Creating Seamless Indoor/Outdoor Spaces: What Are Your Door Options?

Creating seamless spaces between a home's interior and its exterior is all the rage now. And it's no wonder; breaking down those barriers lets in more light, brings nature inside, and makes your home look and feel bigger. Here are five door options if you are interested in achieving this look for your home.

1. French Doors

French doors have been around for centuries and are an option if you don't want to break up the facade of a more traditional or formal home. They are also the best choice if you like paned windows. Using French doors is an easier option than many others if you are remodeling and don't want to do major structural work on the home.

You can create an open feel with French doors by using multiple sets of double doors in a row. The biggest downside to French doors is the swing space they occupy in the room when they are open.

2. Sliding Doors

While many people equate sliding doors with cheesy patios of the 1970s, sliding doors have come up in the world. hey are now available in a variety of frames, materials, and sizes.. The sliding mechanisms have been improved too, for smoother action and more energy efficiency when closed.

Sliding doors are another option if you want minimal construction changes when opening up your home. You can install a row of sliders, or you can alternate them with same-size continuous picture windows.

3. Bi-fold Doors

Bi-fold doors open like an accordion and are a new hot trend in indoor/outdoor design. While their frames can be quite large, the doors are engineered to open easily. Because they fold back on each other, they create a more visually open space than using sliding or French doors.

By having two sets of doors, one folding to the left and one to the right, you can literally open up an entire wall of your home. If you're adding bi-fold doors to an existing room, you may need to make sure that structurally the room can handle all that open space in the center. They are therefore easier to install in new construction where that can be accommodated in the plans.

4. Pocket Doors

Pocket doors go a step beyond bi-fold doors in creating the ultimate open space. They lift and slide along a track in the ceiling, recessing into a pocket in the wall when not in use. The pocket can be created to hold several doors at once for a maximum opening.

While pocket doors are an old design for home interiors on a small scale, they are relatively new for exterior use. Like bi-fold doors, the home must be able to withstand the loss of structure from the frame of a standard door.

5. Garage Doors

Perhaps the hottest new trend of all, using garage doors for non-garage spaces is yet another way to open up your home's walls. You can use solid wood or metal doors, doors with windows, or garage doors made of glass with minimal metal panels.

Using a garage door is a great alternative in a contemporary home or a home with extra high ceilings (like a converted loft space). Tracks, opening mechanisms, and hardware can all be adjusted for interior aesthetics. 

One final consideration: with so much glass space on a wall of your home, you'll want to make sure you have adequate privacy and protection from sun and cold. Fortunately, many of these glass doors come with frosted or tinted options, as well as interior blinds. And there are numerous window treatments on the market now to cover the larger expanses of glass doors being installed.