The Brilliant Reason the Renters Removed the Doors in Their Sunny NYC Apartment

published May 22, 2024
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Living room with a grey couch and blue pillows near a large wall-sized piece of art on a red cart.
Credit: Adri Tan

When I graduated from a small (read: tiny) studio apartment into a one-bedroom apartment, I was most excited about having interior doors to close. Finally, I could shut my bedroom door for some alone time! I felt like there was nothing better than the privacy that doors of any shape (like this sneaky sliding pocket door!) afforded me. 

However, after seeing Holly Li’s vintage-filled apartment in Brooklyn, I had a slight change of tune. Holly, who shares the 700-square-foot home with her partner, made a somewhat controversial decision. “We removed the doors to the bedroom so that you could see into (almost) every room in the apartment from any other room,” Holly shared at the time of the tour. 

Credit: Adri Tan

Some people, like me, love doors — even if you have to find an alternative — because they can hide messes, make a space feel cozy, and even be great storage spaces. However, if you’re thinking in terms of flow, doors definitely interrupt that. Take my current apartment, for example. The living room is the only space with windows, and so if that door is closed, then the rest of the home is bathed in darkness. 

Holly faced a similar situation in her home. The living room is the center of the apartment, and she wanted all of the other rooms to flow and orbit around the center. She saw removing some doors as a way to do that. 

“After doing so, the living room really feels like the *heart* of the apartment: You can hang out with a friend lounging on the bed while lying on the couch,” Holly explained at the time of the tour. “ It’s also the central space that welcomes you as you walk up the stairs, and it’s bathed in light from three directions (the windows in the kitchen, the windows in the bedroom, and its skylight).”

Removing the bedroom doors lets light flood into Holly’s home’s living room, and I think the same could be said for my space. While I don’t know if I’ll remove the door just yet (sometimes I like to hibernate in the dark!), her decision shows the reward of making a controversial choice.