How to Install Barn Door Pulls
In recent years, sliding barn doors have become popular interior design elements for modern homes, ranging from rustic and rough-hewn to sleek and industrialized. They’re visually interesting and utilitarian, and in many cases, they can either help sell a home or add to a home’s market value. In fact, a barn door can often be a point of interest for any room. And one of the key elements of making your indoor barn door really pop is choosing and installing the right door hardware, both for fashion and function.
If you need to install a pull for your barn door, don’t worry! It’s a pretty easy and straightforward process. We’ll talk you through how to choose the best barn door pull, plus all the steps to successfully installing it.
While this is a fairly simple DIY project, there are several key steps you’ll need to take to successfully install a barn door pull. We’ve listed them for you below.
How to Install Barn Door Pulls
- Choose Your Ideal Barn Door Pull
- Align Your Barn Door Pull
- Drill Holes and Attach Barn Door Pull
- Add a Hook-And-Eye Lock For Privacy
If you’ve purchased a pre-fabricated sliding barn door that comes with an accompanying barn door hardware kit, then you may have also received a matching barn door pull as part of your package. Many homeowners choose to DIY their own barn doors, and many of these same homeowners notice that, after the installation of their barn door, they often have trouble sliding it back and forth without the benefit of a barn door pull or handle of some sort. The popularity of barn doors has opened up a whole new avenue of stylistic touches in terms of door hardware you can add, including handles or pulls.
Adding a handle to your rolling barn door can help make sure your barn door glides smoothly back and forth, just the way you want it to, without any difficulty. A barn door pull or handle can be especially helpful if you have very young or elderly members of your household who may otherwise struggle to slide it back and forth. Plus, a good handle or pull is not only functional, it’s also stylish, adding another touch of unique personality to your barn door, and your home.
Do Barn Doors Need Handles?Because Rustica’s barn doors are so easy to slide along their track, you may be wondering if barn door handles are even necessary. While you may get by fine without one, there are certain advantages that barn door handles bring that will enhance the experience of your door. To start, barn door handles will make your life easier. A handle enables you to slide the barn door open or close with minimal effort. Sliding a barn door open without a handle requires more effort, and it may be more difficult to get a good grip on the door to slide it open. For example, if you have your hands full, it’s going to be harder to slide the door open if it doesn’t have a handle. Essentially, with barn door handles, you’re saving yourself from future frustration and unnecessary difficulty. It’s also important to consider the people in your home, such as those living there and those visiting. Children and those with mobility issues will find it challenging to open a barn door that doesn’t have handles. In this way, handles make life easier for everyone in the home.Lastly, there’s no denying the aesthetic touch a quality barn door handle brings; it elevates the overall style of your door. Because of this, great attention should be given to the style of door handle you choose, as you want it to match the door's design and the overall room's aesthetic. Thankfully, Rustica provides a wide variety of barn door handles to choose from. There’s a barn door handle for every style and door design, from sleek and minimalist to artistic and rustic. So, does your barn door need a handle? That’s ultimately up to you to decide, but it will certainly make life easier and add a touch of style to your door.
Types of Barn Door Handles There are a couple of types of barn door handles to choose from. The type you choose depends on the style of your door and how you wish to open the door. These handles include:
- Barn Door Handles: Barn door “handles” are typically bars attached to the door that you can fully close your hand around. They stick out from the door and come in a variety of styles. All of Rustica’s barn door handles are metal. Some styles have wrapped leather for added comfort and texture. Every handle is customizable and designed just for your door: pick your preferred metal finish (flat black, brushed stainless steel, etc.) and your handle size. You can even include a barn door lock—such as a simple barn door hook—or a whole barn door latch + lock system.
- Barn Door Flush Pulls: If you want a sleek design, a barn door flush pull may be for you. This type of handle is set within your sliding barn door to create a slot flush with the surface of the door. The slot is deep enough to easily grip and slide the door open without requiring a handle that sticks out. Just like our barn door handle options, flush pulls are fully customizable with your preferred metal finish and size.
