Internal French Doors: What Are Your Options?
French doors are always a great option for the classy homeowner, and whilst they are more commonly found in exterior configurations, leading out to patios, conservatories and/or garden areas, they can also work just as well inside your home. Installing a set of interior French doors in your home is a great way to create additional rooms and increase home security without sacrificing any natural light or warmth. They are also a great option if you want to open up a space by taking down a wall, but don't want to lose the benefits of having two separate rooms. There are, however, many potential options to consider, and here we'll take you through most of them, hopefully, in the process, helping you decide which will work best for your home.
Interior French Doors With Glass Panels
The vast majority of internal French doors do include glass panels as part of the design, indeed, this could arguably be described as their defining feature. This is because French doors were initially French windows, and were used in renaissance era France, generally opening out onto balconies or similar terraced areas. Over the ensuing decades and centuries, however, and as the style travelled, tastes shifted and we now have the French doors we know and love today. One thing the design has always kept, however, is the glass panels, which allow light in and also provide the doors with their unique, patterned look. Of course, French doors without glass panels do exist and can be suitable for situations where you value your privacy or security. We will, however, be focusing here on a few of the most suitable applications for interior French doors with glass panels.
Living Room – If you have a particularly large living room, then French doors can divide the room, essentially giving you two reception rooms. Remember, French doors are not only available in sets of two either. Whilst you'll only find them in pairs, depending on the size of your living room you could quite feasibly install up to 8 or even 10 French doors. It will depend on the size of your living space and whether or not you want the doors taking up the entire wall or just a section of it. You could also install French doors to separate your living room from your conservatory.
Home Office/Study – Perhaps one of the most common reasons homeowners install French doors inside their home is to create a home office space, as they are perfectly suited for that task. As they let light flow through the house, but still help to divide and separate spaces, they would be the obvious and perhaps even more affordable choice if you're thinking of sectioning off an area for your home working space.
Kitchen/Diner – French doors would be a unique and affordable way to transform a kitchen/diner into a separate kitchen and diner without losing many of the benefits of having that shared space.
Bevelled Glass – The idea behind bevelled glass is to essentially turn a window into an artistic statement, and many bevelled designs can be applied without losing a lot of transparency. The options available to you here will depend very much on the manufacturer, but it's possible to get any number of bevelled designs cut into the glass panes on your French doors.
Internal French Doors With Frosted Glass
If you desire the look and feel of a set of French doors but require a deeper level of privacy, there are options available to you, chief amongst which is the frosted glass option. This is a great option if you desire the flexibility and aesthetics of a French door in your bathroom, but want to retain the privacy of a traditional door (for obvious reasons). This could also be an option if you have a study or office area that you don't want the kids peeking into. You might also want to consider frosted glass if you're using French doors in the bedroom, or between a master bedroom and en-suite shower room. If you want to retain the privacy, but don't like the look of frosted glass, however, there's always the option of having blinds installed. There are French doors available with built in blinds, and even blinds between the panes of glass, but these are obviously a little more expensive and are an acquired taste. As such, we'd recommend going with external blinds first to make sure you like the effect before you go for a more invasive and expensive option.
Interior French Door Materials & Finishes
Now you (hopefully) know where you want to install your French doors and what glass and designs you want to use, you'll need to consider the materials and finishes.
Hardwood – Hardwood is a material that is just as sturdy as it looks and is generally favoured by those who desire a more natural look. Generally, hardwood is the most expensive material French doors are built from, but many feel that the price is worth it for the traditional looks and durability. Examples of hardwood include oak, which is a very popular choice, especially in the UK, and mahogany.
Softwood – Softwood has a similar look and feel to hardwood, but is (obviously) softer and generally more affordable. Remember that all solid wood (hard and soft) will shrink or expand with changing temperatures and humidity so it's best to avoid using a solid wood interior door in a bathroom, kitchen or any other area that's exposed to a lot of moisture. Examples of softwood include pine, which is perhaps the most common, and fir.
Pre-finished – Generally, if your French doors are pre-finished they will be stronger and more scratch resistant because when a finish is supplied by the manufacturers, they will generally use factory-powered tools in order to apply the finish and it will be oven baked with aluminium oxide for extra durability and resistance. It's also quicker and easier and won't require and sanding, which can be messy and isn't really an exact science at the best of times.
Unfinished – The primary advantage of unfinished wood is that it'll be cheaper, but there are other benefits. There are some French door fans out there who find the factory finished look to be a little fake and unnatural, but that's a matter of preference. Leaving your doors unfinished also allows you more options when it comes to colours, as certain colours simply won't match with certain finishes. When you can paint your own internal French doors the colour choice is much more varied.
Primed/Unprimed – Many sellers will also prime your French doors for you, which certainly has its advantages, though they might charge a fee for the work required and painting the doors with primer yourself is not a particularly difficult task, especially if you plan on painting them anyway.
Hopefully, the options haven't proven to be too daunting, and you're now more than ready to move ahead with your interior French doors. Don't let the options blind you, however, as it's always easy to miss the wood for the trees in these situations. Simply go with your gut, be true to your own taste and preferences and don't be afraid to ask questions when shopping around, as any company worth their salt will be more than happy to help.