I am purchasing a new apartment entry door and need help with choosing in which direction should it swing. The layout of the common area is quite tight:

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My concerns:

  • my own apartment is not too big. Any space savings from the door swinging outwards will be significant.
  • avoid damage from crashing with the elevator door (and unsafe situations)
  • avoid causing discomfort to neighbors
  • I commute with a bicycle - it should be easily un/loaded into the elevator
  • N1 uses only the stairs and is a single persons; N2 and N3 are families and use mostly the elevator.
  • it can't be seen from the "drawing", but it my door swings towards N1 it's gonna block them in - the space was drawn disproportionately long.

Too all the comments: we checked with the door company, the swing IS arbitrary and up to our choice.

  • 2
    I'd be surprised if it's up to you. Local regulations regarding fire, accessibility, and convention dictate swing. If that's not the case, this is a matter of opinion, and therefore off-topic.
    – isherwood
    Oct 29, 2019 at 12:59
  • 1
    The elevator has a swinging door??? Oct 29, 2019 at 17:42
  • Unless you plan to leave the door open all the time, potential space conflicts with neighbor (N1) door are irrelevant. Oct 29, 2019 at 17:44
  • 1
    Also note that changing the swing will probably require replacing the jamb or at least dissecting it enough to make sure it's structurally sound to hold a door in a different direction. It turns it into a much bigger job.
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 29, 2019 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


Inertia is the most powerful force in the universe

In other words, install the new door the exact same way as the old door. That should make installation a little easier (lock & hinges in same places as before) and, more importantly, will avoid complaints from neighbors or building management of "why did you change it?" You can't be accused of violating either local building code or the building's own rules if you closely mimic the previous configuration.

Since you are replacing the door yourself (or with help, but you and not the building management), I presume this is a condominium or similar "you own it" situation and not a rental apartment. If it is a rental, you should not be doing this at all. But assuming you own the apartment, there are often rules, for good reason, about anything that affects the common areas in any way - whether physically (like door swing) or even aesthetically (like door color). So your first step is to talk to the management company, condominium board of directors or whatever the equivalent is in your building. Ask them about:

  • Door swing
  • Fire rating requirements (they can vary by jurisdiction, but there will definitely be some requirement for any door that faces a common area)
  • Color or other aesthetic issues
  • Rules regarding windows, peepholes, etc.

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