Wardrobe Guide : Hinged vs Sliding Doors

You need to choose between a hinged door or a sliding door when you are fabricating a new wardrobe for your home.

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A hinged door is fixed on to the wardrobe with simple hinges while sliding doors/shutters are panels that slide on tracks. It is essential to check for ease of use, how much maintenance is required and what will suit the kind of space demarcated for the wardrobe before you make a choice. Here is a guide to the pros and cons that can help you decide.

Hinged doors

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The commonly used conventional hinged wardrobe doors have a maximum width of 18 to 20 inches so as to prevent excess load on the hinges when the door-panel is open.

Pro: Full visibility

The biggest advantage of hinged wardrobe doors is that they swing wide open, enabling a full view of the closet. This is one of the main differentiating factors between a hinged-door and a sliding-door wardrobes.

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Also, one can install hooks, pockets or racks on the inside surface of the shutter for accessories such as ties, belts, clips and so on.

Pro: More variety

Since hinged wardrobes are very commonly used, these wardrobes come in many designs, colours, materials and textures. Additionally, one can incorporate decorative door handles of stainless steel, brass or leather that match with the design of the wardrobe.

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Another plus is that hinged doors can be customised into folding doors for L-shaped units or be of any shape, where they are cut at an angle along the top. Sliding-door wardrobes can only be rectangular.

Pro: Easy to maintain

These wardrobe doors are low-maintenance. The hinges can be easily tightened or replaced in case of damage. Also, hinges are much cheaper and readily available in comparison to good-quality track systems that are required and used for sliding doors for wardrobes.

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Con: Take up space

Hinged wardrobe doors take additional space as they swing outwards and open into the room.

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In small rooms, one must ensure that the swing of the shutters does not obstruct any kind of walking space/traffic or other functions.

Sliding doors

Sliding doors require a floor track as well as a top track with rollers for the doors to slide on. The standard depth of a sliding-door wardrobe is 20 to 23 inches, including a running track of about 2 inches, which is usually fixed into the floor or a wooden base.

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Note the minimum width of a sliding-door wardrobe should be at least 6 feet. This is allows for two 3 foot doors and an opening that is 3 feet wide at most. Any less, and it will be too narrow, making it difficult to get at the contents of the wardrobe.

Pro: Give a sleek, modern look

The straight lines of these huge floor-to-ceiling sliding panels look neat and impart a sleek, modern look. This makes the doors suitable for long wardrobes.

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Each panel of a sliding wardrobe door can have a maximum width of 4 feet, or the panels will become too heavy to slide easily.

Pro: Space-saving

Sliding door panels work as space savers since they open sideways along the front of the wardrobe.

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This arrangement does not take up additional space in the room.

Con: Limited visibility

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The main drawback of a sliding wardrobe door is that one side of the cupboard is always covered, making it impossible to open and see the cupboard in its entirety.

Con: Need gentle handling

Sliding-door wardrobes should be handled gently and not subjected to rough use while opening or closing. Remember, rough use may damage the alignment and cause the shutter to slip off the track.

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For long-term durability, it is important to ensure good-quality hardware that is rust proof and ensures swift movement of the sliding shutters. Do make it a point to clean the tracks and lubricate the rollers regularly.

Tip: Avoid overstuffing the wardrobe, as this may cause fabric to get stuck between the sliding panels and block movement of the sliders.