Modern Door Design - The Elements of Contemporary Design Styles (And Three Examples from PINKYS)

It's easy to find doors if you have a traditional interior design style.

Take the shabby chic approach as an example. This blend of cottage-like shabby chic furniture, vintage elements, and a soft neutral color palette is easy to match with almost any door - it's one of the most versatile design styles available.

But it isn't modern.

And you are.

You look to modern interior design styles - minimalism, industrialism, and more - to influence the look and feel of your home. But all of those modern elements mean little if you don't have the doors to match your contemporary interiors. Think big wooden doors contrasted against minimalistic spaces, and you get the idea.

PINKYS Iron Doors Air 4 Dutch Door Single Flat for Entryway

So, you need to get away from traditional design philosophies when it comes to your new door. That's where this article helps - you'll discover the elements that go into the designs of modern doors, as well as discover several from the PINKYS range that offer contemporary visual interest in various styles.

What Makes a Modern Door?

First, a note - "modern" can mean different things to different people.

For instance, you could follow a fairly traditional style interior design philosophy (wooden furniture, a neutral color scheme, and even touches of your own personal style) and still introduce elements of modernism to bring those older ideas up to date. We see this a lot in Scandinavian design - Scandinavian interiors often make use of flat-packed wooden furniture that's designed to both contrast and complement more modern design elements.

Still, even with "modern" covering a spectrum of design philosophies, from eclectic style to mid-century modern, you'll typically find that a modern door's design carries at least some of the following elements.

They Match Contemporary Interior Design Styles

This is the big one, and it's influenced as much by the approach your interior designers take as it is the door itself - a modern door has to match your interior design style.

What does that mean?

Let's say you have an eclectic interior design. Bold patterns are all over your home. You're mixing vintage furniture with urban modern, creating a near-patchwork of design philosophies that you bring together to form something unique. That could be considered modern (it's certainly unlike what you'll see in most homes), and the door needs to match that look.

The same applies if you have a lot of organic elements in your home - think exposed beams and similar natural materials. In this case, modernism can be achieved by contrasting your door design against the interior. For instance, an iron door that contains a lot of glass (we'll get to the lighting factor soon) can make these organic features seem light and airy - far removed from the "coziness" and cottage vibe with which they're traditionally associated.

Then, there are the types of interior design that are more often associated with modern homes. Minimalism - the practice of only having what you need in your home - is defeated by a door that's so luxurious, ornate, or grand that it heavily contrasts the look you're trying to achieve, for instance.

The point is simple - harmony is key to the modern design movement. Any door you install, be it interior or exterior, must encourage flow. Far from being a barrier between one room and another (or your home and the outside world), it must flow between the two in concert with the design elements around it to be considered modern.

Clean Lines and Geometric Organic Shapes

Let's look at one of the interior design styles that is more closely associated with modernism - clean (sometimes bold) lines.

This concept of using clean lines to create shapes is closely attached to modernism. For instance, a traditional door may use heavy scrollwork, creating a more ornate appearance that relies on curvature and intricacy in design. Beautiful. But not modern, at least to current sensibilities.

But straight lines strip away all of that extra work, leaving you with squares and rectangles that are minimalistic in their approach, making them perfect for the modern home. It works in a similar way to the punk revolution of the 1970s or the grunge era of music in the 1990s - stripping away the excess to create modern pieces that are still attractive but eliminate all of the "noise" that some may see as unnecessary.

Clean and soft lines are streamlined. They speak to a design philosophy that lacks clutter - perfect for the modern approach.

Art Deco Style With a Modern Twist

When we spoke of how modern interior design styles can mean different things to different people, this is what we meant. While some complement a minimalistic approach with doors that feature clean lines and little in the way of added decor, others prefer to mix older design philosophies with modern ideas, creating a timeless approach to design that their door can complement.

Take Art Deco as an example.

Art Deco originated in France in the 1910s and became huge in the United States during the 1930s. Its name indicated modernity (it was even called "style moderne" in almost any French country). You'll see it in action when looking at structures like the Chrysler building - all curves and rich jewel tones that eschewed the traditions of the time.

