20 Door Alternatives to Make Your Space Shine

updated Aug 7, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

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 had 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 door (and, most importantly, attractive) alternatives to consider.

1. Wall of 2x4s

The natural hue of this wooden room divider made of 2x4s adds a touch of visual interest and serves to keep the living room separate from the kitchen and dining space.

Credit: @wood_ever

2. Windows to the Walls

A large, paned window adds an element of privacy to the half-wall in this living room. While allowing for plenty of light, it still effectively separates the space.

3. Metalwork Divider

This unique piece of artsy metal isn’t just a cool decoration. It also serves as a clever way to partially distinguish the kitchen from the surrounding living space without blocking too much light.

Credit: @lialovisolo

4. Screen of 1x2s

This attractive alternative to a door can be done as a DIY project, or you could have it installed by a pro. This option by @lialovisolo features a series of 1×2 lumber, painted whatever color you’d like, to add a sense of privacy while still letting light in. 

5. Crochet Screen

This beautifully colorful room divider was created by @mayumifiberartsculpture in order to artfully divide her space. She’s combined three different nature scenes to create a whimsical way to allow for some privacy.

6. A Door Disguised as a Bookcase

Take a hint from your favorite mystery book, and solve your case with this door designed as a bookcase in this renovated 1920s home. Its dual-purpose functionality is a plus, on top of its unbeatable charm and character. Only those who poke around will know what’s hidden behind it.

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 home 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

Just 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 building a door. With a room divider like this, you’re essentially creating two doorways on either side.