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When we tell you to think of patio doors, you have the image of sliding glass doors in your mind, right?

But that is by far not all there is in terms of patio door design, and those alternatives to glass sliding doors are worth an in-depth look or two.

If you are planning on re-modelling your home and installing new patio doors, we are here to help you choose a more exciting alternative.

So, what are your options? Read on to find out!

Shoji Sliding Doors

Shoji Sliding Door as Sliding Glass Door Alternative
Photo: DesignMag

Sticking with the general idea of a sliding door, which still is the most favoured option when it comes to patio doors, Shoji sliding doors offer you a new look without having to adapt to new ways of operating the door(s).

Shoji sliding doors, as their name suggests, come from Japanese architecture and were originally created by sticking translucent paper onto a bamboo door framework.

Modern (western) adaptions of this design usually feature a wooden framework set with either frosted glass panes or double glass panes that have a sheet of paper between the two plates.

This type of patio door is particularly useful in either a very sunny and hot environment (they provide shade without the need for curtains or blinds), or in crowded places where privacy might be a concern.

Pivot Doors

A Series of Pivot Doors as Alternative to Sliding Glass Door
Photo: Pinterest

Pivot doors still are not particularly common patio door alternatives, but they do gain more and more traction.

These doors rotate at a fixed point (usually in the middle, but there are other versions available as well) and only need part of the door’s width of open swing space. Therefore, they are a great alternative when there is too little room inside our outside to install a full swinging door.

Additionally, you can further minimise the needed swing space by installing a series of smaller pivot doors instead of a single large one.

French Doors

Inward Opening French Doors as Sliding Glass Door Alternative
Photo: Medium

French doors are for many people the most coveted type of patio doors.

And rightly so, if you ask us.

There is a simple, understated, and very classic style innate in French doors that just looks great in nearly all settings and house designs.

French doors basically are two (glass) doors set next to each other inside one single frame that open by swinging in or out from the middle.

Or, put differently, French doors are oversized, two-panelled windows with a lot of attitude.

Center Swing Patio Doors

Center Swing Patio Door as Sliding Glass Door Alternative
Photo: Brennan Enterprises, Inc.

Center swing doors are similar to French doors in most aspects.

Their one big distinguishing feature is the fact that out of the two sides of the door, one stays fixed closed while the other can be opened.

Since they are so similar to French doors, they are oftentimes considered to be the slightly cheaper alternative to the beloved door design.

Folding/Accordion Doors

Folding or Accordion Glass Doors as Alternative for Sliding Doors
Photo: Muamuadolls

Most of us remember folding doors as those hideous things our parents or grandparents used to hide ugly appliances behind.

Forget all about that mental image now!

Glass folding, or accordion, doors are a true design beauty and they have a unique advantage over (nearly) all other types of patio doors.

This advantage is the simple fact that you can fully push them to the sides of the frame, and thus create a truly open space between your indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Folding doors are particularly well-suited for large fronts opening out to the patio, but there are also smaller, double-door sized versions that look just as cool.

Glass Roll-Up Door

Glass Roll-Up Door Used as Alternative to Glass Sliding Door
Photo: BillieLourd

The roll-up patio door is somewhat of an acquired taste and certainly is not for everybody.

Broadly speaking, this kind of door is nothing but a typical garage door, but done in glass instead of plastic, metal, or wood.

Sounds strange? Yes.

But it really isn’t. In truth, the glass roll-up door is one of the most stylish sliding glass door alternatives you can currently lay your hands on.

They look best in very modern, typically minimalist home designs, and we would suggest considering this alternative only when you have a suitably big front to cover to make the unique design really shine.

Dutch Doors

Dutch Door Leading out to the Porch as Glass Door Alternative
Photo: HomeOne

Dutch doors probably do not feature in your mental catalogue of patio door alternatives, if you are familiar with the concept at all.

Dutch doors basically are doors that are split in the middle, where the upper part can be opened separately from the bottom.

Usually, Dutch doors come as a single door size, making them a great alternative for smaller side doors leading out to the garden. But there are also French door variations that come with a Dutch door design, and those are great alternatives to patio doors.

These doors are especially well-suited for families with toddlers, or if you have one or more pets that should be kept inside, and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to have open (half) doors leading to your patio.

Barn Door

Barn Doors Used as Glass Sliding Door Alternative
Photo: HouseSite

And yet another door option that you probably would not consider as glass sliding door alternative, if not prompted.

Barn doors do experience a new revival these days, but they are mostly used indoors as fun alternatives to bathroom or closet doors, for example.

Since they are so popular these days, why not consider using them in their originally intended way again as well?

Yes, the downside is that you will miss out on natural light coming into your house, but depending on where in the house you make use of them, this might not be a problem at all (think bedrooms or movie rooms for example!).

Which glass sliding door alternative do you like best? And if you have a different one in your home, tell us all about it! !