A Pocketful of Sunshine

Pocket doors are a useful design element in small spaces where swinging doors would take up too much room; but are they over used? We asked local design professionals whether or not pocket doors are the perfect answer for any era.

Edited by Moe Godat

Photo courtesy of the Andersen Corporation



It would not be accurate to call pocket doors a trend as they have been used for centuries. When a doorway is needed but a swing door would create a problem a pocket door is the best solution. For people who like the open concept living but still want the privacy, double pocket doors can solve that issue. You can have a doorway larger than standard and get doors custom made. If you use glass in them, when they are closed you still get light.  Just note that no electrical or plumbing can be in the space where the door goes into the wall. I say pocket doors are a classic. Linda K. Kusmer, Total Interior Designs Inc.


I think pocket doors are not a craze but a necessity. They offer the possibility of getting from one space to another without taking up room or using valuable space. They give the option to close off a room and make a statement if the door is interesting. I believe it is a classic and people will only get more interesting and creative with them in years to come. Nettie White, The Porch in Wildwood.


I didn’t know they ever went out of style! They have been a staple for us, especially as we manage dueling doors in older homes or want to manage the optimal furniture layout in some spaces where space is a premium. The pocket doors that are difficult to maneuver, don’t use quality tracks and hardware, are always out, and I hope they never come back! Kick them to the curb. Attractive and easy to use, pocket doors will always be "in" and classic. A little trick of the trade, we widen the slot when possible in framing for the best operation. We also use quality hardware. It makes all the difference to do it right. Dana King, Next Project Studio.


Pocket doors originated in homes during the Victorian era. At first, pocket doors slid on a floor track, which was noisy, susceptible to malfunction, not to mention a trip hazard. In the 1880’s, a top-hung track was introduced to make this renowned design feature more functional. Large pocket doors were generally used to separate a parlor from a dining room which served as an architectural feature as well as a space saving element. In this day and age, having a pocket door in your home is a quintessential detail that all homeowners should include based on the location. Adding classicality and sophistication, pocket doors are an architectural detail that will live on forever. Natalie Slavik, Youtopia Designs.


Classic. We are currently working on a 1903 home remodel in the Central West End where every room on the first floor has a pocket door. Every door still works perfectly. Sadly, one will need to be removed to make room for an elevator. It does not matter if it is an historic home or new construction, pocket doors can be of real benefit in a space. They require less floor space than traditional swinging doors, freeing up room to walk or place furnishings. They are great for bathrooms, which tend to be small to begin with. The drawback is that nothing can be hung on the walls where the pocket is. This could create a problem hanging art work or televisions in an adjoining space. Still, because a pocket door can be the right choice for a room, I consider it a classic. C.J. Knapp, Yours by Design.




I'm not sure if I would call this classic or craze. I've always seen pocket doors as a necessity due to space constraint or where a door pulled back would be awkward or impossible. I love them in big old houses where they allow you to close off large openings to "customize" your entertaining space. I especially love them in any "close quarters" situation when there just isn't anywhere to put the door. I think as long as there is a circumstance where they are needed, there will be pocket doors! Teddy Karl, The Great Cover-Up.