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 of sliding farmhouse doors 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 and discuss the trend.
“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 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.
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.
But not every home is ideal for one. 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.