13 Alternatives to French Doors

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What are the best alternatives to French doors? Our team has been looking at an extensive amount of houses, and curated a list of beautiful French door alternatives.

French doors are beautiful. They are usually double doors full of glass panels and are sometimes referred to as French windows. French doors are great options if you’re looking for an aesthetic door to add to the decor of your home and if you are also a great fan of natural light.

Nevertheless, your home might not suit them as they often require a lot of space to swing open. You might also find that you prefer the privacy that a solid door gives. If you are looking for alternatives to French doors, here are some of the best.

1. Regular doors

Regular doors are made of either wood, metal, or UPVC. Often they are plain and solid and are a whole lot cheaper as compared to other types of doors. They are simple and efficient and come in various kinds of colors and styles. On the other hand, they can be rather plain and don’t have windows where you can see through or that let the natural light in.

Different types of regular doors:

  • Modern doors – Known for marrying function to design. They have bold, clean lines and contemporary colors. While some of them have traditional hinges, a lot more have innovative track and hinge systems that allow you to slide the door open.
  • Craftsman doors – Have the defining feature of a rectangular window at the top and a “dentil shelf” which is meant to add character to the door.
  • Classic doors – Usually made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which is a compressed board using sawdust. It is lightweight and very stable and won’t warp like natural wood.
  • Mediterranean doors – Known for their beautiful arches (though some have a square top but still have a carved arch on the door itself). They are often made of wood and have wrought iron knobs or handles.
  • Midcentury doors – Typically made of flush door and glass panels that are square, rectangular, or round. They can also have clear glasses, reeded glass, or frosted glass.

2. Glass doors

Glass doors are becoming a pretty popular door choice for home decor enthusiasts. As compared to French doors that are made of wood and come with glass panes, glass doors are made of pure glass.

They often give off a smart, modern look which is perfect if you have a contemporary home. They allow more natural light and are energy-efficient. They also create the illusion of space.

Nevertheless, they are vulnerable to extreme weather (think extreme cold or heat) and can cost a lot more. They are also difficult to maintain as they are more prone to visible dust, dirt, water stains, and more. When they wear out, you have to replace them immediately and might not fully protect your home from intruders.

3. Bi-fold doors

Bi-fold door on a black metal roller
Bi-fold doors are great room dividers. See more examples on Amazon.

Bi-fold doors are doors that are made from a series of panels. Where French doors swing open, bi-fold doors slide open and fold up against the wall like a concertina. Often, they have large glass panels that let the natural light in when the doors are closed, but they’re also sold in solid versions with no glass panels. When they are folded open they seamlessly blend your indoor and/or outdoor spaces.

Bi-fold doors are surprisingly easy to install and you can get those that come with finger-safe and anti-bump features especially if you have kids in your home. They are versatile, stylish, and secure. If they are fitted on enclosed tracks, intruders can’t lift them out of their tracks.

Nevertheless, bi-fold doors come with some challenges. They have a lot of framing that may obstruct your view (especially when closed) and they don’t have a threshold. If you experience heavy rains or even floods, the water could come indoors. Bi-fold doors also require a lot of space (whether indoor or outdoor) and there isn’t much you can do if intruders decide to try and break the glass to get inside.

4. Sliding glass doors

Sliding glass doors are a great alternative to French doors as they are somewhat similar in that they are made of a frame that houses several glass panes. Whereas you need space to be able to swing your French doors open, sliding glass doors don’t require that much space.

Because they usually have narrower frames than swinging French doors, they allow more natural light to enter the home, making a space look bigger. They usually come with a sliding screen door as well, which allows for natural ventilation and keeps bugs out.

Despite all its advantages, sliding doors come with some cons too. It is often more expensive to install, as compared to other door options. Because glass is a more fragile material as well, sliding glass doors are less durable and the clasp that holds it closed isn’t as sturdy as the locks of French doors.

5. Pocket doors

Pocket doors are built into a house’s interior and “disappear” inside a special crevice when they are opened. They usually slide along a track mounted on the ceiling instead of swinging open, as French doors do.

If you’ve got a small space, pocket doors are a great option so you don’t have to worry about the space for your door to swing open. If you are entertaining large parties, opening the pocket doors between rooms can make it feel like there is an adjacent space so your guests are not separated from each other.

Pocket doors, however, aren’t so sturdy and there might be a chance that noise and light can travel from one room to the next. They have also been known to be notorious where functionality is concerned, with people complaining of them falling off their tracks or finding it hard to move them or screeching when being opened/closed.

6. Pivot doors

Pivot doors are unique and exciting and often come with self-closing and hold-open functions. Instead of swinging open or close through a hinge the way traditional doors do, pivot doors provide a fresh and interesting twist to your home. They are swinging doors that rotate on a vertical axis, or a spindle. Usually, the pivot hinge system is placed in the middle of the door but isn’t immediately visible.

When it comes to design and creativity, pivot doors are the winner. They are sleek, modern, and make a bold design statement. They are convenient to use especially when you need to move things in and out and are often more stable than conventional doors.

