I know it seems odd to be talking about doors out to the garden when the weather has been so abysmal, and it feels like February has been one long storm. But we’re working on a few projects at the moment where significant building work is due to start in the next few weeks.
Some projects have large extensions being added and others are purely reconfiguring the current floorplan. But what they all have in common is that there is an open plan living space with a large opening to the garden. This is very typical of how we all want to live these days. It’s all about bringing the outside in, kitchens flowing to outdoor dining spaces and generally marrying the home and garden in a way that homes haven’t always been designed to do.
And one of the key questions a lot of our clients are asking us is what sort of glazing to have within these large openings. Should they go for bifold doors or sliding doors? Should they opt for the Crittal style doors that are so popular on social media or are larger panes with fewer sight lines better? To be honest, there isn’t one clear answer. A lot of people are advocates for one thing or another, but we think it all depends on the space you’ve got, the views and how practical each option is for how you live in your home.
But if you’re looking to make a similar decision then these are our top tips for working out what you should go for.
How important is the view?
If you’ve got an incredible view you want that to be uninterrupted. In that case, you need to be thinking about minimal frames, with aluminium being your best bet. You also need to avoid too many sight lines i.e. barriers to the view. So, that means avoiding the Crittal style doors and bifold doors as they have more sight lines to break up that view.
Sliding doors tend to work best when you’re trying to maximise the view. And we’d recommend going as large as you can to make the most of those views.
Image credit: Aspect Windows
How important is it that they open fully?
Do you love the idea of throwing the doors open in the summer and genuinely bringing the outside in? Are you wanting to create a fully open space between the outside and inside living spaces? Or like one of our current clients you want to move your dining table outside on a beautiful day? In these cases, bifolds or French doors are a better alternative. These options give you the option to fully open up the glazed space. This is particularly important if your opening is relatively narrow (under 2m).
If you opt for glazing that opens fully then you don’t always need to have such a large opening, allowing you more wall space to incorporate a larger kitchen, space for more radiators or to place furniture.
How much of a ‘statement’ do you want to make?
Crittal or Crittal style doors have become very desirable of late can create a fantastic statement in your home. They are particularly impactful when you’ve got high ceilings and a wide opening. This means that you can have double doors opening out but they are surrounded by large panes. This can create an effect of ‘framing’ various parts of the view to the outside.
They look particularly good in period homes where you already have lots of other detailing and features as well as the high ceilings.
Image credit: Aluminimum Trade Supply
How much have you got to spend?
Glazing is often a large chunk out of any home renovation budget, so it’s worth knowing the difference in cost between your options before making any final decisions.
Generally, French doors will be the cheapest option, followed by bifolds and then sliding doors. However, it’s not always as simple as that. Steel frames are the most expensive and aluminium frames are more expensive than timber. However, steel offers the slimmest sightlines.
If you have a standard opening size then things will usually be cheaper as you’re buying a size that is already being manufactured. If you’re looking for a bespoke size then you’ll be adding quite a significant amount to the price.
Similarly, going for a known brand like Crittall (who only produce steel windows) will add a significant amount to the price, but you can get cheaper alternatives by shopping around and working with local glazing experts.
So, what should you opt for?
As I said, there is no stock answer to this question. Like everything when it comes to interiors, it’s all about understanding the way you live and how you want to the space to work for you. So, don’t just opt for what looks nice in a brochure or online, or do the same thing that your friends have done in their extension. Think about how you will personally use the space and how closely aligned you want the inside and outside of your home to be.
And always make sure to think about it before your build is underway. The last thing you want is to be making rushed decisions without thinking it through properly.
If you are thinking about making changes in your home or commercial space and need some help or interior design inspiration, do get in touch with us here. And don't forget to follow us via Instagram, Facebook and our upcoming blogs.
Fresh Start Living is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire and covers surrounding areas as well as offering a remote interior design service.