4 Ways to Reimagine Old-School Bifold Closet Doors
Don’t take them off the track just yet.
Updated Feb 8, 2024 1:31 PM
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“Bifold doors get a bad rap,” says designer Naïka Andre. That’s probably because most of the ones we see lead to tiny reach-in closets and make an unpleasant squeaking sound when you slide them open. But there is much to love about the bifold door, which is defined for being broken up into sections that fold into one side of its frame. Andre reworked several sets while redesigning the home of Athens, Georgia–based couple Nicole Taylor and Adrian Franks. After local fabricator Gus Darnell of Oneta Woodworks brought a pair of chic cane-paneled doors to life in just two days, they took to the rest of the home’s closets, which were all bifolds.
“They’re fairly easy to maneuver,” the designer says, and adds that they’re ideal for small spaces (when you open them up, the door itself doesn’t block your path) . “When we think of closets, we think of a lot of right angles,” she continues. “I wanted to soften it up a little bit and introduce some curves, make it more interesting.” Ahead, peep four bifold doors with fresh custom designs, including three from the Taylor-Franks project and one squiggly DIY in California.
Slick With Chalkboard Paint
In the bedroom of Taylor and Franks’s young son, Garvey, Andre and Darnell devised a plan to line the art-loving toddler’s doors with chalkboard panels. The easy-to-clean fronts mean Garvey can sketch and doodle all day long, but since he’s not using them as much as, say, a teacher in a classroom would, the dust from his creations is super-manageable.
Go for Statement Hardware
For the couple’s his-and-hers closet doors, Andre chose a calming backdrop: Clare Paint’s greenish blue. The neutral color allows the bespoke half-moon walnut-wood hardware that Darnell created to shine. “The idea with these handles was to mimic the shape of the closet doors themselves,” Andre explains, pointing out the carved detailing at the top and bottom of each panel.
Install Fluted Wood
Andre’s update of choice for Taylor and Franks’s guest room: tambour inserts. She swathed the fluted wood in the same paint color as the rest of the framing (Cape May Cobblestone by Benjamin Moore). “They always have a lot of friends and family over, so they wanted to create this oasis for their guests,” she says. “It was intentional, just as intentional as the other spaces.” Just because something’s got a bad reputation doesn’t mean it’s a hard one to fix.
Add Decorative Molding
When Diana Yen bought her house in Ojai, California, and realized her bedroom closet didn’t have any doors at all, she decided to give bifolds a chance. It was the most cost-efficient: The custom designs she had looked into were in the $10,000 ballpark, but transforming a set of simple bifold doors from Home Depot took less than $500 and a weekend to complete. The inspiration for the molding came from an Instagram post of Italian doors; one of them had a squiggle outline that caught her attention. “I was like, wow, I feel like that molding gives a poetic touch and makes it elegant but still kind of whimsical,” Yen says.