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I am looking to install french doors to help brighten the room just outside of a basement bedroom I am currently planning (egress window added and all per building codes). All the other existing bedrooms in my house have doors which swing into the room. However, having the french doors swing out of the bedroom into a larger main room (not a hallway) makes the most sense to me for this bedroom since swinging into the bedroom would make me have to place the light switch further away from the door to keep the doors from obstructing access to the switch.

Also, when I think about it, it seems like every bedroom of every house I can remember has in-swing doors. But then, almost all of the bedrooms I remember also come off of a hallway of some sort where an door that swings into the hall would be an obstruction.

I primarily want to know if I would be breaking convention or some aspect of code/saftey which I have otherwise missed to install a door which swings out of a bedroom. One benefit I can think of for having in-swing doors is that an obstruction in front of the door wouldn't prevent someone inside the bedroom from opening the door.

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There is no code that tells you that your bedroom doors need to swing in for a bedroom. But it is usually not a good idea for them to swing out.

  • as you mentioned the doors present an obstruction in spaces. In hallways it might even be comical to wind your way around 7 open doors from both sides.
  • when you are talking about privacy the doors have swung in because of the hinge side would be protected. For instance if you locked your door and the hinges were out someone could just knock the pegs out of the hinges and release your door.
  • and safety wise there is always a chance that someone will open a door on someone else. But not many people stand next to the door in their own room. But people could be passing by where ever and you could hit them. This should be thought about in your case.
  • aesthetically speaking you will be showing the hinges on the outside. I know it isn't a huge thing but a small design factor.

I have to say I have finished maybe close to 50 basements now (got to be close) and one of my favorite designs for a smaller basement is simply storage room with the bathroom towards the front and the other side is huge living room with an "extra" room with french doors in the back. Extra room is big enough to house a pool table but could easily be converted into a bedroom (often we have a walk-in closet going from extra room to storage room). We usually have the French doors swing out to the living room. If the living room is small though we swing them in. This is highly dependent on what you feel is going to be next to the French doors on each side of the room. (On really small rooms we use double pocket doors)

Another note: Come to think of it the doors themselves play a big part of inside or outside. If I have some nice doors - especially the wooden vintage french doors we clean up - well these open out. Because we want to showcase the door. If it is some big box generic french door set, we hide them in the room.

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    If aesthetics is a concern, there are concealed (or hidden) hinges available. They're considerably more expensive than conventional pin type hinges, but the option is available. – BillDOe Sep 11 '15 at 20:23
  • Also in a bedroom, if the door swung out, then there would be a bigger chance of smacking someone across the face if you suddenly opened the door. – Jason Hutchinson Sep 12 '15 at 2:48
  • This is exactly my setup: "the other side is huge living room with an "extra" room with french doors in the back ... We usually have the french doors swing out to the living room." Thank you for also confirming that it seems like a reasonable plan to have out swing doors in this scenario. – statueuphemism Sep 14 '15 at 17:58
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To avoid the possible hazards and disadvantages of a door that opens into the bedroom, and not obscure the wall switch as you open the door, either reroute the wiring to put the wall switch on the entry wall, or hinge the door to swing in the other direction.

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You have to use your common sense here because there is no code on interior doors. It really depends on the opening, if the door has room to swing outward without damaging walls or hitting furniture during a fire, I always use outswing doors. If your worried about security, they make security hinges that are tamper proof, and can't be unhinged from the outside, but normally in a family home, who cares. Outswing doors tend to slow down an intruder while you load your gun.

For exterior doors, if you live in snow country, then always use inswing doors. then snow can't stop you from opening the door and getting out during a fire.

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If you have loose pin hinges (most door hinges are, so they can be taken off quickly to allow wide items to pass), it is very simple for a burglar to remove the pins and remove the doors, since the hinge pins will be on the outside.

  • The question was regarding interior bedroom doors, which don't tend to be high security. A burglar would have already bypassed the lock on an exterior door. – BMitch Sep 16 '15 at 21:26

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