Why Did Old Houses Have Doors Between Bedrooms?

Why Did Old Houses Have Doors Between Bedrooms

Have you ever wondered why old houses have doors between bedrooms and so many doors throughout the house?

What is considered an “old or antique home” may vary depending on who you’re speaking to. But this article refers to properties built in the 18, 19th, and early 20th centuries.

While old homes are usually not up-to-date with modern safety standards or the latest design trends, they had a lot to offer regarding the needs of the people living in them at the time.

Thus, there are specific reasons behind some of the design features that might seem odd, ugly, or unnecessary to us now.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “why did old houses have doors between bedrooms?” and touch on other related topics.

Reasons for Doors Between Bedrooms

There are several common reasons behind the existence of doors between bedrooms in old homes.

1. Heat Insulation

One reason is that it helped to keep the heat in and the cold out. In the winter, heated air rises and escapes through any opening. This process is why you might feel a draft near the floor or windows in your home.

By having doors between bedrooms, the heat was better contained within each room and couldn’t escape as easily. With this design approach, older properties could keep the bedrooms warmer and improve the home’s overall energy efficiency.

2. Sound Insulation

Another insulation-related reason for doors between bedrooms has to do with sound. By having a door between rooms, the noise was better contained and didn’t travel as quickly from one room to another. 

Families with small children would have found this incredibly beneficial, as it would help to keep them from waking each other up or disturbing the adults in the house.

3. Privacy and Personal Space

Doors also helped to create a sense of privacy and personal space, which would have been essential in homes with multiple generations living under one roof. Moreover, older homes might have been used for business meetings or other confidential gatherings.

In these cases, it would have been useful to have some separation between the different areas of the home to give everyone a little more privacy.

4. Fire Safety

Fire safety may have also influenced the existence of doors between bedrooms. If a fire were to start in one room, having doors between bedrooms might have helped to contain the fire and stop it from spreading quickly.

At the least, two doors would have given people more time to escape the home.

Additional Reading: Why Did Old Houses Have Two Front Doors?

What About Old Houses With No Doors Between Bedrooms?

We’ve looked at the question, “why did old houses have doors between bedrooms?” Many older properties certainly had doors between bedrooms in older properties, but some don’t have any doors between bedrooms at all.

While they might never have had doors in the first place, the most likely reason is they were removed at some point during the home’s history, perhaps due to renovation. 

Doors are also more typical in homes built for wealthier families because they could afford to have them installed between the bedrooms, whereas working-class families might not have been able to.

As mentioned, some properties might never have installed doors between bedrooms. This choice may have been made because the home was built quickly and there wasn’t time to add doors, or because the family didn’t see the need for them.

Read More: Is It Worth Buying an Old House and Renovating?

Doors Between Bedrooms in Modern Homes

While doors between bedrooms were once a common feature, they’re much rarer in newer builds.

This design feature has waned in use as modern-day homes are built with central heating and cooling, which makes it less necessary to have doors between bedrooms.

Doors between bedrooms also make it difficult for people to furnish a home, so many choose to remove or not build them.

Modern interior design relies heavily on clean, crisp, open spaces, so the trend leans toward fewer doors and more expansive areas. This approach is at the expense of more enclosed, closeted rooms.

However, some people still prefer to have doors between bedrooms for privacy or aesthetic reasons.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you have a few ideas about why old houses had doors between bedrooms, you may have other questions about this topic. Here are our answers to some commonly asked questions on the subject.

  • Why are there so many doors in old houses?
    Various reasons exist for why there are so many doors in old houses. Multiple exterior doors might be due to separate entrances for staff versus homeowners and guests, separate living space areas, or status. Regarding the interior, there may be many doors for privacy, heating and cooling, insulated sound, or simply preference.
  • Why don't new houses have as many doors?
    Newer houses tend to have large, open floor plans with fewer doors. This tendency partly reflects changing design trends but also the development of central heating and cooling. With modern HVAC systems, there is less need to have doors between rooms to control the temperature.
  • Do all old houses have doors between bedrooms?
    No, not all old houses have doors between bedrooms. The feature was more common in homes built for wealthier families or properties with a higher number of bedrooms.
  • Why were ceilings so high in old homes?
    Like many doors and rooms, the reason behind high ceilings was also the lack of HVAC systems, which only started to become more accessible to families starting from the 1950s. Tall ceilings


Doors between bedrooms were once a common feature in homes, but they’re not as expected now. Modern homes have HVAC systems, and style trends have changed significantly over time, so there is little need or desire for extra doors. 

So, why did old houses have doors between bedrooms? Doors between bedrooms were advantageous back in the day, as they helped regulate temperature, maintain privacy, keep noise out, and more. And who knows, maybe doors between bedrooms will make a comeback someday!

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