Living room by アーキテクチュアランドスケープ一級建築士事務所

Small space solutions: the pros and cons of sliding doors

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The sliding door is a typical Asian feature, used to add grace to a home and make for seamless, space-saving living in our urban realities. The shoji screen, delicate stenciled doors and robust barn-style examples are only the tip of the iceberg, with numerous styles stepping on to the design horizon. But are these doors really as convenient as they seem? Let's take a closer look and analyse the pros and cons of the sliding door…

​Advantage: a neat look

 Garden by FURUKAWA DESIGN OFFICE
FURUKAWA DESIGN OFFICE

COURT YARD from LVING ROOM

FURUKAWA DESIGN OFFICE

The facade of a home bearing sliding doors is usually neatly framed by metal or wood, standing in tandem with the linear look of a modern home. This ensures that there is an opening and closing of doors and windows, which don’t disrupt the flow of the boxes and frames. The outdoors also comes alive in a picturesque way once it is framed by such doors and windows. Take a cue from this one designed by the architects at Furukawa Design Office.

​Advantage: one installation, many functions

 Kitchen by Elfa Deutschland GmbH
Elfa Deutschland GmbH

Raumteiler Küche Wohnzimmer

Elfa Deutschland GmbH

While sleek, seamless looks are the obvious advantage of this installation, they also serve the purpose of creating privacy and expanding a space at the same time. If you install such a door between two spaces, you can be sure of gaining privacy with just one push! At the same time, you can slide the doors open to make the dining room or terrace merge with the living room, creating a large space for a grand party.

​Advantage: open space

The open layout that is achieved with the help of such doors is indisputable. One can easily conjure up an open space with the slide of a single door. This can bring the outdoors inside and create a vast airy expanse, unhindered by swinging doors which would otherwise have taken up precious space when closed.

​Advantage: layered visual detailing

This kind of an installation can add layers to the smallest of spaces and make the promise of style surprises with each layer. This will ensure that the detailing, in design terms, has depth. Light can also flow in and out of the space depending on your mood and the time of the day. These doors can actually double as windows and glass walls.

​Disadvantage: difficult to clean

These doors are not the easiest when it comes to cleaning and maintaining. The portion where the doors slide and overlap cannot be cleaned very easily, unless you slide both the doors on opposite sides, which is again quite time consuming. Moreover, dirt tends to settle in the nooks and brackets below.

Disadvantage: lack of sound insulation

 Windows & doors  by Exclusive Steel
Exclusive Steel

Stalen deuren

Exclusive Steel

The rooms bordered by sliding doors may have relatively little sound insulation, as the seal is less robust than that of traditional doors or windows. All in all, sliding doors are a brilliant space-saving solution, providing you're able to overlook minor cleaning and soundproofing disadvantages.

For more compact living tips, check out: 9 space-saving tricks from one small apartment

Are you a fan of sliding doors?
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