How to choose the right opening style for your bifold door

Bifold doors are crafted and engineered like no other glazing product and will give your home a stunning and superior look.

If you’ve decided to have bifold doors installed in your home, the next task on your ‘to do’ list is to work out exactly how you want them to fit in with your busy life.

During the planning process, we can help you to work out which opening style you would like, and this is one of the beauties of having bifold doors – there’s plenty of choice and it’s all yours!

How many door panels can I have?

One of the advantages of bifold doors is their ability to be built exactly to your needs – and that includes how many panes of glass you’d like. When designing your ideal bifold door, we can advise you on how many door panels to have, and whether you want them to fold outside or inside.

Generally speaking, how many door panels you have is determined by the size of the door opening. The bigger the opening, the more panels you can have.

For a smaller structural opening, for example if you’re replacing a patio door, a small bifold door looks absolutely perfect. Thanks to the design, the two panels can be engineered to fold to the left or the right. These look fantastic as a two panel bifolding door can give you a much wider opening compared to doors where one sliding leaf sits behind a fixed panel.

Perhaps the most popular configuration, and one which works really well in a high number of properties, is a bifold door with three or four panels. What’s great about these multi-pane doors is that you have so many possible opening styles on offer.

You can select whether you’d like all the doors to slide to the left, all the doors to slide to the right or two sliding to one side with an access door or traffic door. They can stack inside or outside your home, to save space.

In larger properties with even bigger openings, you can select a higher number of panels. Despite the number, you still get to choose how you open them. Panels can slide on one side or split to fold, symmetrically, on two sides. You can also choose to have a traffic door too.

choosing the right bifold opening style

I’ve heard people talk about a traffic door, what is this?

A traffic door, or access leaf, is something else worth considering. This door is one panel in your bifold door configuration that simply swings open and closed like a regular single door. They’re really handy if you need to pop in or out as it means you do not need to slide all the panels open if you want to go out into the garden. Perfect for when you’re hanging the washing out or if the children are playing outside in the cooler months.

Depending on the design of your doors, your traffic door can sit as an independent leaf on one side or it can form part of the stack of folding doors.

Bifold doors can open to the left, right or in the middle

You’ve got endless choice when it comes to selecting bifold door opening styles. You will be able to maximise what space you have and make the new room work better for you and your family.

With this in mind, you can choose to have the door panels sliding all one way, either to the left or right, or you can split them so that the same number of panels open in each direction.

There’s another option too. If you’re considering a traffic door, there’s no reason why you can’t have all the panels sliding one way and the traffic door hinged at the other end.

The most important thing is to consider the layout of your home and how you want to enjoy your new space. If there’s something in your garden that’s a focal point, then you might want your bifold doors to open in the middle so you can step straight out onto the patio area.

External verses internal stacking bifold doors – you decide!

How you use your space at home can help you to decide whether you want your bifold doors to stack inside or outside. Think about who will be using the space most and if you’re having an extension, conservatory or orangery, consider what your new room is going to be used for.


For homes with limited space, it can be advisable to stack your bifold doors outside the house. This will leave you the most amount of space inside and means you won’t have to worry about moving furniture when you want them fully open.

Stacking them externally really enables you to successfully embrace the indoor/outdoor living culture which is such a popular trend for 2019.

bifold opening styles


If you’re choosing internal stacking doors, it’s important to take in to account the amount of space they take up. With larger rooms, this is not really an issue and you’ll be keeping your bifold doors more protected from the outside elements.

If you’ve got children, parents often decide to stack their bifold doors inside, so they are tucked safely away. After all, no one wants an accident with bikes, roller-skates or footballs!

Talk to us about bifold door opening styles

At Dolphin Home Improvements, we have a stunning range of aluminium bifold doors on offer. They are such a stylish yet space saving option. They let light flood in and create the perfect synergy between rooms – no matter what shape or size.

We’re the experts. Come and talk to us and we’ll help turn your house into a home.

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