Sliding Barn Doors: Is the Trend Here to Stay?

Filed in Design and Decor by on December 13, 2015

IMG_2830_REV copy (1)By Patricia Carlson


Sliding doors aren’t new. From pocket doors to closet sliders, these space-saving gems have been used for decades for their practicality and privacy. But the sliding doors of recent decades have never really been things of beauty or craftsmanship, until now.


Sliding barn doors, whether refinished from actual old barns or constructed brand new, are having a moment, and it is well worth your time to take a look at this latest reimagining of the sliding door.


“The trend was starting to catch on two to three years ago,” says Blain Mikkonen, one of the founders of Grain Designs in Fargo, a company that creates hand-made furniture and home goods made primarily from reclaimed materials. “However, I think it has really taken off with in the last 18 months in our region.”


_SKY4033-2Solving a Swing Problem


Historically, pocket doors and other sliding doors were used because they save on space by eliminating the need for a door swing radius. They were often made of cheap products, though, and certainly didn’t up the style factor in anyone’s home. Remember the mirrored closet doors from the 70s and 80s? We certainly do, and not necessarily in a fond way.


Substituting a barn door not only solves the swing problem, but elevates the design aesthetic within your home. “Barn doors are nice because they are a statement fixture for your home but they are also functional,” explains Mikkonen, adding, “Much like a grand staircase or unique chandelier, a cool barn door can really give a space some great personality.”


IMG_2083-EditMake a Statement


Barn doors are not for the conservative homeowner; they are statement pieces that hold a lot of artistic value. They tend to be more expensive than traditional hinged doors. Barn doors come in a variety of materials including glass and metal. While you can find plenty of factory-made wood options like the barn doors made by Belgrade (MN)-based Bayer Built Woodworks, many homeowners these days opt for one-of-a-kind barn doors made out of reclaimed wood.


“Our clients look at our barn doors as pieces of art,” explains Josh Humble, owner of Finnu Designs, a family-owned custom built wood furniture business in Moorhead. “We make a point to go into our clients’ homes and observe their style, their color palette, consistencies among wood choices. Then we sketch out a custom door. Our doors often become the focal point of the room.”


For both Humble and Mikkonen, it’s important that a sliding barn door holds as much artistic value as practical value.


Sliding barn door home decor reclaimed wood corrugated steel Grain Designs Fargo

Sliding barn door home decor reclaimed wood corrugated steel Grain Designs Fargo

How Do They Work?


A sliding barn door does what any other door in your home does – separates two living spaces. You do need to consider space, structure and size before buying, however.


Sliding barn doors need enough room to the left or right of the opening for the door to slide. They are usually heavier and thicker (to the tune of at least 1 1/2 inches wide) so support within the wall is key.


And, you need enough clearance above the door to allow for specialized hardware. Sliding barn doors use tracks and headers to operate. This means they require more space above the door than your standard hinged door. At least six inches of clearance should do it. Make sure to measure your hardware as some barn door hardware can be quite large (and quite decorative too).


Don’t fret if your wall framing doesn’t line up with where your track needs to be mounted, cautions Steven Bayer, Marketing Team Leader at Bayer Built Woodworks. You can use a supporting piece of millwork that would be slightly longer than your track and would get mounted first to the wall, and then your track could be mounted to that board.


“That gives you the support needed to carry the weight of the door slab,” says Bayer. “In new construction, if you know you’re going to install a sliding barn door, you can simply frame in a header above your doorway twice the width of door you intend to use.”


Bedrooms and bathrooms should probably be off-limits. Since the barn doors are hung off of the wall and need to slide without interference, spacers are used to extend the door off the wall and/or trim. This typically leaves a half-inch to one inch gap between the door and the wall. Not only can peek-a- boos sneak a look (we’re looking at you, munchkins), but sounds will carry too.


barndoor1Show Off That Statement Piece


The best fit for a barn door is an area where the door won’t be used much, but offers the flexibility and freedom to use it when needed. Dining rooms, laundry rooms, pantries, closets are all great places for these doors. A common place people install them is in their great room. It’s the perfect place to showcase your statement piece.


No matter where you choose to use them, and whether it is for practical or decorative reasons, we think this trend is going to be in style for a long time to come. Whether you choose reclaimed wood, frosted glass, metal or traditional slab doors installed in a sliding configuration, they can be made to work in any type of setting. Sliding barn doors are both beautiful and practical additions to many areas of the home, no matter what your style is, and that makes them worth taking a look at how you can incorporate them in your décor.


For More Information:

Grain Designs –

Finnu Designs –

Bayer Built Woodworks –


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