Design trends

How to choose an Interior Door

A beautiful door is one of those subtle necessities that can make a big difference in your home’s style. Like trim or molding, most doors go fairly unnoticed, but they can have a dramatic effect on the look of the room. Since most of us purchase or rent homes with the doors already installed, we often look right past them.

From Houzz Magazine

But an interior door is a vital part of a house, and there should be a good amount of thought that goes into choosing one. If you’re building, remodeling or just looking to change up the look of a room, picking a new interior door is an important step. Style, materials, soundproofing and door swing are just some of the points to consider when sorting through the endless options for interior doors.

Door styles

The style of your door can make a big difference in your home’s design. Feel free to mix and match a little — it can give your home a fun and eclectic look — but try to keep some elements the same so that there’s a sense of flow throughout the house.

Be sure to pay attention to the overall size and feel of a room. A massive and ornate door may overwhelm tiny rooms, making them feel smaller instead of bigger.

Door swing

You can usually choose between a right-hand or left-hand door swing when ordering or customizing a door. This will determine where the hinges and handles are, and which way the door swings when it opens and closes.

Whichever side the handle is on as the door opens toward you will decide whether it’s a right-hand or a left-hand door. For example, a door that has the handle on the right side when it opens toward you is a right-hand swing door.

Ideally, a door should never open into a hall or corridor, so try to keep that in mind when choosing which way your door swings.

Door framing

Framing a door incorrectly can quickly detract from the value of a beautiful and expensive door. Using cheap framing materials or construction shortcuts can often lead to damage on the door, and can cost more in the long run. Make sure to follow instructions carefully, or hire help when framing a new interior door.

Doors can be bought pre-hung or as slabs. A pre-hung door comes mounted in a frame with its hinges attached to the doorjamb. A slab door comes just as the door itself — you’ll need to install hinges and the door frame to make sure that the door is hung properly.

Door sound ratings

Interior doors are given an STC (sound transmission class), which measures the amount of of sound loss through the door. The higher the STC number, the less sound will pass through the door. Of course, this will mostly depend on what the door is actually made of. Generally, 25 is on the lower end of the STC scale (most normal speech can be heard through these doors), 40 is in the middle and anything over 60 should be almost entirely soundproof.

Types of doors

There are nearly endless types and styles of doors to consider — particularly as exterior door trends (such as barn doors) have become popular in interiors. Before falling for a design, be practical first: How much room do you have? What do you need? 9 kinds of doors to consider:

1. Sliding doors are usually made of wood, glass or are lined with mirrors. Many of these doors are used as closet doors when installed in the interior of a house. They take up a minimal amount of space because the doors slide along the wall rather than swing open.

2. Pocket doors are used all over the house. Most commonly used in turn-of-the-century homes, they’ve become more common because of their space-saving construction. Unlike sliding doors, pocket doors actually slide into the wall, rather than along the side of it.

3. Folding doors (usually in a bi-fold form) fold in on either side, and are usually used in closets, laundry rooms, pantries and other small spaces.

4. Flush doors are more contemporary, simple doors smooth on both sides, and generally made of plywood or MDF.

5. Barn doors were, of course, originally found on barns. But they’ve been adopted for interior and exterior doors on residential homes, and are great for rooms with a more industrial or rustic look.

6. Panel doors are the most common doors seen in houses today. Usually made of wood or MDF, they’re designed with a classic pattern of square panels.

7. French doors have a frame around one or more transparent panels, usually filled with glass or a foggy translucent material. There are many styles and sizes of these panels, all of which are meant to maximize light in a room.

8. Dutch doors are divided in half horizontally, allowing the top half to swing open while the bottom half stays closed.

9. Blind doors have no visible trim, handles or hinges. They’re designed to completely blend in with the wall — a hidden door!

Door materials

1. Solid wood: Solid wood doors can be made from a wide variety of woods, which makes a difference in the overall price. Hard and soft woods, including cherry, mahogany, alder, maple, pine and others are used fairly often, although the most common solid-wood door is the 6-panel pine door. These doors are generally used on exteriors, but may occasionally be used indoors. Keep in mind that solid wood will shrink and expand with changing temperatures and humidity, so it’s best not to use solid wood doors for a bathroom, sauna or other damp setting.

2. MDF: Most interior doors today are made of medium density fiberboard. MDF as it’s called is an engineered product, so it’s very stable and won’t warp like wood. It also doesn’t have any grain, so it’s entirely smooth and very easy to paint.

3. Hollow core: These doors are usually made of plywood or molded composite skin. They tend to be less expensive because the inside of the door panel is hollow. But this means that sound and temperatures can pass through the door more easily.

4. Solid core: Like a hollow-core door, a solid-core door has an exterior skin made of plywood or a molded composite. But a solid core door is filled with a wood fiber blend. These doors have much better sound deadening and temperature control qualities than a hollow core door, but are still not as expensive as a completely solid wood door.

5. Metal and glass: These doors are being used more frequently in interior and exterior settings, since they offer a streamlined and modern look with less muss and fuss than a solid wood door. They do tend to be more expensive than most wood-combination models, but still less expensive than solid-wood doors.

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