French doors add elegance and beauty to any style and type of home. Their designs are inspired by European influences and chateaus. French doors not only add to the curb appeal of your home but also allow more light into the home. Yet, where did french doors come from, why are french doors called french doors, and how have they lasted so long?

A Brief History of French Outdoor Doors

The birth of french doors dates back to the 17th century. France was in a war with Italy. Once the war was over, French artisans were inspired by the Italian Renaissance architectural influences. So, they adapted them for use in France.

During this same time, electricity was not yet available in households. So, the idea of taking windows and converting them into doors quickly caught on. The windowed doors allowed more natural sunlight into the home during the day. As such, people no longer needed to worry about using candles or oil-burning lamps to create light during the daytime to illuminate the interior of their homes.

These windowed doors drew inspiration from the Italian Renaissance in their design. They were designed to provide elegance and beauty with even proportions and symmetry. You can still see this influence in many of the buildings and homes in France even today. The newly designed doors quickly spread across Europe and become known as french doors. Eventually, french door popularity reached the United States.

What Are French Doors?

French doors are essentially any type of door design that uses glass in the interior of the door frame. Most people assume that french doors must consist of a left-hand door and a right-hand door. However, there are variations of this traditional design that are also called french doors and have resulted in several different types of modern french doors.

Types of French Doors

The types of french doors you can find when shopping for this door style could include any of the following designs:

  • Exterior French Doors – These doors are your more traditional style of french door used on the exterior of the home to allow more natural light inside. Many people will use exterior french doors for their patio or sunroom doors.
  • Interior French Doors – French doors are not just to add beauty and charm to the exterior of the home. You can choose from various designs to use as a partition to separate rooms and spaces within the home without blocking out light.
  • Bi-Fold French Doors – This variation on the traditional design, allows the french door to be folded into two sections and slid out of the way. Each side of the door will have one folding section. This type of french door is perfect for homes that have limited door swing space and want french doors.
  • Sliding French Doors – We bet you did not know that sliding doors that feature glass are also considered french doors. Sliding french doors are perfect when you have limited door swing space. Their design can often mimic traditional french doors as well.
  • Multi-Fold French Doors – This is a variation of bi-fold french doors and features additional folds in each of the doors. This type of french door is typically used when you want to divide a larger room or hall and require a larger door to so.
  • Pocket French Doors – This type of french door looks like traditional french doors. However, instead of doors that swing inward or outward, the doors are on a sliding track and slide into a “pocket” in the wall. Pocket french doors are perfect when you want to create a large exterior opening without the doors being in the way, as with your patio, deck, or sunroom.

Why Are They Called French Doors to This Day?

You would think, after all this time, that french doors and their various designs and types would just be called by the type of door and not be called french. However, there is something to be said about the prestige and elegance associated with french doors.

For instance, if you are getting new patio bi-fold doors, what sounds more elegant? Bi-fold patio doors or bi-fold french doors? Just by adding french to the door’s description, it automatically creates a sense of elegance even without seeing the door.

French Round Top Double Entry Iron Doors

Why Are French Doors Still So Popular?

One of the reasons they are so popular even to this day has to do with their natural beauty and charm. Traditional french doors, regardless of what modern type or design you choose, are made from wrought iron.

Wrought iron is a material that is often considered decorative, ornamental, and artistic while also being strong, durable, and long-lasting. When used to make french doors, you add an entirely another level of beauty, elegance, and charm to the french doors’ design.

Another reason french doors are so popular is that they allow natural light into the home to brighten it up. Thanks to advances in technology and manufacturing processes relating to glass, modern french doors can use thermal glass in their design, which is energy-efficient and helps to prevent energy loss.

How Have French Doors Changed over the Years?

Modern French door designs have not changed that much over the centuries. There have been some changes in the ornamentation used to reflect modern styles and designs. You can even find modern-contemporary french door designs that offer less ornamentation for a sleek door design.

Another change that has occurred is the introduction of different types of french doors from the original double-door design. Please see the previous section “Types of French Doors” to learn more.

Some door manufacturers have also experimented with using different types of framing materials like wood, steel, and even PVC. Yet, wrought iron remains the number-one material used for manufacturing french doors.

Can French Doors Be Customized?

Classic window pane iron french doors

Custom french doors are available because not everyone’s home will always have standard door width and height measurements. You may also have a wider space where you want to use french doors as a partition or to section off a larger room or hallway or to separate rooms in your home without blocking out light.

Customization options are not just limited to the width and height of the french doors. You can choose from different types of glass, door designs, types of doors, and much more to create a truly unique french door that reflects your sense of style and taste.

Add More Elegance with French Windows

If you are looking for new windows for your home to go along with your new french doors, you can find different french window designs as well. French windows look like miniature versions of french doors. You can even customize french windows with various features like having hand-crafted bi-fold french windows made for your home.

In summary, french doors are indeed French and were created by French artisans who were inspired by the Italian Renaissance. Over the years, french doors have evolved with the creation of different types of doors, as well as modern influences in their designs.

Yet, for the most part, the traditional features of french doors are still very evident. As such, they continue to still be very popular, especially when wrought iron is used to manufacture the french doors. Are you ready to add a touch of elegance, beauty, and charm to your home?

Please feel free to explore our selections of french doors and french windows online. You may also contact Universal Iron Doors at 818-771-1003 if you have further questions, would like to request a free quote, or want to learn more about designing and creating custom french doors and french windows.