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Doors are a crucial part of a home, and not just to keep weather out, let light and air in, stop the spread of fire or provide privacy. They are focal points, color accents and art.

Source: caofficesystems.net via nan on Pinterest

A brief history of doors

In 6500 BC, there were no doors on homes. People entered up a ladder and through a hole in the roof. In ancient Egypt, a single piece of wood was the door of a tomb. Stone doors moved on pivots and sockets at top and bottom. The Greeks and Romans made single, double, sliding and folding doors, and they were commonly sheathed in gold. In the Renaissance, doors were elaborately carved wood.

Doors as we know them today

Once the hinge was invented, blacksmiths in Colonial America were forging elaborate iron hinges and door handles that became a part of the whole. Function had been blended with art, and the door became a form of expression.

There is a door style for every reason you can imagine one – glass, French, sliding, pocket, stained glass, saloon, revolving, bi-fold, Dutch with or without an operable window – made of steel or wood. Exterior doors are now energy efficient, too. My new doors are insulated steel and have an R-value of 15!

Do you have boring, hollow luan interior doors? They don’t swing shut, and you can’t fasten anything to them. They are plain as plain can be and very inexpensive. When I remodeled in 2007, I replaced all my old luan doors with new ones, since that was all that fit in the budget. Paint gave them personality.

Other interior door ideas are etched glass for privacy and light, or stained glass for light, color and privacy.

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Sliding barn doors

When I built my first house in 1986, the public was allowed to scavenge the dump. It was a social scene there on Saturday mornings. We all stood around with coffee in hand to see who was coming next and what they had. I watched many people build workshops and chicken coops out of scrap lumber, windows and doors, as well as remodel the interiors of their homes.

My finest score was a pair of barn doors that slid open and closed. They were in great shape and just lying on top of the pile, hardware intact. There was no one else there, except the dump miester, as we called him. My truck was full, so I asked him to hold those doors for me while I went home and emptied it. An hour later back at home, I was unloading two barn doors next to some cedar fencing I’d scavenged for a chicken coop.

I’d already finished building my house, and I sold it before the barn was built. Sadly, I never got to use those doors. Sliding barn doors are popular in interior design today. (I am so envious! I missed my chance!) Most are not true barn doors, but rather barn-style imitations.

Either way, they can hide an office or laundry area, create a partition in a large room or close off a room completely. Paint can blend them into the wall or create a focal point. Exposed wood and iron hardware give them a rustic, country feel.

Source: doors-sliding.com via nan on Pinterest

Doors, decoration, and color

Paint is the easiest and most economical way to decorate a door. A colored door can be a focal point in a room or a hallway, or it can be an accent. My kitchen is pale yellow with mustard trim, and one wall is a dark turquoise. The pantry door is brick red, and it really stands out! Everyone comments on its beauty, and it’s just a few coats of paint on a cheap door.

A colorful front door makes a memorable entryway. The color should complement the surrounding architecture and landscape, yet contrast enough so it stands out.

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Another way to dress up a door is with an arch. This could be simple or elaborate without looking like a church. The arch shape can be repeated throughout the house for continuity.

Source: caofficesystems.net via nan on Pinterest

Source: homelife.com.au via Monster on Pinterest

Doors express

Let your doors express your personality, from painted luan to barn doors to stained glass or elaborate carving. It doesn’t take much to create an interesting transition from room to room or outdoors to indoors. Get creative, and let your doors be works of art!

See my doors Pinterest board for more ideas.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.