Upcycling: How to Turn an Old Door into a New Table

Nothing provides a greater sense of satisfaction than taking something old and turning it into something new and useful. If you’re at all handy with some basic tools, you can “upcycle” worn-out elements of your home or salvaged materials you’ve acquired into attractive, functional new items. It’s a creative way to save money and the planet by recycling old materials instead of throwing them away. 

Even seemingly single-use items such as doors can be turned into something new and unique. Turning a door into an informal dining table makes for a highly-creative, “green” item that can be a real conversation starter. 

Of course, doors come in all kinds of designs, colors, and makes – flat wood, six-panel and four-panel designs, doors with glass insets, and more. Don’t have any old doors in your basement, attic, or garage? You can easily find them in antique shops, flea markets, and tag sales. 

One interesting idea for a dining or kitchen table is turning an old door into a “family-recipe table” – taking old recipe cards you may have from your parents or grandparents and mounting them in the recessed door panels to turn the table into a large shadow box. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Find an interesting four- or six-panel door and start by removing any hardware, thoroughly cleaning it, and chipping off any old paint or varnish. If you have any old screw holes, deep scratches, or other surface blemishes that are visible, fill them and sand the entire surface smooth.
  • Purchase a set of four tubular metal table legs, available online and in many home improvement stores, and mount them to the table corners using wood screws inserted into pre-drilled holes. TIP: place your drill bit against the edge of the table and mark it with a piece of tape to ensure you don’t drill through the entire door.
  • Paint the inside of each recessed door panel in whatever color you like to complement or contrast the rest of the door.
  • Gather an appropriate number of old recipe cards to fit within each panel and mount them with decoupage glue. Choose family-favorite recipes as well as interesting-looking cards that might include doodles or different ink colors to add visual interest

Mount a pre-cut clear acrylic sheet, approximately ¼” thick, to the tabletop using screws or glue to secure it. That’s it! You can now enjoy a unique, highly-personal kitchen or dining table with your family and friends.