Rookie Mistake: Over-the-door Hangers & Mirrors

Rookie Mistakes: a series of common decor mistakes made by rookies… aka us. And no we are not judging because we have made (and continue to make) these mistakes too!

Remember the Rookie Mistakes series is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. We’ve both made ALL of these decorating mistakes in our own homes (evidenced by today’s post) and simply want you to learn from us so you can make your home look amazing without having to make the mistakes we did!

Rookie Mistake – Over-the-door hooks & mirrors

So today let’s dive into our feelings about over-the-door hooks and mirrors. Don’t get us wrong, there is definitely a time and a place for these genius inventions.

The time? Your College Days OR Renting Days
The place? Your College Dorm Room OR Rental Apartment

If you’re in one of these stages of your life then you are NOT currently making a rookie mistake by using an over-the-door hook or mirror. Actually, you’re doing everything right because no one wants lose their security deposit for damage to the walls! But if you’re not in one of those stages of life, we think there is a better, more stylish alternative for each of these very practical pieces.

Over-the-door Hook Replacements


Image + Door Hook via The Container Store 

Anyone who has lived with an over-the-door product knows how ANNOYING they become when you’re trying to close the door, not to mention the scratches they can make on the door or to the door frame.


We don’t want to be dramatic because we realize that this problem isn’t the worst case scenario, but we do think that ditching the over-the-door hooks for a permanent, more stylish solution is well worth it.

Swapping out the over-the-door piece for a permanent hook, or hooks, will be far less annoying, yet just as functional.


I (Bridget) recently did this in my office. I chose this handmade hook because of its simplicity and shallow depth (plus the Etsy seller was awesome to work with). Finding a hook that is shallow enough and won’t make contact with the wall behind it is important to keep it from causing other issues.

I installed the hook into the hollow door using this method, which is very similar to hanging a picture frame on a wall by using anchors and screws.


Matt actually picks out his outfit and hangs it up behind the office door each night. This tiny hook works so hard each day, yet no one ever knows it’s back there because it’s hidden by the door! Plus whenever I want to close the office door for a conference call, I can easily do so without fighting an over-the-door hook. 

I only added one hook to this door but if you have small kids or a couple of kids sharing a room, we think adding two hooks at varying levels could also work well. How cool would it be to get hooks that have each child’s initial on them so they know where to hang their outfit, or school bag, or even bath towel?!

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Speaking of towels, both of us have hooks just like this for towels in our bathrooms and Casey even has one in her guest room. For such an affordable piece that’s so easy to install, it seems silly not to add them into each room for a bit of extra storage. Although it may be small, these secret weapons can really make a difference!


Rookie Tip: For those of you who may be a little nervous to drill the door, adding a hook to the wall behind the door can work just as well! We did that in B’s sister’s nursery last year and she still loves the function it offers. She usually hangs her little guy’s mini towel on it after bath time.

Over-the-door Mirror Replacements


Image + Over-the-door Mirror via The Container Store

Just like over-the-door hooks, over-the-door mirrors are perfect for college students/renters, but we think that creating a more permanent solution for homeowners offers a practical yet still stylish choice.

Don’t get us wrong, the over-the-door mirrors have come a long way in the style department since we lived in dorms.  But we don’t love the hooks you see while standing on the other side of the door. And like we mentioned before, we don’t enjoy the struggle to try to close the door when these items are attached.


Our solution? Hang a mirror on the wall behind the door! It still provides the function of having access to a full length mirror, it’s still hidden, and it doesn’t mess with the function of the door. <— sounds like a win, win, win to us!

I’ve always wanted a full-length mirror in my house but couldn’t figure out a place to make it happen. I was tight on space and living without one for four years! That’s when it dawned on me to add this very functional piece to the back of my bedroom door.


And that’s exactly what I did! I bought one from IKEA (similar) and hung it behind the door. It adds a TON of function, yet it’s not taking up any valuable space, actually… no one even knows it’s back there! 

The one thing I would note is that it’s important to find a mirror that isn’t too deep. This one is a bit thick for the job, so you need to make sure it don’t line up with the door knob because this could damage the mirror overtime. If you choose a very thin mirror, that won’t be a problem at all.

Like the door hook, we think this secret solution can make such a difference in your everyday life without interrupting the door’s function or having hooks poking out on the other side of the door.

If you’re an owner looking to upgrade your over-the-door hooks or mirrors, we hope you consider these easy, affordable options! Fighting with the door in order to close it is enough motivation to make the switch! Now we’d love to hear from you guys… what do you hide behind your doors?! Any other secret storage solutions you’d like to share with the group?

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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