Sliding Doors Combine Function with Fashion

Ken Mayer/flickrInstalling a sliding door used to be a purely practical decision. While it's true that sliders, as they are affectionately known, pack a lot of function into their frames, recently they have become sought after for their good looks as well. Two big trends in home fashion are rustic country style and feng shui-inspired Oriental décor … and sliding doors are equally at home in both. Installing sliders offers a lot of advantages; here are nine.

Sliding doors offer:

  1. Space saving. Sliding doors have traditionally been used as space savers, and they are certainly great for tiny bathrooms, home offices, or laundry rooms. They also can make an awkwardly placed opening between rooms work better.

  2. Privacy. Open floor plans and generous great rooms have their place, but sometimes a household needs a little privacy. Use a sliding door to divide an overly large room or to screen off a "not for the general public" section of your home.

  3. Interest. A handsome sliding door can liven up a dull area of your home, providing texture and depth. Paint it a bright, contrasting color for an alternative to an accent wall. And forget the old myth that you can't hang artwork in the path of a slider; feel free, as long as your wall art is low profile enough that it doesn't interfere with the slide.

  4. Ventilation. An exterior sliding door, equipped with an insect screen, provides natural ventilation. Turn off your air conditioner and enjoy the delicious breeze on a summer evening. It's environmentally friendly, as well as just plain pleasurable.

  5. View. Does your home back onto a breathtaking view? Lucky you! Glass sliding doors will let you see more of the beautiful vista. Besides that, patio sliders let you keep an eye on your backyard, whether you're supervising kids playing or barbecue sizzling on the grill.

  6. Practicality. Install sliding doors on the closet or dressing room off your master bedroom for increased accessibility. Because you can open the closet much wider, you will be able all to see all your clothes and accessories at a glance, when you're rushing to get ready for work or an evening event. Add a mirrored panel to the outside so you can conveniently check your outfit.

  7. Variety. Sliding doors come in an eclectic assortment of materials to complement any decorating scheme. Hire a carpenter to install a sliding door made of wood (maybe salvaged barn wood or a reclaimed barn door?), glass, aluminum, steel, fiberglass, or even paper, for traditional Japanese styled shoji screens. Do make sure that any glass slider is made of shatterproof material marked in a distinctive fashion, such as by an opaque or patterned band across the glass, to prevent mishaps.

  8. Flexibility. Sliding door installations work equally well in doorways between interior rooms or leading to the great outdoors. Of course, the material of any sliding exterior door must be waterproofed against moisture penetration and sealed for energy efficiency. In terms of home security, today's quality sliders are manufactured with a hook-over locking mechanism to prevent would-be intruders from lifting the sliding panel out of its frame.

  9. Universal Access. Family members or guests with disabilities will appreciate the accessibility afforded by an easy-to-open sliding door. Combine a slider with a touch-activated mat to trigger an automated opening system. (NOTE: Glass sliders are not recommended for individuals with vision impairment or Alzheimer's.)

Laura Firszt writes for

Updated September 9, 2018.

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