Barn Door History

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The History of Barn Doors

How barn doors came to be a statement interior piece.

You could assume that barn doors have existed in one form another since humankind decided to domesticate animals. Of course, there would be no barn doors without having a barn. In the early colonial United States, barns looked a lot like they did in England or the Netherlands, and other places where the colonists made their way from. Then, they started to change as people adapted to the climate of New England, and later, the rest of the colonies.

Some barns were small and had a window or two for ventilation. Some barns were one story. Others, two stories or even more. As the number of livestock on farms increased, so did the size of barns. Early popular barn styles included the bank barn, barns made of logs, the prairie barn, the round barn, and others. With each style of the barn, there was a different style of barn door and barn door hardware.

Early on, farmers needed farms to feed themselves and their families. The barn needed to house animals (cattle, horses, etc.) and some basic equipment, along with grains and perhaps some foodstuffs. As the population grew, the need for commercial farms also grew. Commercial farms needed space for larger and larger tractors and other machinery. In many cases, the farms that once housed the livestock now housed machines and the livestock found themselves outside.

Older barns, if you can find them, are a sight to behold. They come in whites, reds, browns, or no paint at all. Some are leaning to one side or the other, a sign of the years that they have been battling the wind and rain and snow, trying to keep whatever is in the safe and dry. Many barns throughout the United States are listed as historical sites or are carefully watched by historical societies and groups that help to preserve these iconic structures. Out of these aging and sometimes antique-looking structures has come quite a phenomenon. People now purchase barn doors, most of which have never actually hung on a barn, and hang them in their homes and places of work. They are replacing hinged doors and French doors and other doors that certainly are not as decorative as a barn door.

From Hinges to Sliding Barn Door History

The idea of using a sliding door inside your home is not necessarily a new idea. It may have started with someone who didn’t have a lot of space inside a room for a door to open into. As apartments, homes, and all living spaces shrink in some areas of the country, the popularity of indoor barn doors will continue to grow. Some repurpose a hinged door and turn it into a sliding door by adding the hardware (track, guide, wheels, etc.).

Of course, indoor barn doors are also being used in large homes as well. Interior barn doors can be used to hide a small kitchenette in an apartment or inside an entertainment room. Sliding barn doors are also used on the ground level of a home in order to enclose a room when family or friends are over. They can be used in bathrooms, attics, and even garages. Not all barn doors are making their way inside. They are now popular doors on or in a shed or other storage structure.

Some barn doors are for those who are creative. If the door is magnetic you can hang artwork on it. You can also get a chalkboard barn door so that you always have a place to color or draw. If you aren’t into art, you can use both a magnetic door and a chalkboard door to write checklists, hold on to unpaid bills, and in many other ways help you to organize your life.

A fun way to use sliding barn doors is to use wood paneling on the walls and then use the same paneling on the door. Do that and you have a hidden door. They can also be used as shower doors if the wood is protected properly. They can be used as closet doors. There are so many ways to use a barn door. Examples can be found on Pinterest, Instagram, and on thousands of websites.

We are living in a chapter of barn door history. Perhaps, one day, barn doors in homes will be the norm. In addition to bringing barn doors into homes, some are turning old barns into their living space. Technically, the home owner’s children will be raised in a barn. It doesn’t have the same meaning it used to.

The Future of Barn Doors

As small farms continue to disappear, so does the barn. It’s fitting, somehow, those barn doors are increasingly showing up inside people’s homes. With such a selection of interior barn doors available, you get to choose whether or not you go with the classic look of the red barn door or another color that more closely matches your living space.

As interior barn doors have become popular, some businesses have added it as a profit center, another way to make money as a company. With so many manufacturers creating their own line of interior barn doors, make sure you go with a company that has been creating quality barn doors for several years. Go with a company that has a good reputation, excellent customer service, and a large selection. Go with a company that allows you to customize your barn door and the hardware that you will use to attach it to your ceiling or wall.