The cottage look has become a huge trend for homeowners, especially those with older homes that have lost a lot of their original charm to generic remodels over generations. One of the big elements of this new wave in design is the sliding barn door, a simple door mounted on a track that slides to cover a doorway. It’s not a fancy invention, nor is it a new one, so why are they getting so much attention all of a sudden?
The Sliding Barn Door Aesthetic
Sliding barn doors add a ton of cottage chic to a home, especially one that’s already boasting pre-modern features like custom hand-built kitchen cabinetry, built-in storage, and unusual spaces. The sliding barn door is a simple but elegant touch. It’s literally just a door built from wooden slats, just like you’d see on an old-fashioned barn on a farm. That rugged, simple look complements a lot of different styles, especially considering the many different kinds of materials that can be used to achieve the final result.
Considerations Before Installing Sliding Barn Doors
There are many things to consider before you choose sliding barn doors for your home. The first, and most important, is whether or not a barn door actually makes sense with the rest of your design. If you’re literally choosing a barn door because they’re trending right now, that’s about the worst possible reason to make the call. Instead, ask yourself if you really like the cottage chic look, and if you do, if it makes sense with the other design choices you’re making in your home. Although some purists may argue that there’s absolutely no place for a cottage look in a modern home, most designers would agree that the most important thing is consistency. After all, a lot of homes built in the last 40 or so years don’t really have a strong aesthetic of their own, which leaves a lot of room for creative minds to wander. If you do decide you want to go with a barn door, and it’s consistent with the styling of your home, keep these additional things in mind while choosing the door and where it will be installed:
- Barn doors don’t insulate well. Because barn doors hang on a sliding track, rather than sealing shut, there’s more air, light, and sound infiltration around them. This is fine for a lot of uses, but may make them a poor choice for spaces like bedrooms or bathrooms where you’d like more privacy. If you have pets, for safety’s sake, choose a door and hardware that are heavy enough to keep the bottom of the door from being shoved forward to allow a smart dog or cat to open these doors from the bottom.
- They do save a ton of space. Even though they’re not the greatest doors for insulation, barn doors can save a ton of space that a regular door will require to swing. Instead of losing a whole wall to opening a door, you can instead move the furniture a few inches off the wall to allow the barn door to slide behind. Unlike pocket doors, you don’t need to tear out a wall to install a barn door; you simply run along the outer wall. This can also help minimize the impact of doors that cover water closets and pantries.
- Planning is important. Before you decide that you absolutely must have a barn door, look very carefully at the space where you think it should go. Remember, the door will need room to move along a track, so there must be room on both sides of the door opening (at least enough to allow for the hardware), and no elements that stick out of the wall. If you’ve got a flat light switch or outlet that will end up under the door, consider how that will affect your ability to use the electricity in the room.