Decorating Sliding Doors
June 22, 2012 1:33 AM   Subscribe

Help me decorate the interior sliding doors in my apartment.

I live in a an apartment that consists of three rooms in a straight line, each square-ish and a little more than 3m or 10' on a side. The entryway comes in on the side of the middle room, which is also the kitchen - there's a counter opposite the entry. The middle room connects to each of the outer two with a pair of white sliding doors; each door is maybe a yard across and an inch thick.
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Since there's basically no space between the doors, I can't put anything thick on one-half of them. I've tried posters on one of the doors, but since it's by itself and the door frames it excessively it looks goofy. The doors do help control temperature and noise, so I don't really want to remove them, though if there's an alternative I'd be up for it. The best I've come up with so far is to keep one of them in place and rarely use the other one to close off a room if I need the insulation.

Is there anything else I can do to get rid of the big expanse of white space in my apartment? Is this a situation where vinyl stick-ons would be good? Besides any general ideas, things especially for sliding doors would be helpful. I'm in Tokyo, so I feel like that shouldn't be hard, but I haven't seen anything besides ordinary-looking paper.
posted by 23 to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Decoration is a tricky subject--it really comes down to taste and style which is SO subjective. Here's some suggestions, but these could be WAY off according to what you groove to and what the other details in the room are:

1) Go modern. Tape art. Do a google search. Lotsa artists are using colored tape to make AWESOME wall murals. Although it's a bit on the trendy side in the fine art world, it's a ripe idea to be stolen for interior design.

2) Go minimal. I love spray-on fog. It's available in hardware stores and is used to turn regular glass into fogged glass (like in bathrooms). You would think that it would spray on and looks super bad and inconsistent--however, it's amazing how it evens out and looks wonderfully professional with no energy at all. It's actually impossible to mess it up. Once you're done, the window looks like you bought it that way. Amazing new product. It works so well that a artist friend of mine used it to treat a piece of glass to make a rear video projection screen that looked AWESOME when done.

3) Go conceptual. Think John Baldesarri. Use sticker letters to bring a poem or statement into center stage in a bold way.
posted by Murray M at 4:57 AM on June 22, 2012

I saw this project recently and it sounds perfect for you. You could use colored tape if paint is off limits. The bright pop of color of the edge is what really sells it for me.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:22 AM on June 22, 2012

I immediately thought of using fabric to "wallpaper" a door from How About Orange.
posted by Janta at 6:30 AM on June 22, 2012

How good a painter are you? In the states we have "poster paint", which is basically a cheap, water based, washable paint. The dayschool teachers here use it to paint/decorate the windows at school, washing them down and changing the theme monthly. Paint a basic pattern, experiment with elements that interest you, such as color blocks, leaves, clouds, plantescapes, space ships, funky shoes, books, movie scenes, cartoon panels ... every once in a while, wash it off and do it again.
posted by tilde at 7:17 AM on June 22, 2012

Those really large wall decals would work as well. They would be flat enough for you.
posted by Vaike at 8:10 AM on June 22, 2012

From your posting, I'm getting the idea that these doors are not glass. If so, stencil something that reflects your lifestyle. You could do it in the fog mentioned above for a cool etched glass look.

If they're solid, I'd go with Vaike's wall decals. I gather there's not enough room to mount a mirror--something reflective would make the spaces appear larger.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:18 AM on June 22, 2012

Thanks for all the suggestions - the doors aren't glass, they're solid wood painted white. Pictures one and two.

They are almost exactly 180cm tall, which is also the width of the doorway. On the outer rooms, there is an overhang over them of maybe 15cm.

This is a picture of the gap between them.

Anything that isn't flat on the surface won't work, unfortunately.

@Vaike: Can you recommend a service, or are they all basically the same? Looks like there's a lot of vinyl wall decal companies out there.
posted by 23 at 10:43 AM on June 22, 2012

Have you considered removing the doors and replacing them with heavy drapery/fabric? That will offer some control over temperature and noise while opening up huge decorative options.
posted by Talia Devane at 11:04 AM on June 22, 2012

Since one door slides behind the other and you say you mostly keep one side open anyway, you could put whatever you want on the door that faces into the room when the other is slid back. You wouldn't be limited to something flat on the surface of 1/2 the space.

I agree that is too much monotony from such a large expanse of white. If you slid both doors away from the stove wall, and decorated the living room facing door and the wall to the left of the opening, you'd have the open entry framed, or if the doors are closed, the white door would be flanked with symmetrical/identical decorations--like this: [#] [#] and like this: [#][ ][#]. You could even put up pictures as long as you anchored them firmly to the door.

In the kitchen, what about a stencil that would work with the door both open and shut? Something like this would work if you had on both doors, with another tree to the left of the opening and a few loose leaves on the wall next to the stove.

This, again carried across the doors and onto the walls would work, too.

I'm not sure what your style is, but I'm sure you could find something that works for you, whether it's a big hen on one door with chicks on the other or just an abstract design carried across. You can also get vinyl cutouts of words and quotations that might work on the one door and then put spices or a recipe bulletin board on the other. A paint on stencil would be cheapest.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:21 PM on June 22, 2012

Oh, and we demand pictures of your final solutions!
posted by BlueHorse at 3:21 PM on June 22, 2012

I haven't had direct experience with any companies (received decals as a gift). I just think they are so much fun and really do instantly change the look of a room.

If anyone else likes a company, I would love to hear as well.
posted by Vaike at 7:01 AM on June 23, 2012

Here are pictures!

Working with the fabric and chevron ideas, I went to one of the traditional paper specialists in town and picked out a few sheets of matching paper for each room, each in a different color (the bedroom's green but it's not up yet). I got matching color vinyl tape to cover the side of the door where the paper goes on. I want to tidy it up some more, but it was easy to set up and loads better than the white expanse. I'm happy with it.

The really nice part is that using double-sided tape kept it flat, and more importantly, since the paper goes all the way to the edges and the doors always overlap at least a little there's no risk of tearing.

Thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by 23 at 7:38 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Good job, 23!

File this one under Satisfied Asker.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:18 PM on June 28, 2012

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