Should a Front Door Open in or Out?

Whether or not your front door should open in or out is something you may be asking yourself when remodeling, redesigning, or building a new home from scratch. Your front door is a focal point of the façade of your house and can make a big difference in the overall appearance and curb appeal of your home. It is also the main entrance and exit for your home, so you’ll want to consider security and function as well as the design aspect. We researched this critical topic to find out how your door should open.

For the vast majority of people, a front door should open into the house. For maximum versatility, security, and design appeal, it is likely every home in your neighborhood has a front door that does so. Below are some of the primary considerations contributing to this decision.

  •       Functionality and Design
  •       Safety and Security
  •       Climate Conditions

As with any rule, there are always some exceptions. Depending on your geographic location, it may make more sense, or in fact, be required by building code to go with an outward swinging front door. Continue reading to discover the reasons why most homes do not, as well as the exception to this rule.

Front door of a traditional house with two windows and stairs, Should a Front Door Open in or Out?

Considerations Relating to Door Placement

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Open front door of upscale modern home

Functionality and Design

When thinking about any kind of interior or exterior design question, it is a good practice to run through a typical day in your life and consider your potential interactions with the item in question. For the front door, this is relatively simple. You will use it mostly when you enter or leave the house. Whether coming or going from work, carrying in groceries, or taking out the trash.

With grocery bags, a purse or briefcase in one hand, and your keys in the other, it may be difficult to unlock and pull your door open to get inside without stepping backward off of your porch or stoop. The same goes for the delivery person or Girl Scout when you swing the door open at them. It is much easier to push your door open, especially when your hands are full.

If your door doesn’t open inward, you can forget about a screen door and the look and function it provides. Your hinges will also now be visible on the exterior of your home, and even with the hidden security hinge options available, this can be unsightly.

Safety and Security

A significant consideration for any entrance to your home should always be safety and security. In the event of a fire or medical emergency, first responders may need to gain access to your home, and you might not be there or able to open the door to let them in. With an inward swinging door, this is a simple task since they will only have to hit the door with enough force to break the lock or the wood where the lock inserts. An outward swinging door is another story. They must also break out the entire door jamb behind the door. Time is everything in an emergency, and this is not an easy or fast task.

An inward swinging door is also easier to shut on a potential intruder. Say you open the door to an unknown person and quickly discover they are up to no good. It is much easier to push the door closed and use your body weight to keep it closed while you lock it and call the authorities than it would be to step onto your porch and try to wrestle control of the door from the intruder.

Several add-on security options will only work with an inward swinging door. The majority of different chains, latches, and bolts will be of no use to you if your door swings out.

Climate Conditions

If you live in an environment that regularly experiences snowfall in the winter, you might struggle to open your door outward against a snowdrift, or even be locked inside if your door opens outward.

An outward swinging door is also prone to be caught by a gust of wind and slamming into your siding, railing, or maybe even a sconce light on your house. If the top of the door is not weather-sealed, you also risk exposing it to water damage when left open, assuming you don’t have a covered porch.

Some climate considerations may require you to have an outward swinging door, which we will review below.

Why Do Doors Open Outwards in Florida?

After the horrific damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, many of the building codes in Florida were amended to require exterior doors to open outward. It is much more difficult for water to penetrate an outward swinging door, and the same strength provided by the door jamb being on the inside makes it much harder for hurricane-force winds to blow debris right through your front door.

Can You Change the Direction a Door Opens?

While it is possible to change the direction a door opens, it is not recommended unless you are forced to do so due to building codes or climate considerations mentioned above. It requires the work of a professional carpenter to remove and replace the entire frame and door which can be time-consuming and expensive

Should Interior Doors Open In or Out?

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Front door left open with key in lock

As with exterior doors, interior doors should open into a room instead of into hallways or traffic areas. This prevents bumping into someone in the hall when opening a bedroom or bathroom door and helps to keep traffic areas clear of obstacles when doors are left open.

An exception might be when designing with the elderly or at-risk person in mind. In this case, you may want to have a bathroom door swing outward. If someone were to fall and become unconscious inside the bathroom, you may not be able to open the door against their body.

In Summary

While there may be some rare exceptions, it almost always makes the most sense to have a front door that opens into your house. For the best sense of safety, security, design, and function, this one is a no brainer.

For more information on doors for your home, check out these other posts on

8 Types of Front Doors You Should Consider

37 Double Front Door Ideas

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