How to Use a Barn Door in Any Room

Yep, you can use these farmhouse-cool doors anywhere! HGTV Magazine shows you how.

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: Kate Osborn

Photo By: Brooke Rose

Photo By: Dan Murdoch

Photo By: Mali Azima

Photo By: Lindsay Salazar

Knock, Knock! Who's There?

Barn door! The farmhouse-style staple is as popular as ever. No wonder. These doors are charming and super functional, too. Here's some major inspo.

take a full tour: A New Home Packed With Old-Fashioned Charm

For Your Laundry Room

Even a cute laundry zone like this one in Salt Lake City needs to be closed off sometimes — and the family wanted to do it in style. Designer Ashley Winn outfitted it with a custom double-X barn door, painted Sunset by Sherwin-Williams. As Winn says, “A barn door can add so much personality to a space.” Plus, handle-free doors like this one look oh-so-barn-ish, but you can always add one for easier opening.

Question: Can anyone have a barn door?

Yes, if you have the wall space. Plan for enough space to accommodate the width of the door when it’s fully open plus at least 6 inches of clearance between the door and the ceiling to hang the track system. Remember, the door should be bigger than the doorway — an extra inch above and 2 inches on either side. Since barn doors don’t seal openings like regular doors do, they’re not ideal for a hallway bathroom, for privacy’s sake.

For Your Pantry

You don’t necessarily need a special door — this one, in designer Brooke Rose’s Piedmont, Missouri, home, was an exterior door on an old house owned by her husband’s family. They painted it (Black by Behr), added a sign (from Hobby Lobby) and popped on a white doorknob. “It’s a big statement piece and a bit of family history,” Brooke says.

Question: Which style is right?

If rustic isn’t your thing, flat-panel doors and ones with glass panes look most modern. Hollow-core kinds, which are lighter and less expensive, work for pantries and closets. For bedrooms, solid-core doors are best because they muffle sound. Find them at home improvement stores and online at sites like Wayfair and White Shanty.

For Your Living Room

Do you dream of an open floor plan — with the option of separate spaces? Barn doors for the win! In this Westport, Connecticut, home, designer Sarah Weiland had the builder make custom doors and install them between the living room and the den. “We were going for a beachy-farmhouse look,” she says. “A simple Z-pattern with vertical shiplap marries the two styles.”

Question: Got any tips for hardware?

Before buying a barn door hardware kit, know your door’s dimensions and weight, since every kit has a maximum weight. The most popular and sturdy hangers (face mount) attach to the front of the door and look like straps. They sometimes hide the rollers. Good sources for kits are Artisan Hardware, Emtek and Signature Hardware.

For Your Dining Room

This set of doors camouflages a storage and utility closet — pretty genius. Atlanta designers Emily Dunn and Meriwether McAdams did not hold back on the color (it’s Daffodil by Sherwin-Williams). “The effect is like art on the wall!” Emily says. Barn doors can also be used to hide stuff in cubbies in a mudroom and TVs in built-ins.

Question: How do you hang ’em up?

If there’s trim around a doorway, the track for the barn door has to be installed on wood backing (also called a header or backer board) to extend it past the trim. You’ll also need floor guides that keep a door from swinging out, included in most kits. Installing a barn door is a doable DIY. Rather hire a pro? They can get it done in a few hours.

For Your Bedroom

As appealing as barn doors are, they’re also smart space-savers if you lack the clearance for a standard door, like in this bedroom in Kaysville, Utah. “I started with a flat door and had a local woodworking company add slats to make it cool,” says designer Andrea West (it’s painted Grasshopper by Sherwin-Williams). The angles play off the ones in the wallpaper and pillows — even more cool.