Blue-grey dining room with a panelled door

How to Pick the Best Interior Doors for Your Home

Whether you want to renovate your home or you are just looking to update your decor, new interior doors can help freshen up your style. If you’re unsure about how to choose the right doors, don’t worry. Our comprehensive guide will fill you in on all you need to know.

Choose the Door Style

Interior doors come in a selection of timeless and modern styles that you can use to enhance the character of your home.

For a traditional appeal, choose doors with clean-lined craftsmanship that will coordinate easily with the surroundings. If you prefer a contemporary and minimalist style, then a simple door with thin, embossed lines or a flush design will do the trick. The universal appeal of familiar doors can also add definition to the space.

While you look, you can help narrow your choice by considering how you plan to finish your door—with stain or paint.

Pick the Door Type

When choosing an interior door, think about how it is going to be used inside the home.

You can choose between two main types of interior doors:

  • Pre-hung doors are a great ready-to-install option that includes a frame-mounted door and hinges. They should be used with a prepared doorway.
  • Slab doors are a more basic option. Since the door is sold separately, you’ll need to buy a frame, hinges, or handle set. There are finished and ready-to-hang options as well as unfinished doors that will need to be painted or stained.

For example, a slab door might be all you need for some applications but, for room entrances, you will likely require a door that is pre-hung and properly aligned in its frame.

Elegant white room with double panelled doors and decorative mouldings
Hinge Doors

Hinge doors are the most common door type. They are secured with hinges to a door jamb and need enough clearance to swing open and close without obstruction. 

Size and Finish

  • Smooth finish
  • Come with or without decorative lites or panels
  • Available in a "French door" style
  • Option to paint or stain
  • Standard widths are 24"-36"
  • Standard height is 80"
  • Standard thickness is 1 1/8" or 1 3/4"

Installation

  • Depending on the door height and weight, a hinged door may have anywhere from two to four hinges.
SHOP HINGE DOORS
Double bifold doors opened to reveal a living room
Bifold Doors

Bifold doors come with two panels connected by centralized hinges. The panels move on a track and make a "V" shape when pulled open. These doors make an excellent solution where space is a premium as they only need minimal clearance. You can also use them as room dividers by hanging them in a series. For extra air circulation, louvred doors are a great choice.

Size and Finish

  • Louvred, half-louvred, or “French door" style
  • Smooth panels
  • Finished on both sides
  • Standard widths are 24", 30", 32", 36"
  • Standard height is 80"

Installation

  • The track needs to be installed on the lintel, 1 ¾" over the door. For example, a 77" high door needs casings 78 ¾" above the floor.
  • Generally sold with both the track and hardware.
  • Can install as a single or double unit.
SHOP BIFOLD DOORS
Modern sliding door with glass panels
Sliding Doors

Sliding doors, also known as bypass doors, are similar to bifolds in requiring minimal space for clearance. Units come with two or three doors mounted on parallel tracks. The doors ride on rollers and, like patio doors, open from side to side, with one door behind or in front of the other. Sliding doors are a popular closet option because they don’t need swing space, but they only allow you to open one side at a time (or two sides on a unit with three doors). Consider these points when you want to install a sliding closet door in the kid’s room or guest room.

Size and Finish

  • Smooth
  • Fitted with mirrors
  • Steel frame
  • Standard widths are 20", 24", 30", 36"
  • Standard height is 80"
  • Standard depth is 3" (with two doors)

Installation

  • Installation usually calls for one track on the lintel and one track on the floor, particularly if installing a heavy mirrored door.
SHOP SLIDING DOORS
Kitchen with an accordion door leaning to a bathroom
Accordion Doors

Easy to install, affordable, and highly practical for apartments, accordion (or folding) doors can be used to separate rooms and close off storage spaces. They are also useful for nonstandard door openings.

Size and Finish

  • Imitation wood
  • Vinyl
  • Standard widths are 32"-36"
  • Standard height is 80"

Installation

  • Requires a track to be installed on the lintel.
  • Stainless steel ball bearings make for seamless, smooth, and quiet operation.
  • Available in a single or double unit.
  • Often sold with hardware and track.
  • Can be cut to the needed height.
SHOP ACCORDION DOORS
Modern bathroom with a pocket door leading to a bedroom
Pocket Doors

Pocket doors, much like traditional barn doors, roll back inside the wall or slide into a partition. The doors slide on a track on the lower surface of the lintel and are available in both single and double units. They are an excellent choice for saving space in smaller rooms like bathrooms or for dividing the space in larger rooms, like a traditional dining room and its adjoining living room. Click here to learn how to build yours.

Size and Finish

  • Smooth
  • "French door" style
  • Available with or without glazing and panels
  • Needs to be painted or stained
  • Standard sizes are 24"-36" X 80"

Installation

  • Pocket doors require a track mounted to the wall or lintel.
  • Single or double doors are both available depending on space.
  • Installation in an existing house can be tricky as pocket doors require substantial carpentry work. The wall cladding needs to be removed, the wall structure needs to be adapted, and a special door frame needs to be installed without interference with pipes and wiring.
SHOP POCKET DOORS
Open space with a matte black barndoor leading to a kitchen
Barn Doors

Barn doors are great for separating rooms and adding style to any space. While some options slide along an upper rail, others come with a bottom track that will prevent the door from swinging. Styles range from rustic to sleek modern. You can also choose between prefinished and unfinished options. Click here to learn how to build yours from scratch.

