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Barn doors are notable for their distinctive use of space. Rather than hang on vertical hinges and swing open, they go on horizontal tracks and roll open, remaining relatively flat against adjoining walls.
Since the weight of a barn door is distributed over the width of its track, a heavier- or larger-than-usual door can be accommodated.
Using barn doors at home is a common practice of architects, designers, and homeowners whose aim is to create a better “flow” without sacrificing the ability to partition spaces for private use. Where floor space is limited, barn doors are an ideal solution.
Slideshow: 10 Chic New Ideas in Barn Doors
To choose the correct hardware, match the weight of the barn door/panel you plan to use with the weight-bearing capacity of the hardware.
Before deciding on your application, be sure that there is enough wall space available (to the right or left of the door opening) to accommodate the track and the open door. Standard track lengths are typically about 70 to 94 inches, but custom lengths are also available.
The most industrial-looking version is I-beam, or box rail, hardware, available from such supply sources as the Elmhurst, IL-based vendor McMaster-Carr.
Flat track hardware is simple and unassuming; take for example the product above, with its black enamel finish and vertical bar-style hangers.
Rustic, hammered finishes are also available. A spoked wheel can be chosen for a more down-home look, and some kits even come with a Western horseshoe-shaped hanger.
Modernists need not shy away from using barn doors at home. A stainless finish is an easy way to update the look, making it cleaner and lighter than those black finishes that are designed to mimic iron. The product from Bartels pictured below even seems futuristic.
For more on doors and windows, consider: