All-out rustic style isn't for everyone, but some features of the organic and slightly country look are loved across the board – who doesn't love natural wood and antique furniture? Other staples of the style seem to come and go with the trends, though, leaving rustic lovers stumped as to what's truly timeless.
The barn door is one of these elusive features, making certain spaces shine and dating others beyond repair. To get the final say on whether or not barn doors are still in style, we spoke with interior designers. And while the consensus seems to be that barn doors aren't going anywhere, there are some design considerations to keep in mind. Here's what you need to know about the look, and how to integrate a barn door into your modern rustic interior.
Are barn doors still in style?
Design experts shared how they see barn doors evolving in the new year and beyond. Here are their insights on whether you should keep your barn door around, and whether it could use a design refresh.
Devin Kimmel, award-winning architect and managing principal of Kimmel Studio Architects, says he 'still sees a lot of use for barn doors.' While he admits that the design feature tends to be overplayed from time to time while it's an interior design trend, he says a barn door can really elevate a space when used with intention.
'In my opinion, barn doors have a lot to offer when used thoughtfully. There are many styles and material options. Depending on the context, they can add a layer of refinement, a rustic flavor or any number of other qualities,' says Devin.
Devin Kimmel, AIA, ASLA, is an award-winning architect and the Managing Principal of Kimmel Studio Architects, an architecture firm based in Annapolis, Maryland.
Devin says he likes barn doors for their versatility, noting that they work well in small spaces with varied uses. They also have the ability to bring the outdoor environment in, he adds.
'They also save space because they don’t swing open, making them particularly advantageous in smaller rooms or areas with limited space. Barn doors can also help connect a home to its natural surroundings and that connection to nature is an essential emphasis of our designs,' says Devin.
Devin says that barn doors work in most spaces, so long as the home's overall design style is taken into account before installing them.
'As with any design feature, whether it is pushed by a designer or client, a problem only arises when an architect forces them into a space where they don’t belong,' he says.
Barn doors' ability to naturally divide a space with multiple functions or an open-plan living room also makes them a timeless and irreplaceable design feature. In this kitchen, designed by UK-based Hush Kitchens, barn doors are used to break up a lengthy stone wall. Sliding along a black metal railing, they bring diverse texture and visual interest to the modern rustic kitchen.
'Sliding barn-style doors were the ideal solution to a long and relatively long kitchen, as they save a lot of space. The other advantage is that the opening can also be much wider than a normal hinged door and they can also be left pushed back to open up the space,' says Chris Spink, Hush Kitchens director.
'Given the continued popularity of styles like modern farmhouse and rustic lodge, I don't see barn doors going anywhere. I love a barn door because, depending on how you paint them and how you style the decor around them, they can appear as very clean and modern, or as very antiqued and rustic,' says Kathy Kuo, interior designer and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home.
When customized to individual styles, barn doors fit beautifully in with the rest of a home's design scheme – completely rustic isn't the only way. Kathy says that pairing textures of your choice with a classic barn door can take the whole look to the next level.
'Try warm white tones accented with contrasting black wrought iron hardware for a look that sleek modern farmhouse style, or go with a more weathered texture on the door if you want the feel to be more like a step back in time,' she says.
Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry.
Interior designers seem to agree that barn doors are still in style – but styling them right is key. Lean into your personal design preferences and let the barn door blend with its surroundings. You'll be left with the perfect touch of rustic, right at home.
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I am a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, with a focus on interior design. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.
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