Once popular in Victorian architecture, pocket doors fell out of fashion in the mid-1920s and hinged doors soon became the norm. In recent years, however, a renewed interest in space-saving and design-forward solutions has brought pocket doors back into the limelight. What used to be an overlooked architectural feature is now becoming increasingly common in modern interiors, along with its creative flair and countless functions. These sleek, sliding doors can efficiently divide rooms, create seamless transitions, save space and contribute to a unique, sophisticated and stylish look. All of this while adding a slight touch of poetry to the home; sliding silently into the wall, pocket doors invite users to step through and explore what lies beyond, creating a strong sense of mystery and intrigue.
Since it is harder to encounter this type of fixture in traditional homes, many don’t know how pocket doors actually work. Essentially, these glide along a track and slide into a pocket rather than opening out on a hinge like most conventional alternatives. When open, they “disappear” into the space inside the wall, eliminating the need for a swing radius, leaving extra room for furniture or foot traffic, and giving the impression of a larger space. Pocket doors are mainly recognized by architects, designers and homeowners for their distinctive ability to save space, a quality that is considered a priority as living spaces continue to get smaller, tighter and more expensive. Patio Door Opening
Drawing inspiration from the variety of pocket doors found in the Architonic catalog, below we explore their practicality and creative potential in contemporary homes. But first, we provide some general tips for their correct installation in existing projects to aid those seeking to incorporate this stylish design feature.
How to install a pocket door?
In renovation projects, pocket doors require the creation of a pocket in the wall, meaning that installation is usually a bit more complex than that of a traditional door. However, it can be a simple process if a few basic steps are followed. It’s always advisable to follow each manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as these steps may vary depending on the brand and model. Here are some general guidelines:
Make sure that it’s feasible to put a pocket door in an existing wall before drilling or tearing anything down. How? By examining if there is enough room (just over twice the width of the door is necessary so it can hide); if it’s load-bearing or just a partition (if it’s load-bearing, it’s important to place a new header and a means of temporary support while the door is being worked on); and if it has wiring or plumbing (a wall with pipes in it is not a good place to put a door). Determine the exact location for the pocket door by measuring and marking its opening on the wall. Cut out the drywall or plaster to create the opening for the door, and make sure to wear protective gear and use caution when cutting through the wall. Install the pocket door frame by first attaching the top and bottom tracks to the top and bottom of the opening. Then, attach the side jambs to the tracks. Install the hangers on the back of the pocket door. These should slide onto the tracks and be attached to the back of the door. Slide the door into the pocket and test it to guarantee it slides smoothly. Install the door handle and any other hardware, including locks and latches. Finish the wall around the pocket door, which may involve patching, painting, and installing drywall or plaster to cover the opening.
Functional and creative possibilities in interiors
Besides learning about their installation, it is important to be aware of the options, functions and opportunities that pocket doors enable in modern interiors. That way, it is possible to make the most out of this design element.
It is evident that pocket doors are mostly known for their inherent space-saving capabilities. In fact, experts suggest that they save about 10 square feet of floor space in one room compared to a traditional door, in addition to optimizing wall space and maintaining an uncluttered look with a clean visual aesthetic. This not only makes them ideal for small closets, bathrooms and bedrooms where every centimeter counts, but also for large rooms that benefit from a greater sense of spaciousness. Ultimately, pocket doors are suitable anywhere a hinged door would take up valuable floor space.
Now more than ever, increasingly flexible lifestyles have directed the spotlight on adaptable, multifunctional environments that respond to ever-changing needs. In that sense, pocket doors are able to enhance flexibility and collaboration by dividing or connecting rooms, creating a visual separation while enabling easy access between every space. When opening a double, bi-parting pocket door, for example, a living room can easily connect to a dining room, a bedroom to a home office, and so on.
Modern interiors are usually characterized by airy, open spaces, yet this also implies that they often compromise privacy –which can be an issue as recent events have led to more people studying and working from home. While pocket doors can enhance connectivity when opened, they also provide a solid barrier between two rooms, helping to reduce noise and promote tranquility. They are ideal for creating private areas within one larger space, such as a bedroom within a studio apartment. And when a particular room is not in use, these can completely close it off and provide an additional layer of privacy.
Pocket doors also stand out for their limitless creative potential. They are available in a wide range of designs, styles and materials –such as wood, glass, metal or different combinations– and can be paired with a variety of hardware options, including handles or knobs. This enables designers to enhance interiors either by generating contrast with the surrounding walls for a dramatic statement, or by creating a cohesive, clean and minimalist aesthetic language with a door that blends in seamlessly. In addition, pocket doors can adopt various formats and configurations that result in different effects. They can be oversized, flat or curvy, have a single door leaf for smaller spaces or two bi-parting doors for a wider opening.
When it comes to improving accessibility in the home, pocket doors can be a great option. They can be helpful for wheelchair users or others with mobility issues because instead of requiring them to reach out and grasp a handle to open the door, they can simply slide it open, making it much easier to move around freely. Of course, a lot comes down to the door’s design and the user’s specific needs, but there are a few minimum factors to consider: the door should be wide enough to accommodate the width of the wheelchair and low enough for the user to reach. It should also be easy to open and close, either manually or with an automated opening mechanism like a motor or push button.
Visit Architonic’s catalog to discover a variety of pocket door options and their spatial possibilities.
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