Here’s a Case for Bringing Back the Sliding Barn Door — Yes, Really!

updated Feb 15, 2021
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Credit: Trinette Reed/Stocksy

The modern farmhouse trend may have dominated the sliding doors you’ve seen over the past five years, and yes, this feature certainly reached peak saturation in the wake of the popularity of “Fixer Upper.” What’s old is always new again in design though, and it just might be time to reconsider sliding doors. They’re so much more than just a rustic statement feature and can be fully adaptable in terms of aesthetics, finishes, and materials.

Here’s the thing: In tight quarters, a sliding door functions as a seamless partition, taking up a fraction of the clearance space a typical door would require to swing open. Sliding doors on a track can be more stable than room dividers and in many ways a lot more streamlined, too; just think about all the floor space lost to the zigzagged footprint many room dividers and folding screens have. And regardless of how easy it is to prop a bookshelf divider in the middle of a room to separate it into two distinct zones visually, if your end goal is true separation, shutting a door is what truly closes off a space.

Privacy aside, sliding doors can create a focal point in a room and even double as art if you go with a vibrantly colorful choice. They’re arguably more interesting than a builder-grade regular white door and often feature unique textural elements or cool contrasting materials you’d be hard-pressed to incorporate into your room elsewhere. If that’s not convincing enough, bear in mind that you don’t have to be into the rustic farmhouse theme to own one. From the style of the door down to the hardware it’s hinged on, the little details make this versatile home feature prime for a more contemporary scheme. 

Tempted to try one out? These five options just might inspire you to close off a corner of space or add a little more privacy to your place. Keep in mind that you’ll have to buy hanging hardware for your door to be functional and, in some cases, handles, too.

Credit: Wayfair

Colonial Elegance Paneled Metal Glass Barn Door 

If you’re working with a railroad-style layout (i.e. your only source of natural light comes from one end of your apartment, for instance), you can’t really afford to close one end of your place fully off. A glass-paneled door is the ideal solution here, and this option spotted on Wayfair is the way to do it. Equal parts contemporary and industrial chic, the door is made up of a powder-coated steel frame and features six tempered glass panels, which will let light through while still retaining a touch of privacy.

Buy: Colonial Elegance Paneled Metal Glass Barn Door with Installation Hardware Kit, $625.00 $459.54 from Wayfair

Artisan Hardware Vertical Panel Barn Door

Reclaimed wood may traditionally skew farmhouse, but pair it with a room that features an all-white or neutral palette with moody accent pieces, and it can instantly take on a Nordic vibe. Place it in a boho-inspired decor scheme, and it’ll complement plants and look at home alongside all the cozy textiles. That’s why this splurge-worthy walnut sliding door from Artisan Hardware is such a design chameleon. The smooth grain and subtle vertical paneling create the illusion of a lengthier frame, while its gently knotted surface invites just the right amount of visual texture for a dynamic touch.

Buy: Vertical Panel Barn Door, $1,434.00 from Artisan Hardware

Enimay Custom Cypress Chevron Farmhouse Sliding Barn Door

Etsy maker Johnny Yamine’s contemporary take on a sliding barn-style door features a chevron-patterned inlay that’ll bring a fresh dose of character to your space. The custom-made piece is available in a wide variety of sizes and is primed and ready to be painted in any color of your choice. On top of that, the versatile door can be easily adapted from style to style with just the handle alone: Go for a linear, wrought iron design to channel modern minimalism or a lustrous brass fixture for a touch of glamour.

Buy: Enimay Custom Cypress Chevron Farmhouse Sliding Barn Door, Starting at $540.00 from Etsy

Credit: Rejuvenation

Rejuvenation 4-Panel Frost Glass Barn Door

Made from raw fir and tempered glass, this sliding barn-style door from Rejuvenation is opaque enough to let light through while still upholding an element of privacy. The piece arrives unfinished, which means that you can easily customize it to complement your aesthetic. Give it a fresh coat of paint in a shade of your choice and pair it with an accent-worthy handle to complete the look. 

Buy: 4-Panel Frost Glass Barn Door, $999.00 from Rejuvenation

Credit: Masonite

Masonite Natural Knotty Alder Wood Barn Door

Masonite’s natural sliding barn-style door is also left unstained so you can tailor it to your taste, but I’ll admit, there’s something to be said of the beauty of the knotted wood. With its paneled planks, the door slab makes for a foolproof way to usher in an organic, earthy quality to your space. When it comes to choosing a handle and mounting hardware, look to the finishes in the room it’ll be installed in, and allow that to inform the tone of the metal.

Buy: Natural Knotty Alder Wood Barn Door, Starting at $529.03 from Lowe’s