When planning the interior of the home, there are few considerations more important than a sensation of space. An interior that’s crammed-to bursting with stuff is rarely a pleasant place to sit and relax; but when it’s wide open and offers lots of empty space to stretch out into, things tend to look a lot better. Having more light flowing from one room to another can help to improve the impression of extra space, too. Any way in which we can alter our homes to make them more spacious and well-lit, then, is likely to be a change for the better.
It’s perhaps for this reason that interior folding doors have become so popular. They allow us to erect temporary walls between the rooms of our houses; when we feel like breaking down the barrier from one room to another, we can simply fold the relevant door away, and find ourselves instead standing in a single, larger open space.
Folding doors can be made far larger than their more traditional counterparts. Moreover, they can be folded away into a smaller space, and don’t require as much extra room to be made on one side for the outward-swinging action of the door.
There are several different places in the home where a folding door might work well. That said, each of them might place slightly different requirements on the door, which are worth considering. Let’s examine how we might use folding doors throughout the home.
Large, room-dividing doors are often best employed in areas where there’s heavy foot traffic from one room to another. If you’re serving up a large dinner, perhaps for a special occasion like Christmas, then you might wish to walk constantly back and forth between the dining area and the kitchen. Indeed, this might be so to a lesser extent at less glamorous mealtimes.
Having to contend with a door when you’re carrying a red-hot tray-full of Brussel sprouts, or an entire roast turkey, might be less than ideal, and so the ability to fold the door away and leave a large opening instead might be beneficial. If your home is particularly crowded, then you might have to contend with people coming in the opposite direction, too – and so having the room required to easily get around will be hugely useful.
This is a problem to which large, foldable doors are a perfect solution. But a foldable door can link the kitchen with areas of the house other than the dining room. A kitchen linked with a living room, for example, might make it easier to get up and fetch yourself a snack during a commercial break – or to watch your favourite television show on a big screen, or hold a conversation with your house guests, while you’re preparing dinner.
If you’re buying a folding door to bridge your kitchen with other areas of the house, then you’ll probably want to opt for one with a lowered rail at the bottom. This might make it necessary to cut a channel into the floor, but it’ll prevent you from tripping over the rail when you’re carrying hot food from one room to another – and it’ll improve the look of the room, too.
A bedroom is an area of the house where foot traffic isn’t such a great concern. Once you’ve retired to the bedroom for the night, you’re not likely to be walking to-and-fro to other areas of the house. That said, your bedroom might come equipped with an ensuite bathroom – and bridging the two rooms with a large, folding door might be just the thing to improve that all-important impression of space.
Transforming your bedroom/bathroom combination into a single room might be a step too far for many – after all, the aesthetics demanded by the two rooms are quite different – a bathroom might be filled with sterile chrome and white tiles, while a bedroom might be filled with warm colours, plush carpets, and hardwood. So, a large folding door might be just what’s required to maintain the divide between the two, while still introducing space and light.
Since bathrooms are areas of the house where privacy is required, it might be wise to opt for frosted-glass panels when selecting a door. While it’s possible to add your own frosted effect after the door has been installed using a special spray-on formula, the better solution is to buy the door ready-frosted. That way, your ensuite will be able to benefit from a perfect compromise between light-distribution and spaciousness. By the same token, you might use a frosted-glass room divider to bridge a bedroom with the rest of the house, to much the same effect.
Since a lounge is an area of the home where you’ll spend most of your time relaxing, a sense of space is of important. It’s for this reason that lounges tend to be among the largest rooms in any home. Using a folding door to bridge your lounge and other rooms in your home is therefore of particular benefit; it’ll provide you with a sensation of more space when it’s open, and reduce the amount of room you need to leave to allow the doors to open.
To maximally benefit from the improved sense of space, it’s wise to position your folding door in such a way that they can be seen from the chairs in your lounge. That way you’ll be able to appreciate the extra space as you’re doing your lounging.
A set of folding doors will also help to create a greater visual impact to those walking through your home. If you’ve broken an entrance hallway and a lounge area into a single space with a folding door acting as the only dividing line, then you’ll create an eye-popping open area for your guests to walk into upon arrival.
Folding doors are also a great idea for a conservatory – however large or small it is. In the case of a large conservatory, you might want to create as wide an opening as possible into the rest of the building – that way you’ll be able to easily pass from your house to the conservatory, as well as benefitting from increased light. That’s why a large bi-fold door, and preferably one with accordingly large glass panels, might come in handy.
On the other hand, if space is at something of a premium in your conservatory, you might instead opt for a smaller set of folding doors. They won’t use up the same amount of space as an ordinary, outward-opening set – and you’ll, therefore, be able to make that little bit more room in your conservatory.
As well as the obvious places we’ve mentioned, there are several other, less often-thought of locations in a home where a folding door might fit in. Let’s consider a few of them.
Storage areas are a vital part of any home – after all, storing things is what most of a kitchen is for. To free up space in your kitchen cupboards, you might move some of your more rarely-accessed dry and tinned foods to a separate pantry. This pantry might not be in a place that can be easily accessed, and so a set of foldable-doors might be just the thing to make more space available – especially if you find yourself having to constantly open and close doors in order to get back into the kitchen from the pantry.
A cloakroom is a similarly important part of the house, and for much the same reasons. If your cloakroom is in an area where you’d like as much space as possible, then a folding door might be just the thing. If your cloakroom is in a particularly narrow area of hallway, then you’ll be able to open it without creating a blockage.
If you’d like to create for yourself a small work environment, but one that isn’t on display to the rest of the house when you’re not working, then converting a small cupboard or storage area into an office might be a worthwhile thing to do. When you’re not working, you’ll be able to simply fold the doors back, and thereby place your office out of sight and out of mind!
Folding doors make a great addition to the home for a variety of reasons. They come in various shapes and sizes, each of which might prove useful in a variety of scenarios. If you’re looking to save space in your home, allow light to flow through it, and add a little something of the unusual, then you might be able to do so with the aid of a folding door or two. Once you've settled on bifold doors, take a look at our guide on which internal bifold door to choose so you can make the right choice for your room.