Recycling Old Doors: Project Ideas - Room Divider or Coffee Table?
The property boom of the last decade led to millions of remodelling jobs across the country. The following slump has not dampened peoples desire to improve their homes but has merely led them to find more cost effective ways to go about it. Combine this drive for interior design and the current fashion for environmentally friendly sourced materials and you have a recipe for recycling old doors into new furniture (doors usually being the best donor wood items in the house).
Part 1 of the Recycling Old Doors series was concerned with preparation and finishes for finished items and pointed out the importance of using suitable solid door wood. So, on the understanding you've read part one and have found a suitable donor door in good condition we'll look at some of the projects a competent DIYer can consider.
The best donor door for making a room divider is a solid wood 4 panel door. You'll need two doors and to safely take the weight you'll need some fairly hefty hinges too, available from any hardware store. When finished, using two doors, or rather four halves, will make a 'W' shape (when looked from above). The easiest way to go about this is to make two separate folded 'V' halves from each door then bring them together to form the 'W' shape of a room divider.
Begin by cutting the first door exactly in half from top to bottom along the central muntin. Now attach the hinges to the newly cut face at the same height as was originally used when the door were hung to the door frame (normally about ten inches from top and bottom). One door is now cut in half and folds in the middle and should be freestanding. Now repeat the process with the second door.
Some people consider the doors to be too heavy so remove the panels and replace with fabric if you want. The lower panel can be left totally open if using outdoors to allow wind to blow through whilst still offering a good degree of added privacy to a garden. To remove the panels drill a pilot hole in each to allow a jigsaw to cut out the centres so all of the panel can be removed. If you wish to leave the panels open use putty to fill in the grooves where the panels once slotted. Once you have made the two separate 'V' sections you can join them together with another pair of hinges to complete the structure.
On a similar theme, smaller cupboard doors can be reused in this way to make a fireplace screen. See this blog post by Courtney Goodwin for a real example of this.
Making a coffee table is a flexible project because it can be made using just about any type of door. If the donor door is a veneered flat surface door then the coffee table top can be made from cutting out the desired size of table top and then attaching suitable legs. Alternatively, a four panelled door of solid construction can be used to make a coffee table with storage facility inside.
Cut the lower half of the door off through the mid rail. Then cut this part exactly in two along the central muntins. This forms the side 'legs' of the table. You'll need to find something suitable for a table top as the panelled door won't have the required parts for a flat surface of suitable size. However, by using the panels from the discarded top half of the door to form a shelf twelve or so inches underneath the table top then the basic structure is taken almost entirely from the door. Adding feet to the underside of the leg parts will lift the bottom of the unit off the floor for better cleaning access underneath.
So don't discard those doors that you're replacing - recycling old doors can be a very rewarding thing to do - doing your bit for the environment, saving pennies and creating something new and unique. Stay tuned for part 3 of the 'Recycling Old Doors' series where we look at some more ideas for recycling old doors.