door headboard 11

Can you use a door as a headboard? – He asked 2 minutes after spotting a nice pine old door abandoned … there it was my next project upcycled door converted into a Headboard.

A few weeks back, on our date night, we spotted an old wooden door curbside. My supportive husband stopped to feed my Roadkill Rescue addiction curiosity.

The door was solid wood and luckily my man was with me to heave it into our van. Dimensions were never a problem. I immediately had visions of turning the old door into the focal point for our bedroom.

door to headboard (7)

Besides being filthy it had two coats of paint on it that was chipped and ugly. I decided to strip the door down to bare wood.

I felt like just cleaning it up and painting over it wouldn’t give the look I wanted to my bed frame.

Supplies You Need to Make It:

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. 
  • Stripper (I recommend Bix, Jasco or Kleen Strip)
  • Stripping supplies
  • Sandpaper (60, 80, 100, 120 grit)
  • Disposable paint brush
  • Wood filler
  • Measuring tape
  • Wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Rag
  • Dutch Boy’s Antique White paint in Satin
  • Minwax Wipe On Poly
  • Minwax Vermont Maple Stain
  • French cleat

Tools Needed:

  • Paints Sprayer
  • Electric sander
  • Air compressor
  • Air nail gun
  • Caulk/caulk gun
  • Electric drill

Making the Door Headboard – Step By Step Tutorial 

Step 1 – Removing the knob

I first removed the old door knob and the knocker (don’t worry I saved it).

removing door knocker

Step 2 – Old paint off

I spent hours stripping the paint off the door. I recommend using a REALLY thick coat of stripper to get the maximum amount of paint off it in one swoop. Since there was varnish and two coats of paint over the door it took a few coats of stripper to eat away the coating until I got to bare wood.

stripping a wood door

Step 3 – The Sanding

Once completely stripped I sanded in all the crevices and the door starting at 60 grit and working all the way to 120 grit.

I used my electric sander for most of it and then hand sanded the crevices that I could not get with the electric sander.

OH MY THIS WAS HARD WORK! I also filled in the door knocker hole with wood putty.

However, I left the door knob hole since it would be covered by my bed.

sanded door

Step 4 – Framing the top

At this point I purchased a piece of crown molding and used a 1” x 4” I had in my garage to frame out the top.

I enticed a good friend Mike to come over for dinner and then weaseled my way into asking him to cut it for me.

Thanks Mike!

door headboard
door to headboard
headboard door

Step 5 – Attaching the molding

Using an air nail gun and wood glue he attached the crown molding pieces to the side of the door for me.

Then I came back and added wood screws into the top of the 1” x 4” and into the door for added strength and to keep the board straight.

Next I wood puttied and sanded all the holes. I also ended up caulking some of the edges as well to give it a smooth line.

Step 6 – Priming and painting

I debated a long time but after realizing that it wouldn’t work to stain it due to the various types of wood I primed and painted (sanding in between) it with my air sprayer. So primed and painted (Antique White by Dutch Boy).

door headboard (2)

old door headboard (2)

Step 7 – Can’t help it

As much as I love plain painted furniture I just had to distress this piece.

Plus I asked my Facebook and Instagram fans and it was unanimous to distress it!

The door itself had too many imperfections that to try and not bring out those imperfections would have made it look unpolished.

So I sanded the piece down on the edges. Since the wood was very light I took a Q-tip and added some stain (Minwax Vermont Maple) to the edges as well, wiping it off quickly with a wet rag to remove the stain from the painted parts.


Step 8 – Two Coats

I then ended up giving it two coats of Minxwax’s Wipe On Poly.

I have never used this product before but I LOVES!!!!.

It gives it a hand rubbed beauty without brush strokes and is so quick and easy to apply.


Step 9 – Setting it Up With a French Cleat

We decided to hang it on the wall with a French cleat. It was kind of pricey at $15 but this door weighs a ton and we knew it would give it the security it needed.

