Pocket Door Design Guide

In the world of interior design and space optimization, a pocket door has emerged as a popular choice for homeowners and designers alike. Offering a unique combination of functionality and aesthetics, pocket doors have revolutionized the way we think about doorways. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of pocket doors, comparing them to traditional doors and barn doors, and exploring their advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, we will discuss the different types of pocket doors, including single pocket doors, double pocket doors, and pocket French doors.

Pocket Door Design guide graphic

What are Pocket Doors?

Pocket doors are sliding doors that retract into a hidden compartment, or “pocket,” within the adjacent wall. Unlike traditional hinged doors that swing open and close, pocket doors operate on a track system that allows them to slide smoothly and seamlessly, creating an unobstructed doorway when open.

Pocket Doors vs. Traditional Doors

Pocket doors offer several advantages over traditional hinged doors, making them an attractive option for various spaces. Firstly, pocket doors are ideal for areas with limited space since they do not require any additional floor space for opening and closing. This makes them particularly valuable in small rooms or narrow hallways.  Moreover, pocket doors provide a seamless transition between rooms when open, eliminating the need for swing clearance. They allow for a more open and spacious feel, making them especially useful for open floor plans or areas that require flexibility. However, it is important to note that pocket doors do have limitations. Their installation is more complex and requires modification to the existing wall structure, which may increase the overall cost and construction time. Additionally, pocket doors may have weight restrictions, and the concealed track system may require periodic maintenance.

Pocket Doors vs. Barn Doors

Another popular trend in interior design is the use of barn doors. While both pocket doors and barn doors offer unique benefits, they differ in their functionality and style.

Barn doors slide on a track system mounted above the doorway, remaining exposed even when open. This distinctive aesthetic can add rustic charm or a touch of contemporary flair to a space. Barn doors are particularly suited for larger openings and spaces where the exposed track can be integrated into the overall design scheme.

On the other hand, pocket doors offer a more discreet and seamless appearance. When closed, they become virtually invisible, blending seamlessly with the surrounding walls. This makes them a great choice for maintaining a consistent architectural style or when a more minimalist aesthetic is desired.

With both types of doors you don’t have to worry about a doors swing. Additionally they both come in a wide range of sizes and can be made from different materials

Pocket Door Hardware

Pocket doors are available in a variety of hardware styles, colors, and finishes to suit any design scheme. Single pocket door kits usually include the track system, hardware for mounting the track into the wall, two sliding hangers with wheels, a floor guide, and a handle or knob. Double pocket doors may require additional hardware such as the mechanism to lock the two doors when fully closed. One key difference between pocket doors and traditional doors is the lack of exposed hinges.

Whatever hardware you choose be sure it complements your existing cabinetry hardware

Black Pocket Door Hardware

For a more contemporary look, black pocket door hardware is available in several modern finishes such as matte black and antique brass. These pieces are designed to seamlessly blend with the surrounding walls, creating a minimalist design that lets the beauty of your interiors shine through.

Silver Pocket Door Hardware

Silver pocket door hardware offers a more traditional look, providing an elegant contrast to the surrounding walls and décor. There are several finishes available, such as polished nickel and brushed silver, to complement your existing design style.

Polished Brass Pocket Door Hardware

Polished brass pocket door hardware is perfect for creating a timeless, classic look. This type of hardware adds an air of sophistication to any space. It’s the perfect choice for vintage-inspired interiors or those looking for a more luxurious finish.

Pocket Door Installation 

To install a pocket door, you must be aware of the necessary steps involved in the process. It requires renovating the wall by removing the drywall on both sides to expose the framing. You’ll also need to cut the wall studs to create a space where the door can slide when open. As you remove the wall studs, you need to install a header above the door to transfer the load to the remaining studs surrounding the door.

After installing the door, you should put new drywall to cover the previously removed drywall, and then you can mud and repaint the wall. If there are electrical wiring or plumbing in the wall or the width of the wall is not at least twice that of the door, you cannot install a pocket door. 

Unless you have extensive knowledge of framing and construction projects. It is not recommended to attempt to install pocket doors as a DIY project due to the complexity of the project. Always hire a professional if in doubt. This is especially true if the project involves rerouting electrical or plumbing or the selected wall is a load-bearing wall.


Advantages of Pocket Doors


Pocket doors maximize floor space as they do not require swing clearance.


They can be used in a variety of spaces, including bathrooms, closets, and living areas.

Seamless Aesthetics

When open, pocket doors create a continuous flow between rooms, enhancing the overall design.

Sound Insulation

Pocket doors can provide better soundproofing compared to traditional doors, reducing noise transfer between rooms.


The sliding mechanism of pocket doors makes them easily operable, especially for individuals with mobility challenges.

Disadvantages of Pocket Doors

Installation Complexity

Installing pocket doors involves structural modifications and may require professional assistance.

Weight Limitations

Pocket doors have weight restrictions, and heavy materials may not be suitable.

Limited Insulation

Due to the nature of their design, pocket doors may provide less insulation against temperature fluctuations compared to traditional doors.

Track Maintenance

The concealed track system may require periodic maintenance to ensure smooth operation.

Types of Pocket Doors

Single Pocket Doors

This is the most common type of pocket door, consisting of a single door panel that slides into the adjacent wall pocket. Single pocket doors are versatile and can be used in various settings.

