Interior Design - The Barn Door Craze!
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016
By Debi Meyer, Allied ASID
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 Barn doors are so popular in the Interior Design world right now. There is such diversity in the uses, styles, color combinations and mounting hardware. We'd like to take a few moments to educate you on the how, what, where and why!

*note - to see a larger view of the photo just click on the image

Here are some important things to consider

What are you trying to cover up?

We have done more than a few barn doors in our client projects, and what works for some people definitely won’t work for others. Take, for instance, the bathroom barn door. Keep in mind that a barn door does not lie flush with the door opening (in nearly all instances). A barn door essentially hovers over the opening on the exterior track. It covers the opening completely but does not seal the opening the way a typical door does, and depending on the type of track you choose, there can be a small gap between the door and the drywall. If you prefer privacy, especially when using the restroom, ensuring that you get the best possible contact between door frame and door is essential.

Because of the way they are installed, single-hung barn doors are not meant to be locking. This may be preferred for families with small children, as the kids would be unable to lock themselves in the room. However, it can be a cause for concern if you are trying to use one as a bedroom or guest bathroom door where you’d like the option to lock it. There are options for adding a lock so think about the function of the door and how much privacy and control are required.

What look are you going for?

Many love the rustic romance of a weathered wood barn door. Others are attracted to the aesthetic of an etched glass slider. Whatever your style preference, make sure that your barn door adds to the overall appeal instead of detracting from it.

Choose a barn door material that harmonizes with your home. A stainless steel version in a Zen retreat could be the opposite of relaxing, whereas a reclaimed Balinese temple door would bring a soulful ambience.

Is this a long-term love affair?

Barn doors are a beautiful alternative to the traditional hinged room closure. While they are lauded as space savers because they do not require a specific radius for opening and closure, they do take up significant wall space — both open and closed. Prepping for a barn door installation isn’t without a few sacrifices, either.

The track requires a lot of holes in the wall, and an investment (in both time and money) would be involved in restoring the opening to a standard door closure should you need or want to down the road. While design is ever-changing, your doors are a bit more long-term. Know that installation of a sliding door system is something you will likely live with for a long time to come, so make your door selections with that in mind.


What is the structural stability?

Although a barn door, aka a sliding door system, provides a parallel diffusion of weight across the header, the point load for the track, hardware and door will be on the exterior of the frame. You’ll need to know whether the door or doors you’ve chosen are too heavy for the track system they’ll be utilizing. 

While all modern homes are built with sufficient framing, older homes, additions (especially ones built without a permit) and arched doorways should be double-checked before you start drilling. A stud finder is not sufficient. You can check to see if you have a header by cutting out a 2-inch by 2-inch section of drywall approximately 6 inches above the doorway to make sure you can see the beam. Also, at every interval that you will be attaching the barn door track — this includes the extension beyond the door opening — you should have either a stud or a wood block underneath the drywall to add sufficient support. Drywall anchors are not advised in lieu of wood blocking, because they are not made to withstand heavy use and can potentially come out of the wall.

How big is your hardware?

When it comes to barn doors, nothing sets them apart as much as their hardware. Whether you choose a wrought iron rustic rail with oversize wheels or svelte steel rollers on a barely-there track, use scale and placement to vary your style statement.

A hefty slab of wood is balanced with powerful hardware. A delicate slice of glass, on the other hand, would shine with a brushed stainless mechanism.

Determine whether you want the rollers on the interior or exterior of the door. The placement will affect the overlap between the doors and walls when closed, so consider the use of the door as a guide when deciding.

Door pulls are an essential part of barn door functionality as well as aesthetics. A door that is meant to be actively opened and closed should have a substantial enough pull that the door can be easily moved. If you are looking for a statement maker, know that the larger your hardware, the more it will stand out.

Interior Design lights us up! We love creating unique spaces with sliding barn doors and so enjoy sharing some of our favorite styles with you. We're available to help you create the home you've always imagined? Let's chat about your project (click the gray "Let's Chat" button below). Be sure to check out our website to learn more about Design with Distinction. We invite you view our portfolio (lots of beautiful & inspiring photos of our work).

Reach us at: 602-376-5326

We can't wait to meet you!

Wishing you blessings and joy,


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