Do Barn Doors Have Handles on Both Sides?Yes, it’s standard for barn doors to have handles on both sides of the door. Standard design incorporates a barn door handle on one side (typically the barn door hardware side or the side most people will see) and a barn door flush pull on the back side. Having a flush pull on the back side allows for easy closing and opening without the risk of the handle banging against the wall. The regular handles adds style while allowing you to easily slide the door along the track.However, there are no hard rules as to what type of barn door handle to have on either side of your door. You can have standard handles or flush pulls on both sides of the door if you wish. Plus, some doors may not need a handle on both sides, such as sliding closet doors that only require a handle on the outside.
How to Choose a Barn Door Handle or PullThe barn door handle or pull you choose has a lot to do with your personal style, along with the functionality you’re looking for. Installing a modern door? Then you might want to lean toward sleek designs and modern finishes, like a flush pull handle. Looking for a rustic door to fit in with more traditional or farmhouse style? We have those too!
The great news is that there are many options when it comes to sliding barn door hardware, it’s fairly guaranteed that you’ll find something to perfectly complement your new barn door. The other great thing about a barn door handle or pull is that it is a relatively inexpensive, yet impactful, component of your barn door’s design. If you want a refresh or new look for your door, it’s fairly easy to switch out the handle or pull for a fresh look.
Once you’ve considered the design of your door, you also need to think about functionality and how to make sure your handle or pull is easy for those in the home to use. This is especially true if you have small children or elderly adults who might have more difficulty grasping certain types of handles. Think about the needs of your particular family, and choose a handle or pull that’s easy for everyone to use.
How to Install Barn Door Pulls
Now let’s take a closer look at each step in the process of successfully installing your barn door pull.
Measuring your door panel and knowing the space you have to work with can help you choose a barn door pull that’s the right proportion for your door. You don’t want to choose something too small or else it may be dwarfed by the open-door space. You also don’t want to choose a barn door pull that completely overwhelms the door. Knowing the exact space you’re working with is a must.
As a general rule, a standard height door (usually 80 inches) looks best with a pull handle that’s 10 to 13 inches in length. If you have a taller sliding barn door (say one that is 96 inches) look for pulls that measure 16 to 22 inches. And if you have a 10-foot barn door, you’re likely looking for a barn door pull that measures 24 to 48 inches in length for the best-looking result.
Make sure your barn door is made of solid wood before you do anything. If it isn’t, you may have to attach an anchor to make sure the handle doesn’t rip off while you’re using it (all our wood doors are made of solid wood, so you will not have this problem if you purchased your barn door through Rustica).
2. Choose Your Ideal Barn Door Pull
Just like barn doors come in a wide variety of options, so does their accompanying hardware. Before you start your search, take a moment to define the style you’re looking for. What exactly is the look you’re trying to achieve, and what does your barn door need to get there. Is your barn door rustic? If so, you may gravitate toward a more rustic style of door hardware, such as wrought iron or a heavy, black metal or oil-rubbed bronze. If your barn door is more modern or industrial, you may choose a corresponding style of barn door pull, something sleek and chrome or stainless steel with a minimalist vibe.
You can also look for contrast by going with a style of barn door pull that isn’t too “matchy” with your barn door style. Are you trying to achieve a polished, coordinated look or something that’s more quirky and eclectic? It’s completely up to you, and there’s no wrong way to choose your pull handle. You have to live with it, so just make sure to pick something you love and will enjoy looking at (and using) every day. This is where you get to let your unique design perspective show.
Another good rule of thumb is to consider your room as well. How do you want the finish and style of your sliding door handle to blend or contrast with the other furniture finishes in the room? Sometimes it’s helpful to have a wide spectrum of finishes within a room so that they all blend without competing with one another.
There’s a barn door pull out there to suit every kind of design aesthetic. You can find options embellished with braided leather, sleek industrialized hardware and those with intricately wrought patterns. You’ll also find everything from antique barn door pulls to contemporary barn door pulls, so you can create any kind of look you want.
You can generally find barn door pulls as part of a complete barn door collection or door hardware sets, so if that’s the case, it’s easy to make sure your barn door pull matches or blends with other hardware for your barn door, like hinges and tracks. If your rolling barn door hardware set didn’t come with a door pull, take a minute to carefully look at your mounting hardware so you can decide whether you want your barn door pull to blend in or stand out in contrast to make more of a design statement.