One part added to the back of the door and one part added to the wall then we just slid the door in place. 

Basics steps for this step are:

  • Determine the wall location and locate the studs.
  • Measure the length of the headboard and cut the French cleat to size.
  • Use a level to ensure the cleat is straight and then screw it into the wall through the studs.
  • Place the headboard against the cleat, aligning the corresponding cleat on the headboard with the wall-mounted cleat. Secure the headboard to the wall cleat using screws.
  • Ensure that the headboard is securely fastened and does not wobble.
french cleat

One part added to the wall

french cleat (2)

Once the bed was made with my new bamboo sheets the new oasis of rest was finished. 

We had now a natural style of relaxed sophistication with an exceptional feel for less than the total cost of a bag of cookies! (Okay I might be over excited a lil bit).

But after a decade of living without a headboard, we finally have a headboard I adore and I am so proud in making part of our home. Feels like going to bed now is a real relaxation moment.

What do you think? Do you love my new headboard?

door headboard (1)
door headboard (4)

door headboard (7)
door headboard (1)
door headboard (8)

Other DIY Projects with Wood Scrap

I have done so many woodworking projects over the years that I can’t keep up. I have used all sorts of woods and scraps, planks, lumber, … and build beds, Barn Doors, tables, chandeliers, planters, cave man bars… converted a desk into a coffee table, you name it!

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  1. I have only one word, and it is “WOW.” I love it, and how clever you were to get your friend to cut that molding…it really added some character! The headboard looks fantastic!!! (On a side note, I missed some of your recent posts b/c they weren’t updating in my Blog Roll! I tried deleting the link and adding it again, and it’s still telling me your last post was a week ago. Maybe I’ll try again…)

  2. Love, love it. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now and you make it look so easy! I’m going to find me a door!

  3. FIrst I can’t get over that someone was throwing that fabulous door away (from other curbside addict). But, then I am just stunned at the makeover you gave it! The headboard is truly beautiful, unique, and just WOW! Thanks for sharing.


  4. WOW! I DO love your new headboard! It turned out gorgeous! And, I don’t think $15 for the french cleat is too pricey, since the door was free! Not a bad price for a headboard!! LOVE it!!

  5. I am blown away. I love all of your finds and re-dos, but THIS takes the cake!! It is just gorgeous. You are blessed with such a gift. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. I love the finished headboard. Its hard to believe that in this day any one would have thrown that door out. Good thing I don’t live close by. We would have been out on the street fighting over which one of us would be hauling it home. You know you could have cut a board to work as your French cleat? Would have saved you some money. Congrats on a great job!

  7. It is beautiful! It looks like it has always belonged there. Awesome work! I love the Minwax wipe-on poly too. Looks great and is so easy & fast to use.

  8. That is incredible!! I love it! It is just perfect in that room!! And it’s so interesting…you won’t find that in any store! Well done!


  9. You are so talented. I want to paint several furniture pieces. May I ask what kind of sprayer you recommend? Thank you!

  10. That is totally amazing!! Sooo beautiful – and what great luck to find such an awesome door!

  11. This looks great! Thanks for posting!!! I have several old doors and I’ve been toying with the idea of turning them into a headboard. This was the inspiration that I needed! 🙂 Thanks again!

  12. your best Roadkill Rescue yet!! 🙂 Very nice work. I love showing my husband your stuff. He’s always impressed.

  13. I LOVE IT! Now go find another one and do the same thing to it for me would ya? jk! It is beautiful! Nice job!

  14. Wow!!! I love it. At first I sort of liked the door as is (I like chippy old stuff), but no way would I put my head near it! Looks great now, plus you don’t have to worry about paint falling into your hair at night.

  15. Oh, wow, that is gorgeous, Beckie! I’m so impressed that you could imagine such wonderful possibilities when you saw that beat up old door. I have headboard envy!

