And How We Created the Illusion of a Wider Doorway!
Remember that time you were watching HGTV and the wife goes, “Ew, these paint colors!” then scratches the house off the list? And then your lips started salivating just thinking about the lowball offer you could make on that listing?
Yeah, me too.
There are ladies in waiting, and then there are ladies waiting with crowbars. We are the latter.
When we bought our house the entire downstairs was beige. Not the worst color in the world, but because we are flanked by big trees on all sides the overall mood is very dark.
Per usual, paint and new trim have done wonders. Our dining room already feels like a completely different space. I’ve removed the wainscoting, painted the walls and ceiling, and added new trim to the doorways all for around $300. The hope is to eventually make it a baller playroom for my 4-year-old and 6-month-old boys, complete with a 2-story indoor playhouse.
I want to break down the interior doorway trim for you because I truly think it makes the doorway look bigger — kinda like a Criss Angel mindfreak of the interior design world. To rewind for a hot minute, here’s what the doorway looked like before construction began.
So I ripped off the builder grade trim. Per usual, my husband thought I was creating unnecessary work for myself. But I saw the potential for bigger and better, especially after being inspired by Cristina Garay’s doorway renovation over at Remodela Casa.
Here’s what the backside of this same doorway looked like before construction.
My process was very slow due to poor little Will dealing with reflux these last six months and my own severe sleep deprivation. But it’s done and that’s what matters.
Interior Doorway Trim: The Install Process
*This post includes affiliate links — girl’s gotta eat!*
I started by using my Ryobi multi-tool to cut away some of the existing baseboard. I needed to make room for new 1×4 MDF. I used a piece of scrap pine to make sure I was trimming away the correct amount.
Then I built a header out of a 1×6 MDF. I made sure the board was as wide as the doorway + 7″ (3.5 inches for the 1×4 on either side).
Next I added the 1×4 rails to either side of the header with wood glue and 2″ brad nails. It was already looking so much better!
Then I added ogee trim along the lower edge of the header, making sure to cut the sides at 45-degree miters. I secured with wood glue and brad nails. If you have a pin nailer this would be preferred — less damage to the surface of your wood.
Once you’re done nailing your trim you can cover up those holes with good ol’ spackle.
I cut a piece of 1×8 MDF to match our pre-existing baseboard inside the dining room. The sides of the doorway opening consist of pre-primed 1×2 boards. Like Christina, I added a small piece of 1×6 to the end of each 1×2.
Then I added base cap between the 1×2 boards inside the door way. You can see here the line of separation between where the trim has been caulked and left raw. Caulk makes a huge difference!
Next came the crown molding on either side of the doorway. The foyer side of the header was a bit tricky because the ceiling is really high — like 15 feet or so. I needed to create a crown “topper” because you could totally see down into the crown from the landing upstairs. I also needed something to nail into to make the crown secure. What I did was build up the header a bit higher using MDF scraps cut to approx. 2 3/8″ tall; the crown is 3″ high and I didn’t want to cover up half of my existing header with crown. Then I nailed another piece of 1x scrap wide enough to cover the “run” of the spring angle (i.e. how far it juts out from the wall).
Don’t worry, I took a million photos of this too 🙂
Here’s what the header looked like once crown was added. I had to add another piece of scrap to the “topper” since it didn’t quite run all the way to the edge of the crown. It was an easy fix, though.
The sides of the crown were mitered at 45-degrees. You won’t want to use a nail gun for the sides since the impact will likely destroy your little corner piece. I simply attached with wood glue and a few pieces of frog tape. Let dry overnight and remove the tape.
Now I could move on to the other side of the wall, windows, and kitchen doorway!
Attaching the Dining Room Trim
The crown was much easier to attach on the other side since I had a ceiling to work with. I started by removing the existing crown with my handy dandy multi-tool as before. Then I added a piece of filler scrap between the ceiling and the header (indicated below).
The crown was secured to the ceiling and wall with 2″ brad nails and Liquid Nails construction adhesive. The only tricky part was cutting the teeny tiny corner pieces at 45 degrees.
Here’s what the inside corner looks like on the left side. Basically the tiniest piece of crown I’ve ever cut. You’ll want to start with a nice long piece to protect your hands from the miter saw blade. Cut your right inside corner first, cope it with a coping saw, then cut the left outside corner while your piece is still long.
This is how the opposite side of the doorway was looking before caulk and paint. It honestly looked like it was always meant to be there. Gorg!
Adding the Window Trim
Now we’re in the final stretch. I decided to keep things straightforward with the window trim. No more crown molding, thank you very much. Here’s the piece breakdown.
I caulked all the seams and filled in the nail holes with spackle. Everything got a coat of semi-gloss white paint. I removed the cheap blinds, painted the casing black, and added custom lined Ikea curtains for privacy. Stay tuned for my Ikea curtain lining hack!
There’s another doorway leading to our kitchen that I trimmed out exactly like this window (minus the windowsill and apron). I’ll spare you the details.
For a sneak peak of this renovation in progress head over to @topshelfdiy on Instagram.
For more tips and great info, head on over to the Top Shelf DIY Handywoman Facebook Community — it’s a great place to ask questions and feel supported. If building stuff is your jam, we’d love to have you!