Maximising a Small Space Design: The Use of Pocket Doors in Home Design

The Use of Pocket Doors in Home Design
Michelle Tether
Written by Michelle Tether

Many small spaces still require privacy, making the use of a door necessary. Anytime that a door swing catches on furniture or fixtures, or is an obstruction of sorts, homeowners may wonder which to sacrifice; their privacy or their comfort. In these cases the use of a pocket door could be the answer to the issue at hand but it does rely on your current setup as to how it might be fitted. We will cover the angles in tis write up.

What is a Pocket Door?

A pocket door is a sliding door, which opens by drawing into an adjacent wall or it might draw into a contained framework, more often that not though, it’ll be the former option. The door will frequently hang from a track suspended from the ceiling, or in some cases may slide on a track laid along the floor, it’ll screw nicely into a solid hardwood flooring. Here’s a picture of how a pocket door might work if installed correctly inside the wall using a partition and paster board.

How a pocket door looks inside a wall

How a pocket door looks inside a wall by

Special hardware is used to pull the door shut, and latch it. When the door is hidden in the wall, there’s an instrument we can grab that will protrude enough , allowing the user to pull the door out and shut. A locking mechanism on the interior of the door allows the user to use the same hardware to fasten the door once shut, ensuring privacy.

Double pocket doors may be installed to cover large openings between rooms, but it’s an unusual arrangement because this style suits cramped openings much more, while single doors are utilised for bathrooms and closets and this is a far more practical use. The benefit of pocket doors really lay in the ability to pass through a tight opening without needing to swing the door onto yourself. Many tight areas have this exact issue and they are prime candidates for this upgrade.

When to Use a Pocket Door

During Victorian times, pocket doors were used frequently to separate sitting rooms from bedrooms, it was quite fashionable. There are more aesthetic reasons to use a pocket door as well, for example exterior pocket sliding doors are used frequently in Japan to open up the walls of an entire home to the outdoors during warm weather, sliding shut and fastening only for security in the evening and respite from random bad weather. You might also just want to make a very nice feature and open up spaces as you can see below.

Pocket doors give perception of one larger room

Image source. Pocket doors give perception of one larger room

Pocket doors for bathrooms sat between two bedrooms

Today, pocket doors are most frequently in small space design. Small bathrooms which are situated between two bedrooms are one way to make use of pocket doors. If the doors needed to swing inward, they would take up far too much room in the bathroom and possibly not be able to open, limiting the room’s usability. Where the doors to open outward, they would begin to take up room which may be better utilised in the bedrooms. In this case, pocket doors can be installed on either side of bathroom to give free access to the space, without taking up additional room and this is the right application for a pocket door.

Pocket doors for bathrooms at the end of a narrow corridor

Small bathrooms located near the end of a hallway, with a bedroom located at the far end of the hallway are another place to use a pocket door. Once again, the door would be unable to swing inward, as it would take up too much space in the bathroom, forcing vanities and counters to become shallower, or set back from the door as you can see in the example below.

Pocket door narrow bathroom

Image source. Pocket door narrow bathroom

If the door were to swing outward, however, it would either block the flow of traffic in the hallway, or would swing into the doorway of the bedroom, both options result in restricting access there. A pocket door would give free access to the bathroom, the hallway and the end bedroom, without restricting space, or bathroom fixtures.

Pocket doors for bathrooms sat between living and dinning rooms

Small homes with adjoining living room and dining rooms, or living room and kitchens may also make use of pocket doors. Leaving the doors between the rooms open helps to maximise the space of the house, creating a more open layout.

Pocket doors for bathrooms sat between living and dinning rooms

Image source. Pocket doors for bathrooms sat between living and dinning rooms

If privacy is required, however, of if noise from one room needs to be minimised in the next, the doors could be pulled from the walls and closed. This enables small homes to have large, open door ways between rooms, without sacrificing privacy, and was the whole reason Victorians started using this method. This method of design is particularly helpful in homes utilising central heating fixtures.

Summary of pocket doors

Pocket doors can help homeowners of small homes make the most of their space. Install pocket doors in closets, small bathrooms and between large open areas to gain privacy and quiet when required, without encroaching on living space or blocking the home’s inhabitants from making the most of their space.

About the author

Michelle Tether

Michelle Tether

I love everything home. I write as a passion for non profit about the things I love.