The confusion over door swing direction usually originates from what side of the door you're on. The majority of doors, including bedroom, bath and double doors, are in-swing doors, meaning that they open into the room. You push them to open them instead of pulling them toward you. The push side, also referred to as the outside or exterior side, is the side of the door typically used to determine if the door is left- or right-swing.In-swing doors are common for safety. In case of a fire, if the door were to swing out into a hallway, it could block you from quickly exiting the building.
The standard procedure is to stand with your back to the push side, or exterior, of the door. If the doorknob is on your right, it's a right-hand swing door. If the doorknob is on your left, it's a left-hand swing door. The barrel, or cylinders of the hinges, should be on the opposite side of the door. In other words, you shouldn't be able to see them when you're determining the door swing direction.
Another type of door, the out-swing door, opens away from the interior of the room. In some states, such as Florida, out-swing doors are sometimes used as exterior entryway doors because they resist high winds better than in-swing doors. The out-swing door is gaining momentum as a garage-to-home entryway door because it protects against fire and blast protection better than in-swing doors. The doorstop prevents the door from being pushed inward.
Here's where it might get confusing. The door swing direction for an out-swing door is still established from the push side of the door. That means you're on the inside of the room not on the exterior side like an in-swing door. Stand with your back to the door. If your right hand is on the doorknob side, it's a right-hand swing. If your left hand is on the doorknob side, it's a left-hand swing.
Switching the Direction
In the event that you've hung the door, and due to poor planning or a recent remodel, the door swings the wrong way, the swing direction can be changed. It's possible to remove the door and casing, cut the jamb loose with a reciprocating saw, turn it around, and reinstall it. Another technique is to remove only the door, route new hinge mortises on the other side of the jamb, move the striker plate, patch the old mortises, and rehang the door. If you're handy with tools, you can do it yourself, or a carpenter can do it for a reasonable fee.