In the old West, swinging saloon doors actually had purpose. Not only did they block the view of the inside of the bar from the street, which kept enemies from just picking somebody off from outside the bar while he had his back to the door, but the short doors made it possible to see when someone was approaching. At a time when the enemies were many and the West was wild, it was a safety precaution that few took for granted.
These days, saloon style swinging doors aren’t a necessity, but they can make a lovely addition to a doorway in your house. Closet openings and kitchen doorways are especially popular places to put saloon doors, since they usually have wider openings than a typical doorway, which gives you plenty of space to accommodate two doors.
And saloon doors can be made at an incredibly low cost if you have a little woodworking skill and a few basic tools on hand.
First off, decide how long and how wide you want each door to be. Make sure you measure your doorway and take its dimensions into consideration. You will need to be able to fit two doors next to each other in the doorway, plus hinges. Many saloon doors had a small gap of 1 to 2 inches between the doors as well.
Once you have your dimensions, buy two 1” to 2” thick boards in this size. You can cut them yourself at home with a saw or you can let the folks at the home improvement store do the work and cut them down to size for you.
Now, it’s all up to you. You have two doors in your hands. If you want to be dull, you can throw those boards up in the doorway with some spring hinges just as they look. Or you can get as creative as you want to be. What you can do with your doors is limited only by your creativity and your woodworking skills. If you have a jigsaw, you can add that classic arched top to your saloon doors. You can also put windows in them, carve designs into the wood. It’s completely up to you.
For an even more authentic feel, look for aged wood. If you know of an abandoned barn or house in your neighborhood, this is a good place to find some wood pieces that look old. But be careful since that property is probably owned by someone else. If you find pieces large enough to serve as your doors, you will get even more of an Old West feel.