And yet, that Art Deco style that was once seen as so modern is somewhat traditional in the 21st century. But you see elements of what goes into modern door design in Art Deco, particularly in the bold geometric shapes, such as triangles, often used in the style. It's because of this use of geometric patterns that modern door designs often work well with Art Deco - the shapes may be different, but the philosophy of using bold lines is the same.

Inspired by Industrial Style

The industrial style of interior design is interesting in that it comes from repurposing factories in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. It had its heyday in the 1960s, and yet it inspired current door design for a simple reason:

It was all about stripping back.

Think of what industrial design represents. Exposed pipes, metalwork, and metallic accents. Raw wood. It's a transitional style - halfway between being completely raw and somewhat cozy - that was minimalistic before minimalism truly existed. And when taken in the context of the musical analogy discussed earlier (the punk movement, though not directly inspired by industrial design, came off the back of it), you see how industrialism inspired modern doors.

The minimalism often seen in these doors showcases the industrial style as an obvious inspiration.

But you'll also see it in the heavy use of metal in contemporary doors. Where wood is seen as a traditional design style, metal has a more modern feel that you could argue is drawn from the industrial style that made exposed metal a feature rather than something that needed to be covered up.

Contemporary Colors

Color has a massive influence on the mood you create with your interior design.

Take rich colors, for instance. You see those in the Art Deco style discussed earlier, and they often work to create a cozy atmosphere. Bold colors are different - they stand out and transform anything in which they're used into a focal point of a room - ideal for an eclectic design in which aesthetical pleasantness comes from the contrasts between colors.

You see the same effect of colors in modern doors. But rather than using bright colors to accent a door, contemporary designers tend to focus on dark shades that are more accent colors than the main point of focus for the door.

Again, you can see this in many of PINKYS' designs, especially in its Air range of doors. They typically feature black metal (be it iron or steel) that is both a striking color and neutral enough to subdue the more extravagant colors you have elsewhere in your home. But it's also slick. Elegant. Perfect for complementing the minimalistic feel of modern design rather than standing out against it.

It's about achieving balance through contrast.

In these cases, the black lines in a PINKYS door may contrast perfectly with the lighter colors used in your interior. But despite being on the opposite end of the color spectrum, the neutrality of black helps to create the cohesiveness discussed earlier as being imperative to modern interior design styles.

Inviting Natural Light into Your Home

What comes to mind when you think of the word "modern" in the context of home design?

Open and light-filled spaces, right? For instance, you may imagine a tasteful dining room, with a simple table and basic wooden chairs, that comes to life when natural light is allowed to stream through it. You think of an open space with a view of the garden thanks to large windows.

That cannot be achieved with traditional door design.

Older doors are more about function than design inspiration. Hence, they typically lack glass panes (or may feature very small panes that allow little light through), instead serving as barriers that block one room from another.

With modern doors, the opposite approach is often taken - they make heavy use of glass to encourage natural light to flow through your home.

In the above dining room example, a large patio door leading out onto a garden will likely contain more glass than any other material. The door invites light in. And when complemented with interior doors that feature a similarly glass-centric design, light from outside can flow through the home through exterior doors and then through the interior ones, too.

Again, you're creating cohesiveness and flow.

Modern doors are no longer barriers between spaces but rather are more inviting both to light and people. Think of it as transitional interior design - each room flows from (and into) the next with the aid of the natural light allowed into the space by the use of glass in modern doors.

Appropriate Door Locksets and Handles

Many overlook the importance of their lock and handlesets when choosing a modern door.

So, allow us to give you an example of how the wrong locksets can make a door seem less modern than it is. Imagine that you have a door featuring sleek black metal lines and large glass panes. Modernity comes from the combination of lines and geometric shapes, aided by the glass that allows natural light to flow.

But then, you pair that door with a rim door knob.

For those who don't know, rim door knobs feature irregular rounded shapes traditionally seen in ornate doors and, in some cases, Mediterranean doors. They're often accent pieces to doors that feature intricate scrollwork or luxurious design elements - both enemies of modern design.

