By Tony Carrick and Donna Boyle Schwartz | Updated Aug 17, 2022 9:51 AM
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We walk through doors every day as we move from room to room and building to building, yet how often do we really think about all the different types and styles there are? A door is about more than just function. A home door’s design can range from contemporary to mid-century, and from modern to craftsman and beyond. Given that the average home has 19 doors, these features can have a significant impact on a home’s aesthetics.
Doors come in a variety of styles, including the standard hinged versions to less common rolling doors and pivot doors. They’re made from a diverse range of materials too, some of which are decorative and others, utterly functional. Ahead, learn about the various materials that are used to make doors, as well as the door types that are used in homes and commercial properties.
Widely used—and the material of choice for custom and luxury installations—wood doors may be found in designs and finishes to fit virtually any home style, including Colonial, Craftsman, and Victorian. An affordable wood door design might use knotty alder and poplar, two of the more budget-priced hardwoods, while higher-end doors might feature premium woods such as oak, mahogany, and hickory.
Best For: Luxury homes, due to this door type’s rich appearance and premium price.
Sturdy, low-maintenance, and affordable, steel is a leading choice for exterior doors. Most feature an insulating foam core covered by a durable layer of steel, which in turn can be painted to complement any color palette.
Best For: Modern homes, due to steel’s strength and its contemporary look.
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Fiberglass doors are a popular choice for installation in entryways. Energy efficient, durable, and affordable, they are available in a variety of designs and finishes, including embossed grain patterns, which emulate the appearance of wood.
Best For: Higher-end homes that want the durability of fiberglass and the rich look of wood.
Glass doors create interest and amp up your curb appeal while bringing natural light inside the home. Glass doors are typically made with opaque or semi-opaque glass, which allows for privacy but also allows light to pass through. When buying a glass front door you’ll notice that they’re rated on a privacy scale: Level 1 doors are clear glass and offer no privacy; level 10 doors are highly private, with opaque glass.
Best For: Modern, contemporary and craftsman-style homes, depending on the door style.
Aluminum is a popular material for making storm doors and some main entry doors because it’s more ductile than steel, comparably lighter and more affordable. Since aluminum resists corrosion better than steel, it requires less maintenance.
Best For: Modern homes, thanks to its contemporary look and budget-friendly price.
This type of door can be made of several different materials, including wood, foam, PVC, and glass. Composite doors look like wood but require very little maintenance, won’t warp, are very well insulated, and offer some of the best security of any door material. These qualities also make them very expensive.
Best For: Modern and contemporary homes in colder climates or areas that require greater security.
These hollow-core doors are one of the most common types of interior doors for homes. They are used to create privacy for bedrooms and bathrooms, and as entryways to closets. They are lightweight, paintable, and available in a variety of styles to suit different looks.
Best For: Bedrooms, bathrooms and closets inside modern and contemporary homes.
A screen door consists of a wood or metal frame with a screen panel. This type of door is mounted in front of a traditional exterior door, allowing one to leave the main door open to ventilate the home while preventing bugs from getting inside. Screen doors typically have a hydraulic closer that automatically shuts the door after someone passes through it. Because they generally detract from a home’s aesthetics, screen doors are primarily paired with exterior doors at the rear or side of the home that exit into an outdoor living space or the backyard.
Best For: Modern and craftsman-style homes with back doors leading into an outdoor living space or yard
Among the most widely used types of doors for home, solid doors with no decoration are known as having a flush style. Most commonly used as interior doors, they can be painted, stained, or even covered with wallpaper.
Best For: The clean look of this door style makes it suitable for contemporary and modern styles.
Also called stile-and-rail doors, panel doors typically come in 4-, 6-, or 8-panel configurations. Whether used in exterior or interior applications, these wooden paneled doors feature smooth, framed sections surrounding deeply embossed panels. Often, one or more panels will feature a window insert, commonly known as a “lite.”
Best For: The paneled look is suitable for craftsman-style, traditional, and modern homes.
Dutch doors are divided horizontally, so the top half (often a wood panel door with glass) can be open while the bottom half remains closed. Dating from the 17th century, this style originally was designed to admit light and air while keeping out wild animals and livestock.
Best For: The distinctive look of this door makes it a great choice for craftsman-style homes, and for homeowners who want fresh air but have young kids or pets they want to keep indoors.
