Homeowners no longer content with simple slabs to close one room off from the next are looking for bigger doors with pizzazz that enable them to create “illusions of grandeur” — a trend toward striking interiors where all components harmonize, explains Jeld-Wen's product marketing manager, Chris King.

Although King and other experts admit that traditional six-panel doors are a mainstay, they're being used in more creative ways, often along with complementary, bolder door styles and other decorative flourishes.

“Homeowners want traditional looks with a new twist. We're seeing contemporary open spaces with a classic vocabulary,” says architect Robert Laird, with remodeling firm Gilday Renovations, Silver Spring, Md.

According to Laird, such looks are spelled out with painted (instead of wood-grain) six-panel wood doors as well as painted molding. However, regional preferences vary. In the Pacific Northwest and upper Midwest, homeowners love stained flush plywood interior doors to achieve earthier looks, King says.

“We're seeing a trend among customers wanting unique styles for special applications, including kids' rooms, pantries, and kitchens,” notes Jim Brandt, marketing manager for Simpson Door, which makes glass-and chalkboard-panel pantry and kitchen doors. Other manufacturers such as Jeld-Wen offer custom-carved doors that are perfect to set individual rooms apart, says King.

Soundproof configurations are another door type that many builders and remodelers are selling for specific applications. Typically sold as an upgrade, solid-core doors offer better sound absorption than their hollow counterparts.

With such an abundance of choices, selection can be overwhelming for homeowners.

Pros really have a chance to help their clients break out of their shells, says Tim Britton of Falls Creek, Pa.–based Tim Britton Construction Services. Britton recently completed an interior remodeling project that included oak doors and a variety of white trim; he tested various shades of paint over and over again to get the perfect look and make the contrast pop.

Experts agree design-conscious styles will continue to proliferate and that manufacturers will continue to develop new designs and materials to make doors more than something you simply open and close. — Stephanie Herzfeld is associate editor of BUILDING PRODUCTS , a sister publication of REMODELING . A version of this article will appear in that magazine.