Door Symbolism & Meaning (Choice, Transition and…)

Doors symbolize many things, including:

  • Choice
  • Transition
  • Welcome
  • Exclusion
  • Safety

Below, I walk through the top 11 things doors symbolize and why they have this symbolic meaning.

Door Symbolism

1. Transition

A door marks an opening into another space. With such a stark, clear delineation between two things (the space you’re in, and the space you’re about to enter), doors give us a sense of a clear cut-off between two things.

For many things in our lives, transitions are gradual.

But moving through a door is very clear-cut and final. One minute you’re on one side, the next minute you’re on the other.

This is why doors so effectively symbolize transition. It’s a moment where you’re clearly going from one ‘space’ to another ‘space’.

door symbolism

2. Choice

Given the clear transitional symbolism of doors, we can also look at doors as being a choice about whether you want to go through that transition.

A door can be that moment where a choice has to be made: do I go through the door or do I stay on this side? The pressure of this choice can be heightened by the fact you can’t see through the door to the other side (see next point: uncertainty).

Doors will also symbolize choice when there are two doors and you need to choose one to walk though. You’re faced with a pivotal point where your life could go in two directions – which door should you walk though?

In a similar way, a road symbolizes a choice on a journey.

3. Uncertainty and Trepidation

It’s hard to know what’s on the other side of a door.

This makes the ‘crossing of the threshold’ high-stakes. You might cross the threshold and enter the new space only to instantly regret it.

A closed door might therefore give you anxiety. In a dream, it might symbolize your anxieties and fears of the unknown.

In movies and television, this uncertainty is often represented by a person standing in front of two doors. Background heartbeat music might be playing while the protagonist stares at the two doors feeling overwhelmed – which choice will they make?

4. Welcoming (Open Door)

An open door often symbolizes a welcoming space.

If you know someone is coming over to your house, you might open the door to show the person who’s coming around that they can enter without knocking.

An open door to your office might show people you’re willing to chat. A closed door will show that you’re not talking right now.

If you see an open door in a dream, it might be a sign that you should take the chances and opportunities that will be coming your way. The door is showing you that you should go through – the other side is welcoming you.

5. Exclusion (Closed Door)

A closed door symbolizes the exact opposite of an open door. You close your door to exclude people.

You might close the door of your office to show people that you’re not communicating right now. You’ve got work to do.

But for those who are on the other side of the closed door wanting to get in, it can be a negative form of exclusion. You’re “left out in the cold” – you want to be inside but you’re not allowed.

People who dream of closed doors might interpret them as a sense that you’re locked out of something and you don’t know how to get in. Similarly, it may mean you seek the knowledge about something that’s behind a closed or locked door, but you don’t know how to get it.

6. Trapped (Locked Door)

If you’re on the inside of a locked door, the door might symbolize a trap.

You’re inside of a space that you’re trying to escape from, but your path of exit is blocked.

This is a common vision in dreams. People who feel trapped in something in their lives might dream of rattling against a locked door. The inability to get out is a representation of your internal feelings like you’re stuck in a situation and can’t find your way out.

7. Safety (Locked Door)

Locking a door to your own space (your home, your office or your bedroom) might be a symbol of safety. Being locked-in can make you feel protected from the demons on the outside.

The contrast between a locked door as safe vs a locked door as a trap is all context dependent.

If you’re in a space you don’t want to be, the lock may come across as causing claustrophobia and a sense that you’re out of control.

If you’re in a space where you are comfortable and want to be, the lock is a sign that you’re seeking comfort from the world beyond.

8. Escape

An door could signify an opportunity to escape from something.

This might happen when someone is on the run from someone and they come across a door unexpectedly. The door could be an opportunity for the person fleeing to move from one space to another, with the hope that the new space could be safer for them.

For people trying to interpret doors in dreams, then this symbol is especially true if you’re feeling trapped. The door might be a message to you that you have an escape opportunity coming up, so you need to look out for it.

9. Ending (Slamming Door)

A slamming door could also represent the end of something.

Slamming the door behind you, for example, is a way of telling the people in the room you just left that you don’t want to hear from them. That’s the end of your conversation.

If someone slams the door in your face, they’re signifying that they don’t want to talk to you. They’re ending the conversation with you and they don’t want you in their space. (You can see here that the symbol of exclusion discussed earlier works here as well).

what do doors symbolize

10. Change

When you cross through a door, you will often experience a sense that something has changed. Walk through the door and the new space will have its own atmosphere.

The new room might have different smells, sounds, and design. It might even be owned by someone entirely different.

For the next week, reflect on how it feels when you move through doors between spaces. Think about what changes you felt – is there a draft in the new room? Did the light change? Do you feel more or less comfortable in this new space?

When dreaming about a door, it could be a message about embracing change (especially if that door is open).

11. New Beginnings

Doorways into new spaces could be a sign that you’re beginning something new. In fact, there’s even a tradition that a groom should carry his new wife through the door into their new home as a sign of this new beginning.

Crossing through a door is an act of passing through a threshold into something new and unknown. While sometimes this might be intimidating (such as when you walk into a prison cell!), it could also be something that makes you feel light and optimistic. Crossing into the new space comes with a range of new potentialities and opportunities for you to explore.

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Conclusion

Doors have a variety of meanings depending on what they’re being used for. Sometimes they can represent inclusion and welcoming (especially when they’re open) while other times they represent exclusion and ending something (especially when they’re closed).

But perhaps the most common door symbolism is that of choice – you can choose to go through the door and embrace what’s behind it or you can choose not to. The fact a door is a threshold between two spaces makes this symbolism work well.

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