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Which Way Should Doors Open?

Which Way Should Doors Open?

When replacing the doors in your house, it can be pretty upsetting to order a door with hinges that open the wrong way. But is there a specific way that doors should open?

It doesn’t really matter what way that your doors opens, as long as you make sure it doesn’t run into anything or potentially cause a hazard when you open it.

Installing doors that open into the room is however the general rule. With this method, doors are kept from becoming an obstacle in confined spaces like corridors.

However, doors that are linked to small areas typically swing open to prevent people from becoming trapped within.

Which Way Should Interior Doors Open?

Interior doors may open inwards or outwards depending on a variety of factors. However, the general rule for interior doors is for them to open into the room, as that provides the most natural movement for someone entering. 

Which way should interior doors open
Also, the door should swing away from the light switches when determining the door's swing direction. The reason is that the light switch needs to be next to the door so that it can be seen when the door is opened such as in the case of a bathroom.

Lastly, whenever possible, have a door swing toward the adjacent perpendicular wall. For the greatest convenience, interior doors should rest against a wall that is perpendicular to the door after it swings into a room.

A perpendicular wall is essential for the door to rest on, as this takes up the least amount of area in a room and needs the smallest distance for a person to reach to open or close a door.

Which Way Should Exterior Doors Open?

A large percentage of outside doors open inward. This is especially true when it comes to front doors. When you reach your home, you usually push after unlocking the door.

Which way should exterior doors open

But regardless of how frequently we enter a home through a door that opens in, we rarely pause to consider why it opens inward. Three key reasons can be used to explain why the design is so common.

1. Safety

An external door’s main purpose is to protect the house from potential invaders. In the past, doors that opened outward used to have hinges on the outside.

This would give attackers the chance to break the hinges and take the door completely off its hinges.

Outward-opening doors can now be found with hinges that are protected, but they still can be taken off more easily than inward-opening doors.

Further, latches and chains, as well as other additional security measures, can be added more simply to doors that open inwards.

2. Weather

An exterior door that opens outward is subject to the vagaries of nature. A stray wind gust could shut the door so hard that it might smash a set of French patio doors so forcefully that the glass breaks.

Wood doors that swing outwards are likewise more susceptible to rain than their counterparts that open inward. Further, after a lot of snow, it may get difficult to open an exterior door that opens outward, which in some situations, could keep the occupant inside for days.

3. Emergencies

Doors that open inward can occasionally be safer than doors that open outward. Rescuers can more easily crash through a door that opens inward in the event of a fire.

Further, opening the door inward will prevent it from opening into the face of the unaware caller on the other side, which is a serious problem if the door opens straight out.

Which Way Should French Doors Open?

French doors can open in or out, but not both. Before buying these doors, you must choose which direction to open them. Both outswing and inswing doors have their advantages and disadvantages. 

If possible, it is better to go for an outswing door for the exterior door. However, you will probably need to choose a door whose swing orientation matches that of your current door if you do not intend to replace the door frame. 

Moreover, you should also check your local construction codes if replacing the door swing is not a problem for you. There may be a written code that specifies which way your doors can open.

Which Way Should Medicine Cabinet Doors Open?

For medicine cabinets, the first thing to do is to decide whether you’re employing single or double cabinets. The space in a double cabinet will be twice that of a single cabinet and for that, it will have two doors.

You need plenty of room when putting things in and out of these double cabinets. You won’t benefit much from having a double cabinet if the doors are blocking your path.

The best method to accomplish this is to have the doors open in opposition to one another. In other words, the hinges on the left side are on the left, while the hinges on the right side are on the right.

Final Word on Which Way Doors Should Open

To sum it up, there is no hard rule for the direction in which doors can swing but sticking to the general way may prove beneficial. Generally, exterior and interior doors mostly swing inwards.

Whereas French doors can swing in either direction depending on your preference. For medicine cabinets, make sure that the doors open in such a way that it doesn’t disrupt you from keeping anything in them.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.