February 14, 2012 4:06 pm

Nick Williams lives in Teddington and is a regular blogger on the subjects of DIY, home improvement and interior design. Nick works for Yale Composite Doors who manufacture energy efficient and police approved composite doors.

Doors! Not really something we get excited about unless of course there’s something exciting on the other side. All homes have them in differing styles and materials, so you would think they would be high up on the list of makeover targets.

All too often the doors in our homes get overlooked when we are trying to add touches of creativity to rooms. Most of us just consider them dividing/excluding tools that allow us to subdivide our space or keep unwanted visitors out. It is of course their main purpose, but doors can also add colour, support design schemes and become a focal point.

One of my favourite ways to bring a door to life is to strip it; stripping a door allows you to correctly update the colour of your door or add a distressed feel to it.

Unfortunately the techniques described only work for wooden or metal doors. If you own a PVC door you may still want to read on as the ideas can be applied to any wooden piece of furniture.


Stripped to its natural beauty

To get the best result, check the wood – doors, especially old ones, can be made from so many different kinds of wood – each having a slightly different grain and finish. So if you aren’t 100% sure you’ll like the natural look of the wood, consider painting, staining or distressing it. A wooden door brightens a room and adds a touch of vintage in a formal way. If you are considering the natural look for your back and front doors be sure to ensure you treat the wood. Internal doors are fine to leave without sealants or finishes but external wooden doors will warp if left naked and exposed to the elements.

Techniques – Nina wrote a great post, which discussed removing paint from furniture. I also agree with and follow the heat-based techniques, which Ron Tanner uses in this YouTube video. It’s also worth adding that antique paint stripping tools can also make very cool ornaments.


Distressed finish

I am possibly obsessed with creating distressed finishes and have now used it on pretty much every wooden object in my home. My obsession began with a door, turning a boring Victorian internal door into a turquoise, weathered piece of art… in my humble opinion. It is one of those techniques that once mastered, you start seeing the weathered potential in everything!

Techniques – There are two ways to approach distressing furniture. Firstly if you are happy with the exterior colour you can go straight into sanding, using various coarseness to get different effects. Also use chisels or paint stripping tools on edges, to get that ‘beaten’ feel.

If you want a different colour for your distressed look, you’ll need to add a stripping stage. Once you’ve done that you can paint the door and once dry begin the distressing process.

Thanks for sharing, Nick!

Yours truly,


1 Comment

  • Hi Nick. Its nice to know that there are other out there with some of the same take on stressing wooden furniture. The art of it is making it look natural. In my experience, this can be hit or miss from time to time.
    I enjoyed your post here about doors and can relate to all that is said. Good work and thanks for sharing.

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