A History of French Doors

An image of newly installed French doors with a brown door frame.

Glamorous, sophisticated, and lightweight, French doors – sometimes known as French windows – are an incredibly popular type of door in UK homes today. Even though they’re called ‘French doors’, their design has a rich history spanning across Europe, with a clear influence from Italian Renaissance architecture. In truth, the French door is more aptly an Italian, Roman, or even Greek door, since this is where the true roots of its design lie.

Read on to discover their full history, why they’re called French doors, where they originated from, and much more.

The Origin Of French Doors

The style of the French door was originally developed in 17th century France during the Italian War. The idea behind its design was to light up dimly lit houses. Indoor lighting was limited to lamps, candles, and furnaces, as there was no electricity. Thus, the French door’s design was similar to a window’s.

That said, the glass panels were deliberately built to elongate nearly all the door’s length, allowing as much sun inside as possible, hence the name ‘French door’. The design meant people could have light in their houses for much longer.

While many believe its first use was in France during the 17th century, this was only a result of the Italian War. When the French won the war against Italy, they came home bearing more than just their pride. They returned with a whole host of Italian art and architectural designs because, during this time, Italy had been experiencing a Renaissance.

This led to the creation of the original French door, made from separate, sizeable panes of glass combined with wood. It could almost be mistaken for a large window. By the end of the 17th century, French windows started appearing in other countries like England.

Many years ago, French doors weren’t made from uPVC and aluminium. Instead, they were crafted from wood and iron and were all about balance, symmetry, consistency, and geometry – features that embodied Renaissance architecture.

Because of the Renaissance, the French started including glass in more areas of their architecture, including doors. Eventually, these large opening windows became known as French doors. Traditionally, the Renaissance French door was more graceful in proportion, and a lot thinner compared to those on the market today. French doors opened outwards together, with no need for a mullion splitting them.

Today, you can find French doors in a variety of styles and they’re ideal for many homes. That said, they’re mostly used for opening out to balconies or gardens. French doors are mainly crafted from glass, just as they were many moons ago. This means they illuminate your home’s interior, while still being tremendously secure and energy-efficient.

Why Do French Doors Remain Popular Today?

One of the reasons that the French door remains popular today is because it lets in ample natural light to your property, thanks to the ability to open out onto your conservatory, garden, or patio area. This offers a smooth transition between your home and garden.

French doors work as stylish, classic garden doors while also offering functionality and security. French doors allow a plethora of natural light into a property without compromising on efficiency or space.

Designs and manufacturing techniques have advanced significantly over the years, making these doors some of the most secure available. Good quality French doors are fully secure and specifically constructed with lots of security features, like fully adjustable hinges and premium-quality locks. Many have double-glazed and toughened glass, ensuring your home is protected from burglars.

Boasting a combination of practicality and beauty, French doors provide the perfect update for any property.

Northants Windows French Doors

At Northants Windows, we design, build and install French doors for your home that are safe, stylish, and strong. Don’t settle for a simple patio door; choose a beautiful French door that’s secure and breathes natural light into your home. Discover the variety of French doors Northants Windows offer, get in touch with our team today.