By Patricia L. Garcia
Ever see those cool hideaway doors that tuck into the wall and think, “I’d love a door like that!”? The good news is that you can — commonly known as pocket doors, these doors are functional, save space and look great.
But, is a pocket door the right type of door for your new home? While these types of doors may be attractive, they should be used in certain cases. If you’re unsure if a pocket door will work in a certain room, talk to your builder. In the meantime, here’s what to know about pocket doors:
What is a pocket door and how does it differ from a regular door? “A pocket door can be the same size and look of a regular door, but it instead slides discreetly within the interior of the wall,” says David Soriano, founder and president of Bryan Construction in Doylestown, Pa. “This can be used on any interior door in a home, providing there is enough wall space on one side of the door to allow room for the entire door to slide in to.” Pocket doors come in a variety of styles, including solid wood, glass and even rice paper.
While these doors offer space savings, Soriano says that homeowners who use these doors are often after a desired look. They want “a very open, seamless look consistent throughout the home,” he says.
Barn Doors, The Pocket Door You Can See
An alternative to pocket doors (and the need for a pocket door frame) is the barn door. Barn doors glide on hardware you install above a door. While barn doors don’t close in the same way that a pocket door does, they provide privacy without taking up space.
“Barn doors are perfect for areas where you don’t want to impede traffic flow,” says Barbara Green, owner of Sensibly Chic Designs for Life in Charlotte, N.C. “You can cover a pantry with them or a doorway between a formal living room or a hallway.
“They can close off a space, but when you want it to open, it completely opens the room up without having to worry about traffic flow being impeded by the doors jutting into the hallway or room,” says Green.
Not All Doors Are Created Equal
It’s important to understand that a pocket door shouldn’t replace every type of door in your home. Erin Davis, owner and lead designer of Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, Ore., suggests pockets doors in cases where they’ll see “light to moderate use only.”
Placement is also important when thinking about a pocket door, Davis says. “The framing that is required for a pocket door limits plumbing and electrical placement,” she says. Because you don’t need to remove parts of the wall to install a pocket door frame, newly built homes are ideal for these types of doors. “You can pre-plan in locations and frame it in from the start” with a new construction home, Davis says. Your builder can offer advice on the best way to incorporate this type of door into your new home, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Save Pocket Doors For Smaller Spaces
While pocket doors are hailed for giving folks more space, that’s not true in every case, says Anjie Cho, a New York City-based registered architect and feng shui interior designer. “People think that they get more space, but not always,” she says. “You lose the back of the door (for hooks, like in a closet or bathroom). You also lose acoustical privacy. This is something to consider with bathrooms and bedrooms.”
Cho suggests using pocket doors in rooms where space is limited, such as a powder room.