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Love Is Key

Do-It-Yourself Rustic Interior Door

There was an interior door leaning behind a shelf in our garage for four years. We reversed the swing of one of our doors when Brad moved in to make it more logical – so we had an extra. This seemingly useless item became the inspiration behind my entire idea for wedding reception seating. In true do-it-yourself bride fashion, I thought I would try distressing the door to make it look more rustic. If it worked, it would become the “place card” holder. Except the place cards would actually be vintage keys. Because “love is key.” The good news is my vision came to life! The bad news is now I want all the doors in our house to look like this. If you too love all things rustic, follow this simple DIY to create your very own distressed door.


Rustic Interior Door


Saw Horses (or surface for resting your door) Paint Brush

Paint Roller

Paint Tray Base Door Paint Sanding Sponge or Sand Paper Wood Stain* Shop Towels

Drop Cloth


  1. Remove the door from the hinges (if need be), remove all hardware, and lay it across the saw horses or other surface for finishing.​

  2. Paint the front and the edges of the door with the base paint color and let it dry, completing any touch-ups necessary to get a nice even coat. Once dry, flip it over and repeat on the opposite side.​

  3. After the paint has dried, take the sanding block or paper and work on the corners, edges, and any other area that might naturally be distressed (maybe around the doorknob). No need to sand down to the original paint, just enough to give it some character.​

  4. Wipe down the door with a clean shop towel to remove any sanding residue.​

  5. Flip the door and repeat steps 3 and 4 on the opposite side.​

  6. Apply the wood stain to the door starting with any detail areas the door has. Wipe off the stain before it has time to dry. No need to worry about the coats being even, remember the goal is to give it distressed charm and character! Continue this process, until wood stain has been applied and wiped off the entire door surface.​

  7. Allow the stain to dry for 24-48 hours. Then, flip the door over and repeat step 6 on the opposite side.​

  8. Allow the second side to dry for 24-48 hours. Now the door is ready to be reinstalled or used for your very own DIY project!


To finish the overall look, Brad helped add a vintage knob, which we set on stained round wood plaques (he drilled a hole through them to incorporate the knob). For the seating, I methodically hammered nails for hanging the vintage keys strung with kraft paper tags for seating arrangements and different colored jute to designate the meal choice. Of course, I added a custom, handmade burlap banner.

I carried the subtle theme through to our reception centerpieces by creating numbered “door knobs” for each table. Again, I repurposed materials sitting around our house – leftover wood planks from another home project. We cut them down to six inches long and stained them with the same wood stain from the door project. We purchased different neutral colored, vintage looking drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby and metal keyholes from Michaels. After gluing the key holes in place, Brad drilled holes in the wood pieces for the knobs to screw through. I secured them using the small washer and hex nut they came with on the back side. Finally, I glued metal numbers on each wood piece to complete the look.

It all started with a basic interior door. Inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places.

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