Sometimes repurposing stuff can be a real stretch, even though it’s something we should all be trying to do. There are only so many places we want to have decorative tin cans or wine bottles in our house and garden, however clever those DIY projects may be. That, of course, gets us back to the fact that we simply need to work on minimizing the trash we create. Old wooden doors are not like this.
Old doors make for fantastic projects, but they aren’t a type of garbage that most of us create on a regular basis, if at all. They are more likely a material that we’d have to seek out (check into salvage businesses), but they have real potential for making characterful pieces of furniture. While they don’t come in many shapes (sizes do vary), they are a sturdy version of a very common form in construction: the rectangle.
When we start to think of old doors like beautiful slabs of wood, their potential grows exponentially. They can be so much more than what hangs on hinges. Plus, with that in mind, the paint, keyhole, inlays and other typical door features become qualities to work with, to be accentuated in whatever an old door becomes anew.
1. Shelving Unit
This works particularly well for wider doors, and it does require a little extra repurposed wood (or another door) to be around. The old door acts as the backing to a shelf. Stood just as it would on hinges, the door has a plank fixed to it to become a shelf. From there, variations can occur. Some might want to create a unit with several planks of the same size to make uniform shelves. Others like to extend the lower shelf another foot to create a little desktop, display table, drink station or potting table.
2. Table/Coffee Table
Speaking of tables, doors are just about the perfect size for making tables. A large door, say 36” by 72” makes for a full-sized kitchen table that’ll seat 6 people. Or, a thinner door can be cut to make a coffee table, possibly using the removed sections as legs. When making a table, it’s worth checking into making the legs out of other repurposed doors or repurposed furniture legs. For coffee tables, the texture of the door is something to be appreciated, but for a kitchen table, unless the door is flat, it’ll probably require a piece of glass to go over the top to make the surface usable.
3. Porch Swing
Porch swings already have a lovely, old-time feel about them, suggesting those bygone days when we took the time to rock away the afternoon. Old doors put a new spin on the old tradition. Take two doors, one for the back and one for the bottom, to make a unique porch swing from repurposed materials. Again, collecting other repurposed furniture pieces, like chair legs, can help to add cool features.
4. Kitchen Island
Much the same as making a coffee table or dining table, the basic tabletop shape and strength of a door lends it to becoming a great kitchen island. In fact, two doors, one for the countertop and one for a shelf, can be repurposed for this project. Wait a second, a third door could be added for acting as the legs, and a fourth for becoming the backing for the shelf. Suffice it to say, this could be a memorable piece of furniture for guests to behold and, more importantly, for a you to appreciate on a daily basis.
5. Room Divider
Doors, classically, are room dividers. However, this function is normally performed by one door at a time. When repurposing them, with a collection of three or more door, it’s possible to make a room diver by hinging the doors together. Windows, differing colors, and leftover hardware only make this divider more exciting to see. With three equally sized doors, this should be something very simple to make, with only the hinges to attach. Moving it around, however, might require some help: Three doors hooked together will be pretty heavy.
6. Full-Length Mirror
Doors have a way about them. They are portals from one space to the next, and that carries mystique with it. What’s on the other side? Somehow that feels like the appropriate forum upon which a mirror can sit comfortably. Leave the doorknob in place, and use the framing of the door to act as the framing of a full-length mirror. This works really well for door with ornate panels on the top and/or bottom.
Again, we can’t get away and must appreciate the basic shape and might of old doors: They are perfectly suited for making furniture that needs to be sturdy and rectangular. In essence, that means most of the furniture in the house. Doors can make great benches, with the potential for using a portion of a single door for the backrest, bottom, and sides. It’ll work great for as entryway piece, storing shoes beneath it and sitting on it to put them on.
For those getting into repurposing, doors are a great step into more serious projects (old drawers are good one as well). Working with them is still pretty easy, but the items created by doors can be much more substantial, full-on pieces of furniture as opposed to decorations. That makes repurposing a door a very rewarding project.
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