Imagine you need something in your walk-in closet. The door swings into the closet and what you need is on the wall behind the door, so now you have to close yourself into this small room to get the door out of the way so you can reach what you want. Feel cramped?
Or, you're wrestling with the bifold doors on your reach-in closet and when you finally get them open the darn things are in the way and you can hardly see into the corner, let alone reach around them to get what you need. You'd like to squash the door flat into the jamb to get it out of your way--which is probably the reason it doesn't work so smoothly anymore!
The wrong door can make even the best organized closet difficult to use. The key to choosing the right door is to consider how the style and swing of the door impacts your access to the clothing in your closet. The door style is often chosen by the builder who may not be thinking about the details of your closet system in the rush to complete a new home. If you are building or remodeling, think carefully about your closet doors in the planning stages. And if you are stuck with a less than ideal closet door, it's not hard to install a new door. Most doors, regardless of their style fit in the same size rough opening. It may be worth the expense to eliminate a daily source of aggravation by changing your door style.
Here are some tips to think about when choosing your closet doors. You can find more about doors and closet planning in our Closet Planning Guide.
Walk-in Closets: It is important to consider the door swing in a walk-in closet. Unless the closet is fairly large, it is best to have the door swing out into the room rather than into the closet. A door that opens into a small walk-in may block access to items, requiring you to close yourself into the closet to get to your clothing on the wall behind the door. An in swinging door may also limit how much of the closet space is usable for shelves and hanging. An out-swing door may be left open allowing for free access to all shelves and may also let in some natural light.
Pocket doors are great for a walk-in. You won't have any space restricted on any walls because of door swing. The downside is that they can be a pain to adjust or repair if they don't slide properly. Don't scrimp on the hardware.
Reach-in Closets: Whether it's a closet for clothing, pantry, linens or utility, the type of door you use can have a tremendous impact on accessibility to what's inside. There are pros and cons to every door style. Choose the one that offers the best use of space and the least amount of compromise to accessibility.
When bringing design elements together in a building or remodeling project things often don't mesh the way we like. Compromise is always a part of a project. The trick is to thoughtfully evaluate all of the possibilities and then to choose the best option available.