This post is the first in a new series “Di & I” where I talk about current design topics with my mom (who is awesome, you can read about her here)! We each wrote down our thoughts on the topic then exchanged them and wrote responses. Today we’re talking about a trend we’re seeing everywhere, interior barn doors – are they here to stay or is this a passing fad?
We hope you enjoy this mother/daughter take on the design world…Enjoy!
Ha! This is such a perfect topic for my mom and I to start our “Di & I” series. See, my mom is the one who initially got me interested in (err, obsessed with) interior design. And as much as I respect (and love!) her design choices, there are a few places where we differ. And barn doors is one of those places.
I love the trend. Di does not. I’d go so far as to say she hates it. But she’s wrong and I’ll tell you why…
They look good. They can add an element of interest (with scale, color, and texture) in just about any room. Have a giant, empty and otherwise boring wall next to an opening? Boom. Barn door.
They’re functional. Having renovated two houses now, I can tell you that door clearances are a real issue in tight spaces. And pocket doors can be a bit of a yawn. Plus, they’re impossible to install in already existing walls. Boom. Barn door.
They’re inexpensive. Okay, they can be inexpensive, I suppose they aren’t always. But you can DIY these things for days with little skill and relatively little capital. Boom. Barn door.
They’re versatile. You can make barn doors as modern/funky or as vintage/rustic as you want. It doesn’t HAVE to look like it was just pulled off of a barn. Paint it neon green. Put a piece of frosted glass in the middle of it. Or weather the finish a little and strip some paint. Either way – Boom. Barn door.
My mom, being more of a purist than me, is going to say that unless you live in an actual barn, you can’t pull off this look. To that I say no way! She doesn’t live in 1850, but she sure has a whole bunch of antique furniture!
Obviously, if you live in a converted rustic barn or an industrial loft (dream abodes!) then you are one of very few people who can pull off barn doors. Or, if you live anywhere in the Southwest, and your home could lend itself to this look naturally. So many of us live in uninspired builder homes, and these doors just seem forced and artificial to me.
With so many beautiful door choices available – vintage, glass paned, mirrored or painted for a surprise intro of color – why choose a door that has no point of reference to the rest of your home? I know Chip & Joanna Gaines utilize these doors with such confidence, but they’re creating spaces that support featuring this door at the onset of their design process. They integrate them as a focal point and continue a loose theme that supports their choice. Plus, they’re in Texas.
Interior barn doors do solve a problem of door clearance, which can be tricky in small spaces, but pocket doors can also fix this problem. For some DIY gods and goddesses, pocket doors could be installed in a weekend.
So, no and no to interior barn doors. I always want to be supportive and excited about decorating ideas, but these have such a narrow threshold (pun intended!) where they truly look great, that I just can’t with this trend. To me, that’s exactly what this element is: a trend. In a few short years, they’ll scream 2016 or 2017 if they ever made sense at all. Interiors need ingredients that relate to one another – even if its the smallest link, and very few spaces can find a way to relate to sliding barn doors.
OH MY GOD, I WAS RIGHT! I knew she’d say that unless you basically live in a barn, you can’t do this. But I remain unconvinced – I think the look is more versatile than that…assuming you’re able to make the door work with your current look and decor. She’s right about that – you can’t go throwing some rustic door into the middle of a chic, Old Hollywood style Palm Springs apartment.
As far as it being a trend – maybe. The look has been applied to interiors for a couple of years now and, let’s be honest, barn doors themselves aren’t exactly new! Plus, I think they solve the small space door issue and are easy to DIY so I see them sticking around for a while.
What are your thoughts on the barn door thing? Passing trend that doesn’t match most homes or brilliant idea and versatile space saver?
I just read Amy’s opinion on barn doors, and she predicted my response perfectly. She sounds like Little Miss Easy Going, but boom! She’s wrong!
Can’t help but think these are an overwhelming kind of focal point, and painted ones would just add to the calamity (neon green?). If you have a large wall with an opening already, widen the opening and case it in – join both rooms. Or, add painted moldings to the walls. Or create a gallery art wall. Or install narrow shelves to store wine or a favorite collection. There are so many alternatives! Sliding barn doors aren’t the only solution for door clearance problems.
Try to resist this passing trend – your room might not feel authentic, and you’ll wish you’d installed something far less imposing than a giant opaque lumber door on wheels. BOOM!