Let's start with the easiest and most obvious difference. Location. Pocket doors are installed inside a pocket in the wall, hence the name “pocket door”, while barn doors are installed in front of a wall. This is the main reason these two styles aren’t easily interchangeable.
Barn doors use a hardware style that operates in front of a wall. Installed just above the trim of the door opening, barn doors slide along a track system that's commonly visible right above the door. You can find barn door hardware options that hide the track system for a more seamless and sophisticated look, however the track system is still installed in front of the wall and attached to the face of the barn door which allows the door to slide open and close.
Pocket doors on the other hand utilize hardware that operates inside the wall. Sliding in and out from a pocket inside the wall, pocket door hardware is completely invisible and hidden inside the wall. Leaving no trace of hardware, pocket doors are a perfect option for a seamless fit into your home.
The visible hardware barn doors utilize will add design and an industrial element to your home, while pocket door hardware offers more of a seamless and sophisticated look with hidden hardware.
Pros & Cons
Both barn doors and pocket doors are great for optimizing the space in your home and keeping the open appearance very present. However, both styles save space in different ways and there are pros and cons to both!
Barn doors are great for remodels and home improvement projects. It's a lot easier to take the trim off of an existing doorway and install a barn door, than to create a pocket inside the wall for a pocket door. However, pocket doors are stunning and make for a seamless and sophisticated look. You don’t get the “hardware look” or added industrial element with a pocket door.
Depending on your home and the vision you want to accomplish with each doorway, consider the differences and pick the style that will add to a timeless design and make a lasting impression on your guests.
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