Highly decorative, French, or casement, interior doors with glass panels usually come in pairs, with each door featuring a frame around one or more window panels. French doors typically are installed to introduce formal living areas, close off an office area, or provide access to outdoor living areas.
Best For: French doors come in such a wide variety of designs that they are a great choice for many styles of homes. They’re ideal for use in spaces like libraries and living rooms, where privacy isn’t much of a concern.
With reclaimed wood furnishings and country decor still in vogue, barn doors have left the farmyard and entered our homes. Whether genuine or reproduction, barn doors are often characterized by rough-hewn wood embellished with classic “Z” or “X” designs in wrought iron, though modern styles using barn door sliding hardware are also available.
Best For: Rustic-look barn doors makes them perfect for homes with modern farmhouse decor. They’re also great choices for homeowners who are looking to close off larger spaces.
These clever, space-saving interior doors disappear into the wall when they’re closed. Ideal for areas with little room for the swing of a standard door with hinges, pocket doors travel on rollers suspended from an overhead track. Often, they have a hollow core and are constructed of lightweight materials to facilitate handling.
Best For: Pocket doors come in a variety of designs and are suitable for contemporary-, modern-, and craftsman-style home. They’re particularly suited for rooms or hallways that may not be roomy enough for a door to swing open and closed.
Sliding patio doors are typically constructed of full-size glass panels. Designed to draw the eye, these types of doors allow for an easy, attractive transition between indoor and outdoor environments.
Best For: Sliding doors are ideal doorways for transitions between living rooms and outdoor decks in contemporary and modern homes. They are best in passages where homeowners want plenty of natural light, and are willing to sacrifice some privacy—and perhaps even some security—to get it.
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These popular closet doors fold back into two sections called panels. Since bifold doors don’t require the same clearance as a standard door and can be paired to cover a wider opening, they’re ideal for wide and shallow bedroom closets. They’re typically made of hollow MDF, making them lightweight, easy to operate, and affordable.
Best For: Closet doors inside modern and contemporary homes.
This interior door style consists of a solid wood door frame with louvered, or vented, panels. The openings between the louvers allow for airflow inside the home, even when the door is closed, but the louvers’ angle maintains privacy. This best-of-both-worlds design makes louvered doors a great choice for closets, bedrooms, and laundry rooms, all of which may need ventilation to prevent the buildup of moisture and odors.
Best For: The louvered look makes this door design a popular choice for cottage and craftsman-style homes. They allow air to circulate but hide laundry spaces and messy closets.
Typically found in industrial settings and storage facilities, this type of door consists of galvanized steel slats that interlock to create a secure and sturdy barrier for large openings such as a garage or storage unit. The door opens upward with the slats rolling around a steel drum mounted above the door opening.
Best For: Commercial uses such as storage units and loading docks, where maximum security and privacy is required.
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Consisting of vertical wooden boards held together by horizontal battens on the back, battened or ledged doors are commonly found in barns and farmhouses. As with barn doors, a battened door can add rustic charm to a home.
Best For: In addition to a traditional farmhouse, the battened door can be added to homes with modern farmhouse decor.
Rather than use traditional hinges, this type of door pivots on a box mounted in the floor and the top of the door jamb to open and close similar to doors one might find in commercial business such as a store or restaurant. Pivot doors are typically oversized doors used in wider entryways, giving them a distinctive look in a home.
Best For: Interior or exterior doors in a home with contemporary style.
Storm doors are installed on the outside of a traditional door; their main function is added protection against weather. With a storm door, you can leave your entry door ajar to let some natural light in without inviting bugs inside too. These doors’ frames are typically aluminum and hold one or two panes of glass. In some window-pane doors, the glass pane can be swapped out for screen to allow for better ventilation in warmer months.
Best For: Provides an additional layer of weather protection and ventilation and light for exterior doors.
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This staple of urban storefronts adds a significant layer of security for businesses during off hours. When extended, this door creates a sturdy metal fence covering the entire storefront of the store’s main entryway, creating a barrier against would-be burglars or vandals. When the business is open, the metal fence retracts and collapses to the side of the entryway or storefront.
Best For: Creating off-hour security for the main entrance of a business when it’s closed.
This iconic door can typically be found at hotels and at department stores in large cities. The rotating movement of the door coupled with its large size allows people to move through the entryway at a fast rate while limiting the amount of hot or cold air blowing into the building.
Best For: Commercial entryways with a high volume of traffic
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