Patio doors: 10 room-brightening designs for period homes

Adding patio doors can totally transform your home and lifestyle, allowing you to enjoy more natural light in rooms, make the most of the garden and even extend your living space

patio doors in a cotswold stone conservatory
(Image credit: Bronze Architectural Casements)

Patio doors have been an increasingly popular addition to all styles of home
over recent decades. Whether you’re looking for a way to tackle a dark kitchen
or want to gain better garden access from your main living area, patio doors flood the home with natural light while also offering unrestricted views. 

When pulled back, they can transform the garden into an outdoor dining area or expansion of the living space, providing you with some of the benefits of extending at a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, the doors may form part of a new extension, such as a family-friendly kitchen-diner. 

Read on to find out how to choose the perfect design for your home, then head to our bi-fold doors and sliding doors design gallery for more.

1. Oak framed French patio doors blend seamlessly into a period home

Wooden framed french doors with crittal style glazing

Finished with Tudor-inspired leaded glazing, these French patio doors cost from £1,080 at Clement.

(Image credit: Clement)

Retaining the natural colouring and patterns of wood adds a depth of character to patio doors in a traditional home. Here, the warm tones of the oak surrounds are combined with a steel inner frame for doors that look fabulous while being strong, secure and long lasting.

bi-fold patio doors on a conservatory extension

Bi-fold aluminium patio doors, from £1,200 per sash, Origin

(Image credit: Origin)

There has been a recent move away from ‘in-keeping’ designs for period homes, in favour of ‘barely there’ modern doors. The slimline frames and minimal sight-lines offer clear garden views and let in maximum light, without detracting from the house’s original style.

3. Combine of bi-fold patio doors and level flooring for the ultimate alfresco dining space

bi-fold doors in a conservatory in a period home

Prices start from £9,000 at David Salisbury

(Image credit: David Salisbury)

Not just the preserve of modern designs, bi-fold patio doors can also be made from timber in classic styles, for an elegant addition to a period home. The patio doors on this orangery fully open to create a seamless flow between the outside and in – perfect for giving a sense of dining al fresco.

4. Add a modern touch with industrial style aluminium patio doors

patio doors in a cotswold stone conservatory

Bronze French doors and screen, from £15,600, Architectural Bronze Casements

(Image credit: Bronze Architectural Casements)

With its rich patina, architectural bronze is a classic yet characterful material choice for patio doors, making an impressive entrance for a period home. Made from an alloy of copper, zinc and other metals, bronze is more flexible than many other metals, so can be easily curved to create unique and statement designs. These stunning doors cost £9,000 at Architectural Bronze Casements.

5. Bespoke designs mean that patio doors can be fitted in even the most unusual shaped rooms

bifold modern style french doors

Powder-coated aluminium Kustomfold French doors and three fixed frames, from £11,940, Klöeber

(Image credit: Kloeber)

Period Living April 2020 cover

(Image credit: Period Living)

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Period homes do not come in one size or shape, with slanting ceilings, unlevel walls and unusual shapes. Thankfully bespoke patio doors can easily overcome these challenges. 

It's also worth noting that adding patio doors to period homes is normally allowed under permitted development rights. However, all additions and alternations will need to comply with building regulations to ensure safety and energy efficiency, and a building notice may need to be submitted to your local authority. 

Discuss this with your installer. Listed homes will need listed building consent, and those in Conservation Areas may also need permission. Visit
for more in-depth guidance.

6. Throw back the patio doors for unrestricted garden access

bifold doors in a conservatory

Accoya bi-fold doors with ironmongery, from £8,500, The Sash Window Workshop

(Image credit: Sash Windows Workshop)

Modern and versatile, bi-fold patio doors are comprised of a series of panels that open, concertina-style, and stack at a right angle to the wall. The doors can be completely pushed back to provide unrestricted access to the garden, particularly when paired with a level threshold. They offer a large glazed surface area, and although this is split into several separate panels, it still lets in plenty of light.

7. Maxmise the light into your home with sliding patio doors

timber sliding patio doors

Bespoke sliding engineered timber patio doors in light oak stain, price on application, Timber Windows

(Image credit: Timber Windows)

With individual panels running along a track and opening to the side, sliding patio doors offer an unobstructed view of the garden. Unlike bi-folds they don’t protrude into the living space as the panels slide on top of each other. However, the doors cannot be fully pulled back for a clear opening unless you opt for a more complex, architecture-led design, where the panels slide into a pre-made pocket in the wall. 

8. Elegant and traditional, Crittal-style patio doors make a sophisticated statement

crittall style french doors

Steel Crittal-style  double patio doors with  Polyester powder coating,  £5,400, Clement

(Image credit: Clement)

As suggested by their name, French patio doors take their style from France, where they opened on to a balcony. Since they are only the width of two standard doors, French doors are great for smaller spaces, but still create unobstructed access when opened. Their traditional appearance is also in-keeping with many styles of period home.  

9. Make a statement inside and out with oak frame patio doors

oak bifold patio doors in conservatory

Bespoke oak patio doors, from £3,000, David Salisbury

(Image credit: David Salisbury)

You need to consider how the frames will look from both inside and outside. If you are seeking a traditional style, then solid wood is a natural choice. Oak is a particularly desirable material due to its inherent strength and beauty. However, some types of timber are prone to warping and will need regular maintenance to keep looking their best. Factory finishing, which involves treating the wood and spray-painting it with a microporous paint, can also significantly extend the lifespan of the doors.

10. Opt for Accoya patio doors for an environmentally friendly choice

accoya patio doors french doors

Accoya French patio doors start at £6,000 from Bath Bespoke

(Image credit: Bath Bespoke)

Combing hi-tech Accoya wood with a classic design, these patio doors perfectly complement the exposed stone of this home. An ideal material for patio doors, Accoya is treated softwood that  maintains the timber’s aesthetic and durability, yet does not swell or warp, regardless of changes in temperature and weather. The wood is sustainably sourced and fast growing, also making it an environmentally friendly choice.

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Holly Reaney
Holly is Sub-editor and Features Writer for Period Living. She is busy putting her stamp on a pre-furnished flat by making cushions and upcycling second-hand finds.