Up-Cycling an Old Door into a Side Table

Last summer we opened up the wall between our living room and what’s now kind of like a sub-living-room, or a den. Our 90-year-old Craftsmen bungalow feels much more airy and open now, and I’ve enjoyed the excuse to redecorate these two front rooms (and no, I don’t mean to imply that we’ve actually done anything with the “new” room yet).

upcycled table finished 3

The living room is the room you enter when you come into the house through the front door, and I’ve always wanted to put a small table near the entrance so we’d have a convenient place to keep our keys and change. I knew exactly how I wanted it all to look: I wanted to hang the owl plate Greg’s great-aunt made in the ’70s, below that I wanted to put a very meta key-shaped key holder, and beneath that I wanted a table. A high-ish table that wouldn’t block the heating vent it would sit in front of. We hung the plate and the key holder months ago. Poor keyless key holder sat for ages in wait of a table.

One day I stumbled upon a photo of a table a British student made, and I fell in love with the concept. I sent the photo to Greg, and we decided we’d eventually make something like it.

side table, by Frank Flavell - image
Side table by Frank Flavell

Now, there’s barely a sliver at the centre of the Venn diagram representing my taste and Greg’s. So we decided this project would marry his love of wood and rustic decor with my love of clean lines and modern styling – but not exactly like the model in the photo, which he found boring and I found lacking personality (yes, that’s similar to boring, but it’s not the same to me). It was the utility and simplicity of the box and the cleverness of its legs we liked.

We made our table from a leftover old door.
Saturday we went down to Greg’s workshop and started figuring out what we wanted to do. He’d suggested we create a lip around the outside of the tabletop to prevent things from rolling off it, and as we were discussing ways to do that, I saw the old doors we’ve been saving. “Hey, why don’t we use the routed panels from one of the doors to make the table top? Voilà, a lip around the edges!” And so we did.

turning a door into an upcycled table
The center panel of the door just happened to be the perfect width for our table, including the border around the edges. After we stripped decades’ of paint off the door, Greg carefully cut a routed piece from another section of it to fill in the side of the table top that was left open after he cut it from the door. Then he glued it into place and left it in the vice for a while.

upcycled table unvarnished
He created the sides and back of the box by piecing together pieces from the sides of the door. One solid piece serving as the bottom. He used a scrap spare two-by-four cut down to match the thickness of the door to make the legs.

upcycled table DIY finished 2
We used a clear varnish on the box and four coats of eco-friendly yellow paint on the legs. The yellow is called “Sunshine” from Benjamin Moore and appropriate given the first nice weather we’ve had all season. Greg put some felt on the back of the box so it won’t scratch the wall. He also attached it to the wall just in case the dog (or, ahem, an ungraceful human) bumps into it.

upcycled table DIY finished 1
Behold, my wee vignette! And thus rustic meets modern, and we’re both very happy!

ETA: If you’re visiting this blog by way of the Apartment Therapy post about this table, welcome!! Feel free to stay awhile and have a look around!

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It looks delightful! Hurrah!



Miranda Lievers

I love love LOVE this! Gorgeous. It goes great with the rest of your livingroom and is totally unique, I've never seen anything like it. Hoorah!


This is so awesome! It totally beats out my old door turned sideways for a desk. Love it.

Liz Fulghum

This is kind of awesome! I think I love the yellow the best – it's totally unexpected and yet totally works.

The Amber Dawn

I totally love it! Now if only I had a spare inch or two of space around here to fit something like that in! One day. But I'd probably paint the legs turquoise, just because I can.


Wonderful table and tableaux! I love that it's modern *and* made from an old door. (Also loving that your page knew I came from google and asked me to subscribe to your feed or follow you on twitter … I might need to add that to my web enhancements list … )


This is so awesome! I love everything about it.

Andrea in Vermont

*that* is fabulous! old doors are beautiful…

Kerry Anne H

I love the pale blue on the walls. What shade is it?


What a great idea. I’ve just come into possesion of 4 old doors and was trying to get ideas for what to do with them from Google when I came across your site. You’ve given me some great inspiration! Oh and I love that little clock and the key hanger!

Inspire Me Heather

Too cool – really! I’ve had this saved for awhile now… and today I linked it to my accent tables post, for inspiration!


Very good … 


I’m impressed!!


Impressive!! Way to re-use old, quality materials!

Hannah McIntosh Burke

I love this. I’m trying to make something similar for my entry, how did you figure out what angle to cut the bottom of the legs? Is it pretty sturdy? This is so gorgeous! Thanks for the inspiration!

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