Double Pocket Doors

Also known as “pocket pairs,” double door pocket doors consist of two panels that slide into opposite wall pockets, meeting in the center when closed. They are ideal for wider openings, providing a grand entrance between rooms.

French Pocket Doors

Combining the elegance of French doors with the functionality of pocket doors, pocket French doors feature multiple glass panels that slide into wall pockets. They bring natural light into a space while maintaining the flexibility of pocket doors.

Pocket Door Ideas and Inspiration

Hallway Pocket Doors

Hallway pocket doors are an excellent option for narrow or lengthy hallways or corridors. They require no additional space when opened, allowing for a more open and spacious feel in the area. This would be a greta way to section off portion of the house when you have guests or if you don’t want to give your pets free range of your entire home.

Small Bedroom Pocket Door

Since bedroom doors usually open inwards. Pocket doors are ideal for small bedrooms, allowing more space for furniture and other items while maintaining an open look. The sliding mechanism eliminates the need for swing clearance and can provide privacy when necessary. With the right hardware you can even ensure the same level of privacy as with a traditional door by purchasing hardware with a locking mechanism pre installed.

Pantry Pocket Door

Pantry pocket doors are a great way to maximize kitchen space, as they slide into wall pockets when opened. Traditional pantry doors may take up valuable floor space in the kitchen while pocket doors can create an open feel without compromising pantry storage options. 

Closet Pocket Door

A pocket door is an excellent choice for small closets or to use as a traditional closet door alternative, as it eliminates the need to swing the door out into the room when opened. This allows more space in front of the closet, making it easier to access and organize items inside. Pocket doors also provide a smoother aesthetic than traditional closet doors, with no visible track or hardware.

Two Tone Pocket Door

Two tone pocket doors are a great way to add visual interest and contrast in a room. The middle section of the door can be finished in one color while the outer edges of the door panel is painted or stained in another, creating an eye-catching accent piece. This is especially effective when paired with other elements of complementary colors or finishes. 

Exterior Pocket Doors

Don’t think pocket doors are limited to interior spaces they can be used on the exterior as well, providing a seamless transition from inside and outside. Exterior pocket doors are usually more durable and sturdier than interior pocket doors, with additional features such as weatherproofing and insulation. This makes them ideal for homes located in climates with frequent temperature changes or extreme weather conditions. 

Bold Color Pocket Door

Bold color pocket doors
Via Alison Kandler Interior Design

If you want to make a statement in your space, why not try a painting your pocket door a bold color? It’s sure to be an eye-catcher and can bring life to even the dullest of interior spaces. There are so many colors, finishes, and hardware options available that you can create any look you desire. Some colors that I think would look really nice on a pocket door include Sherwin Williams Pewter Green and Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue.

Laundry Pocket Door

Pocket doors are a great way to maximize space in the laundry room too. They slide into wall pockets when opened, leaving floor space free. Pocket doors also help keep the noise of the washing machines contained within the room or closet.

Glass Pocket Door

Glass exterior pocket doors
Via RR Builders

Glass pocket doors are a great way to bring natural light into a room. The glass panels create an airy, open feel while still providing privacy when needed. They can also be used as an elegant accent piece that will draw the eye and help complete the look of any space. 

Corner Pocket Doors

Corner pocket doors are a unique way to maximize space in tight corners. They slide into wall pockets located on each side of the corner, creating a seamless transition and leaving floor space free. Corner pocket doors can be used to section off areas while still allowing for an open feel or even as a hidden door that provides access to extra storage spaces. This bedroom has two pocket doors located in the corner providing access to a bathroom and a closet. The frosted glass and wood trim provide he perfect accent for the bedrooms decor.

Arched Pocket Door

For those looking for a more architectural element in their space, arched pocket doors are an option. These unique doors have an arch shape on the top portion that adds a touch of classic charm to any room. Arched pocket doors can be used as both interior and exterior doorways, providing a grand entrance or creating visual interest in a space.

Mirror on Pocket Door

A mirror on a sliding pocket door
Via Ezra Lee

Adding a mirror to a pocket door can be the perfect way to brighten up a room. Mirrors reflect light which helps create the illusion of more space and make a room feel larger. The sliding mechanism allows you to move the mirror around when needed, providing an easy solution for homes with limited wall space. This is a great addition to a closet pocket door.

Frosted Glass Pocket Door

Frosted glass pocket doors are great for providing privacy while still allowing natural light in. The frosted glass panels create a soft and subtle look that can help bring an air of sophistication to any room. This bedroom features a pair of frosted glass pocket doors on either side of the bed. The combination of wood and frosted glass makes for the perfect combination. If using frosted glass on an exterior door check out this previous blog post: Front door privacy glass coverings.

Pocket Door Conclusion

Pocket doors are a remarkable addition to any home or commercial space, offering a practical and visually appealing alternative to traditional doors. Their space-saving attributes, seamless aesthetics, and versatility make them an excellent choice for both small and large areas. By understanding the differences between pocket doors, traditional doors, and barn doors, you can make an informed decision based on your specific needs and design preferences. Whether it’s a single pocket door, double pocket doors, or pocket French doors, incorporating pocket doors into your interior design can transform the way you experience and interact with your living spaces.

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