A pocket door is a unique space-saving door that moves along a track inside the wall. Pocket doors gained popularity during the Victorian era but fell out of favor in subsequent years.
According to the National Association of Realtors, there’s a renewed interest in pocket door ideas among today’s homeowners.
What is a Pocket Door?
Pocket doors disappear into the wall or pocket space when opened. Unlike standard swinging doors, a pocket door does not have hinges but slides using an overhead track or a floor track to move forward and backward.
Because pockets doors recess into the wall rather than swinging open, they save about ten square feet of floor space. Most pocket doors are utilized in small rooms where a traditional door would inhibit the use of the space. Pocket doors are popular for laundry rooms, bathrooms, home offices, and small bedrooms.
Types of Pocket Doors
There are different types of pocket doors to consider for your space. The one you choose will depend on your privacy needs as well as the rough opening size where you want to fit your door.
- Solid doors – Most pocket doors have solid panels and are fitted into a standard 36-inch opening.
- Double doors – If you have a large opening, double doors are a better option. When open, they recess into opposite sides of the wall and come together to close in the middle.
- French doors – French-style pocket doors are similar to double doors. But unlike double doors, French pocket doors fit into a single standard door opening. These doors also have glass panes as a part of their construction.
Pros and Cons of Pocket Doors
Pocket doors have wonderful benefits in many situations, but won’t work for everyone.
- Space saving – The best reason to install a pocket door is to save space. Pocket doors save around ten square feet compared to a traditional door.
- Appearance – Pocket doors have a unique and custom look that will set your home apart from others.
- Style – Pocket doors go with any design style, from historic to contemporary.
- Maintenance – Because the hardware for pocket doors is in the wall, maintenance and repair can be complicated. In addition, there are more moving parts for a pocket door. They can fall off the track, have trouble locking, and squeak if not oiled.
- Cost – The doors, hardware, and installation are more expensive than that of a standard door.
- Closure – Pocket doors sit on a track. Therefore, they can be difficult to seal. A Pocket door lock does not close as well as a lock on standard doors.
Installing a Pocket Door
Here is a list of what you might expect when installing pocket doors.
- First, pocket door installation is much easier when you begin with a pocket door kit or a pre-made pocket door frame.
- Next, you will need to remove the sheetrock on either side of the wall to install the pocket door frame. If there is no existing door opening, you will need to remove the wall studs in the area and build a header with the right clearance based on the specs of the kit and frame.
- Then, you will need to decide about the track for the pocket door. You can install a floor track or a ceiling track. The most popular option is a recessed track so that it’s not visible.
- Last, adjust the fit of the door onto the track. You will need to remove the new door in order to paint it.
- Here is a helpful tutorial that will take you through the process step-by-step. It is from Cass Makes Home.
Pocket Door Inspiration and Ideas
Pocket doors have wide-ranging applicability and infinite variation. Try these pocket door ideas in your own home.
Arched Pocket Doors
If you want a unique architectural feature to set off your rooms, an arched door is an ideal choice. These pocket doors create a dramatic style and save valuable floor space.
Laundry Room Pocket Door
Pocket doors are popular in small rooms and areas with multiple existing doors. A door with hinges would get in the way of this laundry room. The pocket door saves space and allows light to filter through.
Black Pocket Doors
Black interior doors have become a popular feature of farmhouse and contemporary design. For this large doorway, the homeowner installed black sliding pocket doors. The double pocket doors have a cleaner look than traditional doors.
Stained Glass Pocket Door
If you have a Victorian home, pocket doors are a common design feature. Even if you don’t have a true historic home, you can create a vintage look using pocket doors. Find pocket doors with interesting glass styles, including stained glass.
Contemporary Pocket Doors
In this design from Helen Lucas Architects, the project was to create continuity between spaces so they used pocket doors. You can close off spaces to create privacy, or the doors can disappear into the walls for a seamless transition between rooms.
Mirrored Bathroom Pocket Door
Pocket doors are popular in bathrooms where the open door would take up more space than necessary. For this single-pocket door, the designers mounted a mirror on one side to add extra utility.
Pocket Door for Home Offices
Glass pocket doors can bring beautiful natural light to your interior rooms. The colorful pocket door in the Allison Kandler design brightens the room in so many ways.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How much does it cost to put in a pocket door?
The cost of a pocket door is between $500-$1000, but the cost including pocket door installation and materials is between $1000-$3500. If you want to invest in a pocket door kit, it will cost between $60-$400.
Why are pocket doors not more popular?
Pocket doors were most popular during the Victorian era when they were used to close off certain areas for more formal use. They have become more popular in recent years as people are seeking to make the most of their small living spaces.
Are pocket doors a problem?
Pocket doors do require more maintenance and are more difficult to repair than standard doors with hinges. For some people, the extra maintenance issues are worth it for the space saving and style potential.
Can you install a pocket door in an existing wall?
You can install a pocket door in some existing walls. The walls should be at least four inches wide as the doors are at least two inches wide. You also need to make sure that you have a wall with enough length. If you don’t have enough length on one side, you can consider a French pocket door and split the length for either side.
Are pocket doors good for bathrooms?
Pocket doors work well in bathrooms. Many bathrooms are small, so the square footage is a premium. Pocket doors save valuable space. Also, some people install mirrors on one side which gives you a fitting place to put a floor length mirror in a small room.