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Maximizing Usable Space: Consider Pocket Doors

In almost any renovation in the real world there are constraints that the homeowner must work within. These are usually budgetary constraints, but many times also include limitations in usable space. When remodeling an existing home, the layout of the new space will often be dictated in some way by the original architecture of the house. Certain boundaries can be removed, but others must remain: This is simply the reality of remodeling.

However, this reality does not necessarily mean that new design goals cannot be achieved. They must be achieved in more creative ways. One way of doing this is by utilizing different materials. Take, for example, pocket doors. These ingenious interior doors can be used to save space where a typical swinging interior door would be intrusive or otherwise extremely awkward to use. In a recent bathroom remodel of ours, we were able to successfully implement a shared shower area in between two separate bathrooms by using pocket doors to save space while still providing privacy. Furthermore, the fixed glass panel (on the right in the photo below) means that the shower is easily accessible without having to open or slide any glass doors.

Pretty much any interior door that can be utilized in a standard swinging installation can also be converted into a pocket door by using the necessary hardware and a pocket door frame for the installation. Pocket doors can be lockable, which would be necessary for a bathroom or perhaps even a bedroom application. When properly installed, the homeowner will realize all of the beauty of a standard door but with the streamlined functionality of being able to navigate tight spaces without having to deal with the swing radius of a hinged door. This, however, is not the only reason you might want to use pocket doors, as they also have their place in larger spaces or where design differentiation is palatable to the homeowner.

If you want to also make a design statement, you can consider using pocket doors in many locations that regular doors would otherwise have been installed. The one caveat in this case would be that pocket doors require a hollow space on the inside of the wall they slide into that is equivalent to their width. As an example, if you want to install a 30 inch bathroom pocket door, you will want to ensure that you have at least 30 inches of space inside the wall to work with. This might mean that wall studs have to be removed or relocated, which is not always easy, especially if the wall in question is a supporting (load bearing) wall. Consult your general contractor for more information on the matter.

If you have limited space to work with but still need to separate different areas of your home with doors, consider pocket doors as an alternative to help achieve your dream space. Alternatively, you may simply want something different than standard swinging interior doors, and pocket doors certainly fit the bill!

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