A pocket door is a great way to pick up usable floor and wall space that normally would be occupied by a door’s swing. You can buy and install a pocket door for as little as $100, and the kits are readily available at home centers and lumberyards. There is one catch, though: You’ll have to tear out a portion of the wall to make room for the split studs that replace the wooden ones and for the track on which the new door hangs. The demolition can be a bit messy, but it’s straightforward.
First, check that there’s enough room in the wall — you need a rough opening that’s just over twice the width of the door. Then, determine if the wall is load-bearing or simply a nonstructural partition.
Load-bearing walls typically are near the center of the house and run perpendicular to the floor joists (check joist direction in the basement). Doors in these walls will have headers — usually laminated beams — over their openings. Installing a pocket door in a load-bearing wall requires replacing the old header with a longer one. Creating the opening for the new header may require temporary ceiling support while the header goes in (you may want to consult a pro for this).