Establish an Indoor-Outdoor Connection
One of the primary reasons people are drawn to a sliding glass wall or panoramic doors is the opportunity for comfortable indoor-outdoor living. Outdoor living rooms, kitchens, and dining spaces have steadily increased in popularity since 2020 because they create a resort-style atmosphere at home and offer even more ways to relax and entertain.
A moving glass wall effectively merges a home’s indoor and outdoor areas. The wall between spaces disappears, allowing views and movement without obstruction.
“A moving glass wall system blends the beauty of windows with the functionality of doors,” says Elina Donaldson, interior designer and owner of design firm Simplicity by Elina. “Moving glass walls allow you to achieve greater views and accessibility to the exterior patio or garden. It creates the illusion and opportunity for total connection to the surrounding landscape.”
Play up the indoor-outdoor relationship by making your backyard space the place to be. Extend your home’s living space with a greenery-filled patio or deck, a pergola, and various areas to relax, socialize, and enjoy a meal. Make it an entertaining destination for your next dinner party or family get-together.
Play With Focal Points
The expansive views through a moving glass wall can be a showstopper and natural focal point. Let the views take center stage by amplifying them with a minimalist or modern design theme. But don’t feel you’re limited to a single focal point in your living spaces; two or more smaller focal points can be created in the room. “Instead of placing all furniture straight towards one focal point in the room – usually the fireplace and TV – I like to create a few seating groups that can take advantage of the different impression of the space,” says Donaldson.
Think of each focal point as a moment or vignette with a distinct personality that connects to the larger space — a curated assortment of furnishings and objects that tell a story or relate to the room’s theme. A focal point can draw attention to an architectural detail, a small seating area, or artwork.
Pay Attention to Scale
Adding a large multi-slide or folding door to a room makes a big visual impact. The glass effectively replaces the wall, so you’ll need to consider scaling appropriately so everything looks and feels balanced. A large glass opening can add or reduce volume depending on the room’s size.
In a large room, a moving glass wall will add even more volume, especially in spaces with high ceilings. To keep things intimate and cozy, you’ll want to bring the volume down. Adding beams to ceilings, installing a statement chandelier, or designing a feature-wall are a few ideas that bring the room to a more human scale.
Owners of smaller homes are often concerned that a moving glass wall is too big for their space and might make their home look small. The opposite is actually true – a glass wall opens up a room in a way nothing else can. A glass wall extends visual real estate by letting the eye travel farther into the outdoors, effectively making a home appear larger.
Glass walls also bathe a space in natural light, and Donaldson says to never underestimate its impact on interior design. “A glass wall opens up home and brings in so much air and so much light. It will feel amazing and like a different house.”
Map Traffic Patterns
Whether your living space is small, large, or somewhere in between, you’ll want to have a good idea of how you want your household and guests to move around each room. Mapping traffic flow is important to establish key focal points and for the right furniture placement. For expansive open-concept floor plans, understanding movement can help you plan visual connections between rooms. For homes where space is at a premium, knowing your traffic patterns avoids awkward layouts and overcrowding. And in a room with a moving glass wall feature, understanding how you want to move is critical when transitioning from indoors to outdoors and planning how to enter and exit the various living spaces.
Plan Your Furniture Layout
How you want to move throughout your rooms and access the backyard will help you determine furniture placement. For example, you will want to leave enough space between your moving glass wall and interior furnishings for plenty of walking room. Allow for at least three feet for your primary pathways between rooms and a minimum of two feet between furniture to avoid trips and awkward movements. If you are adding a folding door, having enough space for the panels to stack is an import part of your layout.
Deciding on where to put the sofa is the first order of business, and placement largely depends on your primary focal point — a television, the view, artwork, or something else. In a larger room, try floating your furniture toward the center of the room to create a cozy feel, and offset additional small seating areas toward a corner. In a small living room, keeping things clutter-free is key. Stay away from angling the sofa to maintain an open feel. Instead of side tables that take up floor space, consider a sofa table to display items and create storage.
To TV or Not to TV
We’ve all seen them, the Insta-perfect living rooms with nary a television in sight. While these spaces are lovely to be sure, unless you are fortunate enough to enjoy a separate den or loft in your home, your needs to be a part of your living room’s interior design.
A wall of glass can be great for a room with a TV because it creates another (and larger!) point of interest. A TV often becomes the main event in a room, but it doesn’t have to be. Orient two sofas facing each other to encourage conversation or create a smaller seating area with a couple of armchairs, a small occasional table, and a floor lamp.
Choose Similar Materials for Indoors and Outdoors
Allow a panoramic door to make even more of a connection between your home and the outdoors by using similar design elements. Select a complementary color palette and similar types of furnishings to merge your indoor and outdoor living spaces. Take the living room’s tile or wood flooring into your backyard. If your indoor flooring material isn’t outdoor-safe, use different materials but match the color to create cohesion.
The same goes for textures and greenery. Create common threads in your choice of fabrics, pillows, rugs, and potted plants in your indoor and outdoor living spaces so they flow seamlessly together.
Part of a moving glass wall’s appeal is the ability for the eye to travel outward into the view and its ability to drench a space in natural light. But what if you also want to draw the eye inward to an intimate atmosphere? It’s possible to achieve both by adding design features to create definition. Adding layers of texture keeps a space feeling cozy and comfortable. An area rug is an interior designer’s secret weapon. It defines a space and adds character through color, pattern, and texture.
When rug shopping, err on the side of going larger than you think you need. A rug should be large enough to house most of a room’s larger pieces of furniture. Go too small and you run the risk of making the room look smaller and unbalanced.
Add Some Curves
While a square or rectangular-shaped room and a moving glass wall present appealing long lines and clear sightlines, it all adds up to a lot of angles. Part of what makes a room’s interior design special is offering contrast and a touch of the unexpected. Adding a piece of curved or rounded furniture is a way to counterbalance the linearity of a room with a large glass wall. A low-slung, curved couch or circular coffee table are a couple of examples that create depth and nuance in a room.
Design Your Door
Installing a moving glass wall opens a home’s living space, extends views, and blends indoor and outdoor spaces. Donaldson particularly appreciates how large glass openings, along with careful space planning and material selection, visually connect interiors. “With moving glass walls, homeowners gain the opportunity to maximize openings and create through-house transparency. It will make spaces brighter and feel bigger and airier.”
Create the perfect glass door for your space. Use our design your door tool to select the right door for you and customize it with your choice of color to complement your home’s view and flooring.