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Decorating with Doors


There are certain decorating tricks I go to again and again…my “secret weapons.” One of my favorites is using old doors and shutters to fill up an empty wall and to add some texture or color to a space.   Think about how much you would spend on a piece of artwork, even a cheap reproduction, that is 3′ x 5′.  I bought the pair of shutters in my bedroom from a junk shop for $45.

I got out of breath when I saw the hinges and chipping gray paint.


I use doors and shutters all over my house.  I lean them behind chairs…



…there’s one behind my vanity…



…a slim pair flanking a window in my family room, as well as a doorway in my dining room.



I even have a huge bead board door leaning on my piano.  It acts as a nice, textural backdrop for Adele (actually, Eulalie is there now.)


I also move them around to use in my photo shoots.   This wall looked like a big blank space when I first took the picture, so I moved a shutter there to break things up a bit and add vertical height.

I used a door behind the Christmas vignette in my foyer…



…and as the back drop for a Wuslu pick-of-the-month photo shoot.



Do you want to go out and find some doors or shutters, now?

I’ve never paid more than $45 for a pair of shutters and about $20 for a door.  I am really fortunate to live in an area where there are a lot of old homes and barns, so it’s a pretty regular thing to find doors and shutters from renovations and at auctions and in junk shops.  I once bought an entire truckload of doors (and a table) for $23.  They’re rarely displayed in a chic way.  They’re usually just stacked outside, filthy, chippy, sometimes wet.  So, how can you find some bargain doors for your home?

    • If you’re on a tight budget, look at doors that are very plain and simple.  I’m not talking about a 1970’s hallow-core door or anything that simple, but a plank or bead board door can work fine on it’s own or make a nice backdrop for a mirror, wreath, work of art or collection of smaller pictures or prints.  Plain doors cost a lot less than ornate ones.
    • If you live in a suburban area, drive out a ways until you hit an area that’s more rural.  Look for junk shops, antique stores, architectural salvage stores, barn sales, auctions, flea markets and estate sales.  You’re more likely to find less expensive “junk” in rural areas.
    • Check out sites like Freecycle and Craig’s List for homes and barns being torn down.  You may be able to purchase the doors and shutters (and who knows what else) or even get them for free if you remove them yourself.
    • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and do a bit of digging.  You can sometimes find the best stuff under not-so-great-stuff that other people didn’t want to move.
    • If you can’t find an old door, make one!  Use reclaimed or new planks and build a simple door.  You can paint, distress and antique it to give it some age.  Add some old hardware to make the look even more convincing.

So, if a big, blank wall has you stumped…maybe a door will be the answer.

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  1. I just saw so old doors on Craig’s list and thought, “what would I do with those?”. Now I know. Yours are wonderful!

  2. Melanie Furstenberg says:

    I have two old doors I’d like to use similar to yours…how do you keep them in place without falling over? And not mounting to walls? I have two boys- If something can be destroyed – it will! :) I just don’t want them falling on someone!! Thanks!!

  3. Sayrah says:

    MMS <3,
    Just found your blog–I am in love! Please let me know what paint you used on those gorgeous closet doors…they look almost navy blue…so delicious. They look so pretty next to that grey; that one picture is inspiring a bedroom make-over for me…uh oh…….!

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi Marian.

    When you get your door, do you seal it? Especially if it’s chippy? If so, with what kind of sealer? I have some old doors that I’ve kept for awhile in my garage and want to incorporate it into my home. Do you clean your doors first? Sorry if these questions sound so elementary. Thanks in advance for your assistance.


  5. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A handful of my blog audience have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this issue?

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  1. […] in my living room, and I could put a table in front to really make it a focal point in the room.  Miss Mustard Seed has a similar idea and uses doors and shutters as her “secret […]

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