10 killer design ideas for salvaged doors

Matthew Grocoff

June 16, 2016

By: Matthew Grocoff, Green Renovation Expert

In: DoorsGreen Living

Salvaged doors

Doors, doors, doors. Go to any Habitat for Humanity ReUse Center or salvage yard and you'll see rows and rows of unloved but beautiful doors. Ideally, old doors should be repurposed for use as doors to avoid the use of new materials. But what if the doors are beyond their useful life? How do you upscale ugly?

Here are ten killer ideas for reusing salvaged or reclaimed doors.

Garden gate

Using a door at a garden or yard entrance can create a sense of mystery, intrigue and whimsy. What secrets lie beyond? Find an old door with the windows broken out. Paint it a bright red or yellow to contrast the greenery. Construct a simple frame out of cut timbers or some reclaimed cedar posts. Add a fence. Plant some native vines (beware of fast-growing and invasive species) to grow over the frame. Voila! Like Alice's looking glass, the wonders of the garden await on the other side.

Garden shed

For a small tool shed, buy four doors. They can have windows or be solid. You can even mix and match. Build a simple frame with a roof. Three of the doors are fastened to the frame and become the walls. The fourth door is hinged and is your shed door. You can add hooks, shelves or cubbies for all your rakes, hoses, shovels and other garden tools. You can also use four glass french door panels and create a mini greenhouse!

Wall paneling

For an extraordinary conversation starter, panel an entire wall with a mix and match variety of doors. Layout different sizes and put them together like a puzzle. Try painting them all white for a striking monochrome look.

Table top

If you keep your eyes open, you can find old doors in exotic woods that are no longer available. A stripped and refinished paneled door can make a perfect coffee, dining or conference table. For doors with elaborate carvings or panels you can cover the door with custom sized glass to create a smooth surface.


You can often find dozens of the same style doors from old schools or office buildings. By cutting the bottom part of the door and adding trim, you can create one-of-a-kind wainscoting.

Barn door slides

Barn door slides can be excellent space savers. A swinging door eats away at a 3 ft x 3 ft area, making it unusable for anything but a passageway. Putting barn door slides on an cool antique door adds character. You can place furniture against a wall with enough room for the door to slide behind.

Headboard and footboard for bed

It's easy to upcycle a door as a headboard. Simply turn a large door sideways, trim to bed size, and secure with screws to a standard bed frame. You can get really creative.


There's all kinds of ways of turning old doors into stunning book shelves. One way is to remove the panels from a horizontal panel door, attach shelves on the bottom edge of each panel opening, then lean the door against a wall. For a more traditional bookshelf, cut a door in half and use each half as the sides. Use another door for the backing and salvaged wood for the top, bottom and shelves.

Room divider

Old french doors can make gorgeous room dividers. You can use any type of door you find. You can hinge a few together for free-standing dividers or hang them from the ceiling using chain or wires.

Door (duh!)

As I mentioned before, the best use of a door is as a door. Wouldn't be cool for a bathroom door to be an old smoked-glass office door with the words "Acme Plumbers" etched in black paint?

Salvaging old, ugly stuff and turning it into beautiful, useful stuff can be loads of fun. It is important to remember that many old doors made before 1978 probably contain lead paint. Be careful to removed or cover any lead paint on any type of salvage project.

Have fun! Tweet me pics of what you create: @mattgrocoff

Photo via Rustica Hardware


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