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We are all trying to find that one-of-a-kind look that will set our home apart. A dutch door might be just the solution you need to create a look that is charming as well as practical.

Dutch Door

Further, these doors can be customized with molding and with paint to blend with your home in a seamless way or to make a statement that won’t be forgotten.

Dutch Door: The Basics

Dutch doors go by many names and are also known as stable doors, double-hung doors, and half doors. They originated in Europe in the 17th century as a way of keeping barn animals outside but still allow fresh air inside.

Dutch door basics
House Seven Design

Because of their innate practicality, they have been present in Europe and America since that time. However, they are enjoying a comeback in recent years as people begin to understand their beauty and benefits.


The dutch door is one that is split in the middle, though unlike a french door, the door is split with a horizontal cut rather than vertical. The top and bottom halves can be opened and closed independent of one another.

There are solid wood doors with no glass as well as dutch doors where the bottom half is solid and the top half portion uses glass panels. These glass panels can be single light or multiple light windows.

For the most part, the dutch door hardware is that of a standard door. You need standard door hinges and a knob and lock on the bottom half. If you would like to add a bit of extra security, add a deadbolt on the top half of the door as well.

All dutch doors require one piece of special hardware; the latch is the piece that connects the bottom portion to the top portion. The dutch door latch is bolted when both the top and bottom half doors are closed but can be left open if either section is open.


Throughout the long years of their existence, people have used dutch doors in many contexts. An exterior dutch door can be used as an entry door though they are also useful as a back entrance where kids and pets enter and exit.

Many homeowners use an interior dutch door to separate the laundry room, mudroom, or pantry. Further, many people still value a barn door that is a split door which is useful in a place like a barn with farm animals.


While the dutch door may be a historic design, these doors come in a variety of styles to suit homes of all types. There is modern dutch door style, a farmhouse dutch door, rustic and reclaimed dutch doors, and refined dutch doors. There are doors that are split with an even top and a bottom, and a 3/4 dutch door that has a larger top or bottom portion.

Pros and cons of the dutch door

Because these doors have maintained their popularity for so long, they have obvious benefits to many homeowners.

Pros and cons of the dutch door
The Inspired Room

However, there are also drawbacks that mean that they will not work in every situation.


  • These doors are high on charm. They have such a unique look that they create instant appeal for your house.
  • They are practical in that they can replace a baby gate for animals or children that you need to corral. Just close the lower door and leave the upper portion open so that you can still see and hear into the next room or yard area.
  • They allow fresh air into the home without having to open the whole door.
  • You can open the top portion when receiving deliveries allowing many to feel less vulnerable than opening the whole door to a stranger.


  • It can be difficult to put a screen on a Dutch door, so insects and bugs are bound to come into your home when you leave this door open. While it isn’t practical or attractive to have a screen over your dutch door, some add a sliding retractable screen door to the door molding outside the door.
  • Dutch doors are difficult for children to use, and because they can be tricky to close; fingers may be pinched in the process.
  • Dutch doors are more custom than standard doors, so they are a more expensive option than a regular door.
  • Because there are so many moving parts on a dutch door, they can be hard to install. Also, if they are not installed well, dutch doors are less weatherproof.

Dutch Door Ideas For Inspiration

These doors are truly original. They offer many ways to make the outside and inside of your home more interesting and functional. Here are some wonderful ideas for you to consider as you think about adding one of these lovely doors in your home spaces.

Green with envy

Green with envy
Benjamin Moore

Double dutch exterior doors are a statement all in themselves. However, painting it a stunning color will up the ante for all your neighbors. This solid wood dutch door is elegant in dark green paint and finished with intricate molding.

The side lights allow plenty of natural light to filter through. When you are ready for more light and fresh air, just open the top part of the door. If you are interested in painting your door something similar, try Sherwin Williams Hunt Club (SW 6468) or Green Bay (2045-10) from Benjamin Moore.

Craftsman style double dutch doors

Traditional front porch black dutch door

Let in more natural light with this craftsman-style dutch door design. This exterior door has a five-light glass-paneled top that complements the same style sidelights.

This creates a pleasing symmetry that works well on a craftsman’s bungalow. The homeowners have painted the door a black color to give the door a look of simple refinement.

Dueling colors

Farmhouse kitchen aqua cabinets dutch door

If you can’t decide on one color for your door, why not choose two?

Double dutch doors allow one portion to remain open, giving you the chance to show both sides of the door at the same time. These owners have painted the dutch door exterior with a bright green color.

They have kept the dutch door interior more neutral to blend with the aqua blue kitchen. If you like the exterior color of this door, try Teal Blast (2039-40) from Benjamin Moore.

