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8 Places to Add Swinging Saloon Doors to Your Home

Tuesday June 29th, 2021
A staple of 1960s and 1970s decorating, saloon doors are making a comeback today. Also known as batwing doors, cafe doors, or butler doors, saloon doors feature swinging doors on hinges that help visually define a space. With the varied styles available, you can consider swinging doors for many rooms in your home, such as:

8 Places to Add Swinging Saloon Doors

  1. Kitchens
  2. Pantries
  3. Dining Areas
  4. Living Areas
  5. Recreation Areas
  6. Bars
  7. Closets
  8. Porches
Swinging doors are relatively easy to install and provide an instant upgrade to your home's interior. Whether you prefer the classic look of the west from years gone by or a more modern aesthetic, you'll find a saloon door option that is right for you.

What Is the Purpose of Saloon Doors?

Saloon doors have a rich history, dating back to the 18th century in the United States. During that era, saloons were places for patrons to gather to consume alcohol and gamble, pursuits that were unwelcome in many circles. Although saloon doors typically did not fully cover a building entrance, they did shield some of the occupants and their activities from passersby. However, people could still hear the music and merriment going on inside, and it wasn’t uncommon for them to join the fun at the saloon.

 Saloon doors have bi-directional door hinges, so another purpose would have been letting people pass through them with ease, especially if they were carrying heavy or awkward items. In the Western U.S., some saloon patrons were cowboys, who may have chosen to carry gear with them rather than leave it outside. People who worked at the western saloon could also transport supplies in and out without the trouble of opening doors.

8 Places to Add Swinging Saloon Doors to Your Home

When you think of saloon doors, you may envision the entrance to a bar in a dusty old west town. You may also be familiar with contemporary cafe doors or butler doors that divide a kitchen from a serving area in a restaurant.
 Although these classic notions can give you some sense of how to use a pair of saloon doors, we encourage you to be open to other possibilities. From your pantry to your bedroom closet to your screened-in porch, swinging doors can provide just enough visual separation to create distinct spaces while allowing no-hassle movement between rooms. Although many styles of swinging doors don't fully cover the doorway, you can find full-length saloon doors.

In addition, with all the styles and looks available, you can choose everything from solid wood doors to painted doors, and select hardware in any finish as well. Can't find the look you want? Custom saloon doors are also available.
Look at some photos and interior decor sites for inspiration and envision the many spaces where you could add a swing door in your home.

1. Kitchens

Some housing designs have entryways that lead directly into a kitchen, or doors from kitchens to formal living areas. If your home has this type of layout, you may prefer to add a visual barrier to distinguish your spaces, even if your kitchen is stylish and attractive. After all, kitchens can quickly get messy during mealtime and can be the hub of home life and family activities. With butler doors for kitchen spaces, you can create a separation between your spaces while enjoying the ease of use and basic functionalities that a swinging door provides.

2. Pantries

Another logical place to add swinging doors is the entrance to your pantry. If you love to cook, you'll want to keep ingredients in reach, but keep your kitchen free of visual and physical clutter. A pantry with cafe doors that swing is a perfect solution. You can pass through the doors to grab the supplies and ingredients you need without having the inside of your pantry be visible. Even if you're carrying an armful of supplies from your pantry, you won't have to worry about opening or closing doors with swinging doors. You can even choose pantry doors that replicate the look of restaurant swinging doors to give your kitchen professional flair.

3. Dining Areas

Installing a saloon door or butler door between a kitchen and a dining room is a concept that never goes out of style. It allows you to separate your cooking space from your eating area to give you a more private, functional dining space. However, the swinging saloon doors are much easier to navigate than traditional closed doors, so transferring food and dishes is a breeze.

Imagine you're hosting a dinner party and want to create an ambiance and show off your culinary talent without having guests peer into your kitchen. With cafe doors, you can create the atmosphere you desire while keeping your visitors focused on the dishes and conversation and the kitchen out of view.

4. Living Areas

Your living room is often the first space guests see when they enter your home. Do you want them peering directly into an office, kitchen, or dining space? Or would you prefer to create a more contained living space and keep other areas out of view?

Installing saloon or cafe doors can give you a visual barrier between your living room and other rooms and enhance the look of your living space. One attractive option is swinging doors with glass that lets light shine through, that way, you and your guests can still see into another room while maintaining separation.

