Which Way Should A Door Open Into A Room? (Explained + Picture Guide)

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Last updated on March 25th, 2022 at 12:31 pm

Which Direction Interior Doors Should Open & Why

Installing new doors and wondering which way a door should open into a room? Well, look no further because I have your answer!

Doors should swing open into a room in the direction that is most frequently walked and rest against a wall that is perpendicular to the door for the most convenience. For example, when walking down a hallway with a door on the left, the door should swing left into the room and lean against the perpendicular wall.

Alright, now that we’ve got that covered, let’s dive into the general door swing rules of thumb so you can make sure your doors are opening the correct way into your room.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: Interior Door Swing Direction Rules Of Thumb

  1. Swing Into A Room Whenever Possible
  2. Swing Toward Whichever Direction Is Entered Most Frequently
  3. Swing Away From Light Switches
  4. Other FAQs About Interior Door Swing Direction
  5. Final Thoughts
  6. Related Door Articles

Rule One: Swing Into A Room Whenever Possible

The first rule of thumb in choosing the door swing direction is to swing into a room whenever possible.

There are a few reasons why you would want your door to swing into a room:

  1. Easier to walk into a room without needing to stop and move backwards to open the door
  2. Easier to walk out of the room as well because the door can be shut behind you while you are walking forward
  3. Keeps the door out of the way because it will be resting against a wall inside the room

The reality is that the most natural way to enter a room is with a door swing inward.

An inward swing lets me keep walking while I’m opening the door fully.

Of course, that means that when you exit the room, the door will be swinging outward (according to your new perspective), and therefore, not the “most natural way”.

That’s still okay because oftentimes, the door is left open and isn’t shut until we exit the room (which makes an inward swinging door much easier to close).

Or we just leave the door open, and it is out of the way inside the room until we want to close it.

An inward swing lets me keep walking while I’m leaving the room and closing the door.

Outside of just swinging into a room, there are a couple of other rules you will want to follow to have the most user-friendly door swing.



Rule Two: Swing Toward Whichever Direction Is Entered Most Frequently

The next rule of thumb in choosing the door swing direction is to have the door swing in whichever direction is entered most frequently.

There are a few reasons why you would want your door to swing in the direction most frequently walked:

  1. You want the door to open the easiest in the direction that you walk the most frequently
  2. It saves steps because the door will rest against the wall you’re already walking by
  3. If it opens the opposite direction, you’ll be forced to walk farther to open the door all the way
  4. Whenever possible, have a door swing toward a perpendicular wall that’s right next to it

In general, whenever you can make your movement flow more easily and reduce the number of steps it takes to open the door, that’s the preferable way for a door to swing open.

For example, if you are walking down a hallway to a bedroom that’s located on the left, your most natural flow into the room is to open the door toward the perpendicular wall on the left.

Or vice versa. If you are walking down a hallway to a bedroom or bathroom that’s located on the right, your most natural flow into the room is to open the door toward the perpendicular wall on the right.

Having the door rest on a perpendicular wall is key. This requires the shortest distance for a person to need to reach to open or close a door and takes up the least amount of space into a room.

That means even if you walk into the door from the left, but the perpendicular wall is on the right, you want the door to swing to the right to be the most functional.

Unfortunately, I understand the annoyance that will occur if you do not follow this rule of thumb.

In our home, we walk down the hallway to our master bedroom that’s located on the left.

Instead of having the door open to the left and resting against the perpendicular wall located next to it, we chose to have our door swing open to the right because we originally planned to mount a TV on the vacant wall where the door would have rested.

Lo and behold, we never mounted a TV on the wall, and now every time I walk into our bedroom, I get frustrated because our door gets left half open and has a larger swing into the room than necessary. (Which matters significantly since our room is on the smaller side.)

See how much farther the door must swing in order to be open? And see how much more it intrudes into the room?

Looking back, we could have had the door swing the proper way and still had a TV mounted on the wall (if we cheated it over from the center), but I didn’t think it would make that big of a difference.

Lesson learned.

Having the door swing toward the perpendicular wall would have taken up less space and been easier to open and close the door.

To make sure you don’t fall into this same fate, always have your door open toward the closest perpendicular wall whenever possible.

It saves the most amount of space and makes the door the most functional.

Those two rules are the most important, however, there is one more rule you need to take into consideration if you did a full remodel (as we did).

Rule Three: Swing Away From Light Switches

The final rule of thumb in choosing the door swing direction is to have the door swing away from the light switches.

The main reasons why you would want your door to in the direction most frequently walked is because:

  1. When opening a door, the light switch should be next to the door (on the wall that the door is on)
  2. Otherwise, the door will hide the light switch (not user-friendly or convenient at all)

This might seem like common sense, but if you’re doing a full home renovation and you don’t plan the electrical work out to best suit the door swing, you are going to run into problems.

For our situation, we moved all of the electrical around in this room. So we were fully capable of having the door swing correctly and having the light switches on the correct side.

We just, unfortunately, chose the little bit less convenient way. If you follow this guide, though, you will avoid this door swing problem completely!

Other FAQs About Interior Door Swing Direction

Here are some other frequently asked questions about door swing direction to help you avoid regret in the future!

Can Interior Doors Open Outwards?

Interior doors can open outwards, however, it is not the most functional way for a door to open. Whenever the outward swinging door is opened, you will be forced to stop and step back to open the door fully. Additionally, you will have to walk out of the room to reach the door handle and back up to shut it.

Why Do Doors Always Open Into A Room?

Doors open into a room because it is easier to walk into a room without needing to stop and move backward to open the door, and it is easier to walk out of the room because the door can be shut behind you while you are walking forward. The door is also out of the way resting against a wall inside the room.

Should A Door Open Against A Wall?

Doors should open against a perpendicular wall whenever possible because it keeps the door out of the way, minimizes the space that the swing takes up into the room, and is the shortest distance to open a door fully while walking into a room.

Should A Door Open Left Or Right?

Doors should open toward the left when you most frequently walked toward it from the left. Doors should open toward the right when you most frequently walk toward it from the right. For example, if a door is down a hallway on the right, then the door should open toward the right for the most functionality.

Final Thoughts On Which Way Doors Should Open

There you have it!

If you follow these three rules of thumb, you won’t have any problems with your door swing direction.

For the most part, we thought these steps through, but looking back, there are a few things I would have done differently to make this home function even better.

Hopefully, this guide will save you a few heartaches during your remodel!

Catch you in my next post!

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Which Way Should A Door Open Into A Room? (Explained + Picture Guide)

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