Other Tips & Design Ideas

Barn Door Alternatives (6 Best Options for You)

Written by

Rosanne Jones

Writer, Designer


Steven D. Carrico


barn door alternatives

Barn doors’ stylish and practical design means they continue to be a popular choice for many homeowners. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case that you can incorporate this door style into your home – be it from lack of wall space or mismatched design styles.

In case you love the functionality and aesthetic of barn doors but can’t install them, you can consider opting for barn door alternatives.

To know what interior door alternatives best fit your house, check out the detailed breakdown below.

Alternatives for Sliding Barn Door 

1. Sliding Doors


One of the best barn and pocket door alternatives, sliding glass doors are an attractive option if your main priority is visual appeal and not security. Pleasant aesthetics aside, they are excellent for small spaces due to how they can “open up” a room.

Another feature that makes these doors ideal for small rooms is that they don’t take up much space, especially ones designed with a thin profile. You can also choose wood, aluminum, or steel as the material for your door if you don’t like glass’ transparency.

Functionally, these interior sliding doors operate in a similar manner to barn doors – they both slide forward and backward on a track. The installation process and requirements for maintenance are also simple.

You can install these replacements in your patio’s entrance or use them as bedroom or bathroom door alternatives. Sliding doors can also create a cozy and welcoming home office. For security, you can check out the most common sliding door lock types.

Read more: Sliding barn door cover trim: should or shouldn’t?

2. Pocket doors


When it comes to door alternatives for small spaces, not many options can beat pocket doors. These substitutes can slide into the adjacent wall, thanks to the top-hung track or floor guide hidden in the compartment, completely removing the need for swinging panels.

Similar to sliding doors, pocket doors can be installed in many parts of the house. For instance, they can be door alternatives for bedroom, living rooms, kitchens, and home offices, as long as the wall is large enough to accommodate the sliding panel.

Due to how they function, pocket doors allow for more wall space. You won’t have to worry that they will block light switches or pictures, so feel free to decorate your wall to your heart’s content for a small yet beautiful home.

The downside of this alternative lies in its difficulties in installing and maintenance due to the hidden track in the wall. This is also why the overall mounting cost for pocket doors can be drastically more expensive than barn doors.

3. Shoji sliding doors


Originating from the land of the rising sun, Shoji doors differ from other options in our list – these Japanese products feature wooden frames and rice paper panels. Their key characteristics are a lightweight construction and semi-opaque panels to let natural light in.

This alternative to barn doors is not only highly regarded for its elegance but also for how it can ensure privacy despite keeping the room bright. While simple in design, Shoji doors lend a natural texture and allow you to plan the house’s layout better.

Don’t be fooled by Shoji screens’ apparent flimsy appearance, they’re quite durable. Even if they manage to break, the price to get them fixed is quite cheap. And as you can build one yourself, Shoji are excellent for door alternatives DIY projects.

Shoji screens best suit traditional-styled homes. This, of course, doesn’t mean that they aren’t suitable for a modern setting, such as offices. You can get customized Shoji doors so that their patterns, materials, colors, etc., can fit seamlessly with your interior design.

4. French doors


Ideal as barn or pocket door alternatives, French doors are easily recognizable due to how they’re mostly made of glass, thereby letting plenty of natural light into the room if used as an exterior entrance.

French doors are suitable for interior use as well, considering that they provide a smooth transition between rooms. For instance, they can be a bedroom door that keeps the area separated from the living room, allowing the space to feel more airy and spacious.

Due to how French doors usually come in pairs, they can lend a symmetrical aesthetic. The frames either swing inward or outward to open; even when they’re closed, the glass-framed panels will ensure the room doesn’t come off as closed-off and uninviting.

Looking for some attractive basement door alternatives? French doors can be a viable option, unless you’re concerned with energy efficiency. Due to the gaps between the panels, these doors may allow cold air to get in, thus driving up the heating bills.

5. Hanging Beads (bead curtain doors)


For some unconventional door alternatives, consider getting hanging beads.

While not suitable for exterior use (due to obvious reasons), this alternative to a door between rooms can create a seamless flow between different areas while still providing relative privacy.

Hanging beads aren’t just cheap door alternatives, their simple design means you can make one yourself to match your interior style. You can even do these fun DIY projects with your kids by asking them to help you thread the beads.

The great thing about these curtain doors is that they can be made from many materials. If you’ve grown tired of conventional beads made of wood or plastic, you can opt for colorful glass beads that can reflect the lights. Old costume jewelry can also make the beads more special.

As much as I love hanging beads for their ease of installation and how much space they can save, I wouldn’t recommend this replacement for houses with babies. The small beads can be easily within young children’s reach, thereby posing a choking hazard.

6. Pivot Doors


Those who need barn door alternatives for bathroom may find pivot ones an excellent choice. You can easily identify pivot doors by how they’re hung on the frame’s top and bottom, allowing the frame to be swung both inward and outward.

Pivot doors’ unique mechanism allows them to fit small spaces. Plus, their stunning look will immediately stand out, no matter what room they’re in. This is partly due to how you can customize the door and choose the material, style, and number of panels you want.

Pivot doors are also suitable for those who want a larger door as well. And as they can open and close quietly, they can be an attractive option for families who require silence, such as ones with small babies.

However, pivot doors aren’t best for doorways leading to the outside. Their design means that there’ll be small corner gaps that may let water leak in during heavy rains or bad snow storms. Similarly, they’re not very airtight, allowing smoke and dust to enter the house.


 Will barn doors go out of style?

For now, the odds seem to be in barn doors’ favor, meaning it’s unlikely that they will go out of style. Aesthetics aside, these sliding doors are quite functional and can be used in many scenarios.

For instance, when it comes to what to use instead of a pocket door, barn doors are usually among the first answers. They are also easy to install and can also save quite a lot of space, making them ideal for small homes.

Can any door be used as interior barn door?

Yes, absolutely. You may need a bit of skill and thorough instruction, but it’s entirely possible to repurpose old doors in your home. So if you can’t find any lightweight barn door for bathroom, consider learning how to turn a normal door into a barn one.

What can I use to substitute for a door?

If you change your mind and decide you don’t want to install a door at an entrance anymore, here are some decent substitutes you shouldn’t miss:

  • Curtains due to their ease of installation and affordable price.
  • Roman shades, as you can roll them up or down, depending on your needs.
  • Accordion divider—especially suitable for large rooms. These dividers can be set up or put away quickly.
  • Quilts – handmade ones would be the best options, as they’ll look more unique and intriguing.
  • Painted canvas. This can work really well if you’re an artist yourself. The painted canvas will help reflect your personality and taste.


To determine the best barn door alternatives among our list of suggestions, you should think carefully about your budget, requirements, and existing interior design. For example, if noise insulation is your priority, hanging beads wouldn’t be for you.

We hope that our list has helped you find the ultimate barn door replacement. Let us know if you’re happy with your choice – we’d love to hear from you.

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