By creating that combination, you don't get the ultimate mix between the old and the new - you get a mismatch between handle and door design, creating something that looks out of place because it's somewhat antiquated when contrasted with the sleek lines of the door.

Now, you see why locks and handlesets play such a crucial role in contemporary door design.

Modern doors often use lever handles because they mesh well with the straight lines used in the door itself. That's not to say you can't have a knob - you can - but it needs to be minimalistic enough to match the door. Think of a perfectly round spherical knob that doesn't stand out compared to the odd shape of a rim knob, and you get the idea.

Differing Hinge Designs

Sometimes, modernity comes not from the design elements of the door but from the way it works.

Thus, different hinge designs.

Traditional hinges are side-mounted, and they're likely the types with which you're familiar. You know the ones - a pair of hinges on either the right or left side of the door frame that allow the door to swing open and closed. And in truth, you'll still see this approach to hinges taken in contemporary door design. Most of PINKYS range of doors use them, for instance.

However, there are other approaches that are becoming more popular in modern design.

Take pivot doors, for instance. These interesting doors feature hinges placed on rails above the doors, creating a vertical axis on which the door swings open while leaving the sides of the frame free. The result varies depending on the placement and nature of the hinges - some are still placed near one side of the door to create the regular swing, whereas other pivot hinges can go in the center to essentially create a double door when rotated.

Sliding doors also offer a twist on the old hinge mechanisms because hinges (at least in the traditional sense) aren't involved.

With a sliding door, the door runs on a track, so the door slides open from one side to the other. Ideal for opening up space (the door doesn't have to open into the room), making them perfect for a contemporary style that leverages minimalism to create open and airy rooms.

Not all modern doors use these alternative hinge designs. But those that offer interesting twists on door design that alter how you use the door change how it appears in the context of your room.

Fusing the Old With the New

We touched on how some contemporary door design fuses the old with the new in the section about Art Deco. In that case, the geometric shapes in Art Deco, particularly triangles, have an influence on the straight lines seen in modern doors, even if those lines aren't triangular themselves.

However, there are other ways that older door designs can inspire modern doors.

For instance, let's take a little trip into the farmhouse style. Now, farmhouses typically have the cottagey and cozy look that is so closely linked to rustic design - beautiful in its own way, but not necessarily modern. But take a trip outside the farmhouse and toward the barnyard, and you may see an old style of door that has been brought up to date with modern design - the Dutch door.

Dutch doors are fascinating.

In many aspects, they work like regular doors. They have hinges on the side, for instance, allowing for an inswing or an outswing. But where Dutch doors differ is in the split that runs horizontally through the center. That split allows you to open the top half independently of the bottom (and vice-versa), essentially giving you two small doors that can also be opened together.

In the barnyard, these doors were useful as a way for farmers to check in on their livestock without giving the animals a chance to escape. Opening the top door gives a view of the barn, with the bottom door staying closed so the rabble of animals doesn't rush out and potentially trample the farmer.

Big Black Iron Entry Doors PINKYS Iron Doors

For modern interior design, Dutch doors can serve a similar practical purpose in terms of keeping pets inside your home. But they also create design possibilities in terms of creating the open and airy spaces seen in contemporary interior design, e.g., opening the top half to allow light and air to flow while keeping the bottom closed to serve as a barrier.

Perhaps you can think of this as the modern farmhouse style - a blending of old and new to create something modern.

A High Level of Energy Efficiency

Finally, we come to the more practical aspect of door design - helping you to save energy.

In the quest to turn doors into art pieces that complement your contemporary interior design styles, it's often easy to forget about the issue that using glass panes in a door can cause. Glass often serves as the bridge that allows heat to escape from your home during winter.

The Department of Energy throws a stark light on this issue. It points out that about 30% of the heat your home loses escapes through windows and glass - not ideal, given that modern doors often make heavy use of glass to allow light to stream into interior spaces.

So, how do door manufacturers overcome this energy efficiency issue?

It depends on the manufacturer. Some use double glazing - essentially two glass panels with an air cavity between them - to create a better barrier between your home and the world outside. The air between the glass panels serves as an insulator, heating up to the same temperature as you have inside your home, thus reducing the amount of warm air that would otherwise be drawn toward the cooler air outside.