Bring more light inside

Farmhouse laundry room tiled floor blue cabinets
Tim Barber Architects

These homeowners have extended the look of the single glass-paneled front dutch door. They added large transoms above the door and the sidelights to let in as much light as possible. The look is simple and stately.

The owners have painted the door white along with the surrounding side panels and molding.

Also, the deep blue crown molding around the top and the mosaic tile floor adds further definition to the entry.

Brighten your interior spaces

Modern kitchen red dutch door window

An interior dutch door painted in red gives this kitchen a bright splash of color into the neutral space. Further, these doors are handy inside the home for keeping kids and/or pets safe rather than adding a more intrusive element like a baby gate.

Dutch doors contain the mess of pantries, mudrooms, or laundry rooms without closing off the whole room from sight. This door can grow with the needs of the family.

Bright and sunny dutch front door

Traditional exterior yellow dutch door style

This front door is an example of a 3/4 dutch door. The light yellow has a cheerful but elegant look, perfect for this entry with dark tones.

It complements the charcoal tones in the brick and the slate tile foundation. The frame around the door creates a formal look for the entry.

Rustic farmhouse front door

Rustic farmhouse front door
City Farmhouse

This front door design is the perfect element to add the rustic charm of barn doors to your home style.

The barn design and look complement the earthy and textured tones of the living room. This look is similar to sliding barn doors that many people use as interior doors now.

Double dutch doors with a view

Double dutch doors with a view
My Favorite and Best

Take in more of the outside world with a double dutch door. This double hung door has four panels that open independent of one another. This home overlooks a lovely view, and the homeowners have welcomed this view into their home by throwing wide the top door panels.

Updating a backyard shed

Updating a backyard shed
O’Connor Brehm

Painted dutch doors are the perfect addition to any backyard shed. It increases the charm of any common building and if you paint the shed a light color, paint the door a contrasting color for added interest. Also, the window at the top of the door allows light to filter through, and when it is open, you can air out the room without allowing random wildlife to wander in unhindered.

Modern dutch door for style

Modern dutch door for style
Sugar & Charm

If you have a more neutral look in mind, try an all white entry door. This is a clean look with an unexpected twist. This modern dutch door creates a unified look along with the side transoms. The elegant modern farmhouse look unifies the space with the continuity of the design and color.

Color it pretty

Color it pretty
Town and Country Living

If you have a desire to stand out, choose a bright blue door to bring vibrancy to your entry. The style and color of this door will make your home a paragon of style in your own neighborhood. Plus, it creates an inviting entrance that your guests will love.

If you want to paint your own dutch door a similar color, look at Briny (SW 6775) from Sherwin Williams or Varsity Blues (756) from Benjamin Moore.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What is a dutch door?

A dutch door is a type of door that is split across the middle in a horizontal fashion. Therefore, you can either open the door as one unit or open the top and bottom portion independent of one another.

Are dutch doors secure?

Dutch doors are secure because they have bolts and locks that keep the door closed. However, because there are more moving parts on a dutch door, the hardware is more susceptible to breaking. You need to make sure that you keep dutch door panels and hardware in good repair to make sure that it is as secure as it can be. This is true for an interior dutch door but more so for an exterior dutch door.

Can you make a dutch door from a regular traditional door?

Yes, you can take an existing door and turn it into a dutch door. This works on standard doors that do not have anything in the middle that would block you from making a horizontal cut like a doorknob or decorative paneling. There are many DIY dutch door tutorials that are helpful in walking you through this task.

Where can I buy dutch doors?

In any door manufacturer or big box home fix-it store, you will be able to find dutch doors for sale. These range in value and price so be sure to read reviews to make sure that you are getting a good product.

How much is a dutch door?

Because they are not standard, you will pay more for a dutch door than for a regular door. Expect to pay anywhere from $750 to $1900 for a dutch door and installation. You can save money by taking on a DIY project and making your own dutch door from a regular door.

Where can you use a dutch door?

You can use a dutch door anywhere in the house, from the front entry to interior doors. Internal dutch doors work well in kid’s bedrooms, laundry rooms, pantries, and mudrooms. Exterior dutch doors make beautiful front doors and side doors.

Are Dutch doors really Dutch?

Dutch doors were popular in the Netherlands in the 17th century. Most of these doors were used as barn doors to keep in animals while allowing fresh air and sunlight in. However, dutch doors have no affiliation with the Dutch today.

Is there such a thing as a dutch door with a screen option?

Yes, you can use a screen with a dutch door, though it can be cumbersome. The best option is a retractable screen that you install on the outside of the door molding rather than using another screen door to cover the dutch door.

Dutch doors: Conclusion

Dutch doors are a historical style door that is making a comeback. These doors have become popular in recent years because they give your home a unique look and they add practical functionality. This may be just the right time to make your dutch door dreams a reality. In the end, it is worth the extra effort to add this exceptional door to your home.
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