Any DIYer or vintage furniture enthusiast will agree that doors need not be opened or closed to be useful in the home. Their utility can go far beyond providing privacy and security, or keeping messes hidden and dust at bay. In the spirit of sustainability or the desire to have a one-of-a-kind piece, think again before discarding your door. Here are creative ways to use old or reclaimed doors to inspire your next DIY project or great salvage-goods hunt.
1. As a statement piece.
We all know the saying, "One person's trash is another person's treasure." These framed vintage doors are a perfect example of this. Rather than refinishing and painting, this set of French country-style doors are certainly elevated when placed in a regal living room. With a set of two or three doors, you could even use them as a privacy screen or room divider.
But consider other door styles and colors as statement pieces against or on a wall to add interest, such as a colorful midcentury door with geometric windows or a Gothic cathedral-style door. These serve as conversation pieces with history, such as this relic from Arhous.
2. As a headboard or bed frame.
You probably saw this one coming, but likely not executed in such an imaginative, colorful manner. Touch of Gray Redesign hand-painted this louvered door. Are you up to the challenge? And why stop at the headboard — imagine using two doors and making a full bed frame. Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons took wood doors with glass panels and created one in turquoise.
3. As a bench.
Of course, you can use any reclaimed door as wood for a project. This bench from Loon Peak is made of antique doors and the legs were distressed by hand. But if you have a door with decorative details, you may prefer highlighting them as Forever & Always Vintage did with their hallway bench, as seen in this photo below.
4. As a desk or table.
A door with a flat surface is a no brainer to repurpose for a desk or table. This chic mahogany desk from 3rd Bay Design was made from a reclaimed carriage door. But a door with carved wood, grooves, or panels can be reimagined as tables as well by simply adding a glass top, creating a flat surface.
5. As a chalkboard.
The beauty of chalkboard paint is how easily it can turn an old door into a writing surface. Just paint the flat area of the door or the window panels to use the door for your shopping or to-do lists or doodles. Tip: For a kid's birthday party, we recommend using a chalkboard door to list the schedule of party activities. Kids and parents alike will appreciate it!
6. As a vertical garden.
Reclaimed doors can also pair nicely with plants for inside or outside of the house. The Metal Edge Artisan grey-washed a cabinet door and added two galvanized planters using faux flowers. For a more colorful vertical garden, choose a bright-colored paint for the door or add flower pots of different colors or patterns, with equally cheery plants.
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Author and book editor Teena Apeles is a collector of vintage pieces and untold stories. She writes about art, culture, design, activism, and history, and edits books on an even wider range of subjects. One of her favorite projects was the anthology Dear Seller: Real Estate Love Letters from Los Angeles, a unique exploration of the lives and homes of Angelenos, for Narrated Objects.