Your Guide to Door Types & Styles

A well-designed door is a simple way to add style to your home. At their core, doors serve one vital functional—but that doesn't mean they can't be stylish. After all, the right door can make or break a space. We've broken down styles and types of doors into two categories: interior and exterior. Our tips will help you pick the perfect door for every threshold in your home; whether it's a hidden door to the basement or your home's main entrance.

Interior Doors

The hinged single door is the most common interior door type. A panel door is a classic style. It usually has three or four horizontal rails and three vertical stiles. A flush door is a simple flat slab. It is usually the least expensive choice. A pair of French doors adds a charming touch as well as an extra-wide doorway opening. These doors are almost always traditional in design. Often they have glass panels. Somewhat less common are bypass doors. These operate much like sliding patio doors but are far lighter in weight. They are generally flush doors.

Exterior Doors

Entry doors can be made of wood, metal, or fiberglass. They range from straightforward panel doors to windowed doors (the windows are sometimes referred to as "lights"), with attractive muntins or removable grills. Increasingly you can find decorative carved-wood doors. These often have rails and stiles with a carved section in the middle. They are expensive but make a memorable impression.

Patio sliding doors are typically made of large panes of glass encased in wood, vinyl, or metal frames. They are the ideal choice when you want to maximize your view of the yard. Compared with French doors they take up no floor space when open. A possible disadvantage is that they only open half as wide as the doorway.

Interior & Exterior Doors

Here are some of the types of doors you'll find, along with some terminology that will help you to shop more confidently:

Door Types Single-acting doors -- the most common doors -- are hinged on one side and open in one direction. These are the standard doors you find on the interior of your house.

Bifold doors have two panels that fold to one side. They are often used on closets or pantries. Two sets can be installed in a wide opening.

Bypass doors have panels that slide past each other. They are often used on closets where there is not enough space for a swinging door. Only one side of the closet can be open at a time.

Exterior sliding doors usually have one fixed panel and one panel that slides.

Pocket doors slide into the wall. A pocket door is perfect for a space where there isn't room for a door to swing open. Pocket doors are easily installed during construction, but adding one later can be a major project.

Paneled doors are built with panels that fit into grooves in the stiles and rails. They have a classic look, and wood ones can be painted or stained. Steel, fiberglass, and hardboard doors that look like paneled doors are available.

Flush doors have a flat surface on each side, usually covered with wood veneer. Flush interior doors are usually hollow-core doors, while flush exterior doors have a solid core.

French doors have rectangular glass panes, or lights, from top to bottom. They are often hung in pairs, opening from the sides, as exterior doors to a garden, patio, or deck. Traditional French doors are made with a 15-light design.

Patio doors are usually sliding glass doors with one fixed pane of glass and a sliding one. A patio door lets in a lot of light and allows a great view of the outdoors.

Steel Doors A steel door is your best bet if security and durability are top priorities. Steel units are stronger than wood or fiberglass doors, and they won't crack or warp.

Fiberglass Doors Fiberglass-composite doors are tough and maintenance-free, and are a smart choice for harsh or humid climates. They mimic the look of wood with wood-grain texturing and can be stained to match oak, cherry, walnut, and a variety of other woods