Door Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Door Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Going through a period of change and transformation? Maybe metamorphosis is in your cards, or you’ve already gone through some pretty life-altering events. Though there are tons of tattoo designs you can choose from to immortalize this period of shift, none of them quite hold the same existential feel quite as much as the door. 

You may be thinking: why a door? And we empathize with your questioning- but we promise that they’re more than just your standard piece of furniture. They actually hold a lot of significance and hidden meanings, and you may agree enough for a door design to be your next piece of body art.

In this article we’ll break down the ins and outs of getting door tattoo pieces done, and why it could be the next pick for your next ink session.


What Is The History Of Door Tattoos?

Since the dawn of people getting inked, door tattoos have been a prime choice in body art design. Though they may have been considered strange back in the day, they’re definitely growing in popularity (specifically for the indie crowd) thanks to their offbeat feel.

The biggest reason why someone would opt for a door tattoo is that they hold a lot of significant meaning. Though they may not look like it at first, the design is most commonly associated with periods of conversion, like a new chapter in life. They can commemorate what once was, while also holding out hope for the future.

We want to reiterate that you have full creative freedom over your body art, and that you can go for any design that you’d like to have on your body, whether it has personal meaning to you or not. However, the door tattoo is typically considered for folks who are looking for tattoos that hold more substance and purpose.


What Do Door Tattoos Symbolize?

As previously mentioned, door tattoos symbolize a shift in one’s life. This could mean a big move, a particularly large job promotion, realizing you’re finally living the life you’ve always dreamt of, and more. All of these instances will leave you wondering “what’s next?”, and that question is the central point of the door design.

It calls out the unknown opportunities ahead of the individual in a palatable way. An open door is always likened to positive roads ahead. It could be worn to honor a single life-changing event, or simply be used to welcome the road ahead in general. Either way, it will serve as an ever-lasting reminder that your journey is far from over!

All in all, door tattoos are a metaphor for general change. Depending on the style you get, they can even serve as a face for the individual’s fear of change rather than their acceptance of it. 


What Do Door Tattoos Mean?

Think about when you use doors in your day-to-day life. Probably to leave one room in order to get to another. You use them as a passageway to get where you want to go. While it may not seem like a life-altering experience at the moment, that same metaphor can be applied to situations in life, which is what draws people into getting door art done.


Closed Doors

Closed-door tattoos also represent change, but this design will likely be appealing to those who harbor a hesitance toward the unknown. This style can even symbolize an unwillingness to leave the stage of life that you’re in now, and that you feel protected in this current chapter of your life.

Open Doors

Now, these tattoos are for those who are at least willing to dip a toe into ever-changing waters. Depending on what design you choose to have on the other side of the door, this design can have an aura of fear or welcoming, so it’s still wearable regardless of whether you repel or love the idea of your life switching directions.


Or, maybe you’re an outlier in the sense that your tattoo isn’t representative of a life change or a new chapter. Maybe, you’re paying homage to an important door in your life: the door of your childhood home, the door of the apartment in your favorite TV series, or maybe even the door of the bar you met your future spouse in.

Styles Of Door Tattoos

Although again, you are in total creative liberty, we have a couple of door tattoo designs that have earned places in our list of favorites. Here are our top 3:

  1. Celestial There’s no better representation of the unknown than the greatest unknown of all: the universe. Designing a door tattoo that opens up into an inky night with white stars or planets would be the perfect way to represent the mystery of your upcoming adventures.
  2. White Light If you’re hopeful and optimistic, there’s no better way to characterize the future than with gorgeous white light. This symbolizes positivity, but it also be a call to the afterlife (perfect for commemorating passed-on loved ones).

Black Light Metathesophobia is the official term for those with a paralyzing fear of change, so maybe this design can serve as a way to accept your fears rather than running from them. Black light seeping through an open door also represents the mystery of the unknown, but maybe in a less grand way than white light.



The door tattoo definitely goes down in our books as one of the deepest tattoo designs one can get, and it’s an object that most everyone interacts with on a daily basis. Symbolic of change and transformation, the design has been well-loved through time, and is a way to toast the mystery of the unknown and celebrate getting your foot in the door.  

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