French doors are a marvel of creation. One part window, one part door, they give any room or home a light, airy feel while adding a bit of visual interest. Used both indoors and out, you can use them to section off rooms or create an open-air sitting area during nice weather. Although French doors work well in a variety of settings, you can boost their appropriateness by heeding a few expert design tips when planning. In this article, you'll learn about some of the simplest ways to make the best of French Doors within any space.
Use French Doors Indoors, Too
There's no mistaking it--French doors certainly do work well when installed as an exterior door. Not only do they provide much-needed security, but they also allow natural sunlight to enter your home. This doesn't mean you should limit yourself to installing a beautiful French door as an entryway, though; you can install them indoors as a fluid transition between more than one room or space.
Good installation locations include the end of a hallway, the entryway to a large kitchen, the entrance to a large dining room, or even the entrance to a garage. With the ability to open up the space at will, you can transition each room from closed off and cozy to breezy, airy, and open in as little as a minute.
You can also use French doors to break up a single large living space into two separate areas. This works well if you need to install a home office, but don't want to cut down on the amount of natural light flowing through the room.
Dress French Doors With Complementary Fabrics
Mark Twain is quoted widely for saying, "Clothing makes the man." When it comes to French doors, window dressings are the same--they can make or break your installation's design flow based on how well they match your home. Dressing a set of French doors is very much like dressing a floor-to-ceiling window --you should stick fabrics that match the door's materials in both color and texture.
Light and airy materials like silk, satin, or gauze work best for contemporary decor themes or bright white wood. For natural or stained wood, you have a wider range of choices: try heavier forest green, rich mahogany, or earthy brown in materials with a higher thread count. For country living appeal, try pastel shades or off-white, creamy colors.
In general, heavier fabrics will block out more light, while lighter or thinner fabrics will allow muted sunlight to enter the room. For bedrooms and other quiet spaces where privacy is preferred, it may be wiser to install a double-layer curtain. Add one heavy layer and one sheer layer so that you have access to privacy or natural light at any given time.
Don't Limit Yourself to Just One Door
If a single French door adds a gentle touch of airy beauty, then more than one will splash your home with sunshine. Creating a row of doors at the entrance to a patio or backyard space is a fantastic way to craft a combination indoor-outdoor sunroom. You simply need to plan to install as many pairs of doors as will fit along the length of the wall in question.
To understand how to best use multiple French doors, you'll first need to understand their history. According to "Roots From Home: Our Journey to a New House," the concept of using rows of French doors dates back to when America was known as the West Indies. French colonial plantation houses were a common staple, especially in the area now referred to as the southern United States.
French doors were the ideal addition to sprawling plantations, as they suited the historical architecture's ballrooms, terraces, and other large-scale rooms perfectly.
When it came time for barbecues or picnics, hosts could throw open the doors to create an instant indoor-outdoor gathering area. Even while closed, the fluid transition of a French door allowed those who lived in the house to enjoy the beautiful rolling hills without stepping a foot outside.
While you may not live in a grand French colonial mansion, you can apply this concept to almost any home with the same results. Place rows of French doors against the side of your home that faces the best view. Farmland, meadows, lakes, and other non-road traffic areas are suitable, and help to create that outdoor room feel when you throw the doors open.
Whether you're remodeling or building from scratch, adding even a single French door is a fabulous way to draw in a touch of historical beauty and natural sunlight. Using the helpful tips above, you're sure to find the right layout and style for your unique preferences. If you aren't sure how to incorporate French doors into your current design scheme, or you'd like to get advice on how best to use French doors, contact a local contractor for expert, customized advice.
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