If You See a House with Two Front Doors, This Is What It Means

You're going to adore the possible explanations.

In the age of open floor concepts and farmhouse sinks, there are some design features from the past that just don’t make sense at first glance. Looking at you, card table closets and basement toilets. The same goes for houses with two front doors. Not a multi-family residence, a single-family home with two separate front doors.

It might sound strange, but this feature exists in many American homes built in the 18th and 19th centuries! Here’s why.

Two Doors Made the Exterior Symmetrical

It might sound silly, but symmetry was in style. Georgian-style homes (which were trendy at the time) were designed around balance, order and classical symmetry, often achieved through the use of many windows, two chimneys and a front entry hallway that ran straight through the middle of the house. If a home, for whatever reason, didn’t have this centered hallway, a centrally-placed front door threw things off. The easy fix? Add another door to keep things balanced.

One Door Was Formal, the Other Was Not

It’s obvious, but two doors might have been in place to provide separate entrances to the home, opening to different spaces. While one door may have led to a formal area, the other could have been used for day-to-day business. This thinking applied to other visitors as well—homeowners likely wanted to greet guests at a formal entrance.

Residents Couldn’t Afford Windows

Glass wasn’t cheap for early American settlers; it either had to travel all the way from Europe or be made onsite, which was a specialty trade. Because windows used more glass than doors, it’s thought that residents who couldn’t afford the extra expense installed the latter. Find more old home features that appear across the country.

Two Doors Were Better Than One

Neighborhood feuds go way back. If your 18th-century neighbor had one front door, why shouldn’t you have two? According to The Spruce, double front doors were a sign that a home had multiple rooms, which was a sign of wealth. Think about windows or garage doors on today’s homes—sure, it’s all about status and curb appeal.

Here’s why some Southern houses have a separate porch door.

Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.