Repurposing old doors

By: Elaine Vitone , Contributing Writer
In: Uncategorized, Green Renovations

Every weekend, Better Half and I take a break from fixer upping to haunt our friendly neighborhood architectural salvage yard. I especially love to linger around the various piles of woodwork remnants. Ever since I painstakingly rehabbed every last stick of wood on our entire second floor two summers ago, I’ve been pretty protective of the stuff—can’t stand to see all that beautiful old craftsmanship lying around, en masse, unused, unappreciated, unloved. [Sniff!]

I’ve been inspired to do another repurposing roundup, this one on old doors. Figured y’all might be into it, since there was such an enthusiastic response to my post about Repurposing Old Dishes, Knobs, Jars, Trim, and Drawers (ahem, if I do say so myself). Here are a few suggestions for DIY projects that I hope might save a few of these old beauties from rotting in the landfill, knock knock knocking on… well, you know.

Shabby Chic Headboard

Photographer Ashley Ann created for her nursery a darling little spot where she could snuggle up and read with her kids, using little more than a couple of pallets and a weathered old door. She’s posted directions—short and sweet, just like this easy, gratifying, and thrifty DIY project. A daybed in a day!

(Important note: Especially when you’re furnishing a nursery, make sure you don’t use an old door covered in lead paint!)

Headboard à la Pottery Barn

Mikael at Starter home to dream home made a sophisticated, sleek, black headboard that she aptly describes as looking like a million bucks, but the beauty part is that it cost less than $100. She’s posted some great step by step tutorials to walk you through assembly and mounting, complete with diagrams. Nicely done, Mikael! Sweet dreams.

Floor Mirror

Speaking of Pottery Barn, they have a piece that I think might be duplicated easily enough. Whip up a DIY version for the poor man… using a door, man! Attach a full-length mirror, and boom. You’ve got yourself one of them fancy, leaning floor mirrors.

Dressing Vanity

This Old House recently ran a how-to on turning a vintage door into a dressing vanity. Alternately, it might make a nice hall tree.


Meredith Perdue, another photographer, came up with an elegant upcycle with her lovely “new” desk. Made from the door of a plantation home her parents renovated in North Carolina, her workstation shows off all the old chips and character marks in a vintage item–and it’s a cinch of a project, to boot. A sheet of glass, a couple of old saw horses, and you’re in business!


I thought this one was clever–doors reborn as shelves! If you’d rather buy one than make one, swing by Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnot, a resale shop in DC.

Potting Bench

Here’s a clever way to take your great old doors to the great outdoors: fashion a potting bench. Brought to you by Gail at My Repurposed Life. The woman is a maven of making do. My kinda gal.

Dear readers, what would you add to this list?


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  1. 11 Responses  to “Repurposing old doors”

  2. Ron B
    Aug 29, 2011
    Very creative! But as an old house owner, I really hate to see the loss of original doors that can be reused in a home.
  3. Maria
    Aug 29, 2011
    Just salvaged a vintage door from an alley. Know any good scrap yards to salvage from in Chicago?
  4. Aug 29, 2011
    Glad to hear it, John. Enjoy your new desk. And one nice thing about using an old door is that you can use the doorknob hole to thread your computer cords through.
  5. Aug 29, 2011
    Some great ideas there. I think I am going to try and make a desk out of an old door :)
  6. Aug 29, 2011
    NICE, Darcey!
  7. Darcey
    Aug 29, 2011
    I use an old oak dresser as a bathroom vanity. I inset a vessel sink into the top of the dresser, and fixed in place the top drawer. Looks cool....
  8. Aug 29, 2011
    Gail: Thanks for adding the shout-out to Rose. She deserves it! Jeremy: Glad you liked the post. Have fun with your door projects, and let us know how it turns out!
  9. Jeremy
    Aug 29, 2011
    One mans junk is another mans treasure! My grandfather lived by that, I don't think he ever bought one new thing from a store. Wish I had the artistic/carpentry skills he had to make something out of what normally would be nothing. I like the door ideas in this post, plenty of those could get re-used in my house.
  10. Aug 29, 2011
    Cool, thanks for including Rose's potting bench in your door repurpose. you can check out her site at confessionsofacurbshopaholic.blogspot.com
  11. Aug 29, 2011
    Thanks, Sara! And I'm sure you'll be pleased to know I'm cooking up another post on repurposing windows. Stay tuned...