In a small home, traditional hinged doors can dominate precious floor space. Opting for a sliding door that sits flush against a wall when opened can be a great space-saving solution. In addition, sliding doors can also be a versatile way to create zones in an open-plan interior, conceal private areas when needed and even enhance the flow of natural light between rooms.
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite sliding doors and how they have helped to transform these NTS-featured small homes into brighter, more flexible spaces.
1. Zone out different spaces with a sliding panel
A sliding panel is an efficient and relatively easy way to transform an open living space into separate areas, each with a different function. In Mark II, a cleverly designed, minimalist custom joinery wall hides all of the apartment’s functional requirements — including sleeping, storage, and an office niche — that are revealed or concealed by way of a versatile sliding panel to which the TV is also mounted.
During the day, a Murphy bed folds away and is hidden by moving the sliding panel. In turn, that reveals the office space, consisting of a simple Murphy desk and plenty of built-in shelves for storage. When in this position, the mounted TV sits perfectly adjacent to the sofa, creating a relaxing living area. At night, the sliding panel closes off the office niche and reveals the Murphy bed, elegantly transforming the area.
2. Saves valuable floor space
Sliding doors are an effective tool to maximise floor space as they can provide privacy without compromising the available usable area. All the internal doors in Michelet were refitted with custom sliding doors in a light-coloured pine that was also used for windows and kitchen cabinetry to create a sense of continuity throughout the space. The sliding doors free up valuable floor space and separate the open layout of the original one-bedroom apartment into an adaptable home with different zones for a family of five.
3. Two sliding doors may be better than one
In order to cover more surface area, it may be beneficial to install two sliding doors, like in the meticulously-designed Seoul Seocho Studio. A walnut wood partition, with slats inspired by traditional Korean wooden doors, pairs with a bronze vibration-finished stainless steel door to conceal the entertainment unit. The two doors also extend to either end of the apartment, where the wooden slatted door masks the office niche when floor-to-ceiling wardrobes need to be accessed, while the bronze door acts as a reflective feature wall in front of the kitchen.
4. Allow light to flow through closed doors made out of translucent materials
When there’s only one source of natural light in a small apartment, it’s difficult to find ways to illuminate the entire space. For example, the only light source in the narrow Flexible Ryokan Inspired Condo is a large balcony window, which illuminates a multi-purpose tatami room. To ensure the light was able to reach the darkest parts of the apartment, translucent sliding shoji doors were installed between the tatami room and the living room — maintaining natural light flow without compromising on privacy. The sliding shoji doors also double as closet doors for the adjacent bedroom, conveniently covering any clutter when visitors are present.
5. Create dedicated spaces within an open-plan living area
When faced with an open-plan layout, interior sliding doors can allow for a flexible change in floorplan. In 122 Roseneath Street, a simple sliding panel enables interaction or immediate privacy between the living, sleeping and office zones of the apartment. Either the bedroom or the office space becomes a flexible extension of the open living and kitchen space, depending on which side the sliding panel is placed.
If you’re interested in other ways partitions can be used to maximise both space and functionality, here’s How To Effectively Use Room Dividers.