How to Expand Your Living Space by Bringing the Outdoors Inside


Want to bring the feeling of breezy, lazy afternoons inside? Expand your living space by bringing the outdoors inside with screen doors.

Read on for some tips on how to make your living space feel bigger and brighter.

screen doors

There are always challenges living in a one hundred year old home. The lighting still blinks when the A/C comes on. We have one outlet in the dining room and it’s in the middle of the floor (underneath my rug). And until now, we haven’t been able to leave our french doors open because we have no screen doors. But that has all changed, thanks to my partnership with Phantom Screens.

Before I tell you more, I did want to mention that the benefits of an older home outweigh the “not so great things” a million to one. 

adding screen doors

I reached out to Phantom Screens because I didn’t want to spend another summer with our doors closed. I wanted to be able to open our doors in the evenings because we do get cooler summer nights! We have never opened the french doors in the front of our home because of bugs and the fact that our dog Sport would (and has) run out of our french doors the few times I have opened them. 

Our back door to the porch needed a screen so badly but the door opens outside, so I didn’t think we could ever have a screen door. There were plenty of times when I just left the door open but the bugs (especially mosquitos and June bugs) came in. And I want fresh air 24/7, even when it’s raining. But I don’t want Sport heading outside to play in the rain!

adding a screen door

Fortunately, all my problems have been solved. Phantom Screens came over to our home, measured our doors and showed me exactly what the screen doors would look like. I have to admit, even with all of the benefits of the screen doors, I was really concerned about how the screen doors would look. I didn’t want a big bulky screen showing in our home as I didn’t want to detract from the hundred year old moldings on our doors. But I could tell right away they were going to look great.

They came back a few days later and installed screens on three of our doors. I have to tell you, I couldn’t be happier! You can barely see them. Even when they are closed.

invisible screen doors

They are so smooth and easy to open. They automatically lock in to place. And all you have to do is touch the tiny lever to open them. When they retract, they hide in the mounted return.

phantom screen doors

These are the french doors in our living room, located on the front of our home. The hardware is mounted outside so you can’t see a thing from the inside.

adding screen doors to our home

And here are the screens closed.

screen doors in the living room

In our dining room, I love our french doors. I honestly can say in the almost twenty years we have lived here, I have opened these doors twice.

adding screen doors in the dining room

But now we have screens! The fresh air is amazing and the added sounds of the outdoors change the feel in this room so much.

screen doors keep the bugs out
new screen doors

I love that we have brought the outdoors inside in our home by adding these new screens. We have had the screens for about a month now and we love them! They are really sturdy and easy to open and close. Even Sport is used to them. When he approaches the back door, he sticks out a paw to see if the screen door is closed. We laugh every time.

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  1. This is a great post and help for me. For some reason when we built our home we never put screen doors out to our deck and for the dogs.

    This seems like an easy solution. Thanks for the post.


    1. We did the exact same thing. Our front french doors have lots of plants outside and our back patio door opens to the outside so we couldn’t add a traditional screen door. Retractable screen doors were the perfect solution.

  2. Sounds interesting. The screens fold up into the return? What material is used for the return? How wide is the return? Are the screens wrinkled at all when opened? Thanks.

    1. The screens roll up into the return. You can see in some of the photos that the return is a metal tract that comes in different colors. The return can be installed in different ways but it is about three inches wide. The screen is taut so it isn’t wrinkled. If you go to the Phantom Screens website you can see exactly how they look when they are installed.

  3. Wow this is such a great idea!!! I have 3 sets of french door across the back of my house and have always wished we could open them up to get more airflow without the bugs! You can barely see yours, I love it!

  4. This is excellent! Our vintage home has non-standard sized doors, so we’ve never gotten screens either and we have our doors open all the time. I feel like I’m running an entomology research facility! 🙂 I’m looking into Phantom screens asap! Thanks Leslie!

  5. My husband and I just moved into a house with a pretty backyard, so we wondered what we could do to see it more often. I didn’t know you could get retractable screen doors that won’t bother your door, as well as add sturdiness to your frame. That’s something my husband and I could invest in if we could always have fresh air coming into our house, so I’ll look into a retractable screen door service that could help us out!

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