Old cabinets upcycle into furniture such as window seats and desks.

How to Make Furniture From Old Cabinets & Doors

by Kathy Adams

During a home or room remodel, you may be left with a number of cabinets and doors that are no longer needed but in otherwise good, usable shape. Rather than sending them off to a salvage yard or the curb, turn those unneeded pieces into new furniture -- you'll save quite a bit of money compared to buying new furniture pieces, plus you'll end up with furnishings far more customized and fitting of your style than the usual run-of-the-mill furniture-store offerings.

Coffee Tables

Doors readily convert into coffee tables, whether the doors originally stood in an entry area or over a tall or wide cabinet such as an armoire. To make a door coffee table, remove hardware, paint the door in a shade that matches your decor, if desired, and attach your choice of short legs, available at home improvement stores. A full-size wood door requires more stable and solid legs than a door off of a cabinet, but results in a larger, durable coffee table. Apply several coats of paint in different colors, with candle wax rubbed on in between, to create a distressed or shabby chic finish. Simply sand corners and edges to reveal other coats of paint beneath, making the door table look old and worn. A glass table top can be used over an ornamental door to create a completely flat surface that's easy to clean.

Desks, Craft and Work Tables

A desk or work table fashioned from a door and two matching cabinets provides ample space to work on projects, as well as storage for school, work or craft supplies. Two small cabinets, such as vanities or kitchen cabinets, provide the "legs" at either end of the table, with lots of storage space inside. Filing cabinets can be used as well. Set a large flat door atop them for the table or desk surface, or add a glass top to make the surface flat if the door is detailed. The door can be made more secure atop the cabinets with L brackets, or leave it loose if you may move the structure to another area. To get the kids involved, encourage them to paint the cabinets or at least pick out colors. Craft stamps dipped in acrylic paint create designs on the drawers or cabinet doors.

Window Seat or Storage Bench

A window seat is one of those furnishings that gives a room added charm and enjoyability; it's a comfy space to read or just relax while looking outside. Turn a long, short cabinet, or a tall cabinet set sideways, into a window seat by adding a top made of plywood, then adding a cushion designed for a lounge chair or porch swing, if you don't want to make your own. Remove the doors from the cabinet if you prefer an open look, placing fabric storage bins or baskets inside as a place to store reading material. A storage bench is made in much the same way and looks best with a finished back side; choose a cabinet that looks good from all sides, or add extra wood to the back and paint the entire structure to make it look cohesive.

Bookcases and Wall Units

Turn a series of old doors, all the same height, into a striking freestanding bookshelf that still shows its original purpose. Line two or 3 doors up next to one another, touching, each painted a different color. Attach shelves to the doors with brackets or by attaching screws through the backs of the doors to support small wood bolsters that hold the shelves up. The shelves and sides can come from scrap wood, pallet wood, actual shelving or a series of salvaged cabinet doors. Scrap cabinets can be used as a base for a home entertainment station that looks built into a nook in the living room or family entertainment room; fill out the extra space with additional shelving or even more cabinets.

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.

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