area for inspiring thoughts/reminders/jokes. I've never seen a closet like that but you've really utilized the space well.

  18. Thank you! I have 3 sets of bifold doors that I need to fix and wasn't sure what to do

  19. Hi, I'm curious about the painted wall in the closet. Did you build the closet floor to be up high for a reason, or was it just something that came with the house?

    1. It was our builder's solution for placing a closet over our stairs. The staircase cut into the closet so it is basically just a half closet. Sort of strange but we have made it work. :)

  20. I love this idea and would love to incorporate it for my pantry doors. The problem is it has 2 bi-fold doors. So what would you recommend to use in place of the bi-fold to cover the distance across? Thanks for your advice on advance.

    1. Hi Staci! Depending on the size of the doors, you may be able to use brackets to combine two doors together to create a single door, turning four doors into two. I hope that will work out for you! :)

  21. What about an old window hanging in the open space over the closet? Clear glass would keep it light, but stained glass may let you use the space behind it for a bit of storage.

  22. Hi only way I can comment is as anonymous as don't understand the other definitions. I'm Lynne from the UK. I love what you have done. Your alcove above the cupboard I would utilize as a seasonal display area or I would add a backlit stained glass. (Dependant on how easy it was to clean the area.

  23. That is so nice! I love white doors. And I love those door handles too. Good job! :)

  24. I love this project! I would have never thought to change the hinges on a bi fold door. Now i must do this!

  25. I had liked the stained doors, but the white looks fantastic. And to me, the best part is eliminating the bi-fold setup...the full swing doors are phenomenal!!! I'm looking around my house for bi-fold doors I can change! Lol!!

  26. I would have never thought of this but it makes all the difference in the world. Even an organizer can learn things.

  27. Love the solution you came up with!! Love it and the white looks great but I am sure you will come up with another idea for the stain for the doors soon :)

    YAY for your lists becoming shorter(ish)!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor


Thank you so much for taking a moment to join in on the conversation! I read and appreciate each and every comment, however, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious, or spam-like. I would love for this comment section to be used as a place to engage in purposeful dialogue, I only ask that everyone remains constructive and considerate.

All comments will be moderated and may take a moment to appear.