How to Pick a Sliding Barn Door with Confidence

Jacqueline Quach
Written by Jacqueline Quach
Updated June 22, 2022
A white bedroom with a barn door
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock


  • Barn doors can fit a variety of interior design styles.

  • This type of door is less ideal in homes with uneven flooring. 

  • You can choose a barn door with a hollow or solid core, which impacts use, cost, and ease of installation. 

  • The average cost of a sliding barn door is $600.

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While they became popular through the rustic home decor trend, barn doors continue to stick around because they have evolved to suit different interior design styles—even sleek and modern. From closet doors to partitions, there are many creative ways to use interior barn doors in your home. If you’re thinking about installing a barn door, these considerations will help guide your decision.

Pros and Cons of Interior Barn Doors

There’s no denying that a barn door is an eye-catching design feature, but it may also be a practical one depending on how and where you’ll use it.


  • Design statement: If you’re looking for something different to complete your doorway, barn doors serve as functional home decor—and can easily become a focal point. Because they’re versatile, you can style them to fit your home’s interior design style, whether it’s modern, rustic, or minimalist. 

  • Stylish separation: This door style also works well as a sliding partition, especially in homes with an open floor plan. You can use it to section off parts of your home to create privacy where you need it, like keeping your workspace separate from the living room. As an added bonus, barn doors preserve space since they slide instead of swinging open.

  • Versatility: Barn doors are easy to install and don’t need to fit into the opening of a doorway perfectly—they’re forgiving when it comes to accommodating different openings. If you have a home with a beautiful archway or an interesting door opening, you can use a barn door to preserve it while separating your space.  


  • Noise: If sound control from a room is important, you may want to reconsider barn door installation, because it won’t create a tight seal like a conventional door—the small gaps between the door and the drywall are not conducive to complete privacy or insulation. For this reason, you might find barn doors less ideal for bathrooms or bedrooms, and better for common areas in your home. 

  • Space: You’ll need a clear span of wall space at least as big as the door. This prevents the barn door from interfering with outlets or furniture along the adjoining wall. 

  • Level ground: Since barn doors slide rather than swing, they’re less likely to stay put if your floor isn’t level and will veer in one direction. This is common in older homes, which tend to have uneven flooring.

How to Choose a Barn Door

A beautiful master bedroom with a barn door leading to en-suite bathroom
Photo: Javani LLC / Adobe Stock

Once you’ve decided to move forward with a barn door, the next step is picking one that complements your space. Here are some details to consider as you shop:

  • Number of doors: Single or double door options are available. Single doors are more common since double doors require more wall space. Double doors also require two tracks. 

  • Core type: You can choose between a hollow or solid core. Doors with hollow cores are more lightweight and inexpensive, which is ideal for closets and pantries. Solid-core doors are much heavier, higher quality, and tend to cost more. They’re a good match for common areas because they are better at insulating sound.

  • Design: There are two popular barn door designs: flush and paneled. Flush barn doors are flat and smooth, while paneled barn doors include rails and stiles.

  • Materials: While barn doors are usually made of solid wood, they’re also available in glass, metal, or composite wood. Looking at the materials in person will make it easier to decide which one you like best. 

  • Hardware: The primary pieces needed for installing a barn door include handles, rollers, tracks, wall spacers, and stoppers, and you can find them in a variety of finishes. Buying a hardware kit with all pieces needed for assembly can help take the guesswork out of installation.

  • Size: Measure your doorway’s width and length, including any trim. Add 2–4 inches to your width measurement to ensure proper coverage. For length, you’ll want to factor in 1/2 inch of clearance above the floor. If you have a doorway with unconventional measurements, you may need to order a custom barn door. 

Tip: You’ll need a track that is two times the width of your new door. If you’re installing double doors, multiply the width of one door by four.

Cost Considerations 

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a sliding barn door is around $600 and ranges between $200 and $1,000. This also includes the cost of parts and labor.

Your final cost will be on the lower end if you choose a barn door made of a less-expensive material like pine, vinyl, or composite wood, or if you install a reclaimed barn door. A custom barn door made of solid wood like maple or walnut will be on the higher end.

DIY Installation vs. Hiring a Pro

You may be able to tackle barn door installation if the wall space surrounding your door opening is empty and you’re a seasoned DIY-er. Otherwise, hiring a local door installation professional is the way to go—especially if your new barn door is custom or heavy or there’s a light switch or outlet in the way.

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