  16. LOVE LOVE LOVE….you are amazing as usual…but now I cant help but notice your under the bed drawers. They really stand out now against all the lovely white furniture. Bet we’ll see the repainting of those to match sometime in the future!

  17. It looks so good!! I am jealous- we also have no headboard and my dream is to use an old door like that someday. What a lucky and awesome find- you made it look great!!

  18. Your headboard looks awesome! You did a super job, glad Mike was hungry enough to help ya! 🙂
    Your bedding is really pretty!
    I made one a couple of years ago with the UGLIEST door ever! whoa!

    announcement? You have me on the edge of my seat!

  19. Love! I’m going to make my own headboard with a sheet of wood, batting, then wrap in fabric. But yours looks gorgeous!

  20. it’s gorgeous – i’ve lived for 10 years without a headboard, too, so i’m going to be scouting for a nice roadkill door to transform!!!

  21. You find the best things on the side of the road! The door was amazing as a door but it’s really fabulous as a headboard! The last time I stopped to pick up something I saw on the side of the road, my 6 year old begged me not to bring it home. She said, “please leave that there I don’t want you to get arrested!” lol

  22. Do I love it? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is amazing. And I may just have to steal this idea for beds for my daughters when we redo their room. 😉

  23. I’m serious, you find more great roadkill rescues on your date nights than anyone I have ever seen!! This door was an awesome score & it looks FANtastic the way you have re-purposed it for your headboard! I really love it! We actually have the old front door for our house sitting in our garage & this makes me want to drag it out & get to work. We actually want to hang it on the wall above our bed as our artwork! Great job, thanks for sharing!

  24. So beautiful! And thanks for the tip on the french cleat — I have a door that I refinished for a headboard over a year ago, but we’ve never hung it up because we weren’t sure how!

  25. I really LOVE this ; REALLY ! we got a king sized bed last year and do not have a headboard yet . I have one of those body pillows propped up against the wall on my side ; my husband doesn’t care so has nothing !! this is a wonderful idea ; I was thinking of making a fabric one , but I really like the door ! NICE WORK !!!!

  26. I know…I swear every date night we score something awesome. We have the best trash in Indy because there are no restrictions on what you can throw away.

  27. Oh my goodness — this is just the look I’ve been wanting for the headboard for our master bedroom. Yours is gorgeous! Really, truly — gorgeous. Love the color with the distressing — love the detail in the door — and the molding on top. It is so beautiful!

  28. So freakin’ cool…I want to do something similar for one of my guest rooms! I’ll probably never find a cool door like that, but I am definitely going to try. I love this so much, I am going to “pin it”…I think everyone should see this!

  29. I LOVE it…I have doors for my headboard as well and I actually played into the whole ‘door’ thing and put brass door ‘plates’ and glass knobs on mine (are also hung sideways). I get alot of compliments on the look. (dark stain and no molding at the top)

  30. You did a really great job on the door. The crown molding idea was particularly effective. I think I would have simply made a french cleat out of wood (a strip of wood split with a beveled cut) for about a dollar.

  31. Holy MOLEY. I rarely ever comment on popular crafty-type blogs, (though i read a million of them) but this was just incredible!!! All of your hard work was well worth it. I’ll bet people pay $600 or more retail for something that beautiful. I want one too!

  32. Oh my goodness!! I just love the old door-turned into a headboard!! Looks like you really went to a lot of work. Love the header on top of the door, but esp love the eight panel door. I haven’t ever seen a door quite like this. Sure makes a perfect headboard. Keep making beautiful things out of someone elses junk. I just love to see what you come up with!!

  33. Well thanks for taking time to comment, it still means so much to me every person that does. I am so proud of it and glad to finally have a headboard!

  34. I love this….I’m sort of obsessed with old doors turned to headboards and hope to one day find my beauty to transform 🙂 I was wondering -what electric sander do you have and would you recommend it??

