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Internal Doors: How to Choose

Homebase interior door in dark blue bedroom
(Image credit: Homebase)

Essential to get right early on in any project, there is much to consider when choosing internal doors. Traditionally cost, size and material were the main drivers behind choosing the right internal doors for your home. However, the way we design and interact with our homes has changed and suppliers have taken note and upped their game.

Developments in internal door functionality and finish means more considerations for homeowners to make before they purchase. No longer just practical products to make up the fabric of the house, selecting the right interior door for the design scheme, be it period-style or über-contemporary, can make or break a house.

What’s more, the decision as to whether to buy your internal doors on a door-only basis or as a complete doorset, complete with ironmongery in place, can hugely impact the flow of your home.

Open plan living, or even broken plan arrangements, are increasingly popular for ground floor living, but internal doors are still a must for other areas of the home and getting them right can make or break this design process.

Timber door in period home

Matching the internal doors to the style of house can act as the finishing touch to any project. (Image credit: Dulux)

What Are the Different Types of Internal Doors?

When shopping for internal doors there are three key types: solid wood, engineered wood core and a hollow two-skin door. The quality between all three varies, and therefore the price, so knowing what you’re after is a great asset here when buying.

The general rule of thumb with internal doors is the lighter the doors, the cheaper the price, but here’s a little more information to decide which is best for you and your budget:

Just like it says on the tin, the sections of solid wood core internal doors are made from a single piece of wood.

  • Generally bespoke or purpose-made
  • Traditional method, so great for authentic renovation projects
  • Prone to warping or cracking over time
  • Typically not a classified fire door, but can have a veneer added to withstand fires for longer

Partially glazed internal door in hallway

The Knightbridge internal door from the Posh Door Company is primed with a double coat, ready for a final finish. This design features two panels which are constructed with a solid core and black. (Image credit: Posh Door Company)

The core of these internal doors is often a honeycomb or lattice of corrugated cardboard, polystyrene foam, or thin wooden slats. The front and back of the doors are moulded MDF called ‘skins’

  • Have air spaces within the core
  • Less robust
  • Lighter in weight
  • Cheaper
  • Don’t expand or contract
  • The MDF provides a perfectly glossy finish, something solid timber cannot do

Blue interior door in hallway

This bold blue door is from JBKind. (Image credit: JBKind)

Although these doors are solid, each component is not made up of just timber. A more modern method, multiple layers of timber are layered in different directions glued together for extra strength.

  • The best value for money
  • Less likely to twist or change shape than standard wood throughout the year
  • Provide better sound and thermal insulation

Contemporary timber interior door

Urban Front’s Raw internal door has a stabilising core and can be finished in this characterful horizontal-grain finish. (Image credit: Urban Front)

How Much Do Internal Doors Cost?

The price of internal doors varies greatly depending on three key factors: material, construction quality, and whether you’re buying a single door or a doorset.

  • When buying on a door-only basis, expect to pay £50-£200 per door — budgeting a further £30-£40 per door for handles, latch and hinges.
  • For doorsets, to show how greatly prices can vary, companies such as JELD-WEN offer sets ranging between £90-£300, while the likes of Urban Front advertise doorsets starting at £1,200.

It is tempting in today’s world of online shopping and easy, fuss-free delivery to buy all furnishings online and while internal door suppliers often have great online brochures and beautiful inspirational imagery, it’s very important to view the doors in person before purchasing.

Generally it is best to be cautious in cases like this as although great resources of inspiration and interior ideas, online product imagery can be deceptive, especially when the doors are on the cheaper side.

If you do end up sourcing your doors online, it is very important to inspect the doors immediately on delivery.

Homebase interior door in dark blue bedroom

Homebase’s 4-line prefinished 5 panel internal door costs £70 (Image credit: Homebase)

Buying a Doorset or Single Leaf

Doors can be purchased either on its own or as a doorset and you would be wise to be clear with your supplier which you are after from the outset.


  • A single source supplies each element (lining, door leaf, fixings and architrave)
  • Available as off-the-shelf products, in a range of standard sizes to fit new doorways or can be custom built
  • Labour costs are reduced because less specialist skill is required
  • Installation is faster. However, as the entire unit is fitted in one go, the door can be damaged or get in the way during a project

Single leaf:

  • Perfect for renovations as they can be fitted into existing linings
  • Other works in a project (such as plastering) won’t cause damage as they can be fitted in stages 
  • Can be better suited to older buildings with uneven doorways or floor levels

Timber door to a living room

Howdens' Dorgone in Oak is a classic and versatile looks, which would work well throughout the house for a uniform look. (Image credit: Howdens)

Installing Internal Doors

Most standard doors can be installed on a DIY basis, but factor in in the cost of all the separate components and the labour associated with installing a door leaf before ruling out a doorset. 

