Ideas for Using Pocket Doors to Save Space and Define Your Style

Pocket doors are an overlooked architectural feature that is a useful and stylish option for your home. Pocket doors, once popular in Victorian architecture, fell out of fashion in the subsequent years.

Pocket DoorsView in gallery

Today, most people are trying to make the most of their current living spaces.

According to the National Association of Realtors, we are beginning to see new interest in pocket door ideas as a way to utilize all available areas in the home.

Pocket doors save space and create a distinctive style wherever you place them.

Pocket Doors to Save SpaceView in gallery
W Design Collective

What are Pocket Doors?

Pocket doors are doors that 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, or sliding doors, recess into the wall rather than swing open, they are a space-saving device. They save about ten square feet of floor space in one room. Most pocket doors are utilized in small room settings where the radius of a traditional door would inhibit the use of needed space. These include areas like a laundry room, bathroom, home office, and small bedroom.

Types of Pocket Doors

Pros and Cons of Pocket DoorsView in gallery
House of Vedvik

There are different types of pocket doors you can 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 will be a better option. When open, these recess into the opposite side wall and come together to close in the middle.
  • French doors – French doors as pocket doors are similar to a double door as there are two doors. Unlike double doors, French pocket doors fit into a single standard door opening. These doors will 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 they will not work for everyone.  

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Maintenance – Because the hardware for pocket doors is in the wall, maintenance and repair on these doors 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, the pocket door hardware, and the construction of pocket doors is 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.

  1. First, pocket door installation is much easier when you begin with a pocket door kit or a pre-made pocket door frame. These will make the process more efficient and easier to complete.
  2. 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 where you will install the pocket door. Build a header with the right clearance based on the specs of the kit and frame.
  3. 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 is not visible.
  4. Last, adjust the fit of the door onto the track. You will need to remove the new door in order to paint it.
  5. Here is a helpful tutorial which 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. We have gathered some beautiful ideas for you to be inspired for your own home spaces.

Arched Pocket Doors

Arched Pocket DoorsView in gallery
Coco & Jack

If you are interested in adding a unique architectural feature to set off your rooms, an arched door is an ideal choice. The pocket doors work well in this context as they create a more dramatic style and they save valuable floor space.

Laundry Room Pocket Door

Laundry Room Pocket DoorView in gallery
BHG

Pocket doors are popular in small rooms or in areas where there are multiple existing doors. A door with hinges would get in the way of a smooth functioning of this laundry room. This door also has the added benefit of glass panes that allow in as much natural light as possible.

Black Pocket Doors

Black Pocket DoorsView in gallery
Rue Magazine

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 double traditional doors that open and close.  

Stained Glass Pocket Door

Stained Glass Pocket DoorView in gallery
Delight of Design

If you have a historic home, pocket doors are a common design feature. Even if you don’t have a true historic home, create a vintage look using pockets doors. Find pocket doors with interesting glass styles including stained glass to give your rooms a more classic style.

Contemporary Pocket Doors

Contemporary Pocket DoorsView in gallery

In this design from Helen Lucas Architects, the project was to create continuity between spaces. Pocket doors work well in this context. You can close off spaces to create areas of privacy or the doors can disappear into the walls for a seamless transition between rooms.  

Mirrored Bathroom Pocket Door

Mirrored Bathroom Pocket DoorView in gallery
GlassArt Design

Pocket doors are popular in bathrooms as they are a small space where the open door would take up more space than necessary. For this single-pocket door, the designers mounted a mirror on one side of the door to add extra utility.

Pocket Door for Home Offices

Pocket Door for Home OfficesView in gallery
Alison Kandler Interior Design

Glass pocket doors bring in beautiful natural light to your interior rooms. The colorful pocket door in the Allison Kandler design brightens the room in so many ways. In addition, a standard door would add more clutter to the already busy office space.

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.

Conclusion

Pocket doors are a historic architectural feature that is coming back into fashion. Pocket doors save valuable floor space, provide a clean visual style, and give your rooms a more custom look. These doors can be expensive and difficult to repair, so they will not work for every person or situation. Yet, for many people, the beautiful style is worth the trouble.