Barn Doors Are a Hot Trend. What's the Appeal?

The barn door craze shows no sign of slowing down. Here’s a look at what makes these doors so popular.

June 15, 2016
Barn doors can be used to divide large, open spaces. Photo: courtesy Baldur by Krown Lab

Photo: courtesy Baldur by Krown Lab

It's official: Barn doors are incredibly hip. 

A recent study conducted by website Zillow Digs found that these contemporary yet rustic sliding doors can help a home sell as many as 57 days faster and at a higher price point. The study analyzed descriptions on the listings of more than 2 million homes sold between January 2014 and March 2016 to see how certain keywords affect a home’s sale.

Of all the terms analyzed, “barn doors” brought the highest premium, with homes whose listings mentioned this door type selling for an average of 13 percent above expected values. The “craftsman meets farmhouse” design concept is clearly resonating with today’s homeowners. 

Consumers like the distinctive, upscale look as well as the doors’ functionality when it comes to closing off large spaces. Barn doors are also easy to install and are amazingly versatile in terms of color, size, and door style. Yet they may not be the best choice for every home. While they can add character, it’s important to understand where installation may not be worth the investment or the door may be impractical. 

Here, we look at several barn doors and discuss the trend. 

Barn door to the bathroom. Photo: courtesy Johnson Hardware

“It actually acts as a piece of artwork,” says Andrew Porter, partner at Refined, a custom home building and remodeling company in Edina, Minn. He believes that the barn door trend is at its peak now, with many homeowners specifically asking him to add them to a design. “Barn doors have become a signature for us,” Porter says. “A lot of clients want them.” Above, the simple Shaker styling of this door from Johnson Hardware complements the clean lines and traditional aesthetic of the home.

 

Barn doors can be used to add a pop of color. Photo: courtesy Baldur by Krown Lab

In addition to their powerful visual appeal, barn doors can also be an effective way to partition open spaces. Many homes today have two larger rooms, such as the kitchen and living room, connected by a wide opening. While a barn door added to such spaces will likely stay open more often than not, it can act as the perfect feature to suggest spatial separation. “It gives you the option to easily close off the space without adding permanence,” says Melisa LaBancz-Bleasdale, owner at Apartment 46 for the Home, a design company in San Mateo, Calif. “Instead of closing down a big opening, you’ve got a moving wall that allows you to be flexible.” The contemporary design of this door, above, which uses a stainless steel hardware system known as Baldur, from Portland, Ore.-based Krown Lab, highlights another aspect of the trend: versatility. Although the concept is rooted in tradition, these doors often have a modern twist.

Barn doors can create levels of privacy in a space. Photo: courtesy Baldur by Krown Lab

But not every home is ideal for a barn door. Rooms where wall space is at a premium may not be a good fit since the door requires extra wall space to slide open. Privacy is also a consideration. “A hinged door gives you privacy; a barn door has a reveal of about ¾ inch,” says Kari Hill, owner of Hill Custom Homes, in Gig Harbor, Wash. “The main reason barn doors are chosen is because they add a level of distinction to the space,” she says. “I don’t think anyone ever uses it for a privacy scenario.” Like pocket doors, barn doors aren’t great for sound isolation and so probably shouldn’t be used for a children’s area that either gets loud or needs to be quiet for sleeping kids.

Barn doors can also be noisy to open and close, depending on the type of hardware used. John Nichols, co-founder of KitchenLab, a Chicago design firm, recommends a track system with rubber rollers instead of metal to keep the noise of moving doors to a minimum. 

There’s also cost to consider. Taken together, the price of the door, hardware, and installation can add as much as $4,000 to a project.  

Barn doors can be used for closets and pantries. Photo: courtesy Baldur by Krown Lab

About the Author


Tim Bruns is the associate editor for Roads & Bridges, also published by Scranton Gillette Communications, the publisher of Professional Remodeler.

Comments

It was great to be interviewed for the piece on barn doors but I disagree that they aren't soundproof and aren't good for privacy. The problem is that homeowners are installing the wrong type of barn door for those considerations. We recently installed an acoustic barn door by Aurora Doors - http://specadsystems.com/barn-doors/ in a master bedroom suite in San Francisco. Typically used for exam rooms, these doors must be soundproof and provide privacy to adhere to strict laws governing healthcare information. Although our installation was the first and only residential installation of such a door, it closes silently, all the way and is soundproof. It's amazing.

Awesome! Finally found a piece I want to build - been searching for months. But One question:
1. What is the "stop" that keeps the door from sliding right off the track?

Thanks.

Muller Designs

Barn door hardware kits usually include a door stop that, depending on the kit, can be mounted to either the floor or the wall. There are various options for the door stop, including adjustable end stops that enable you to stop the door at a specific spot along the track for flat-track sliding hardware.

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