Product Review: Interior Doors Move Toward Personalized Surprises

Monday, Sep 1 2014
Posted by:
Roy L. Diez

You think there are too many options when shopping for wallpaper? Try shopping for a new interior door. Either way, choices are nearly endless.

With interior doors, you will first need to evaluate the type of door you want. Do you want a conventional commodity door, a semi-custom door with a bit more designer flair or a one-of-a-kind custom order door? Next you will need to decide if you want a flush, solid core, hollow core, molded, MDF or stile and rail interior door.

Once you’ve mastered those alternatives, there is the challenge of selecting the actual door design. Masonite offers 255 different interior door designs. TruStile has over 400 designs. Jeld-Wen Carved interior doors features more than 100 standard designs and extensive custom potential. Simpson Door Co. has a 200-page interior door catalog, and all of the designs can be personalized with flat or raised panels and numerous glass or panel insert options.

The classic, six-panel Colonial door is the most common interior door, said Jeff Lowinski, VP technical services, for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. But three-panel and five-panel doors are also popular. Most popular design styles, according to a survey of 300-plus architects by TruStile: Contemporary, Craftsman, Modern and Traditional.

Door designs tend to follow regional architectural styles. The style of door usually matches the design style of the home, Lowinski said. But, for the most part, door design is a matter of personal preference. If there is a trend at all in new construction, he adds, it is to fewer interior doors and more open space. So, it pays to make the most of the interior doors you do have.

As design elements, interior doors can have a major impact on the look of your home. They can add excitement to the decor, provide an unexpected flair to the design and emphasize the function of living spaces.

“Traditional doors are still very popular,” said Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson. “However, currently, we are seeing a trend to the opposite end of the design spectrum, to more contemporary style doors. This means that the design within the door is simpler, with square sticking details, flat panels and fewer panels. In contemporary style doors, you might have a piece of clear or white laminate glass.”

The modern twist on traditional-style doors is also to simplify with fewer panels, Loveless added. “The six-panel door is still very popular, but now the trend is to a four-panel door or to a door with three or four horizontal panels that go the full width of the door,” he said. “These doors still have the same raised panels or molding details, but there are fewer components. It’s a cleaner look. In addition, door designs today don’t always have to be rectangular. We often see other shapes — the most common being doors with an arch at the top.”

The trend, according to Elizabeth Souders, director of product management for Jeld-Wen, is to unexpected design details. Consumers, she said, want a signature piece or options that add visual interest. In addition, there is a move to mix designs, combining contemporary doors in historic style homes.

Another trend is to larger, taller or wider, doors in higher-end homes. Most doors are 6 ft. 8 ins. high. It’s becoming more common to see 7-ft. and 8-ft. interior doors in these homes, especially on the first floor. With the aging of the population and the advent of universal design concepts, wider, handicap-accessible doors with lever door handles are increasingly in demand.

There are different schools of thought on whether to match or mix door styles. “Some think all interiors doors in a home should match,” Lowinski explained. “Others think that each room should be its own living space.” Loveless agreed: “The majority of times, people order doors that match each other and that match the things they have in their home, whether it’s the cabinets, their window style or their wood flooring. However, these same homeowners might want to make a statement on a special area in their home.

What can be exciting is placing unique-style doors in places you would not expect. For example, selecting an obscure or resin-panel door for the master bedroom or a sliding barn-door style product for the family room (even if the home isn’t in rustic design) can be an unexpected element that makes it really exciting.

Roy L. Diez is the former editorial director for Professional Builder and is now a freelance journalist covering the architectural, building and construction industry.


Masonite: The Emerald solid-core Safe ‘N Sound interior door uses a low-density fiberboard made from wheat straw, an annually renewable agricultural product. It’s Forest Stewardship Council-certified and contains no added urea-formaldehyde.


TruStile: New Tru&Modern line of stacked rail doors features clean, strong lines, custom design options and bold accents designed to offer a stile and rail door that fits contemporary and modern interiors. The Reserve wood door (shown here) features engineered panels made with composite cores.


Jeld-Wen: Part of the Authentic Wood Door series, the Model 1501 Recipe Pantry door offers nine to 18 family-style recipes, such as buttermilk pancakes and apple pie fused into the glass panel. It comes in eight wood species or can be ordered primed and ready for paint or stain.


Simpson Door Co.: A new series of resin panels for interior doors are made with grasses, leaves, fabrics and metals encapsulated in resin. The firm also offers a variety of acrylic panels, textured and decorative glass options.


Raydoor: The manufacturer offers sleek sliding, folding, pivoting and fixed-door systems for clients seeking a modern look. Frames are made from a pre-engineered MDF core and wrapped with a real wood veneer or steel. The system requires no floor tracks and comes in custom sizes.

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