Even though they are popular, bi-fold doors on a closet can seem less sophisticated than the alternatives. Just as well, the hinges can jam up easily, or it can fall off its track, and suddenly you find yourself with a stuck door.
There’s no shortage of options when you are wanting to replace your bi-fold closet doors with something more modern and functional. Pocket doors, french doors, and even sliding barn doors are all potential replacements for your current bi-fold door.
Table of Contents
- The Popularity of Bi-Fold Doors
- Things to Consider
- Alternatives to Bi-Fold Doors
- Non-Door Door Replacements
The Popularity of Bi-Fold Doors
Bi-fold doors are considered one of the best space-saving options for small spaces. It is essentially a door that folds in on itself, saving the floor space required for a regular hinged door.
They are most common in bedroom and hall closets, kitchen pantries, and laundry rooms. The bi-fold style is usually preferred over the half sliding door in bedroom closets because instead of only accessing half of the closet contents with a sliding door, you can open the closet fully with a bi-fold style.
Things to Consider
All home improvement projects require pre-planning. Decide which of the following features are most important for you and your home.
Are you replacing a door for a closet you use daily or simply wanting to upgrade your guest room? Some doors are easier to operate than others, so think about who will be using them.
Also, consider the placement of the closet. If it’s closer to the entry door of the room, you may be limited in door replacement options as some ideas require more wall space than bi-fold doors.
Even though bi-fold doors are already a space-saving option, sometimes you really need to utilize every square inch of floor space. Replacing your current door with a door that requires more floor space to open might not work in every floor plan.
Some homeowners and designers like to match every door within a room to give it a more seamless, cohesive appearance. Others like to throw caution to the wind and seriously personalize a particular room.
Whatever your desire or plan is for the finished room, consider all of the other elements that will catch the eye. A french door may look classy, but if it clashes with the entry door, it may throw the whole look of the room off.
Alternatives to Bi-Fold Doors
You can still achieve the same space-saving qualities of a bi-fold door with other popular choices.
A sliding door that disappears into a pocket in the wall is called a pocket door. There’s no additional space in front or behind the door that is needed when you open it.
The biggest drawback for pocket doors is the expense and installation. Aside from buying the door and its hardware, you will need a contractor to examine your wall to determine if it’s even possible to place a recess inside the wall for the door to slide into.
If you’re able to get this done, though, it is one heck of a space saver.
Peaking in popularity over the past couple of years, the barn door style of doors adds a clean, rustic look to any space.
Barn doors are installed on a track that is placed above the door frame. These doors can slide out to either side. These save as much space as pocket doors because they slide flush against the wall.
You can choose two doors that slide in opposite directions or a single door for a smaller closet.
If you have some friends that are skilled in woodworking, you can have them make you two barn doors to install, and you can customize them any way you’d like. They also sell them online and in most home improvement stores.
Another bonus of these doors? They are a breeze to install and take minimal handyman skills.
Sliding Track Doors
Another very popular door style, you usually find sliding track doors in double-wide closets. They are sometimes called “bypass” doors, as each door bypasses the other when the closet is opened.
There is a track above and below the two doors, and you can slide them to either side. They are fitted inside the frame. I’ve already mentioned that the drawback to these doors is that only one side of your closet will be accessible. But sometimes simplicity is best!
These aren’t a good alternative to bi-fold doors for closets that only have room for one door, you will need space for two doors side-by-side.
Double Doors or Split Swing Doors
If you don’t mind having your doors swing open and just want to upgrade your bi-fold doors, double doors (a.k.a. Split Swing Doors) are a nice, classic option.
Installation is easy, and there are a plethora of styles to choose from. They will take up more floor space when they open, but if you have the space to spare, it is worth it for a fresh, updated look.
A simple, single swing door is also a good replacement for a bi-fold linen closet door if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of accordion door tracks.
Similar to double doors, installing french doors as a folding closet door alternative could really class up the place.
The biggest difference between double doors and french doors is that french doors usually have panes of glass, sometimes frosted or variegated. There is also no central post between the two doors. This is a common style of door that allows natural light to enter a closed-off room.
But utilizing them as closet doors can be just as classy and allows you to dramatically swing open your wardrobe in style.
Mirrored Sliding Doors
Interior decorators often use mirrors in small spaces to give the illusion of the room being larger. Using sliding doors with top-to-bottom mirrors follows the same principle and will trick your eyes into believing that a cramped bedroom is much larger than it really is.
A word of caution from a seasoned parent – this isn’t the best choice for a child’s room. The risk of fingerprint smudges and shattered glass is far too high. Save this idea for your guest room or master bedroom.
This is another installation idea where you may need to call in a contractor or custom carpenter, and it can be a fairly expensive option. But it is well worth the expense!
You can have your own “secret closet” in your house hidden behind a beautiful floor-length bookcase. Even though it requires a bit more floor space, you also benefit from additional storage on the bookcase’s shelves.
Non-Door Door Replacements
Non-door? Well, yes, nobody says you have to replace a bi-fold door with another door. Consider these out-of-the-box ideas if you’re looking for unique alternatives for bi-fold closet doors.
If you really want to go all out in a certain theme and personalize your space, installing curtains in place of your closet doors is a foolproof idea.
They can be installed with a tension shower rod or regular curtain hardware, either inside or outside of the frame. This also expands your color and pattern options farther than the wood door options at your local home improvement store.
Beaded Curtains or Macrame
Cue the 70’s nostalgia! Spice up your space with a hanging beaded curtain, or call upon your fiber art friends to design you a custom macrame hanger.
Although anyone can buy these closet door alternatives, this particular idea is perfect for the DIY-ers out there who wish to add their own personal touch to their living space.
Accordion Room Dividers
If you want to hide the contents of your closet but still be able to access them easily, an accordion room divider is a wonderful accessory.
Available in every length you can imagine, this piece of furniture can be opened fully, partially, or perpendicular to a door frame to further divide a room and create a faux hallway.
Some are available in solid wood, while others use mesh or fabric materials in the panes.
Take It Off
Minimalists rejoice! Removing the doors from a closet altogether is an option that not many people realize they have. You can save the expense of paying for another door and simply turn your closet into a tidy alcove.
Remove the doors, leave the frame as is, or remove the framing pieces, touch up the wall paint, and leave that closet bare bones. It will help open up the room and make the contents of your closet easily accessible.
Honestly, the possibilities are endless when it comes to replacing bi-fold closet doors. It all depends on your specific style, space, and functionality needs.
In this digital age, you can take a picture of your current doors and utilize some online software to play around with different options. Your realtor may even be able to give you insight as to what is currently in demand for buyers.