The time it takes to install a door leaf largely depends on the type of product being installed. The task of installing a new door where there is not an existing lining and architrave involves fitting the lining and architraves, painting them, planing down an oversized door to make it fit, hanging it and then adding the door handles and latches.

You may need to paint or finish the door if you’ve bought a primed or untreated model, too. The process can take the best part of a day. It’s often more cost effective to ask your carpenter to undertake the task for you. (Fitting a door to an existing opening will obviously take less time.)

Doorsets, on the other hand, provide a more time-effective alternative, with arguably a superior end result. The door is already pre-fixed to the lining as part of manufacturing process, so only the architraves may need adding and cutting down to size, and the handles added. 

Glazed deco interior doors

Installing glass doors in a hallways allows natural light to penetrate further in the floorplan. JBKind’s City art deco internal door (pictured) can be specified with tinted glass. (Image credit: JBKind)

How Do I Choose the Right Internal Doors?

For internal doors to have real impact the should be considered in two separate phases: the size and the finish.

No matter what kind of project you are working on, a decision on the size and configuration of your doors should be made as early on in the architectural process as possible to ensure the correct sized openings.

A great example is pocket doors. The cassette into which they slide needs to be built into the wall itself and it is essential to have the requirements before the walls go up. This will mean there are no disruptive alterations when it comes to fitting them.

Although there is nothing wrong with choosing doors right at the close of the project, the finish should at least be considered at the same time as the rest of the interior design scheme. 

It is natural for your wish list of ideas to change throughout the planning and building process, but factoring in the aesthetics at the beginning of the project allows for these to develop. However, it is important to be aware that this route comes with limitations.

Green bifold interior door. Bookcase feature wall.

Internal doors can elevate the overall design of the room, as here where Howdens’ Dorgone bifolds have been painted to match the surrounding architrave and shelving. (Image credit: Howdens)

Choosing Between Internal Door Styles

Modern homes’ love of the open plan layout has led to the advent of internal doors that can slide or fold away to open up various living spaces on the ground floor while doors to separate more private areas upstairs are still firmly rooted in more traditional.

Most homeowners want internal doors on the ground floor to be special and to bring a certain wow-factor to the overall design while people are generally less bothered about other floors because guests don’t tend to see them.

Don’t underestimate the importance of planning your design scheme in advance. This doesn’t just mean the colour or material finish, but you will have to decide on the orientation of the door and direction to which it opens. You will have to deal with this for the foreseeable so it’s best to get it right the right time around. 

A well-planned internal door can complete a design and with cross-directional grains, different timbers, glazed inserts and a variety colour options, a wow factor can be created in many ways.

Larger internal bifold door

This clever bifold door means this snug can be opened up to the hallway of the self build home. (Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Bifolding internal door are great for spaces that want an open-plan aesthetic, but also the privacy of separate rooms.

A stylish and space-saving option, pocket doors can be hidden away in the cavity of an adjacent wall. Architrave free or flush designs are great additions to contemporary homes while more traditional ‘barn-style’ sliding tracks wouldn’t look out of place in a renovated cottage.

(MORE: How to Choose Pocket Doors)

Crittall-style doors, with their black industrial-inspired bars, can update an existing home in no time, opening up spaces while providing the option for privacy.

Although more expensive than other styles of internal doors, frameless doors create a modern and seamless appearance. Made with an invisible frame and a shadow gap, these doors need to be planned at design stage. The wall needs to be built so the junctions between the wall and the door are perfect as they won’t be hidden by an architrave.

Oversized interior door to open-plan space.

his oversized internal door can fold back for an open-plan space, or shut off spaces for privacy. (Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

With modern houses increasingly featuring vaulted ceilings, designers and architects are starting to realise that internal door heights also need to be enhanced to maintain proportion with the room. So, taller oversized doors are becoming more popular too.

However, going from a standard-sized door to a bespoke, oversized one will be reflected in the price. This is especially true if you’re specifying a full-height 2.4m-high door, as this will require stronger hinges or pivot hinges.

If you’re renovating, the opportunity to choose over-sized doors will be limited unless you widen the structural opening. However, if you have a blank canvas and factor it into the wall construction phase, there is much more freedom. Interio

Do I Need a Fire Door?

Fire safety doors are usually required when the property is more than two storeys – fire doors may be required when a loft is converted, for example, to meet Building Regulations requirements – and/or if the garage is integral. Many suppliers have noticed an uptake in converting their standard doors into fire doors. This is particularly true in more vulnerable rooms such as kitchens.

Expect to pay between 10-20% more for a fire door.