Convert Bifold Doors to Pivot Door

Did you know that you convert bifold doors to french-style doors that swing out? You can do it easily and you won’t even have to replace your doors – which is especially good news if they are a custom height like mine!

White bedroom closet doors with metal handles

One weekend, I felt inspired to updated my bi-fold bedroom closet doors so I added details to the paneling. I was happy with the results…at least, for the moment.

Later, I found an interesting post in Apartment Therapy and realized there was one more thing I just had to do!

I decided to convert the bi-folds to french doors that pivot out so that I could fully utilize all my closet space and be able to reach at the contents of my closet more easily.

What You’ll Need

How to Convert Bifold Doors to Pivoting French Doors:

Step 1: Remove the door from the track

Remove the door from the inside of the bi-fold track.  I just pulled mine out and unscrewed it from the door.  The doors should still be attached in the corner so that they have a point to pivot from (because they don’t have hinges attached to a frame like a regular door)

Step 2: Brace the doors

In order to stop the doors from folding,  straighten them out and screw the mending braces to the back of the door.

I actually held the door while my husband screwed the braces in. It’s important to keep the door as straight as possible so that the braces screw in correctly.

The inside view of the unpainted closet door with metal braces attached
You’ll notice that my closet didn’t get much of a makeover on this side, i.e. it was never painted.  
When they were still bi-fold doors, this didn’t matter…but now I have another painting job to add to my list!

Step 3: Create a catch so the door can close

Once we had all 6 braces screwed to the doors, we had to create a catch so that the door would close properly (otherwise it just swings and never closes).

Depending on how the inside of your closet is, you may need to add a piece of wood so that you can screw the magnetic catch to something the door will hit when it closes.

One of the magnetic catches for the closet door

Step 4: Attach the metal plate to the door

The final step to convert bifold doors to french doors is to attach the metal plate to the door. When the door meets the magnet, it catches and stays closed.

Depending on your closet, you could attach the magnetic catch to the door and the metal plate inside the closet….whatever works best for you!

Step 5: Enjoy your new doors

Now you have a lovely closet door that swings out just like fancy french doors and you can see all your clothes in one glance.

And you have completely transformed the way you use your closet!

White bifold closet doors, slightly opened, now swinging out instead of folding
Bifold to French Door Conversion

The ability to have doors that swing out has meant that I can see everything that’s inside my closet in one glance. It’s such a game changer and has made my small closet so much more functional!

Another great project that can be done to improve the appearance of plain paneled doors, whether they are slabs or bi-folds, is to add some interest to the front. Adding raised panels is a simple DIY projects that really enhances the look of plain, boring doors.

Exterior view of the white bifold doors, now converted to french doors that swing out, with metal handles now attached.

Other DIY Projects You’ll Enjoy

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Convert bi-fold doors to swing out doors

Convert Bifold Doors to French Doors

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate

Don't replace your bifold doors - simply update the hardware so they swing out like french doors!

Materials

  • 3 inch mending braces (you'll need 6 of these in total)
  • 2 magnetic catches
  • Scrap 1x3 wood

Tools

  • screwdriver

Instructions

    1. Remove the door from the inside of the bi-fold track. The doors should still be attached in the corner so that they have a point to pivot from (because they don't have hinges attached to a frame like a regular door).
    2. Attach the mending braces to the back of the door so they don't fold anymore. It's important to keep the door as straight as possible so that the braces screw in correctly.
    3. Install a magnetic catch so that the door would close properly (otherwise it just swings and never closes). You may need to add a piece of wood so that you can screw the magnetic catch to something the door will hit when it closes.
    4. Finally, attach the metal plate to the door. When the door meets the magnet, it catches and stays closed. Depending on your closet, you could attach the magnetic catch to the door and the metal plate inside the closet....whatever works best for you!

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