Doors That Open in the Middle: Reasons to Consider Dutch Doors for Your Home

Doors That Open in the Middle
Design: Brooke Wagner Design / Photography: Ryan Garvin

‍Doors that open in the middle, also known as Dutch doors, have become increasingly popular in both modern and country decor settings.

With roots dating back to the 17th century, these doors are not a new concept, but homeowners who value casual style and functionality are embracing this trend once again.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history, functionality, design options, and benefits of doors that open in the middle, giving you all the information you need to consider incorporating them into your own home.

History of Dutch Doors

The history of Dutch doors traces back to the 17th century in the Netherlands.

Originally designed for practical purposes, these doors were commonly used in farmhouses to keep animals out while allowing fresh air to flow in.

Dutch doors soon made their way to the American colonies, where they became popular in the 18th century for their functionality and charming design.

Anatomy of a Dutch Door

Dutch doors are essentially a single door split in the middle, allowing the top half to open independently of the bottom half.

They are secured together with a latch that allows homeowners to keep the door as one when needed.

Dutch doors typically feature a standard door knob or lever on the bottom half and can house a deadbolt on the top half when used as an exterior door for added security.

1. Top Half

The top half of a Dutch door can be designed with or without window panes, depending on the desired level of privacy.

When the top half is open, it allows for fresh air, natural light, and easy communication with those outside, while the closed bottom half provides a barrier for pets and children.

2. Bottom Half

The bottom half of a Dutch door remains closed to keep pets, children, and unwanted creatures out.

It typically features a standard door knob or lever and can be locked for added security.

The bottom half can also be designed with a decorative panel to enhance the overall aesthetic of the door.

3. Latch

The latch is an essential component of a Dutch door, as it secures the top and bottom halves together when needed.

This allows the door to function as a standard single door. Many Dutch doors also have a slide bolt on the top half for additional security.

Design Options

There are numerous design options available for doors that open in the middle, making it easy to find a style that suits your home’s aesthetic.

Some popular design options include:

  1. Traditional: Traditional Dutch doors often feature a classic design with a paneled bottom half and window panes on the top half. This style complements a variety of home types, including colonial, farmhouse, and cottage-style homes.
  2. Modern: Modern Dutch doors are characterized by clean lines and minimalistic designs. They may feature a solid top half or large glass panes for a sleek, contemporary look.
  3. Custom: Custom Dutch doors allow you to create a truly unique design that reflects your personal style. With endless possibilities for materials, colors, and decorative elements, a custom Dutch door can become a statement piece in your home.

10 Benefits of Doors That Open in the Middle

Benefits of Doors That Open in the Middle
Images / Jackson Design & Remodeling

1. Add Character to Your Entry

Dutch doors instantly add charm and personality to your home’s entryway.

With their unique design and welcoming appearance, they create a friendly and inviting atmosphere that sets the tone for your home.

2. Let in Fresh Air and Natural Light

One of the primary benefits of doors that open in the middle is their ability to let in fresh air and natural light.

By opening the top half of the door, you can create a pleasant, airy atmosphere in your home while enjoying the benefits of sunlight.

3. Keep Pets and Children Safe

Dutch doors are an excellent solution for homeowners with pets or young children, as they provide a barrier that prevents them from escaping while still allowing fresh air and light to enter your home.

4. Easy Interaction with Delivery Personnel

Another practical benefit of doors that open in the middle is the ease of interaction with delivery personnel.

With the top half of the door open, you can greet and communicate with delivery drivers without awkwardly holding a door open or worrying about pets or children escaping.

5. Alternative Interior Door Option

Dutch doors can also be used as alternative interior doors for bedrooms, offices, or playrooms.

This allows for extra light and visibility while keeping pets or children out of certain areas.

Plus, it adds an interesting design element to your home’s interior.

6. Stylish Replacement for Baby Gates

Doors that open in the middle can serve as a chic and functional alternative to traditional baby gates.

Installing a Dutch door at the top of your stairs or in a hallway provides extra safety while enhancing your home’s aesthetics.

7. Privacy Options

Dutch doors offer a variety of privacy options, depending on the design of the top half.

Choosing a solid top half or one with window panes allows you to control the level of privacy when the door is closed.

8. Versatility in Design

With a wide range of design options available, doors that open in the middle can be easily incorporated into various home styles, including traditional, modern, and rustic settings.

9. Increased Home Value

Adding Dutch doors to your home can increase its value, as they are a unique and desirable feature for potential buyers.

Their charming appearance and practical benefits make them an attractive selling point.

10. Easy DIY Conversion

If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you can even convert an existing door into a Dutch door, following a simple tutorial like this one from HGTV.

Potential Drawbacks

While doors that open in the middle offer numerous benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider:

  1. Climate considerations: If you live in an area with a high number of insects or extreme weather conditions, exterior Dutch doors may not be the best option. In such cases, consider using them as interior doors instead.
  2. Cost: Dutch doors can be more expensive than traditional doors, especially if you opt for a custom design. However, the benefits and unique aesthetic may outweigh the additional cost for many homeowners.
  3. Maintenance: Doors that open in the middle may require extra maintenance, such as regular cleaning of the top half’s window panes or additional weatherstripping to ensure a tight seal when closed.


Doors that open in the middle, or Dutch doors, are a charming and functional addition to any home. With a rich history, versatile design options, and numerous practical benefits, they are definitely worth considering for your own home.

Whether you choose to use them as exterior or interior doors, their unique appearance and functionality are sure to enhance your living space, making it more comfortable, inviting, and stylish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like