Get the LOOK: Create your own Dramatic Headboard using Old Doors

Matthew Patrick Smyth Salvaged Door Headboard In Elle Decor


Restoration Hardware - 19th Cent. French carved door bed

Restoration Hardware - 19th Cent Door Headboard style

The inspiration for this came from this stunning hand carved headboard by Restoration Hardware.  I’ve always been a HUGE fan of using reclaimed and salvaged materials inside your home in an endless variety of ways.  I love the history, visual fantasy, drama and scale they bring to a space, giving it both a sense of grandeur and a fresh interpretation of the beautifully worked and created elements.  While I LOVE this piece by Restoration Hardware… I love the idea of reusing a piece of salvaged architectural craftsmanship more.  Something that has a history, a sense of place and a sense of pride from the master carpenter or craftsman who created it and the home it was essential within.  I have also, always had an obsession for massive old wooden doors and the mysteries they enclose.  I love their stunning repetition of pattern and line that make up their form.  The piece by Restoration Hardware with its recessed panels, carved corbels and metal trim is a wonderful example of what to look for when selecting your doors to create your headboard.
Old Door as a Headboard
  Your first step is to find your local Architectural Salvage Shop or what I like to refer to as Heaven.  The great thing with old doors are that they are made of solid wood (oak, maple, chestnut, or mahogany), and they have a solidity both physically and visually to them that grounds a space.  Old doors are also wonderfully easy to work with because of this solidity… their sturdy stiles and rails allow you to re-purpose them into something new, something loved and something you recreated yourself.
Doors at a salvage store

When you arrive at the salvage yard/shop you’ll find row upon row of old paneled, carved, double and single, interior and exterior doors (many of which are made from old-growth timber))…. the trick is to find the one that speaks to you and to your vision.  Do you want it to be dramatically tall?  Do you want it to be horizontally installed to keep the room energy lower?  Do you want it to be modern in feeling with no adornment?  Do you want a massive double door so you can build shelves as side tables off the doors on either side of the bed?  Do you want to keep the original wood or distressed paint finish?  Are you going to repaint it?  Are you going to add fabric or mirror insets into the recessed panels?  THINK about what it is you want and then go and get inspired and awed by the possibilities. (there are so many wonderful uses for old doors we will talk about creating wainscoting another time… or what I’ve always loved.. a WALL of doors from floor to ceiling).

Salvage Doors 2

STEP 1: Choose your door (easy as it sounds it will take an afternoon of hunting, thinking, planning and savouring all the options).  You can use a door put horizontally and cut it to size… you can use a pair of double doors and create a dramatically tall headboard… you can use a massive sliding door and then inset wall hung lamps and side tables off of it… the options are endless.

STEP 2: Decide if you are going to go with an original distressed paint or wood finish OR if you are going to strip and repaint or stain.  This depends on your style, the door you fall in love with… and the amount of time you have to devout to your project.  If you are going to refinish you will need to fill any holes in the door with wood putty, then sand with medium-grade sandpaper and wipe down with a damp cloth and then prime and paint or restain (go darker).  Then decide on the other materials you are going to need to “frame” your headboard such as chair-rail moulding, panel moulding and additional wood (this totally depends on the design you create).

STEP 3: Are you going to simply screw the headboard onto the wall or are you creating an actual “footed” headboard like a solid individual piece of furniture?  If you are going to hang the door you will need 4 heavy duty D-rings on the back, then add three pieces of two-by-two lumber to fit between the bottom of the headboard and the floor). Screw each plank into the wall (one at each end of the board, one in the middle) to help support the headboard’s weight.

The possibilities are endless, here are a few that I love:

Reclaimed wood door headboardsDouble beds with a simple panel door head board with moulding added to the top and then reprimed and painted a gloriously cheerful blue that pops with the fresh orange accents in the room.

Salvage Headboard

A stunning reclaimed Arch being used as a headboard…poetic and beautifully elegant.

matthew-patrick-smyth Salvaged Door headboard in Elle Decor

The exquisite reclaimed doorway used as a headboard by Designer  Matthew Patrick Smythe in ELLE DECOR