3. Align Your Barn Door Pull
Choose where you want to install your pull handle and mark it on the sliding door, noting where you’ll need to drill in order to add screws. As a good rule of thumb, you can plan on standard pull height being between 34 and 48 inches from the floor, depending on your preference. You’ll want to pick the height that feels most comfortable for everyone in your home.
Make sure your handle is aligned perfectly straight so that you don’t have to deal with an off-kilter door pull. You may want to use a level for this step rather than trying to guesstimate or eyeball where the handle should go.
4. Drill Holes and Attach Barn Door Pull
Look at the guides you’ve marked on the wood door, and use an electric drill to drill holes where each of your screws should be attached. Then guide your barn door pull into place and attach the screws, fixing your handle into place.
Depending on the kind of handle you’ve chosen, it generally takes just a few screws to firmly hold your barn door pull in place. These should be included in your door handle packaging. Then voila! Your barn door handle is successfully installed. You should now be able to slide your barn door open and closed smoothly and easily every time.
5. Add a Hook-And-Eye Lock For Privacy
Depending on where your barn door system is installed, you may be completely finished with this project once you’ve attached your barn door pull. If you’re using a barn door to replace a pocket door, sliding closet doors or kitchen/dining room dividers, for example, you may not be too worried about a door lock or privacy.
If you’re using your barn door as a bathroom door, bedroom door or other interior door, you may choose to add a hook-and-eye door latch. For this step, you’ll measure just like you did for your barn door pull, aligning and marking where you’d like to install your lock. Just note that you have to be perfectly precise with these measurements. The hook and eye latch must line up exactly in order for the lock to work effectively.
You’ll attach your hook to the barn door, while the eye (or loop) should be installed on the wall directly adjacent to your barn door. Simply measure, mark, drill, and add all the accompanying screws, just like you did with your barn door pull. Once installed, your hook-and-eye lock will give you just that little extra bit of privacy and security.
How Big Should a Barn Door Handle Be?Ultimately, your goal should be making sure that the door handle you choose is in proportion to the door you’re working with. As a general rule, a standard door size measures around 80 inches tall (roughly six feet, eight inches), and will look best with handles that measure anywhere from 10 to 13 inches in length. This size handle is fairly standard and easy to find. If you’re working with a taller door (like a seven-foot door, as an example) then you’ll want to choose a handle more in the 14 to 16-inch range. For doors that are eight feet tall, look for handles measuring between 16 and 22 inches, and for extra-large doors that are up to 15 feet in height, you’ll need much larger door handles—24 to 48 inches should work.
How High Should a Barn Door Handle Be?When it comes to function, making sure your barn door has an easily accessible handle or pull makes a huge difference in its ease of use. Much of the handle’s functionality centers on where it’s placed. If you want to go with a standard placement, most doorknobs and handles are installed roughly 36 to 42 inches from the floor. But that isn’t your only option; the important thing is to make sure the handle placement works for you and your family. For example, if the barn door is being used as the entry to a playroom, it may make more sense for the handle to be installed at the right height for the children who will be opening the door with the most frequency. But never fear—as the children grow, the handle easily can be moved up so that it continues to be functional for its intended audience. The same is true for members of your household who may be in a wheelchair. If this is the case, it may make more sense to install your door handle at the right height to provide the highest level of accessibility. The important thing to remember is that there’s no one right height for your door handle—you must consider the needs of your family in determining the best place to install a handle or pull for your particular door.
Add Barn Door Pulls to Your Barn Door Today
Whether you’re a handy expert or a DIY beginner, it’s fairly simple to choose and install a corresponding barn door pull that gives your sliding door an extra kick of personality and makes it unique to you and your interior design aesthetic. It packs a powerful punch in upping your design game and will potentially increase the overall value of your home.
As with most interior design decisions, the right barn door pull for you is a highly personal choice. Make sure you pick something that brings you joy as you use it on a day-to-day basis. With the wide selection of sliding doors and accompanying door hardware available, there’s certainly a combination that’s right for just about any decorating style and preference.
We’re confident that if you follow the steps here, you’ll be admiring your newly installed barn door—and its handsome hardware—before you know it!