  35. Anyone works fine. I think mine is a Porter Cable. But definitely get the sheet sander one. That way you can purchase full size sandpaper and cut it into 1/4’s to use. No need to purchase a special kind to sandpaper that only fits one type of sander.

  36. Love it! I have a similar project on the go! Last year our family home, which has been occupied by 4 generations was torn down to make room for more ‘Calgary’. My husband, our son and I were the last of the family to occupy the home. Prior to us moving out, we removed all of the old wooden doors and they have been sitting in the shop collecting dust. I am now working on a headboard and a footboard for our sons new room. I thought it was a great way to keep a bit of our heritage!!!

  37. Love how this turned out. My mom has offered me an old door and I was totally thinking about doing this. Thanks for the inspiration and info. The hanging bit is a great idea!

  38. You have good ideas like my wife has. She had me make a mirror from an old wooden window sash. It looks good in our bathroom.

  39. How wide is your bed and how tall was the original door? Did you have to cut it down in order to fit the width of your bed properly?

    I have an old door that I would like to do this with, but the width of my bed is 60 inches and the height of the door is 80 inches. Having a 10 inch overhang on each side might look a little goofy.

  40. Hi, I’m a little behind on my blog reading so I just came across this post today. I really love what you did with this door, I want to do something like this for my bedroom.
    I just wanted to suggest to you that next time you have something with so much to strip off, take it to a Sandblaster. It will be much easier and you don’t have to deal with all those chemicals. It also shouldn’t be very expensive to do something like this door. My husband is actually a Sandblaster so I kinda know what I’m talking about.
    Just a thought
    Stacy 🙂

  41. Looooove this! It doesn’t even really look like a door anymore. My goal is to eventually make my own headboard. Maybe I’ll get lucky, like you, and be able to find an old door that’s been discarded! Heh.

    I love the distressed look too. I don’t think it would have looked right without it.

  42. Beautiful! I purchased my door about four years ago! It was bubble gum pink, maroon and toothpaste green and cream! It took several days of stripping to get it all off! Then my husband build legs as well as adding the top piece. I love mine! We have had several compliments on it. I’m considering building one for my mom who would like one as well. Thanks for the french cleat idea that will help with building hers!

  43. OMGosh — that is FABulous. *Coveting* a DIY headboard — even searched your site for “headboard” ’cause I knew you’d have made one. 😉 Now that I am soon-to-have a garage, maybe I can actually do things like sand and paint!!!

  44. I am in LOVE!! And, you FOUND it? Good for you -your vision of what could be, kicking in. And kudos to your husband for enabling you. 🙂 The 3 of you were meant for each other.

  45. LOVE your headboard! Nice job using an old door. I have 3 doors in my garage waiting to be made into headboards. Maybe someday I’ll get to that project!!!

    Found you on pinterest.

  46. I love this! I have a french door that is original to our 1930’s house that I’ve been toying around with the idea of using as a headboard – I’m not sure about the windows and if the size would work for a king size bed… now you’ve inspired me to crawl back into the old coal cellar and retrieve it!

  47. I am so glad I found your tutorial on this — I had 2 similar doors, just smaller, that I used together for this same project, and this gave me all the inspiration I needed to being the project to fruition! Beautiful beautiful piece & I blogged today about my results (blog listed below). Many thanks!!

    Kim @ Two Ten Designs

  48. Thank you. I adore it and love the fact that if you look closely it looks like a door. I love when piece of furniture tell a story.

  49. I love this idea and was very cleaver. I have a high poster bed at the present. My husband is disable and having is now hard for him to get on and off our bed. When I saw this I decided that is exactly hat I am going to do and lower my bed for my husband. Can not wait to get it completed. Thanks for sharing such an awesome idea.

  50. Love how descriptive your tutorial was! Thank you so much for all the details and photos. We are about to take on the same project and you helped a lot!

  51. I absolutely love your headboard idea. Beautiful. My mind is racing to come up with the best way to secure my own find to my bed frame rather than the wall so that I can move the bed ocassionally.

