Boho Farmhouse DIY Panel Door: Hollow core Door Makeover!

Transform hollow core door into colorful boho farmhouse DIY painted panel door for $20! Easy makeover with simple tools, & great home improvement idea on a budget!

We all love high-impact low-effort DIY projects. This hollow core door makeover is definitely one of them. Such a big difference in the before and after!

an old hollow core door

Many of us have way too many hollow core doors in our lives, don’t you agree? 😉 When you opened the front door to our home a year ago, you would see not one, not two, but THREE generic and boring looking hollow core doors.

When we started our boho farmhouse IKEA kitchen remodel, we knew that all these hollow core doors need to change. To quote one of my favorite books (affiliate link) The Life changing magic of tidying up, we want everything in our home to spark joy. 🙂

Transform an old hollow core door into boho and farmhouse style DIY painted panel door in vintage yellow lime color

*Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

Let’s start with our first hollow core door makeover. It is super easy!

Materials and tools for a hollow core door makeover:

how to paint a door with roller
colorful boho and farmhouse style DIY painted lime yellow door  with modern black knob

Step 1: remove and prep door

Below is a video tutorial on how to lift hinge pins and remove a door from the hinges.

Take off the door knob. If your door has glossy paint, give it a good sanding. clean the  door surface for next step. 

old door with peeling paint

Our old door has peeling paint that needed to be sanded off, because it was painted with incompatible paint and primer by previous owners. Here’s an article on how to choose the right painting primers.

Step 2: cut and glue plywood strips to hollow core door

old hollow core door

Place the door on some 2x4s to protect the side you are not working on. Measure your door and write down the widths and lengths of all pieces you will need based on the design. Our door measures 28″ x 79″,  the strips are 4.5″ wide, which created a nice 4 panel design.

You also need to decide whether you want to create the new design on one side or both sides of the door. Our door opens into a storage closet, so we only need to work on one side.

Measure  door and lay out design

We used 3/16″ thick plywood from Home Depot and they cut it for us. If you do this, make sure to tell them your intended use, as the plywood can bend a little while on the panel saw which would result in slightly curved cuts.

Since then, we have gotten a new tool Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Guide, which enables us to make and perfectly straight cuts like these.

Measure and mark plywood design on hollow core door

Sand the cut edges of each plywood strip. Arrange them on the door. Use a tape measure to check the layout.

glue plywood design on hollow core door

Glue the outer strips first so you have a rigid frame, then glue the horizontal inside strips. Use woodworking clamps or something heavy to hold the pieces together and create good contact while the glue dries, which will take a few hours.

Use spackling paste or joint compound to smooth out any visible gaps.

Check for any visible gaps between the door surface and the wood strips, and where the cuts meet. Use spackling paste or joint compound to smooth out any visible gaps.

smooth out gaps on door design with  spackling paste or joint compound

Step 3: paint the panel door 

If your door has non glossy surface, or is sanded to a matte finish, you can start painting without using primers. 

prime door for painting

Our door was very glossy, so I primed it for better paint adhesion using Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond primer. This water based primer works great, and is very low VOC.

water based primer on door

A small roller like this is great for painting panel doors. Use a brush to touch up the edges along the raised panels.

Use a brush to touch up the edges along the raised panels.

We love Sherwin Williams Emerald paint ( our door color is Funky Yellow SW 6913 Satin finish). The paint has such great coverage so a little bit goes a long way!

hollow core door becoming a 4 panel door

Like mentioned in our how to paint kitchen cabinet tutorial, we need to be patient and wait for the the paint to dry completely, which can take a few days, before hanging the door.

painting the panel door

Step 4: add door knob

We need to cut a 2 1/8″ hole on the plywood panel where the door knob used to be, using this size hole saw blade which attaches to a drill.

how to add door knob using hole saw

You can put the old door knob back, or change it to something new. We got this simple black door knob here on Amazon

vintage chartreuse yellow painted door

Now we have a brand new door, and no one would guess it was once a boring looking flat door!

 old hollow core door makeover in boho and farmhouse style

It brings such a bright sunny feeling every time we see it. Does it spark joy? Oh yes! 🙂

colorful door in beautiful boho and farmhouse home

If you are wondering about our DIY green kitchen island on wheels, it’s much easier than you think, here’s the tutorial.


  1. Great tutorial. Thank you for posting.
    I have a question about the edges/ends. Did you have to put a piece of trim there to conceal where the plywood was added or does it look fine just as is? I’d love to see a pic of that part.

    • hi Christy! great question! 🙂 if the cut edge looks smooth you can just paint over them. otherwise use spackle or drywall compound to smooth them then paint. i will add a photo detail soon! 🙂

    • hi Chelsea! not for this door as you can see the design faces the outside. if it’s the other way, the thickness would affect how the door closes into the jam. you would want a different design to make it easier. (i will publish a project for that soon!)

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