Unfortunately, double glazing creates thicker glass panels, forcing the thickness of the associated door to increase as well - not ideal for the minimalistic look of modern doors that are intended to be sleek.

As such, a better solution is to use Low-E glass panes, as PINKYS does. This type of glass has a thin film placed on either side, which serves as a barrier in lieu of the air cavity seen in double glazing, thus retaining heat (or keeping warm air out, in the case of summer) in your home.

A Selection of PINKYS Doors - Creating a Cohesive Exterior or Interior Design Style

As we said at the top of the article, what counts as "modern" in design is as influenced by your personal style as much as the concepts that are currently popular. Yes, lines, geometric shapes, and black (or neutral) coloring are considered modern. But there is room for maneuver, particularly if you're trying to meld contemporary with classical to create a modern twist on more traditional interior design styles.

Still, it always helps to have examples. The following doors (all from the PINKYS range) showcase at least some of the modern design elements discussed above.

The Air Range

Both the Air 4 and Air 5 ranges express modernity in its purest form - simple, sleek, and elegant.

Though there are many variations on our Air designs (including flat doors, arched designs, and even bi-fold air doors), they all share the same design features. Simple straight lines form from the steel or iron frames, which also help to create the geometric shapes - typically rectangles - seen in modern door design.

Those lines act as framing devices for the glass panes, which are the highlight of the Air range. All made using Low-E glass, these panes allow light to stream through, opening up your interior spaces while also offering gorgeous views of your garden and frontage, at least in the case of our exterior doors. Combine that with our modernistic locksets (some made specifically for our Air doors), and you get doors that gather more inspiration from the concepts of minimalism that are so popular in modern design than you'll see in other doors.

The PINKYS Pivot Door Range

Though both of PINKYS pivot doors are technically part of the Air range (they share the same design features in terms of lines and glass panes), they express a different type of modernity thanks to their unique hinges.

As discussed earlier, the hinges for these doors are placed on special supporting rails at the top and bottom. This allows them to open more easily and gives them the versatility to serve as exterior patio doors, French doors, or even internal room dividers.

Its contemporary door design at its best - simple and minimalistic, though still eminently practical. Perfect for when you want to create a completely modern look without trying to fuse it with more classical interior design features.

The PINKYS Dutch Door Range

Where PINKYS pivot doors are ultra-modern, our Dutch doors are inspired by classic farmyard design meshed with the contemporary style of our Air Range.

We've taken several approaches to our Dutch doors that make them suitable for different settings. That starts with the simple Single Flat - a door that looks like a traditional door, only inspired by our Air design and capable of opening in halves. Moving onto our arched variants of the Dutch door, you get curvature that meshes well with the Art Deco style, in addition to making use of a form of design that has been popular since the Roman era.

For those seeking grandeur in their modernity, we also offer double Dutch doors and Dutch doors with sidelights attached. In the case of the latter, the sidelights act almost as a frame for the door, nearly creating a picture box effect when you open the top half.

Plenty of variation.

Many opportunities for you to implement Dutch doors into your home's modern aesthetic.

Shop PINKYS - Modern Design Inspired by California

Iron, steel, and glass.

Taken individually, these are all materials that have existed for centuries and have, in many cases, been used in door designs that are ornate rather than modern. But with a sprinkling of PINKYS magic, each has been turned into a material that can perfectly complement the modern design aesthetic.

PINKYS Iron Doors Home Pictured with Exterior Steel Doors and Windows

Nowhere is that more evident than in our Air range, which features bold lines and geometric shapes while inviting light in to open up your interior spaces. They're minimalistic. Modernistic. And they're ideal for a contemporary home as they're inspired by the subtle and beautiful sunsets our founders enjoyed when growing up in California.

Of course, the Air range is far from the only modern doors that PINKYS offers. We provide wine cellar doors, pantry doors, and even our unique take on classic ornate designs that breathe contemporary air into classical designs. You can find them all, along with hardware designed to accentuate the contemporary leanings on our doors, online at the PINKYS website.

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