Whether used for a closet, in a doorway, or even as a room divider, bi-fold doors have long been a popular option. However, nowadays, they are by far the only door option, especially when it comes to closets.
If you’re looking for some alternatives for your bi-fold doors, you have several to choose from. Obviously, you can use single or French doors, depending on the space, or make a statement with barn doors. If you’re open to a big change, you can even ditch the doors completely or try curtains instead.
If you’re tired of the same old bi-fold doors, choosing an alternative comes down to the overall look you want. Ready to try something new? Give these different looks a chance when you’re ready to close the door on your closet.
Barn Doors Are a Statement Piece
Barn doors can add an interesting visual element to your space while providing functionality. Depending on the size of your closet opening, you can use a single barn door or a set of double doors.
The hardware for barn doors includes a track that needs to be installed above the opening. It’s important to make sure that you allow enough space on either side of the opening for the door to slide freely, otherwise, you will block part of your closet.
Sliding doors are also a popular option for closet doors, coming in a variety of colors and styles, including mirrored. While sliding doors are functional, they limit the access you have to your closet at one time.
When one side is open, the other side is automatically closed off. Plus, because of how these doors are installed, the center of your closet is perpetually blocked. Therefore, either plan to keep easy to reach items in this area or to keep this section clear.
While pocket doors can make an interesting alternative to bi-fold doors, they involve more installation time. You will need to create a recess in the wall for your pocket door to fit into when it is open.
A big benefit of pocket doors is that they save a lot of space and provide full access to your closet. Just be prepared to ask for installation help if you are unsure about creating the alcove by yourself.
Standard Doors and French Doors
Of course, you can always go with a classic, simple door. When open, you’ll have full access to your closet. The downside is, regular doors can take up a lot of space when they aren’t closed.
If your closet is small, simply hang one door as you would for any room. If you have a wide opening for your closet, then you can consider a set of double doors or French doors.
Convert Bi-Fold Doors To Single Doors or French Doors
If your main focus is to simply change up the look of your bi-folds for as little cost as possible, you have some options!
You can, of course, paint your existing doors or even cover them with fabric or wallpaper and switch out the knobs. You can also go a step further and turn your bi-folds into regular doors.
Tools You Will Need for the Job
- Screwdriver/Screw Gun
- Wooden Dowels
- Spackling and paint
- 1/8” x 1/12” x 4” metal straps or 1/4” x 3” x 4” hardwood patches
- Screws for straps/patches
- Wood glue (if using hardwood patches)
- Hinges and screws to hang the door
- Optional: Extra piece of lumber for a header, magnetic latches
Remove the bi-fold doors and lie them good-side down.
Remove all hardware, and if desired, use a wooden dowel and spackling to fill the pinholes at the top of the door. (Where you removed the hanging hardware)
Remove the track from your closet opening. Use spackling to fill any holes and paint over later.
Use the metal straps or hardwood patches to connect the pieces of the bi-fold door where they join together. Place one strap near the top of where the two doors join, one at the middle, and one near the bottom.
If using hardwood patches you can use wood glue to keep them in position. Screw straps into place using the appropriate screws and screw gun.
Use hinges and screws to hang the door as you would a standard door.
Since you removed the track from your closet opening, there might be a slight gap. If so, make a simple header out of a piece of pine or other lumber. For added closure, you can use magnetic latches on the inside corners of your doors and the header.
Paint as desired for the look you want.
Ditch the Doors: Try Curtains or a Divider
Another low-cost alternative to bi-fold doors is to ditch the doors completely! Of course, this depends very highly on your personal aesthetic and style.
Instead of doors, you can hang curtains to cover your closet and save a bunch of space. This allows you to hide the contents of your closet while having easy access when you need it.
Curtains come in a variety of colors and patterns, including beaded styles for a completely different look. If you’re crafty, you can even make your own curtains to suit your personal design preferences.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you might try a room divider placed in front of your closet. This method gives you complete access to your closet while keeping it hidden, but admittedly it is a bit unconventional.
Ultimately, what you decide to use for your closet doors might not be a door at all. Overall it depends on the look you want to achieve in the space. Some of these options will fit in better with certain styles more than others.
Are louver doors and bi-fold doors the same thing?
These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Bi-fold doors are named for the way they open, hinged in the middle and folding on themselves.
Louver doors are named for the angled, horizontal slats that allow air and light to flow through them. Louver doors can be bi-fold, standard, and a number of other styles.
Can you use the same hardware to hang different types of doors?
Not all installation hardware is the same for every kind of door. For example, the hardware and tracks you use for sliding doors will not be the same kind of track you will use to hang a barn door.
It is important to use the appropriate hardware for your chosen door. If you try to rig up the wrong hardware to “make something work,” you’ll end up with a shoddy installation.
What can you do with old bi-fold doors?
If you decide to retire your bi-fold doors, don’t toss them just yet. You can either convert them into a standard door as discussed in this article, or you can use them in other projects.
Bi-fold doors can be turned into room dividers or used to create the sides of a corner shelving unit. You can also dismantle them and use them as shelves or anything else your imagination can come up with.
If you’re tired of your bi-fold doors, you can give them a facelift or convert them into standard doors. This is one of your most cost-effective options, or you can opt to replace them completely.
There are several styles of doors you can use in place of bi-folds, including standard, pocket, siding, or barn doors. You can also opt to ditch the doors and hang curtains or use a room divider instead.
Ultimately, how you decide to hide the contents of your closet is up to your personal sense of style. The options really are endless and limited only by your own imagination.