14 sliding door ideas – exterior glass doors for patios and clever indoor designs

The best sliding door ideas will perfectly connect a patio or extension. While interior barn-style doors and more clever designs can conceal closets or divide rooms naturally.

External sliding doors out onto patio from open dining room spac
(Image credit: IQ Glass)

Sliding door ideas come with a multitude of benefits including a streamlined look and seamless fitting, whether used inside or out.

Exterior glass sliding doors create a stunning view from an open plan space, helping to connect the inside and out, be that part of an extension or not. 

While internal sliding doors are readily available in wood, metal and glass too, used to cleverly conceal closets, divide rooms (less harshly that a wall would) and more for modern living.

Are sliding doors a good idea?

It depends on the project, and whether you are considering them as external or internal types of doors

To create a stylish opening onto a patio, Shannon Normoyle of IQ Glass says 'Sliding glass doors are extremely versatile systems that can be used as patio doors, for roof terraces or in a modern Juliet balcony design. 

Sliding doors tend to have slimmer frames, especially when closed as you don’t get the chunky meeting style. Our slim sliding doors have sight lines as minimal as 20mm, offering uninterrupted views and allowing in a vast amount of natural light, even when closed.'

Patio sliding door ideas

1. Nod to indoor outdoor living

Exterior glass sliding doors

(Image credit: IQ Glass x Ciel Interior Design)

'When creating an indoor-outdoor living space, the threshold details are an important consideration. Although there are bi-fold doors with a flush threshold, IQ has sliding glass doors that are certified for barrier free access. How important this is will depend on the homeowners and project requirements.' Adds Normoyle.

2. Complement a home with contemporary glass doors

Clear modern sliding doors on period extension

(Image credit: IQ Glass)

If you live in a historic home, it doesn't mean you should shy away from minimal, modern glass door designs for the patio. If anything they will help enhance the architecture and style of your property, letting more light in and creating a view from the inside also.

3. Frame your patio

External sliding doors out onto patio from open dining room spac

(Image credit: IQ Glass)

Choosing slim frames that are pocket sliding will add an extra design accent to both your indoor area and patio space. It's a simple opening that's super effective in bringing a little of that outdoor splendour inside.

4. Create a seamless corner

IDSystems sliding doors

Sliding doors by IDSystems

(Image credit: IDSystems)

Sliding doors are really flexible in design. Installing them on a corner can still give you optimal performance and an intriguing finish that will complete a modern extension, making it feel fully connected to the patio space.

5. Create a fluid transition with flooring

Pilkington Glass Suncool Range

(Image credit: Pilkington Glass)

If your priority is to maximise space and create a fluid connection between your indoor and outdoor living area, then sliding doors will be your best bet. Using the same flooring indoors and out will enhance the unifying effect. 

The sliding doors in this indoor-outdoor living space are from the Pilkington Suncool Range – they are not only unobtrusive and versatile design-wise, but will keep your home cool, making them especially useful for South-facing rooms.

6. Make the most of a small space

Maxlight sliding doors

(Image credit: Maxlight)

Homes with a difficult or awkward access to a small rear garden will benefit from a sliding door solution. This corner-access garden has been opened up with chic, industrial-style sliding doors by Maxlight which makes the most of otherwise lost space.

7. Create unrestricted views

Modern extension with large sliding doors leading onto levelled patio space

(Image credit: IQ Glass)

Enhance tall sliding doors furthermore with surrounding turn windows to create a bigger view from inside and out of the house. The slim frame refines this look giving an architectural edge to the home.

8. Match your frame color inside

White patio sliding doors from modern kitchen diner area

(Image credit: Genesis)

For a seamless transition, match the color of your glass door frames with the walls of the room they are in. White on white adds fresh aspect and enhances the natural light.

9. Go floor-to-ceiling for an ultra-modern design 

Black-and-white pool house by IQ Glass

(Image credit: IQ Glass)

In a large home with an ultra-contemporary design, bi-fold doors may look a little busy – if the space permits, why not go transform a whole wall into a sliding door, creating a completely open-plan look?

This stunning minimalist, monochromatic design is by IQ Glass.

Internal sliding door ideas 

Our homes and rooms now need to work overtime, segmenting into spaces fit for work, sleep, exercise and entertainment. Whether it's to conceal a closet area or feel more connected to another part of the home, internal sliding doors can help add functionality and style to your space.

'Open plan living was at the forefront of architectural home design for decades, but over the last few years we’ve seen a huge rise in demand for ‘broken plan’ living. Using internal glass doors are an excellent way to achieve this as the spaces can be separated when they need to be, but can also be opened up to create a interior space with an open plan feel.' Adds Normoyle.

10. Help light travel through

Internal glass sliding pocket door

(Image credit: IQ Glass)

Keeping your home bright throughout is a must, and you can find internal sliding doors that let natural light come through. 'Even when closed , internal glass doors allow natural light to flow through the home, preventing any spaces from becoming dark and dull. There are a range of glazing options, such as sandblasting, that give spaces privacy without completely blocking the light.' Adds Normoyle.

11. Imitate a barn door

Sliding wood painted bar door for bedroom

(Image credit: Wayfair)

This barn door from Wayfair creates cozy vibes all with plenty of functionality too. Ideal to turn that open spare room into a guest bedroom with the privacy it deserves also.

12. Double sliding doors

White metal sliding bar door looking onto dining room with frame

(Image credit: Wayfair)

For more of a grand opening, perfect to frame a dining room, consider double sliding internal doors that you can pull apart in unison with a little drama. These white metal sliding door are from Wayfair.

13. Frosted closet sliding doors

Brushed Nickel Aluminum Frame Mystique Glass Interior Sliding Door over closet in bedroom with polished hardwood floors

(Image credit: Home depot x Contractors Wardrobe)

Cover up your closet with an aluminum frame frosted glass sliding door like this design from Home Depot. Stylish and non-invasive, this would work really well to separate a walk-in too.

14. Create a mirror image

Mirrored sliding closet door with white frame in blue painted bedroom

(Image credit: Home Depot)

Choose mirrored glass sliding doors to cover up a closet and enhance a small space all at the same time.

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Former Deputy Editor

I'm Cam, the former deputy editor of Real Homes who worked on the site from 2020 to 2023. As a renter myself, sharing a home with two friends (and my cat) in London, I know all too well the challenges that this can pose when it comes to creating your perfect setup. As someone who has always loved everything interior design-related, I cannot rest until a home feels right and I am really passionate about helping others get there too, no matter what their living situation, style, or budget may be. It’s not always the easiest to figure out, but the journey is fun and the results are so worth it.

After interior design, travel, art, and photography are my next big passions. When I’m not writing or editing homes content, I’m usually tapping into other creative outlets, exploring galleries in London or further afield, taking photos, scribbling, or drawing!