Manufacturers, joiners and installers could unlock huge new opportunities through sliding doors, with homeowners now needing their kitchens to be flexible enough for multiple purposes and suitable for everyone in the household.

According to new research, socialising, homeworking and exercising are amongst the most popular activities for consumers to carry out in their kitchens, aside from cooking. The findings from Häfele UK, which questioned 2,009 homeowners across the UK, found that 15% of homeowners want to be able to change the function of the room on demand, for example by closing off areas to hide mess or change the use of the space.

As part of the research, 42% of respondents said they don’t like not being able to shut away different parts of their kitchen space, while 43% said they think broken plan layouts – those with the ability to close and open up different areas using structures, like sliding doors – are a better use of space. However, 33% of people admitted they don’t know how to create a zoned layout for different activities. 

Sliding doors are a key tool in creating physical and visual connections in a space, as well as carving out specific areas for designated purposes through broken plan designs. A great alternative to traditional swinging doors, interior sliding and folding doors save space and are ideal for creating flexible, multi-purpose rooms by breaking up larger, open-plan layouts, or concealing certain areas. 

And there are lots of sliding door design and installation tricks that can be used to maximise the functionality of the kitchen, depending on the needs of the household – whether that be creating a hidden home office, integrating a playroom that can be closed away at the end of the day or shutting off laundry areas. 

Straight sliding doors can be installed in a number of different ways in the home; when used in open-plan living, straight sliding doors can split a large space into smaller, distinct rooms. Pocket doors, which slide back into a recess in a wall, achieve the same outcome but require less floor and wall space, making them particularly effective when working with more compact floorplans. 

Meanwhile, folding sliding doors are a modern, stylish and practical alternative. Sometimes referred to as internal bi-fold doors, internal folding sliding doors are typically made up of between two and six doors, which are linked together using sliding door gear. These systems allow the doors to fold up on themselves in a concertina style shape. When not in use, they don’t take up too much floor space and when in action, they can close off areas like kitchenettes while also acting as a great design feature. 

To help the industry achieve brilliant designs, and with one of the largest sliding door ranges in the UK, Häfele has developed its free Sliding Door Specification Service to get the best solution for every project. Users simply submit a top level design of a space and door dimensions required, and Häfele’s team will build a list of materials and quote.

Even better, the service can be used together with Häfele to Order, where all sliding door gear can be cut, assembled, packed, labelled and shipped to your bespoke requirements. All in all, it delivers one of the most efficient sliding door gear services available on the market today.