If you’ve watched home and garden television shows like “Fixer Upper” or skimmed through a few home design magazines recently, you’ve probably discovered one common trend throughout them all: stylish sliding barn doors (which look great both open and closed).
What if we told you they could work in your newly built home, no matter your design style?
“Shut the barn door! Are you kidding?”
Nope. And you don’t have to be a professional designer to make it work in your home. Whether you’re going for a shabby chic, rustic or completely contemporary design plan, there’s a way you can make a barn door stand out in your new home.
Here are the tips you’ll need to do it yourself (or at least find out what you want so someone else can do it for you).
Decide on How You Plan to Use a Barn Door
The first step when choosing to install a barn door is to decide how you want it to be used and ensuring you have the space for it.
“I think they are perfect for areas where you want the flexibility to close off from public view,” says Courtney Rogers, a design expert for Edward Andrews Homes. “They do require additional wall space on either side of the opening, so confirming that there is ample space for the door is key.”
An example of this could be at the entrance of a media room, game room, pantry, closet or even a bathroom.
“I would recommend using them in areas that you don’t mind losing the ability to lock,” says Rogers, adding that you might also want to keep in mind that barn doors might allow a little more sound transfer than a regular door.
And if you just want to install a barn door because they’re in, look cool and add a little flair to your new space, that’s OK too.
“They also serve as dramatized entryways and closures for offices and bedrooms,” says Kerrie Kelly, a Sacramento-based home design expert with The Home Depot. “They can even be fixed in a position to just show off their sleek style!”
Choose a Style
No matter the style of your home, there are plenty of ways to make your barn door work.
“The barn door style is perfect for a farmhouse, a contemporary house or (my favorite) the contemporary farmhouse,” adds Tracy Kay Griffin, a design expert with Express Homebuyers, a company that purchases homes in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. “But quite frankly, it is so versatile it can go in any type of house.”
Which leaves it all up to you to decide on the type of barn door you’d like to install. Single door, double door, wood, metal, glass — the possibilities and materials are almost limitless.
“Barn doors are generally made of wood, while the tracks are metal,” says Griffin. “But you can use old church doors, French doors, castle doors, garage doors and even two-by-fours nailed together.”
For ideas and inspiration like these, it’s a good idea to check out your builder’s design center or nearby home and furniture outlets.
“I’ve had homeowners go to their local antique stores, find a vintage door and simply retro-fit it to work as a barn door,” says Rogers. “It’s a fairly easy DIY opportunity that can add so much impact to an otherwise generic door opening.”
Create a Design Plan
It’s also extremely important to consider the style of the rest of your home décor, or at least the décor surrounding your barn door.
“Because barn doors tend to take up a lot of (wall) space, we like keeping the rest of the décor clean and simple,” says Kelly. “If you’re painting your barn door, its best to make sure the rest of the room is neutrally colored and simply accessorized to keep all eyes on the barn door.”
And if you don’t necessarily want all eyes on your door, Kelly suggest painting the barn door in the same or a similar color as your walls to help it blend in.
“Not only does this make the room look larger, but it allows you to use more pattern and color as well,” she adds.
And for a modern design scheme, Kelly suggests axing the wood. “Barn doors have made their way into contemporary and transitional styles with the use of mixed metals, lacquered finishes and metallic hardware,” says Kelly.
Rogers adds that incorporating frosted glass is another great way to keep it contemporary, which also allows for natural light to flow through the door and into the next room, while still maintaining privacy.
“The finish on the barn door can help to dictate the design style as well,” she says. “A bold, bright color can make the door be seen almost as a piece of art, while a neutral stain or paint color lends itself to be more traditional.”
Drew Knight is a freelance writer for Builders Digital Experience (BDX). He graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2014 with a degree in agricultural communications and journalism.