before & after: door headboord + suitcase picnic set

I’m not in the market for a new headboard, but sometimes I see projects that make me wish otherwise. This door-turned-headboard by Angela is so simple, and yet it creates such an amazing result. The character of the wood seems far better than any modular, mass-produced headboard of a similar style, and I love the versatility of this simple piece. Great execution, Angela! — Kate

Time: 4 hours (spread out over a few days, mostly time spent stripping the paint)

Cost: $30 ($10 for the door and $20 for paint stripper and polyurethane)

Basic Steps: The first step was to clean the door up and decide which side was best to use. Next we cut the door to the width of a queen-sized bed using a circular saw. To create a straight edge to run the saw, we clamped down a straight poplar board and made sure the straight edge was perfectly perpendicular to the door using a square. Then we made a cut on each end to center the panels to the bed. Next we sprayed the door with paint stripper and allowed it to soak in. Using a stiff blade, we removed the paint. This had to be done three times to completely remove all of the layers of paint. Once the paint was removed, we lightly sanded any rough areas including the freshly cut ends.

After the door was sanded, we gave it a good coat of polyurethane, lightly sanded the imperfections and then finished it up with a final coat. Next we mounted it on the wall with a French cleat. This was done with a 1 x 4 scrap board of poplar. The board was cut in half horizontally at a 45-degree angle. One half of the cleat was then mounted to the studs on the wall, and the other half was mounted to the door. The headboard then easily rests on top of the cleat, creating a tight fit. By making the cleat significantly shorter than the width of the door, we were able to easily adjust the headboard from side to side to position it just right for the bed.

We have a few bits of advice for this project — first, find a door with good character to really get a good result. For example, we thought this door worked especially well because of its unique two-panel style and antique key hole. Take your time with the paint stripping; don’t be afraid to do many smaller passes rather than trying to take off the paint all at once. Finally, when hanging the headboard, have a good understanding of where the wall studs are in relation to the desired location for the headboard. This will ensure proper mounting of the cleat. — Angela

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Amy’s vintage lamp transformation after the jump!

Spring has finally been showing itself these last few days, and this vintage-suitcase picnic set by Sibylle is a great way to celebrate the warmer weather outdoors. Sibylle created this set as a birthday gift, with all the trimmings included — plates, straws, cake and flags. I love the mix of stripes and checks against the crisp white exterior, but the greatest part of this project is that it’s completely customizable. Great idea, Sibylle!

Time: 4 hours

Cost: $55 ($15 for the suitcase and $40 for other supplies)

Basic Steps: I painted the suitcase white with indoor/outdoor latex paint. Then I cut out the old pocket on the upper part of the suitcase to have an even surface, and cut the new fabric to the right size of the suitcase (separate pieces: upper part, lower part, sides)

I folded the fabric one inch on the sides and ironed them to have a clean edge, and then glued the fabric onto the old fabric with Mod Podge. For better hold, I stapled the corners. To hold the cutlery and champagne glasses, I took a piece of ribbon, stapled the beginning, made a loop big enough to hold a fork and knife/champagne glass and stapled again. To hold the plates, I stapled a square Velcro piece onto the suitcase and sewed the opposite piece onto a piece of ribbon (4x). I also made a little garland out of baker’s twine and felt and glued it to the top part of the suitcase.

My advice would be to first finish the inside and then paint the outside, unless you have time to let the paint dry for a day and then tackle the real work. Also, make sure that your suitcase is not too thin to staple anything on to. If it is thin, you can hold a flat, hard object against it while you staple. After you paint it, you will not see the staple. — Sibylle

April Cole

Wow! Amazing… love old doors and suitcases, thank you for sharing your creative ideas :]
What a treat.


omg i’m in love with that headboard! i’ve got a thing for old doors…AND we need a decent headboard. you read my mind. xo

Emily Rae

The small images of “Amy’s vintage lamp transformation” are visible, but even after clicking the link again (even though I was already reading the page itself and not the main page) the larger pics and details are not visible.


LOVE the headboard and i can’t believe how cute she got that suitcase to be! it looks perfect!

Lisa Goulet

Great headboard and I love the cute little picnic suitcase. I have a couple of old suitcases that would be a good candidate for this!

The revamped suitcase is adorable – I love the white and red gingham! It is definitely one of my favorite looks! This is a great post!


I love the picnic suitcase, what a great idea!!! Reminds me of a vintage travel bar I came across at a consignment shop a couple weeks back!


That headboard is stunning! Who would guess that it’s a door? Well, until you see the lock, but still…it’s brilliant!
Thanks so much for the inspiration. Your blog totally rocks! I could spend hours here.
xo Deirdre


Funny, my high school boyfriend’s parents made all of their beds head and footboards out of doors! I’ve never seen anyone else do it, but I always thought it was such a nice idea.


Wow! That is a really beautiful headboard. I really like timber too but would never have thought to use an old door like this – very clever!


I’ll be looking for vintage suitcases at thrift stores ! Pic nic suitcases really taste of summer !

very merry vintage style

This is adorable. I have so many vintage suitcases where the inside is ripped and ugly and I love how fresh this looks. The whitewash effect is also stunning–makes a shabby suitcase clean and bright!

Nellene Wiley

My husband proposed to me during a picnic. I’m going to make one of these and store our wedding mementos in it! Very creative, hats off to ya…

Sarah B

LOVE LOVE LOVE THE PICNIC SUITCASE SHEER BRILLIANCE!!! I have so many of those suitcases now i am so inspired to do my own version YAY!!


I love the headboard, but we also love the bedding (the pillow cases…). Where is it from?!


I have actually done this before with an old door (i collect salvage items) and with a king, i didn’t have to cut the door down. I actually kept the chipped paint and only partialy scraped some of the panels. I got more compliments on it than nearly anything in the house.


So many lovely comments – thank you!!

Allison, my mom made the pillow covers for me using fabric from the Amy Butler line of fabric – Lotus Morning Glory Linen and Lotus Cherry Red Wall Flower.

It’s not in the picture, but she also made a bed skirt using Lotus Cherry Full Moon Polka Dot. All three fabrics look so cute together.


I absolutely love the suitcase idea!! I’m thinking about doing a similar makeover to an old trunk. Does anyone know why she decided on using indoor-outdoor latex paint vs. any other kind? What are the merits of using that paint and how does one prep the suitcase before painting it?? Any feedback would be SO appreciated! :)


wow. I love the headboard…..I have been looking for a creative solution to our lack to that huge open space above our bed. This could be it!


This is perfect! I’ve been looking for a picnic basket for awhile, and they are surprisingly hard to find. I think finding a suitcase at a thrift store is a much better idea for me.

Cathy Donlin

I love that head board. I’ve seen one similar to that.

Cathy Donlin

I want that head board for my bed. And it would be even better if I won the new tempurpedic mattress.