5. Recreation Areas

Let's face it: Recreation rooms can be some of the busiest spaces in any home. Younger kids may watch cartoons there, and older ones may do homework or hang out with friends in these cozy spaces. And where else would you enjoy a Friday movie night or Sunday game day?

Because recreation rooms are such a hub of activity, they need an easy way to enter and exit. You may want to divide recreation areas from adjoining rooms, but not completely close them off. Saloon doors offer you the best of both worlds. You may want to use swinging doors that are half the height of your door frame to allow pets and toddlers to pass through without needing to open a door. Plus, you can easily see into the recreation space to keep an eye on kids, even if you're busy with other activities.

6. Bars

Having a bar in your home can be a delight if you enjoy consuming fine brews or wines while entertaining friends. You can include large-screen TVs or foosball or pool tables to make your home bar feel more like the real thing. However, you may want to separate your bar from other areas of your home, like living or dining spaces, especially if your bar has a more casual vibe. Instead of installing full-length doors, swinging bar doors can be the perfect solution.

7. Master Closets

If you want to give a unique touch to a master closet, add saloon doors. That way, you can keep your clothes and personal items separated from your sleeping quarters while adding an eye-catching visual feature to your space. Because saloon doors swing on hinges, entering and exiting your closet with laundry baskets or other items is a breeze.

Since saloon doors come in a range of styles, you can find beautiful doors that match the look and feel of your room. Like a rustic look or want to evoke the classic wild west feel? Prefer a more sleek-and-streamlined environment? You're sure to find the ideal saloon doors. Check out the many available wood options, or look for unfinished cafe doors that you can paint or stain to complement your bedroom decor.

8. Porches

Porches let you enjoy the beauty of the outdoors just a few steps away from inside your home, and screened porches let you get fresh air and enjoy the views while staying covered and shielded from the sun. If you want to define the space between outside and inside, you can add cafe or saloon doors at the entrance to your porch.
Because your swinging doors won't reach from floor to ceiling, you can let in natural light and air. Still, your saloon doors will offer you privacy and protection from direct sunlight. You can pick whatever style of door fits your space, including rustic saloon doors that provide a natural feel or a contemporary, industrial-look option, like stainless steel doors.

How to Install Saloon Doors and Barrel Hinges

Once you've chosen the location for your doors, and purchased your swinging doors, it's time to install them. If you have some basic DIY skills, you can conquer this project in an afternoon.

First, you should know that the type of hinge you'll be using is known as a double door hinge, which you may see called a "saloon door hinge", a "barrel hinge" or a "double-acting spring hinge." These types of hinges allow your doors to swing 180-degrees in either direction. Barrel hinges are a popular choice for saloon doors because they keep the hinge from being exposed. Traditionally made of brass, barrel hinges are small, barrel-shaped hinges that are available in many finishes to match the other hardware in your room. This type of concealed hinge adds a decorative touch without distracting from the beauty of your saloon doors.

One of your first considerations is how many hinges you need. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions and use provided hardware if possible. When you need to make the call about barrel hinges, you should know that DIY experts recommend two hinges for lightweight doors and three for heavier doors.

Now you are ready to install the hinges on your door. Place the hinges on the door at intervals. If you are using a third hinge, position it close to the top barrel hinge. That way, the third hinge will absorb some of the weight and pressure of the door to allow for the smooth operation of your saloon-style doors for many years.

As a final step, you'll need to fasten each barrel hinge to the wall. This is difficult to do alone, so be sure to recruit someone to help you. Have your helper hold the door in place while you fasten screws through the top barrel hinge to the door jamb. Once you have the top or top two hinges in place, you should be able to handle screwing the bottom barrel hinge to the wall without assistance.

Where to Buy Swinging Saloon Doors?

When you're ready to buy swinging saloon doors, be sure to seek out a door manufacturer with expertise in home design. That way, you can choose from a wide portfolio of door options and get knowledgeable advice on how to choose the right door for your home. You can even opt for a custom door or specialty door to suit your space.

The truth is swinging doors can work almost everywhere in your home, from your living area to your kitchen and dining space, recreation areas, closets, and more. There are many more options beyond the classic western saloon doors you may recognize from history books or Hollywood movie sets. A saloon door gives you a visual barrier but while allowing continuity between spaces.

At Rustica, we pride ourselves on offering both quality-crafted doors and professional design services. Take a walk around your home to consider the possibilities of butler doors, and then reach out to one of our design reps to pick the saloon door of your dreams.

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