Classic or Craze: Sliding Barn Doors

Is it a classic or is it a craze?

By Melissa Mauzy


We asked local design professionals if sliding barn doors are a classic or a craze. Here is what they had to say. 

“Using sliding doors is an adopted design from long ago. This design detail is extremely versatile with all styles from traditional to contemporary. It also allows a less obtrusive installation by using exposed hardware. This concept invokes creativity for many different applications and is obtainable at different price points. The sliding barn door is definitely a classic that will continue to develop over time.”  Chris Powers, Alspaugh Kitchen & Bath.

“I love a sliding barn door! They are a great way to create an accent and extra texture in a space while not taking up any usable square footage of your room; thus making spaces more functional! They are definitely NOT a craze.  I think what’s so intriguing about them is how it feels like we are bringing something more typical of an exterior or more industrial setting into a residential environment. Play with styles, finishes and material when incorporating into a space.” Anne Boedges, Anne Marie Design Studio

“It is and will always be a classic. The choice of materials and hardware is vast and can work with any style. The frequently used reclaimed wood has been joined by more traditional, contemporary and transitional materials. For our own design studio, we have chosen solid panels of opaque glass, simple and sleek, highlighted with stainless-steel hardware. Think of the barn door as the replacement for the other classic, the fully enclosed decorative pocket doors popular in St. Louis homes in the 19th and 20th centuries.  The complex installation and difficulty of repair for these magnificent pocket doors has made the sliding barn door the favored choice.  Try double barn doors to frame both sides of an opening for a grand entry in to a more formal area. The zero distance door swing of barn doors is a space saving benefit, which helps confirm its classic status.” Vicki Lewis, Directions In Design Inc.

“Sliding barn doors will endure, a classic for sure (less the 'barn' part). Surface-mounted sliding doors are a great alternative to a traditional hinged door, especially when the swing of a hinged door proves problematic. The doors themselves offer a wide variety of design options, and the hardware offers the opportunity for even more design interest. So back to the 'barn' part. While there will always be a place for rustic, we do feel we will soon reach the point of oversaturation when it comes to barn parts. Won’t be long and the most asked question will be 'how do I hide too much barn?'" FORNEY + architecture, LLC.

“The idea of sliding barn doors is innovative, but a trend.  That said, they serve a purpose when pocket doors are too invasive or too costly to install.  Pocket doors were historically used in Victorian times to separate formal seating areas and entryways.  A barn door sliding mechanism is one that can be easily installed and utilized.  They now have style options to choose from lending some so streamlined in their design they don’t feel like a 'barn door'.” Lynn Eastin, Lynn Eastin Interiors.

“Look out as barn doors have become a new classic and not a craze! These old-time beauties have been resurrected from our past…. be it American, English, European, Italian or Scandinavian. You will find versions of these in numerous styles as well as in new construction and in older recently remodeled properties. The ease of operating and to repair them (compared to pocket doors inserted into a wall) is very easy. They are a 'new classic' and here to stay!” Joyce Cockrell, Joyce Cockrell Designs LLC.

“Barn doors are more in the category of craze due to the strong influence of reclaimed and industrial design features, which seem in high demand by many consumers. In furniture, you see many introductions with barn door influences. They appear in armoires, cabinets, consoles and styles are from rustic to clean design. They are offering many different designs to reach the millennium to the baby-boomer.” Ross Anzalone, Amini's.

“Barn doors are a craze unless you actually live in a barn. However, sliding doors with exposed hardware can be useful and efficient in tight quarters where pocket doors aren’t feasible due to existing wall construction or cost.” Shelley Satke Niemeier, SPACE ARCHITECTS, DESIGNERS + BUILDERS.

“I think barn doors with the heavy hardware is more of a craze than a classic. To me, classic is an element that can adapt to a wider range of architecture and furnishing styles. A classic can be mixed and updated to keep up with new trends but maintains its appeal." Linda K. Kusmer, Total Interior Designs Inc.