When I was growing up, we lived in a small ranch-style house. My two brothers shared a room where they slept in bunk beds and each had their own side to a single chest of drawers. As they got older, it was necessary for them to have space where they could do their homework, build model cars and planes, and whatever else boys do. Since the room was rather small, there was not enough area for two desks, two chairs, etc. So, our dad went to a local lumber yard (there were not yet any big box home improvement/DIY type stores) and purchased a door – a flat, non-paneled door. With brackets and some kind of bracing, he laid the door horizontally against the back wall of the bedroom, under the single window. Voila! Desk space for two growing boys! The hole for the door knob was filled with a small plastic cup or a container such as butter or margarine came in, and the boys had a pencil holder. Ah, hah! Repurposing/recycling in the 1960’s! For my parents, it just made sense and was economical. Had yard sales and flea markets been as much of a family adventure and excuse for an outing as they are now, I’m sure the door would have been purchased at one of those events and a complete re-purposing would have ensued.
- For the most part, doors of any style can be used as a back panel for any number of uses:
- Create a hall tree in your foyer by installing a few hooks for jackets, coats and hats; for a unique look, add a mirror or family photograph within the panels or perhaps a chalkboard or corkboard for reminders and schedules.
- Place a door against a wall, hang a mirror at eye level and add a small table directly in front of it to make a vanity area for your bedroom or washroom.
- In the kitchen – employ a door in the same manner, but replace the small table with a re-purposed nightstand or a small chest of drawers. Paint the panels with chalkboard paint or inset corkboard panels and you’ll have a new message center and a little extra counter space. And, can’t we all use a little extra counter space in our kitchens?
- For your chicken yard or garden –
- Use an old door to replace fence panels or use screen doors as part of your chicken run. The screens may have to be re-inforced with hard cloth or chicken wire, but it’s easier than starting completely from scratch.
- Like my dad, lay a door horizontally for a workspace or table of any kind. Bracket it against an outside wall, the side of a shed or garage, or a sturdy fence. Try adding legs for a finished look!(Repurposed, of course, from an otherwise worn out table or bench).
- Smaller or narrower doors, like those from cabinets, work well as sides and shelves when building bookcases or rustic storage units. We’ve seen free-standing, pantry-like cupboards built completely with re-purposed doors. Use larger doors for the side and back panels and side-by-side cabinet doors for, well, the cabinet doors.
There are as many re-uses for doors as there are styles of doors. These are just a few. What have you done with old (or new) doors besides hang them on hinges, or make a desk in your child’s room?