20 Door Alternatives to Make Your Space Shine

updated Dec 11, 2023
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If your home has an open-concept floor plan, it can be difficult to figure out how to parse the space to suit your needs. Older homes typically have lots of smaller rooms with doors to keep spaces separate. And while a door or a room divider may not be the first thing you consider when you’re brainstorming door alternatives, they can be super effective ways to rework your space. 

So whether you DIY a new door or install sliding barn doors to divide up the living space in an open concept home, you’ll be adding a little extra interest to a utilitarian feature of your home. Here, we’ve rounded up a selection of less common (and, most importantly, attractive) door alternatives to consider.

Credit: Erin Derby

1. Pocket Doors

Because pocket doors slide into and out of the wall instead of swinging open and closed, they free up valuable wall and floor space, as seen in this stylish Brooklyn apartment. When open, pocket doors make your space look minimal and seamless. When closed, they offer plenty of privacy.

Credit: Wing Ho

2. Glass-Paneled Shaker Doors

Functionally, shaker doors are no different than traditional wood or metal doors. The difference? Shaker doors look better, with minimal details and stylish simplicity. This Minneapolis home shows off glass-paneled shaker doors separating the mudroom from the rest of the home without dampening the space or sacrificing natural light.

3. Funky Shelves

Solid interior doors tend to close off spaces and make rooms look small and cramped. Why not ditch them altogether? The designer of this Manchester house did just that. They use a funky mid-century plant shelf to separate the entryway and the living room, making each of the spaces more cozy and private.

4. Sheer Curtains

We love how the owners of this Berlin apartment separated the tiny space with sheer curtains instead of doors, which would eat up valuable floor space. Not only does the curtain make the apartment look elegant and airy, but it also makes it look even larger than it is by separating it into distinct “rooms.”

5. Interesting Arches

Arches are having a moment, and we don’t think they’ll ever go out of style. They’re a simple yet funky way to transition between spaces in your home. And even if your space doesn’t come with stunning arches like in this Barcelona studio, you can convert your original doorway into an arched one using plywood and drywall.

6. Wood Columns and Beams

Old homes are quirky, which is a big part of their charm. Often, they come with unique architecture, like sweeping built-ins or, in the case of this Dutch barn, wooden beams and columns. Take advantage of existing features in your home to separate spaces without using interior doors at all.

7. Vibrant Curtains

If you’re thinking about swapping a door for curtains, then here’s your inspiration to go for it. This handmade curtain, created by The Rustic Bohemian, captures the style of the boho entryway. Bonus: A curtain can be way more cost-effective than a door.  

Credit: Amanda

8. Dutch Door

We absolutely love this Dutch door that sections off the mudroom from the kitchen in Amanda’s home. Quirky Dutch doors are usually a divider between the outside and inside of a house, but this homeowner showed that it can be a fun divider between interior spaces as well.

9. Saloon-Style Swinging Doors

Old country western bars aren’t the only spaces that can use saloon-style doors. The designers from Studio Arastu placed these swinging doors in front of a closet to create privacy but also ensure light could still pass through the space. The result — a cool transitional space that’s anything but expected.

10. Interior Sliding Door

If you don’t have a dedicated office at home, a sliding door, like the one above from Joanie Merrihew of TTM Development Company, can carve space out of a larger room and turn that into an office nook. Because these kinds of doors are installed on tracks, leaving the door slightly open will feel welcoming — not imposing.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

11. Cabana-Style Hanging Beads

You don’t necessarily need a set of doors to close off a room — a portière made of beads, as seen in this stylish Brooklyn apartment, can serve as an effective door alternative. Beaded curtains also add a slightly boho vibe, providing a nice contrast to the rest of this black-and-white mod room. If you use a tension rod, there’s no need to make any holes in your walls either, which is a plus.

Credit: Abe Martinez

12. Double Fold-In Doors

Why stop at one door when you can have two? These European-influenced double doors, as seen in this Berlin apartment, show just how elegant a symmetrical set of doors can make a room feel. Swinging this pair open is definitely a way to make an entrance.

13. Accordion-Style Divider

For a doorway that doesn’t have a door, consider placing a room divider in front of the opening to section off an area, as shown here in this stylish example from blogger Courtnee Rodgers. Folding screens are elegant, movable, and require zero installation, so they’re a great budget solution for creating decorative impact near a doorway.

14. Hanging Textiles

In this artsy Oakland loft, a hanging fiber art installation separates the main living area from the bedroom as a door alternative. A handmade piece like this adds a little more texture and personality than a store-bought divider would.

15. Leather Tufted Door

Looking to spice up a boring old door? Take a note from this California Craftsman home and upgrade an interior door with this tufted leather treatment. It has a vintage look but also feels quirky and unexpected enough to stand out amidst more modern decor.

16. Minimalist Room Divider

A rattan divider, like the one seen in blogger Niki Brantmark’s room, adds an air of privacy and sections of a little secret reading nook. Dividers can make a difference in making small spaces that lack doors or extra rooms feel bigger. If you’re worried about blocking light with a divider, woven materials will keep the look bright and airy.

17. Vintage Bi-Fold Doors

Vintage-inspired bi-fold doors can add plenty of distinction to a space and work perfectly for dividing different areas or living zones, which is exactly the case in this Buenos Aires home. While this accordion fold pair is still, in fact, a type of door, their louvered form definitely adds a little extra interest wherever you put them.

Credit: Mani

18. Ropes and a Side Table

Mani’s home in Germany uses a table, a DIY rope curtain, and trailing plants to create a door alternative in an open-concept living area. This setup functions more as a “wall,” helping to create some sort of division in a large, open room.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

19. Chalkboard Door

Another way to spice up a plain door is by giving it a coat of chalkboard paint. That way, you’re making the door doubly functional, since you can add notes, reminders, and lists to it. And the bold color is the cherry on top — the contrast between the chalkboard paint and the walls can turn your door into a striking accent feature, as seen in this minimal London flat.

Credit: Bianca

20. Woodsy Wall

If your space lacks any kind of door or privacy at all, a free-standing wall installation, similar to this one from  blogger Bianca’s home in Germany, shows how you can section off a space without actually using a door. With a room divider like this, you’re essentially creating two doorways on either side.