Size and Finish

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Stainless Steel
  • Standard widths: 37"
  • Standard height: 84"

Installation

  • Mounting hardware kits are available for single door installations.
  • A railing system must be installed to make sure the door can open and close smoothly. 
  • Some door kits include the railing system. Make sure to check if the system needs to be bought separately before you start your project.
SHOP BARN DOORS
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Pro Tip

A glass door is also an option to consider if you want light to pass from one room to another.
Decide Between Hollow and Solid

Doors are made with either a solid or hollow core, which refers to the door’s interior structure. If you want to know which type of core a door has, just knock on it. You’ll instantly hear the difference.

The type of core you choose is important, as it will affect the door’s impact resistance, fire resistance, soundproofing qualities, and weight.

Illustration of a hollow-core door’s components
Hollow Core Doors
Hollow core doors are the more affordable and more common of the two. They feature an exterior finished with veneer, wood, or MDF, and an interior core made of a honeycombing structure of wood or lightweight plastic. Some doors also come with interior wood slats for extra support of the facing.
Illustration of a solid-core door’s components
Solid Core Doors
The interior of a solid core door is filled with particle board, polystyrene, or laminated wood. Solid core doors have a high-quality feel, are better at resisting warping, and reduce room-to-room sound transmission. They are a top option for bathrooms, laundry rooms, and bedrooms.
Understand an Interior Door’s Anatomy
To understand how to install interior doors, it can help to understand their main components.
Illustration of an interior door’s components
1
Jamb (Frame or Casing)
The door jamb, or frame, is secured to the wall, and hinges are used to attach the door to the jamb.
2
Lintel
Horizontal beam that spans door opening for structural support and can be used to mount door tracks.
3
Framing
Decorative moulding that obscures the gap between the wall and the casing.
4
Door-Stop Moulding (Stop)
Trim that keeps the door from going over the jamb when closed. Applied along the casing’s inside perimeter.
5
Hinge
An essential piece of metal hardware that attaches the door to the casing and allows it to swing. Up until the mid-1990s, two hinges were the standard. Since then, three hinges are more commonly used to prevent warping and sagging while improving stability.
6
Mullion
A vertical and slender wood piece that divides the lites, or glazed portions, of the door.
1
Jamb (Frame or Casing)
The door jamb, or frame, is secured to the wall, and hinges are used to attach the door to the jamb.
2
Lintel
Horizontal beam that spans door opening for structural support and can be used to mount door tracks.
3
Framing
Decorative moulding that obscures the gap between the wall and the casing.
4
Door-Stop Moulding (Stop)
Trim that keeps the door from going over the jamb when closed. Applied along the casing’s inside perimeter.
5
Hinge
An essential piece of metal hardware that attaches the door to the casing and allows it to swing. Up until the mid-1990s, two hinges were the standard. Since then, three hinges are more commonly used to prevent warping and sagging while improving stability.
6
Mullion
A vertical and slender wood piece that divides the lites, or glazed portions, of the door.
Consider All Aspects Before Choosing

In addition to the style and model of your new door, you’ll also need to consider some other aspects. There are a variety of door heights and widths available for your needs.

Size

Doors today are made to standard measurements for newly built homes and apartments.

Height

The standard door height measurement is 80" but can vary if the ceilings are higher than the average. The door should also have a ½" clearance over the floor.

Width

30" is the most common width for a door, but you can find doors ranging from 24" to 36" to suit various applications. Doors to the basement or laundry room, for example, should be at least 32" wide to accommodate appliances, furniture, and other large items. Doors that are 36" in width are also a good choice for persons with reduced mobility who use wheelchairs and other equipment.

Remember that the width of the door does not include the width of the frame, which will add another 2" (1" on either side). Additionally, if your door opening is wider than 36", then consider installing two doors instead.

Thickness

Doors range from 1" to 2" in thickness depending on the materials and latch system used. With sliding doors, you also need to take into account that they overlap.

Made-to-Measure Doors

Higher doors and other kinds of made-to-measure doors can be ordered in-store, but it may also be possible to cut a standard door to the desired height if need be. Just be sure the door you buy is capable of being cut.

Door Swing

With pre-hung doors, you can choose the "swing" of the door: whether it opens to the right or the left.

With replacement doors, swing is not usually an issue. However, for a new installation, you need to choose carefully. The door should swing in a way where walls, furniture, or counters don’t hinder its operation. The door also shouldn’t get in the way of traffic and should allow you to move furniture from room to room.

In some instances, you may actually want to use the door to hide objects like a hot water tank or a toilet. Make sure you take into account all of these different considerations to determine if the door should swing in, out, to the left, or to the right.

If there isn’t a swing option that can meet all your needs, consider a bifold, sliding, or folding door instead.

Kitchen with a white panelled door and brushed nickel door hardware
Pick Door Accessories to Spruce Up Your Space

There are many accessories available for interior doors, including handles, locks, and hinges. When choosing new door hardware, try to match it to existing decor elements in the room.

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