Sliding doors are not just for patios and entry ways. Also called pocket doors, interior sliding doors have been used in homes for decades. Often narrow and mounted on an upper track with flimsy hardware, the door easily fell off the track at the most inopportune moments. Usually used in small or narrow spaces where a swinging door will not fit, sliding doors are now used in a variety of applications. Over the years, the design of the interior sliding door and the attaching hardware has improved dramatically.
The most common use of an interior sliding door is to separate the powder room from adjoining areas. This allowed the practicality of placing a sink and a toilet into almost any small space. Sliding doors are now used to close off noise between a family room and a home office, used to define a space, create privacy within a large space, for temperature control, to replace a boring wall between two adjoining rooms and to hide electronics or other things that are used infrequently.

A sliding door can be as useful as a sliding wall. In small studio apartments, you can install a sliding door to separate the kitchen area from the rest of the room. As kitchens in studios are usually just a wall with a sink, stove, fridge and a few cupboards, a sliding door can hide the kitchen mess so you don’t have the feel of entertaining your guests at the kitchen sink. By choosing a sliding door that is decorative and functional, such as a painted panel or a Japanese type screen, you can close off the kitchen area and dramatically change the look of the room. Sliding doors can also be used to hide a fold up bed or wall bed while you are using the kitchen area. No one likes sleeping in the kitchen and the use of a decorative sliding door or wall can define the two spaces when necessary.

In larger homes, many have formal dining rooms and a breakfast nook. Though both rooms may be close to the kitchen they may be separated with a wall and an adjoining doorway. By using a sliding door, your formal dining room can be separated from the chaos of the family room for holidays and special events and by opening the sliding door, you can create a flow between the rooms, allowing conversation and a sense of community between the rooms.

In a larger home, a sliding door can be used to separate large rooms into smaller, welcoming rooms. In the 80’s many homes where built with a “great room”. This room was designed to allow open access between all areas of the home. Over time, home owners have realize the “great room” functionality creates a space that is too big, has too much going on and is very disorganized.

To solve this problem, designers have suggested using rugs and furnishings to define the space into different areas. Great rooms have become a place where the family gathers for television or games, with a breakfast table off to one side and a small desk and computer off in another corner. Noise travels from one end of the room to another and the functionality seems to get lost in the confusion. To keep the openness and flow within a great room but to include privacy and coziness, consider installing a wall of glass panels and a sliding French door at one end to define the area. This way, the space is still open, but privacy is created and chaos is controlled.

Regardless of why you want to close off one space from another, a sliding door can provide the openness and privacy your family needs. Available in many sizes, styles and designs, choosing a sliding door is an interesting way to solve your home design problems.