    Incredible repurpose….I love it.

  52. That looks great. Bet you can make more practical things from salvaged wood. I’m not saying that a headboard is not practical but we know that a spare table would be more practical. 🙂

  53. Very cool and inspiring that you saved an old castoff destined for the dump and with some elbow grease and a few bucks turned it into a headboard that would probably cost $100s if not more at some exclusive boutique. Real American ingenuity.
    Thanks for sharing.

  54. Beckie – you’ve inspired me…went a bought an old door yesterday and it has no paint to scrape or sand off (thank goodness!) I’m wondering what kind of paint sprayer you have and where you bought it (and how much if that isn’t too pushy). Thanks for the breakdown of this DIY project!!! I can only hope mine turns out as fantastic as yours! Cheers!

  55. Great Job with the headboard! But i’m actually more interested in your bench at the foot of ur bed. Did you make that also? Or purchased it somewhere?

  56. This is breathtakingly gorgeous, gorgeous, GORGEOUS!!! No one would ever have to know that this is a curb-side find, because it looks like a very expensive piece from an upscale decorator boutique.

    Utterly beautiful!!!

  57. No way….NO WAY. I so want to go drive around now at night and find this stuff. We have a local antique store and I swear that door, in that same junky condition you found yours in would easily cost 75, 100 or even way more and you’d still have to strip it.

    Love your bravery. It’s getting pinned.

  58. I just found this page on Stumbleupon, and wow, this is amazing. I have an antique table to strip down and re-varnish and this project has definitely given me motivation to start. You’re awesome!

  59. Awww thanks Talia. Good luck with yours. Stripping furniture it as task all right but the results are worth it.

  60. Like you we have been without a headboard forever! I have been looking for an old door for years. Your’s looks beautiful! A job well done

  61. Just had some doors replaced in my house , it it a foreclosure and doors were kicked in and in shambles now I wish I would have kept some for projects such as this, bummer

  62. I loved this so much I am in the process of making one for our master bedroom, I have wanted a headboard for years. I am almost to the point of being able to hang it (letting the finish dry now), and am just wondering when hanging it, if you made sure to hang it in the studs of the wall?

  63. When attaching to a wall you always want to try to hit a stud with a solid door like this. If the door wasn’t so heavy you could use toggle bolts.

  64. What size bed does this fit? Is it a queen or king? I LOVE this look and plan to do it myself! 🙂 Thanks for all the great tips.

  65. Sorry I am joining this party so late, but you have a great eye for recycling things. I hope you sent a photo to the neighbor whose junk you pulled that door out of! It just goes to show you why good things are so expensive; the labor required for quality.

  66. Looks very professionally made! My sister is making one at the moment. Did you need to install a board between the crown moulding and the door? Can’t see how the moulding attaches to the side of the door. Thanks!

  67. Hi, Laura! Thanks for your question. No, I nailed it onto the bed itself. Then I added another board on top of the crown, making it stick out a little past the crown and then nailed into that through the crown. Does that make sense?

  68. That is a much simpler way to attach compared to how other people have done it. Thanks for your response! It really makes the project much easier that way!

  69. nice jobbed looks great but watch out for lead based paint !!! WHAT ABOUT THE COST -I would imagine the materials used stripper , sandpaper, filler , Crown molding ,finishing materials , electrical power for the tools and the mounting cleat added up in quite a few dollars,, not to mention elbow grease

  70. this is gorgoeus!!!! good job!
    I have been wanting to do the same. Is this for a king size bed? If so, what was the length on the door?

  71. I love this! Thanks for the tutorial. I just got a 3 paneled shaker style old door. I feel that crown molding wouldn’t keep to the style of the door but it needs something on top and maybe even around the sides. It’s 79” and needs to be trimmed down at the bottom to make it even. For my eastern king I need 80” in width. Any suggestions?

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