What Is a French Door?

What Is a French Door?

While the words “French door” may evoke an image of Paris or the provincial countryside, they’re a desirable feature in many American homes for good reason. Below, we touch on their history and answer the question, “What is a French door?” We also discuss the French door’s numerous benefits and some things to consider when selecting a door for your home.

History of the French Door

The history of the French door began with the artistic and cultural growth of the 17th century French Renaissance. Inspired by the ancient Romans’ fondness for symmetry, balance and geometry in architecture, French doors were first designed as tall windows large enough to allow a person to step onto a balcony.

French doors’ signature glass panes reflect the country’s focus on light and openness, which were typical of the time. While they were originally built using wooden bars to create multiple glass frames, today’s robust construction methods feature stronger double-paned glass that allows for a myriad of design options.

French Door Characteristics

The elegance and appeal of French doors hinges on the fact that they are actually not one but two doors placed side by side. The hinges are placed on the outer opposite sides of the frame, with handles placed close together to allow the doors to swing open from the middle.


With their romantic, dramatic and whimsical way of swinging open from the center, French doors offer anyone stepping through them an extravagant transition to whatever is on the opposite side.


Often, although not always, French doors are designed with large glass panes. Therefore, compared to most doors other than sliding glass doors, French doors can provide adjoining rooms with an exceptional amount of natural light. This is why they’re often used as exterior doors, whether as the main entrance to a home or the opening to the backyard, patio or balcony.

Even as interior doors, they can brighten an area by allowing light from an adjacent room or hallway to enter. In fact, French doors are commonly used to add light and a sense of openness to home offices, living areas and master bedrooms.


French doors can now be selected according to a home’s particular style and the owner’s unique taste. While most do contain glass, solid French doors give homeowners complete privacy and security while maintaining the same design and structure.

Glass French doors can be framed by steel for a more modern look, wood for a more rustic or natural appearance or fiberglass in any number of colors. The panes might be large and unobstructed or small with decorative latticework, and the glass can be clear, frosted or etched.


According to Oahu NearSay, French doors are so desirable that they can increase a home’s value. Especially when installed on primary entryways, attractive French doors can greatly enhance your home’s curb appeal.

Is a French Door Right for Your Home?

Now that you’ve learned the history of French doors and can answer the question, “What is a French door?” here are a few other things to consider when deciding if these products are right for your home.

  • French doors can increase the amount of natural light in your home without requiring expensive window installation.
  • They come in highly energy-efficient and weather-resistant designs.
  • They allow for increased ventilation, and you can even combine them with screened doors.
  • You can decide whether they swing in or out depending on the size of the room where they’re installed and their use.

At Thompson Creek Window Company, we offer elegant, durable and custom French doors with multiple types of glass and frames constructed from steel or fiberglass. Among others, you can select from a wide variety of cherry, mahogany or oak stains and a long list of well-curated paint colors. If you’re ready to experience the beauty a French door can add to your home, give one of our experts a call to request a free estimate today.