On the other hand, they might not seal as fully as conventional doors. If you are also going for a more traditional look, a pivot door will look out of place. There’s also the risk of someone’s fingers getting trapped when using the door.

7. Multi-slide patio doors

Multi-slide doors come with several panels that are aligned in a row. When you open them, they either stack up side-by-side or can be tucked into a wall pocket. They are usually made of a frame and then glass to create panoramic views.

With multi-slide patio doors, you have easy access to the outdoors by simply opening the door and allowing the fresh air to come in. Because they often come with glass panes that allow natural light in, you can save a lot of money in terms of electricity.

Nevertheless, the glass doesn’t give you much privacy nor will it protect you against invaders who decide to break the glass to enter your home. They also often come with a very simple lock that can easily be unlocked by just jiggling the door.

8. Center-hinged patio doors

Center-hinged patio doors are somewhat similar to French doors as they are made of a door frame and glass panes, but they have some differences too. While French doors have hinges that are attached to the wall and allow them to swing outward on opposite sides, center-hinged patio doors are hinged in the middle of the unit.

Just like French doors, center-hinged patio doors let in a lot of natural light. They are also great alternatives if you like the style of French doors but want to add a little twist.

Nevertheless, if you’re used to the ways doors usually open, you might get confused with how the center-hinged patio doors work. What might also make it more challenging is that some of these come with only one door that moves while the other remains stationary.

9. Garage doors

Garage doors are not usually considered in the options of possible doors for your home. Nevertheless, they are pretty stable, depending on the type of garage door you get, how often you use it, and the kind of weather you experience, year in and year out. Depending on the size of your entryway and what you need, you’ll need to decide what kind of garage door you want as there are different types:

Different types of garage doors:

  • Single garage door – Usually used by homeowners who want to expose only parts of their garage (or home) to the outside at a time.
  • Double garage door – Usually larger so that you can fit more things through.
  • Insulated garage door – Built with polystyrene or polyurethane which makes the door a bit more expensive than non-insulated garage doors.
  • With or without windows – Some garage doors come with a few windows on the top or side to be able to peek in or out.
  • Paintable garage door – Most garage doors are paintable and after a few years of wear and tear, you might want to give your garage door a new coat to give it a fresh look. Paintable garage doors are those made of steel, aluminum, metal, wood, and fiberglass
  • With interior lock – Even if garage doors lock automatically and have rolling codes, these are not enough to keep some burglars away. If you’re concerned about security, some garage doors will allow you to lock it more securely from the inside.

10. Barn doors

Stylish glass sliding barn door with a white frame and a black hardware kit
Barn doors are extremely stylish, and come in many shapes and sizes. See more examples on Amazon.

Barn doors have a distinct style. They are often made of wood and have a rustic/farmhouse finish and appearance. If your home has a rustic, farmhouse, cottage, or country theme, barn doors will work really well.

When it comes to saving space, barn doors are great because you don’t need them to swing open as French doors do. Instead, they slide in, allowing you to use more of the space for other things. They have beautiful, rugged-chic visual appeal, which looks great for rustic homes.

Nevertheless, barn doors aren’t suitable for just any interiors. If you have a modern home, barn doors might not go well with it. There’s also the issue of not being able to close it properly or even hang up items on the wall that the door covers when it is opened.

11. Hidden doors

Hidden doors are doors that lead to another room but are not always visible right away. They can be part of a wall or even a bookshelf. They are often used to separate a bedroom from a living room or can be used to house a hidden workroom.

Hidden doors (and the room beyond them) are fun and cool. If you’re looking for a place where you can stay where no one will bother you for a while, a hidden door to a little nook of your own is a great solution.

With hidden doors, however, come great costs, especially if you want to build one that looks like a wall or has a hidden passageway behind a bookcase. You need to plan carefully and have professionals come and do it for you, as a hidden door that is poorly planned will leave you with less-than-desirable results.

12. Accordion doors

Accordion doors are versatile, stylish accents for either residential or commercial places. They are often lauded for their space-saving features because they don’t swing in and out like regular hinged doors. They fold onto each other within the space so you can have easy access to the next room or the outdoors.

They are sophisticated and have various designs so you will definitely find something that fits your home. The large panes also allow the light to filter in from the outside, helping you to save up on electricity.

Nevertheless, as most of them come with large glass panes, they might not provide that much protection against intruders.

13. Saloon doors

Saloon doors, or batwing doors, are a set of doors that swing open when you go through and then swing shut by themselves. They use double action-hardware so that the doors swing in both directions.

They can be used today to provide some privacy for master bathrooms or in place of a baby or pet gate. They can also be installed between the kitchen and dining room as the actual saloon doors were installed in older days.

Saloon doors, however, are more expensive than regular doors, partly because they are heavier and more decorative. It can also be a bit of a challenge when they open both ways and two people are trying to pass by them at the same time. There’s a chance that they might bump into each other and spill the items they are carrying.