Tips on Selecting a Door for a Table

This is a post we did several years ago and I thought it was about time for an update! We certainly didn't invent the door table. But, there's alot we've learned in the last several years. If you are more of a DIYer and are considering making your own table out of an old door, here's a few things to think about!

We source our doors from many different places. Architectural salvage shops and antique shops are a couple of our fave spots. Now, alot of doors find us from people who are rehabbing or cleaning out their basement or barn. Over time, we've learned what to look for when selecting a door that will ultimately become a table. A couple things we consider:

  • What do you want the finished table to look like? Our tables range from those with a more finished look where the edges of the door are trimmed out, to simply a door on legs. Whatever look you are going for, think about how you will put it all together and how the table will work with your home's style.
The edges of this door have been trimmed out. This hides the hinges and lock and gives a more polished look to your table.

The edges of this door have been trimmed out. This hides the hinges and lock and gives a more polished look to your table.

The edges of this door have been left raw. You can still see where the hinges were, giving a more rustic and reclaimed look to the table.

The edges of this door have been left raw. You can still see where the hinges were, giving a more rustic and reclaimed look to the table.

  • Symmetry: Take a close look to see if the door is symmetrical. Most of the time, the bottom of a door (known as the bottom rail: the area between the bottom panel to the edge) is wider than the top (known as the top rail: the area from the top panel to the edge). If this is something you are concerned about, you'll need the proper tools to even it out. This is something we do to all of our tables.
  • If you plan on going with a stained top, does the door need to be stripped? This process can take up alot of your time. You can find doors that have already been stripped (or, the store might offer it for a fee), but you usually will pay more for these doors. If you love the chippy paint on the door, then this isn't an issue! {Although, there's a good chance the paint contains lead, so please take the necessary precautions.}
     
  • Sturdiness: Think about how you want the finished product to look. To make an even surface, we top our tables with a full sheet of glass or cut smaller pieces for the panels. If you don't care for an even surface, knock on the panels to make sure they are sturdy.
This table has a full sheet of glass to create a level surface. This is also the original paint, so the glass also keeps any potential flakes or chips from coming off.

This table has a full sheet of glass to create a level surface. This is also the original paint, so the glass also keeps any potential flakes or chips from coming off.

This custom table consisted of two stacked doors. One has leaded glass and the bottom is a mirror. Our client didn't mind that the surface was slightly uneven.

This custom table consisted of two stacked doors. One has leaded glass and the bottom is a mirror. Our client didn't mind that the surface was slightly uneven.

  • For me, the older and chippier a door, the better. However, as we cut doors to make them symmetrical or remove rusty nails, doors have cracked and chipped apart. Pay attention to the quirky details you love in the door...will they end up causing you more problems as you are putting your piece together? A lot of times, we cut off one or two panels to get us to the size we need. Look at how the door was put together. Will making a cut damage the structure of the rest of the door?
     
  • One last bit of advice, don't forget to measure the seat of your chairs. When most people purchase a dining room set, the table and chairs are all included in the package. There's no question that the chairs will fit on the ends of the table. Any time you are constructing your own table, double check that you'll be able to push those new chairs in on the ends! A door table can be narrower than a typical dining room table and you don't want to be stuck with chairs you can't use!

Hopefully this was helpful! A handcrafted table from a reclaimed door makes a truly unique statement in any room. If you are thinking of building one yourself, what questions do you have?

Happy building!

Jessi